Surface Pro 9 or Surface Laptop 5? Choose the right form factor for you.

Hannah Bell By Hannah Bell - February 16th, 2023
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If you’re thinking about buying a new computer, there is always a lot to consider – specs, ports, battery life, what colour would you like? It’s not a decision between a desktop or laptop anymore, there are so many shapes and sizes to choose from! To help get the form factor to best suit your needs, it’s important to also think about where you will be wanting to use your device.

The Surface Pro 9 is a versatile and adaptable 2-in-1 device that is super powerful and optimized for Windows 11. The iconic Surface Pro built-in kick stand allows you to transform from laptop to tablet at any angle so you can work however you want, wherever you want. Whether you’re at a desk, on a plane, on a train or at a café – this device is the perfect companion to get your stuff done.

Like the many generations of Surface Pro that have come before it, the Surface Signature Keyboard transforms the Surface Pro 9 from a tablet to a laptop. It has a full mechanical keyset, fast and fluid typing, a large glass trackpad for precise navigation and my personal favourite addition, a place to magnetically house and charge your Surface Slim Pen 2, so it is always ready to go when creativity strikes!

Surface Pro 9
The iconic Surface Pro built-in kick stand allows you to transform from tablet to laptop.
Surface Pro 9
The pixel sense flow touch display lets ink flow seamlessly from your Slim Pen 2

The pixel sense flow touch display is fused with optical bonding which lets ink flow seamlessly from your Slim Pen 2 onto the screen, and haptic feedback in the pen emulates that feeling of pen on paper, or paint on a canvas so you can create in the ways that feel most natural to you. You can even program the pen button to launch you straight into whatever your favourite app of choice is – I’ve chosen mine to open sticky notes with a single click, OneNote with double click or press and hold to take a screenshot.

And when you want to move from using your device as a laptop, you can remove the keyboard to use this device as a tablet. And Windows 11 just knows – it has mode detection built in, so when you take the keyboard off, the start menu icons will move slightly further apart so it’s easier to navigate with touch. I think where you are going to use your device most is an important thing to consider – if you are out and about all the time, maybe for work, you travel a lot or you’re a student, then a Surface Pro device would be an awesome option! Especially if you’re someone who likes to hand write notes, draw diagrams or even just doodle. This device is such a great all-rounder! There are also a few different spec configurations, so you can get the power you need. The Surface Pro 9 comes in four different colours – sapphire, forest, graphite and platinum so you can also personalise your device (and its accessories!) suits your style!

If a traditional laptop formfactor is more for you – there are also a couple of options in this more traditional style, but they offer some fun new modern things that you may not have had in your previous device!

The Surface Laptop 5 is designed for blazing speed and sophisticated style, and I have to focus on the design of this beautiful product. For generations of Surface Laptop now, the seamless chassis really is just something to behold. There are no visible screws, hinges, or speaker grates. You can lift the lid with just one finger, the device is powered by instant on, your face signs you into your device using Windows Hello and within seconds of placing your device on your desk, you’re ready to go!

Surface Laptop 5
Lift the lid with just one finger. The device is powered by instant on.
Surface Laptop 5
Features the iconic pixel sense touch screen display and 3:2 aspect ratio.

The traditional laptop formfactor is great if you plan to use your device mostly at desk, table or on your lap. Surface Laptop 5 comes in a 13.5” or 15” model and both have the iconic pixel sense touch screen display and 3:2 aspect ratio that you see across the Surface Family. This means you get around 18% more vertical screen real estate than most laptops, which helps you to see more of your word document or webpage and be more productive. You can also personalise your Surface Laptop 5 to best suit you with a range of spec configurations and your choice of colour from platinum, matte black and sage. If typing is the main way you like to take notes or write emails and documents, then a Surface Laptop 5 will be a fantastic option for you. While you can use your pen on a Surface Laptop 5 screen it can be a little bit awkward to do, just because of the formfactor of the device and how we are most used to writing on a flat surface. I can sign a document on my laptop but would probably find it a little bit awkward to take a full page of notes. If you like handwriting notes, doodling, or drawing diagrams to explain your thought process, the Surface Pro 9 with a Surface Slim Pen 2 will be a great device to suit your workflows.

Surface and Windows 11 are designed for the tech to fade into the background, and let you focus on what you need to get done. With really cool features like snap layouts so you can organise apps, optimise your screen space and maximise your productivity with just a Snap. Which has also seen an improvement in the latest Windows 11 update! Now, if you drag a Window to the top of your screen, you will see the snap tray, and you can drop the app wherever you’d like it displayed on your screen. This change to snap also makes it even easier to navigate with touch!

I really encourage you to think about everything that you might be using your device for in a day – because that not only helps you land on what specs will be right for you, but what formfactor might be right for you too!

Written By

Hannah Bell

Master Trainer on behalf of Microsoft New Zealand. Empowering people to get the most out of their tech since ages ago!

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