Surface Pro by Zachary Fetters on Unsplash

Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?

Paul RYKENFirst Published: Last Updated: Take the right gear, Work from anywhere

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We have been full-time travellers with carry-on luggage only since October 2016, maintaining and developing this website and a set of online courses, as well as managing a diversified investment portfolio on the road.

Naturally, as digital nomads, we rely heavily on our technology. It just needs to work. This means we research before we buy. And we research again as new options come to market, and our technology solutions reach their end of life.

What laptop do we recommend for digital nomads, business travellers and people working from home?

I’m going to cut straight to the chase: We recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro line of products.

Let’s face it. Everyone is in one of two camps, really: it’s either the Windows operating system or Apple iOS. The decision about the operating system is usually made based on your occupation. Or more specifically, whether you want/need to use a high-end graphics program, or not. Those that do, usually go with the Apple iOS-based MacBooks.

Given neither of us has that specific need, we prefer and have been using the Microsoft Windows operating system. But that’s not the only reason.

Why do we recommend the Microsoft Surface Pro 8?

Processing power

Each iteration of the Microsoft Surface Pro family is getting better and better – and so it should.

We both started with the Microsoft Surface Pro 4 but have since upgraded to the Microsoft Surface Pro 8. We went with the Quad-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i7-1185G7 Processor over the Quad-core 11th Gen Intel® Core™ i5-1135G7 Processor (purely to give us a longer runway until we have to replace our laptops again).

Whichever processor you choose, the processing power – running multiple apps simultaneously, streaming videos and working with some big spreadsheets – is a huge leap up from our Microsoft Surface Pro 4. Finances permitted, I also recommend buying a machine with 16GB RAM (the maximum for the Microsoft Surface Pro 8). Don’t skimp on this as it will affect the speed of your applications.

Light-weight

If you travel with carry-on like us, your luggage cannot weigh more than 10kgs / 22lbs (on some airlines even less). Including the keyboard (or Type Cover in Microsoft-speak), the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 weighs 1.17kgs / 2.58 lbs. For such a powerful machine, that is light. By comparison: the latest MacBook Air weighs 1.29kgs / 2.80lbs.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is also extremely thin, which makes it easy to slide it into your carry-on luggage.

Battery life

According to Microsoft, you are able to work for up to 16 hours of typical device usage on a fully charged battery. We haven’t managed quite that long with our typical use, but we are also never more than 8 hours away from a power outlet.

At 1.17kgs (2.58 lbs) including keyboard, the Surface Pro 8 weighs less than the MacBook Air | Photo by Windows on Unsplash
At 1.17kgs (2.58 lbs) including keyboard, the Surface Pro 8 weighs less than the MacBook Air | Photo by Windows on Unsplash

Screen size and resolution

Do you like streaming YouTube videos or watching Netflix?

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 has one of the best screens for 2-in-1 offerings. With a 13″ display and 2880 x 1920 resolution, it is also well on par with the most recent MacBook Air (at 13.3″ and 2560 x 1600). And being a 2-in-1, you can easily detach the keyboard for the tablet experience (and easier video watching or reading).

Without the keyboard, the Surface Pro's make a great little TV or ebook reader | Photo by Csaba Nagy on Pixabay
Without the keyboard, the Surface Pro's make a great little TV or ebook reader | Photo by Csaba Nagy on Pixabay

What mouse do we recommend?

There are plenty of make and model choices on the market. We use the Microsoft Arc Mouse as it suits our nomadic lifestyle. It is super lightweight and connects via Bluetooth. One of the best features is that it folds flat and turns off at the same time.

We recommend using Energizer Ultimate Lithium batteries in them.

The Microsoft Arc Mouse is super lightweight, connects via Bluetooth and folds flat when not in use | Photo by Katlyn Luz on Unsplash
The Microsoft Arc Mouse is super lightweight, connects via Bluetooth and folds flat when not in use | Photo by Katlyn Luz on Unsplash

Do you need a Microsoft Surface Pen?

The short answer: It depends (on your use and preference).

Sandra owns one and uses hers frequently, but I don’t. She likes to scribble things down and visualise ideas. That said, we both use her Microsoft Surface Pen when we have to sign documents. Depending on what application you use, you could also finger draw or use your mouse (by pressing down your index finger).

Note: The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 comes with a different stylus pen than prior generations – the Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2. It is also different from the Microsoft Surface Pen in that it is charged wirelessly and stores away in the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 keyboard. If you have a Microsoft Surface Pen already you can continue using it with the Microsoft Surface Pro 8. Just be aware that it no longer attaches magnetically.

A Surface Pen is not always required but depends on your needs and preference | Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
A Surface Pen is not always required but depends on your needs and preference | Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

What if you can only afford an earlier Microsoft Surface Pro model?

Totally valid question. A Microsoft Surface Pro 7 or even a Microsoft Surface Pro 6 are also good options.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 6 was released on 16 October 2018, while the Surface Pro 7 was made available to consumers on 2 October 2019. Both models come in a variety of configurations to suit your needs. The processing power though is (understandably) lower than the Microsoft Surface Pro 8: the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 has 10th generation Intel processors, while the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 comes with 8th generation Intel processors.

The screens of both versions are essentially the same: 12.3″ with a resolution of 2736 x 1,824. In terms of battery life, the Microsoft Surface Pro 6 seems to last even a little longer than the Microsoft Surface Pro 7.

Where can you purchase your Surface Pro (and accessories)?

I would always recommend comparing prices at a variety of websites, including but not limited to Microsoft, Amazon and highly reputable third-party computer stores. Just make sure you are comparing the same model and configuration!

With only 0.37” or 9.3mm thickness, the Surface Pro 8 slides easily into your carry-on luggage | Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
With a thickness of only 9.3mm (0.37”), the Surface Pro 8 slides easily into your carry-on luggage | Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash

When is the best time to buy your Microsoft Surface Pro (and accessories)?

Golden Rule: Never pay the full retail price! Particularly for the Microsoft Surface Pro 8, check out offers at your next big sales date, such as Amazon Prime Day, Black Friday or Cyber Monday. And if you visit a Microsoft physical store, make sure you negotiate, especially if you buy accessories at the same time (there is always room for negotiation).

Are you a digital nomad or frequent business traveler? What computer (and accessories) do you use and recommend, and why?

Feature image by Abderrahman Bensalah on Pixabay

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Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?
Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?
Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?
Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?Is this the best allround laptop for remote work in 2022?