Microsoft Corporation has introduced an update to the Surface Pro line of tablets that support the connection of a cover keyboard and a pen. Altogether two models were shown, one of which replaced the Surface Pro 8, receiving 12th generation Intel processors, and the other will replace the Surface Pro X, upgrading to Microsoft’s SQ3 chip on the Arm architecture, developed jointly with Qualcomm. An interesting thing is that both versions are now called Surface Pro 9. Quite a non-standard move from Microsoft, which skipped Windows 9.
Microsoft has gone to great lengths to make the processor the only noticeable difference between the two models. Thus, both versions of the Surface Pro 9 have the same design and a 13-inch touch IPS screen with a resolution of 2880×1920 pixels and a refresh rate of 120 Hz. Both tablets support the same Type Cover and Surface Pen accessories, and have removable M.2. The models also feature an upgraded 1080p webcam, compatible with Windows Hello, and a 10-megapixel camera on the back.
There are more differences inside. Both tablets have the same number of physical ports, but the supported protocols are slightly different, the user gets one Surface Connect port and two USB Type-C ports that support Thunderbolt 4 on the Intel version and USB 3.2 on the Arm. None of the tablets have a headphone jack.
The set of wireless modules is also slightly different, Surface Pro 9 on Arm has 5G support, while on Intel there is only Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1. In addition, the Microsoft SQ3 chip also contains the Microsoft Pluton security chip, which for some reason does not exist in the Intel version.
The cost of Surface Pro 9 with Intel processors in the USA starts from $1,000 for the configuration that comes only in platinum and has a Core i5-1245U processor, a 128GB M.2 SSD that can be changed, and 8GB of RAM soldered onto the motherboard. $1,099 gets you 256GB of storage and one of Platinum, Graphite, Forest, and Sapphire. A modification with a Core i7-1265U processor with a slightly higher clock frequency (but with the same number and type of cores), a larger amount of RAM at 16 and 32 GB, as well as 512 GB and 1 TB SSD is also available. The cost of the maximum version of Surface Pro 9 reaches $2600.
As always, any Surface Pro accessories, whether it’s a Type Cover or Surface Pen, that the user wants to use with the tablet will cost extra – they’re not included in the base price of either tablet.
Fewer options are available for the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, which only comes in platinum and starts at $1,300 for the version with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB internal SSD, which is also swappable. The 256 GB version costs $1,400, and the 16 GB RAM version costs $1,600.
Microsoft hasn’t revealed the specifications of the SQ3 chip, but it’s likely a slightly modified version of the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, an 8-core processor that Qualcomm says has 85% better performance and 60% faster graphics than the 8cx Gen 2, which was the basis of Microsoft SQ2. The company also emphasized that the chip’s “neural processor,” or NPU, accelerates artificial intelligence and machine learning workflows.
Both Microsoft Surface Pro 9 models should appear on market from October 25.