So you’ve been looking for a touchscreen device, and your search has led you to two main contenders: The Microsoft Surface Pro and the Lenovo Yoga.
Both mobile devices are attractive and competent touchscreens, but which one should you pick up? I’m here to help you decide between these two convertible machines.
Without giving away too much, I’d recommend the Lenovo Yoga over the Microsoft Surface Pro 8, but we’ll cover those later.
Why Compare the Two?
You’re probably wondering why I decided to compare these two devices. Sure, they’re both touchscreen Windows devices, but so what?
I picked them because of the recent advancements in the Microsoft Surface line.
The Lenovo Yoga once dominated the all-rounder touchscreen space, but the Microsoft Surface Pro models have quickly caught up in recent years.
Laptop makers compete directly, but it’s been getting closer and closer lately. For instance, the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i is a direct response to the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 model.
I’ll get into that more later on.
Lenovo Yoga vs. Surface Pro: Features Comparison
These are the main differences and features you can expect between the Lenovo Yoga and Surface Pro Windows tablets:
Processor and RAM
You’ll need a fast processor to make the most out of your sleek device, but what kind of hardware do the Lenovo Yoga and Surface Pro family usually pack?
These laptop lines usually have Intel core processors inside, which are good for most tasks and run at reasonable speeds.
However, if you want a Windows laptop that will provide you with better performance and run faster, you’ll usually need to shell out a little more.
You can get a Surface Pro laptop with an Intel Core U series chip with a tighter budget. These chips are offered in various ranges, from Intel Core i5 to Intel Core i7.
Your laptop will need enough RAM to stand up to more demanding tasks. Both Microsoft and Lenovo understand this, so these devices often come with 8GB or more RAM.
Sometimes you’ll get a tablet with less RAM, like the Surface Pro 7. 4GB isn’t bad, but it won’t deliver enough performance for more than the basics.
WINNER: Draw! Both device lines have the same general configurations!
What About Their Graphics Cards?
Faster RAM is a great bonus, but what if you want a graphics card with enough performance to go with it?
Both the Microsoft Surface Pro and Lenovo Yoga fall a little short. The technology that goes into these laptops isn’t exactly built for heavier tasks.
When it comes to creative work, either laptop will give you a worthy display and performance, but don’t expect desktop performance levels from either line.
Screen Size and Quality
Your device’s screen is arguably the most important part since it’s what you’ll be looking at the most! Let’s find out which machine has the better screen!
Lenovo Yoga devices usually come equipped with a Dolby vision display. This technology helps make colors look brighter and pop more on the screen.
But the Surface Pro line is no slouch in the screen department either, despite its smaller size. Even the humblest Surface Pro has at least an FHD size.
Both the Surface Pro and Lenovo Yoga lines feature standard display sizes. However, the Surface Pro devices cap out at just 13-inches, so if you want a bigger display, go for Lenovo!
WINNER: Lenovo Yoga! You can’t beat a bigger and brighter screen!
Normally you’d be sitting down with earphones in, but what happens during family movie night? That’s when you’ll need a machine with solid speakers and clear sound.
I’ll start with Lenovo. The Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i comes with serviceable stereo speakers. It won’t shake the walls with bass, but you won’t need to turn it up to hear your films.
On the other hand, the Surface Pro 8 has stronger speakers than other Yoga models, plus it supports Dolby Atmos! This is excellent for the added immersion factor.
WINNER: Surface Pro 8! The Yoga lines have a unique design, but they don’t have that audio power!
Connectivity and Ports
You’ll want to be able to connect to the internet while using your laptop, no matter where you are!
Whether you get a Yoga 9i or a Surface Pro 8, you can expect to get a Wi-Fi-capable device. That’s a given in the modern-day.
But you’ll be glad to know that these devices have one foot in the past and one in the future. You can expect Wi-Fi support from Wi-Fi 4 to Wi-Fi 6!
Microsoft has its proprietary Surface Connect port, which can support data going towards multiple external displays when you need it.
You can also pick up a bulky dongle to further use the Surface Connect port, but it’s a very inelegant solution to a simple problem.
Your device should have a good selection of USB ports for maximum connectivity, like USB Type C and USB A ports. Both lines have just that!
WINNER: Draw! Both machines have good connectivity and port selections!
Everything I’ve discussed above, like the display and the performance, is fine, but their extra features set these devices apart from most competitors.
Several Yoga machines come with privacy shutters for their camera, plus an included stylus pen in the box. You’ll have to pay a little extra to get that for the Surface Pro.
Both laptop lines also have a backlit keyboard function to see your keys better in darker conditions.
You should also look out for Surface Pros and Yogas with Thunderbolt 4 support. This will let you transfer data at higher speeds, with fewer ports!
WINNER: Lenovo Yoga! You can expect a complete package of extras with their laptops instead of the piecemeal features of the Surface Pro line!
Quick Laptop Reviews
Now that I’ve compared all the features side by side, I’ll discuss a few of the best laptops these two lines have to offer! Note that I’m not listing direct rivals but describing each tablet in turn.
Let’s start with a solid Windows device. The Surface Pro 7 is an approachable entry into the Surface Pro series that balances price and performance.
This tablet has configurations with 3 kinds of Intel Core chips inside. The choices go up from Intel Core i3 to Intel Core i7, with RAM and performance to match.
You might also be wondering whether the slime frame of the Surface Pro 7 works against it. Maybe it’s got a shorter battery life?
Not quite! You can expect your Surface to last almost 11 hours on a single charge, and you can top up the battery quickly thanks to its USB Type C charging ports!
