Recommendation for All-Round Multitasking Laptop - (Budget $3000)

I'm an educator by profession, and my Surface Pro 3 is starting to be quite slow. Can someone please recommend a new windows-based model and make for the following needs:

1) must have touch screen for me to write on (sensitive to handwriting)
2) can handle multitasking with internet/online TEAMS meetings, recording instructional videos etc
3) portability
4) can handle very occasional graphics/internet gaming

Budget : at most $3000?



  • +2

    Surface Pro 3 is starting to be quite slow

    About 7 years old now but have you tried a fresh windows 10 install especially if it has the i7 and 8gb of RAM.

  • I haven't. My SP3 has an i5 processor, not i7, and it does come with Windows 10 Pro installed. Did you mean I should reconfigure my laptop?

  • +3

    You could upgrade to a Surface Pro 7… you are 4 gens behind. and 8 is not far away.

  • Honestly any of the latest Surface laptop or Surface Pro will get the job done. However I don't know how they will handle gaming. (I guess this depends on what games you expect to be playing).

    I use a Surface Laptop 1 for work and it works great.

  • -2

    An iPad Pro?

  • Asus ROG G15 would tick off many of those.
    Huge battery
    Great graphics/processor

    All rounder really

  • +1

    How about a XPS 13? You'll want to get something with 16GB ram if you want to multitask with teams.

  • +7

    Also an educator by profession - right now is just not a good time to get into Windows devices.

    I've used Windows devices my entire life and recently got an M1 MBA and loving it. I got the 16GB version, but my wife got the 8GB one and it's fine (she's also an educator). The 8GB one was $1349 and it's faster and more responsive than any Windows device I've used. FWIW, it feels more like using a phone/tablet than a computer - really snappy. Good battery life as well. I genuinely prefer Windows, but right now, there is no competition IMO.

    For $3000, I would personally get a 13" MBA for $1349 and an 11" iPad Air for $899 (for your writing) and call it a day. You can easily connect the two devices together or use your MBA as an AirPlay target for your iPad.

    Personally, I would not purchase any new Windows devices in the next year until we see some sort of a roadmap from Intel/AMD, or from Microsoft. Like Macs, Windows laptops are potentially on a cliff, with the potential transition to ARM-based devices very soon. It only requires a manufacturer to make the jump with a good product and with support from Microsoft and I think x86-64 on laptops will be dead. FWIW, my Samsung S21 Ultra in DeX feels much snappier and better to use than my Thinkpad with 8th-gen i7.

    Anyway - I'm not an Apple fanboy and I don't like to preach if you're deadset on a Windows device and need it now, but just putting the option out there for you to consider. On the Windows side, you could probably go with a new Surface, though I think a new one will come out soon. The X1 Yoga is also really popular with educators. Has the traditional Thinkpad build quality and ruggedness, but can also be used with a stylus for writing.

    • +3

      Absolutely agree with your comment. I'm not particularly biased to Apple or anything, but damn they are killing it right now. I bought my first ever MacBook late last year - the M1 MBP, and holy crap it is leagues better than anything I have ever used. How on earth is it so snappy with absolutely zero lag, while also having probably double the battery life per day, while also generating absolutely no heat and noise? It is just insane.

      The M1 MacBook Pro made me forget that other laptops actually make noises and create heat through the fans… so now it's a pain to use my Windows laptop for work. Even though it's a very high spec'd Windows laptop, probably upwards of 2.5-3k, it is still annoying af. Always heats up, the fans spin endlessly and it's just so "old" feeling. Amazing that a 1.3k M1 MBA can absolutely smash any 3k windows laptop, and I'm not even joking.

    • I wouldn't hold your breath. Windows on ARM has been talked about for 10 years now ever since Win8 but it's never been more than a fad.

      I agree about the snappiness though. Even opening Excel or Word and having to wait 5 secs just feels so outdated these days!

      • +1

        I wouldn't hold your breath. Windows on ARM has been talked about for 10 years now ever since Win8 but it's never been more than a fad.

        Yes, but I think it's trending in that direction. 10 years ago, ARM-based processors were nowhere near what they are today. From a technological standpoint, I completely agree that it just wasn't ready yet.

        It is now though and with macOS already having moved, the train is already in motion. For all it's talk about being a "bold" or "innovative" company, I can only find one thing Apple has done that is truly game-changing in the last 10 years and will completely change an entire industry - that's moving macOS to ARM and the M1 SoC.

        • I think the advantage macOS has is relatively few programs. The diversity of software on windows is astonishing and a lot of people, especially businesses, would refuse to accept anything but 100% compatibility. I am really quite ignorant how well windows could emulate x86 like M1 can.

    • Just a thought about changing from Windows to Macs. When just thinking about the hardware that you get for your money, I think the idea of MBA and an iPad is great. But while I love iPads, I personally couldn't get used to MacOS. I gave it a good go, using a MacBook Pro as my only computer for half a year. Just didn't like it, didn't understand the philosophy, felt like everything was too different. Not worse necessarily, but just too different for me after using Windows for decades. Obviously YMMV.

    • Hi, thanks for your reply. I did try and learn how to use the mac os when it first came out, but it was a steep learning curve for me. I teach Maths and do some video editing using Wevideo, so I don't know if I'm prepared to learn how to use mac. School uses windows based laptops too. Also, I don't know if there're many apps made available to mac os or not.

    • -1

      Other than the obvious fact that a phone or tablet is a computer, your claim that one of those feels faster than a PC shows you clearly have never used a PC that is not either extremely old/stupidly low spec or running a ton of junk, because a good PC is much more responsive than them for a number of reasons, from much faster storage to much more RAM and faster CPUs with more cores.

      x86-64 is also not going anywhere, the big advantage people keep blasting on about in regards to M1 based laptops, the battery life, is a result of the low power Icestorm cores, with AMD and Intel also developing low power cores for the same purpose.

  • +1

    Portability, touch screen, handle multitasking and occasional graphics/internet gaming and 3k budget.

    Might look at XPS.
    even more portable:

  • HP Spectre X360 all the way

  • We have 2 x HP Spectre x360 and a Dell XPS 15 (9500) that we use for similar workshops and presentations. Currently on the XPS 15 and if I had my to buy more I would continue to go with the XPS. We have the 4k touch screen variant with 1TB, 16GB and 1650 Ti graphics.

    The spectre came with an active stylus, so it has different levels of sensitivity. It is a proper 2 in 1 so you can fold it onto itself (though this is something I never use). Warranty support via HP whatsapp chat is convenient but turn around is 1 week or so to get your laptop back.

    The XPS 15 far better, superior sound for casual youtube movies etc. Not a 2 in 1. Touchscreen does not support active stylus so you don't have the precision. Warranty support is much better as it is on-site and there is zero downtime as they come to your home or work to fix your laptop.

    Based on the warranty and service support alone is enough reason to go with Dell, especially if you can't be without a laptop for days/weeks in your line of work.

    • Also Spectre has USB A but not the XPS (though it does come with a USB C adapter that provides USB A and HDMI out)

    • The webcam on the XPS is poorer quality and struggles in low light more than the Spectre. Also the XPS doesn't have dedicated page up and down keys (you need to use the Fn + arrow keys). It does have a 2nd M2 SSD slot inside though which is handy, though you will have to buy your own $26+ heatsink and screw for it.

      Here's a detailed review of the XPS in case I've missed anything -

  • Thank you everyone for your tips! It's a lot to think about.

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