The hybrid tablet game scene is changing, with Amazon targeting readers and binge-watchers with its Fire HD tablet. Digital artists and performance junkies gravitating towards the Apple iPad Pro. And for medium to light users, there’s the new Microsoft Surface Pro X. It’s probably one of the best-looking windows 10 tablet ever produced and is also as sleek as the iPad Pro. And due to its unique ARM-based processor, the Surface Pro X features long-lasting battery life and is much quieter.
Its good battery life and quiet processor, are however flawed by its occasional sluggishness and inability to support heavy programs like Visual Studio and others. It’s fine for basic use and light to medium work but not heavy usage.
In this review, we’ll be discussing the display, performance, software, its pros and cons, and also compare the Surface Pro X with the competition, to let you know if it’s worth having as your tablet in 2020, so keep reading to find out.
The Surface Pro X features a 13-inch PixelSense display with a native resolution of 2880 by 1920 with a 267 PPI (pixel per inch) and it is visually stunning. With this display, it competes with the iPad Pro’s Retina display for the title of the best tablet screen. And unlike other tablets with grainy text or washed-out images, the Surface Pro X screen is vivid and the display is sharp.
The Slim Pen included with the keyboard also works flawlessly with the display, which can be used for writing, doodling or drawing on the Surface Pro X screen.
Performance & Specs
Microsoft Surface Pro X utilizes a unique 3GHz ARM-based custom-built chip called the “Microsoft SQ1 processor” a joint effort between Microsoft and Qualcomm. Shifting from its use of Intel Core CPUs last featured on the Surface Pro 7.
The SQ1 processor is very efficient and requires no cooling fans, unlike other mobile CPUs offered by Intel and AMD. Coupled with the efficient SQ1 processor, you also get to choose from the robust memory and storage options, starting at $999 for 8GB of memory and a 128GB SSD, which can be bumped to 16GB of memory and 256GB or 512GB of internal storage.
According to reports, the Surface Pro X doesn’t support most Benchmark tests due to its lack of support for 64-bit applications, however, on the 3DMark Night Raid gaming-graphics simulation, it scored very well compared with the results of close competitors that use Intel’s integrated graphics processors. Making it a good system for casual gaming.
Day-to-day tasks, like surfing the web, editing documents in Microsoft office and checking your emails runs pretty well on the Surface Pro X without many hiccups, while doing anything more strenuous could cause major problems and lags.
Below is a table showing the full specifications of the Microsoft Surface Pro X.
|CPU||3GHz Microsoft SQ1 processor|
|Memory||8GB or 16GB RAM|
|Display||13-inch PixelSense display (2880 x 1920)|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB or 512GB variants|
|Connectivity||802.11ac Wi-Fi 5, 4G LTE Advanced, Bluetooth 5.0|
|Dimensions||11.3 in x 8.2 in x 0.28 in|
|GPU||Adreno 685 GPU|
|Ports||2 x USB Type-C, 1x SurfaceConnect, 1x nanoSIM slot|
|Cameras||5.0MP webcam (1080p video, Windows Hello) 10.0MP rear camera (4k/1080p video, Autofocus)|
Microsoft boasts the Surface Pro X can last up to 13 hours of usage time, hyping its battery life as one of the tablet’s most appealing features due to its new processor running things under its hood.
While in the real world use, the Surface Pro X lasts an average of 9 hours with medium to light use and also supports fast charging, which is slightly better than the Surface Pro 7 but still not up to par with the Surface Pro 6 battery life. This is probably due to the sharper display on the Surface Pro X compared to its two predecessors, but the SQ1 processor works well in balancing its power usage.
In the end, while the Surface Pro X battery truly lasts long, not just as long as the Pro 6, which holds the title as longest-lasting Surface Pro tablet till date.
Software and Features
Much like its predecessors, the Surface Pro X does not support many apps, and this affects third-party apps and games as limited support is provided for the drivers needed to run them.
The Surface Pro also, unfortunately, does not support 64-bit Windows apps at the moment so you need to use 32-bit app versions due to its ARM-based processor, but Microsoft is planning on fixing that through future updates.
One of the Surface Pro X incredible features is the absence of bloatware as it runs pure Windows 10 Home with all it apps from Microsoft. Another interesting feature about the Pro X is the added benefit of optional LTE connectivity via a nanoSIM slot. Giving you access to surf the net on the go, but at an additional cost monthly.
Accessories and Peripherals
Although you can use the Surface Pro X solely by interacting with the screen. You can also purchase the optional Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard which Microsoft provides including a sturdy touchpad and a well-designed digital stylus, all for a hefty price-tag of $269.
The keyboard also doubles as a magnetically attaching cover for the tablet when not in use and also includes a built-in magnetic holder for the stylus, a feature the Surface Pro 7’s keyboard cover lacks. You can also get a Type cover and a kickstand also to ease its use with the keyboard.
Comparison with the Competition
The Surface Pro X main competition is the iPad Pro 12.9. While both are hybrid tablets with a detachable keyboard and a stylus pen, running on essentially mobile chipsets offering network connectivity on the go with their LTE modems.
An advantage the Pro X has over the iPad Pro 12.9 is the power of the Windows 10 operating system to run full-fledged on the Surface Pro X, while the iPadOS is devoid of full-featured OS elements that the Windows 10 has in abundance.
Also, the Surface Pro X with 256GB of storage, 8GB of RAM, altogether with the Surface Slim pen and keyboard is priced at $1,569 while in contrast the iPad Pro 12.9 with 256GB internal storage, Apple Pencil, Smart Keyboard Folio costs $1,628.
|Sleek Design||Rather Expensive|
|High-quality PixelSense Display||Incompatible with some third-party apps and drivers|
|LTE Data connectivity||Lacks headphone jack|
|Long-lasting battery life||Keyboard and pen makes it pricier|
|Lightweight and very quiet||Lacks SD card slot|
|SSD is replaceable|
The Surface Pro X is a stunning sleek tablet with its super thin design, LTE mobile connectivity, long-lasting battery and capable Microsoft processor. But the question is should you buy it? If what you do entails working with Office and the web and you don’t mind not being able to run heavy games or apps on the tablet, then you can go for it. But if what you seek is performance with support for a wide range of applications and drivers, then you can go for the older Surface Pro 7 or get the iPad Pro.