The only thing I dislike about the Surface Pro 7 is its smaller internal storage capacity.
128GB of data isn’t a lot nowadays, but that MicroSD card reader can help with extra storage in a pinch. You can pick it up here.
With either an Intel Core i5 or Core i7 under the hood, the Surface Pro 8 won’t leave you lagging when you need it.
The Surface Pro 8 has a Surface pen. What’s unique about it is that the Surface Pen has a haptic feedback processor, so doodling on your tablet will feel more like a real notepad.
You can pick up an additional keyboard cover for your Microsoft Surface Pro 8, which will make it a little bit thicker than your standard Lenovo Yoga tablet.
Sadly the Surface Pro 8 doesn’t come with its own graphics card. Instead, it’s got Intel Iris integrated graphics, which are fine for lighter tasks.
This tablet also has RAM to spare, with models that can go up to 32GB. Another crowning glory is the display, with 13 inches of Surface Pro.
While the Lenovo Yoga 9i has a larger screen than the Surface Pro 8, this is still a very clear display with plenty of pixels for your viewing pleasure.
Microsoft knocked it out of the park with this tablet, but its performance doesn’t quite justify the price. You can pick it up here.
This Lenovo laptop packs an 11th-gen Intel Core i7 processor inside, which means you’ll be able to get things done at blazing speeds.
Another edge that the Yoga 9i has is its sound system: Its unique soundbar design ranks among the best speakers that you can find on a Windows device.
If you’re looking for extra security features, this machine also packs a fingerprint reader for easier unlocking. It’s also got USB-C charging, making this machine Intel Evo Certified.
The Yoga 9i doesn’t have a dedicated graphics card, but it does have the latest Intel Iris Xe graphics, which will serve you well for lighter tasks.
This Lenovo laptop packs a larger battery so that you can expect a long battery life from the 9i. Then there’s the internal storage, which is a nice, speedy 512GB SSD.
You can pick it up here.
Toning it down from the Yoga 9i, here’s a more lightweight tablet from the Lenovo Yoga family! The Duet 7i is a direct competitor to the Surface Pro 7, with comparable Wi-Fi connectivity.
You can pick up a configuration with an Intel Core i3, or you could upgrade to an Intel Core i7 version.
The Lenovo Yoga Duet comes with a pleasant-feeling keyboard cover and a surprisingly tactile keyboard underneath.
Its camera also comes with a facial recognition feature so that you can unlock your tablet hands-free.
The Lenovo Yoga Duet runs Windows 10 and has a few preloaded apps. You’ll have to clean up some bloatware like McAfee, but the other apps are standard Lenovo Yoga drivers.
You can pick it up here.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Learn more about these portable devices here!
What Are Good Specs?
I’ve thrown around a few mentions of “Intel Core i5” and “Processor” here, but you might not know what to be on the lookout for if you’re new to laptops.
It also doesn’t help that these devices share most of their specs! I’ll discuss the processor and battery life for this case since they’re more important in 2-in-1 machines.
Of the many Intel Core processors out there, you’ll want to find a convertible model that packs at least an Intel Core i3. They’ve been updated to do more with fewer cores.
However, I recommend getting at least an Intel Core i5 machine if you can snag one. If you’ve got room in your budget, go towards an Intel Core i7!
Another important part of your convertible, you need a battery that supports your fast-paced lifestyle! A good benchmark is around 9 hours of consistent usage.
Note that a beefier chip like a Core i5 will naturally draw more power, resulting in a shortened battery life.
Another thing to look out for is USB power delivery. Look for a convertible with a USB C port that you can use to quickly charge your machine.
What if I Want More Security?
If you want a device that’s harder to unlock, look for a model with support for facial recognition features like Windows Hello.
The Lenovo Yoga 9i and the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 come equipped with this extra security feature.
Some Lenovo laptops also have a privacy shutter for their camera, which is nice.
You can also find Lenovo Yogas and Surface Pros with fingerprint readers if you want to keep your data under wraps.
Is the Lenovo Yoga Better Than the Microsoft Surface Pro 8?
There is a significant difference between these two laptops, and that’s what they present themselves as. The Lenovo Yoga is a laptop first, with a tablet mode.
Meanwhile, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is a tablet first and a laptop second. I say this because it doesn’t come with a keyboard unless you pay extra.
I think both devices are pretty evenly matched. If you want a better typing experience, you could look into the Lenovo ThinkPad Yoga X1, which I didn’t mention here.
That model has the ThinkPad’s signature premium-feeling keyboard, but the Surface Pro 8 has a Surface Signature keyboard which is also surprisingly responsive.
If you’re worried about slower internet signals at work, you’ll be happy to know that both devices go up to Wi-Fi 6.
In this comparison, I’ve laid out everything you need to know about choosing between the Lenovo Yoga and the Microsoft Surface devices.
While I recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 8, I think the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i has a distinct advantage, with a better display and more features.
The main difference between the Lenovo Yoga and the Surface Pro 8 is how adaptable they are. You can think of the Surface Pro 8 as a tablet that connects to a keyboard.
Meanwhile, the Lenovo Yoga Duet 7i is more like a 2-in-1 laptop. While it’s perfectly serviceable as a tablet, the keyboard makes it a little too bulky for my tastes.
But your preferences may vary. Follow this quick guide to get the best laptop for your needs!
Pick up a Lenovo Yoga If:
- You prefer the stability of a clamshell laptop
- You want a better sound system
- You want everything in one package
Pick up a Surface Pro If:
- You want a tablet first, and the keyboard can come second
- You want to carry less weight in your backpack
- You can afford the add-ons like the Surface Pen