Hands On: Surface Pro X

Posted on October 2, 2019 by Brad Sams in Hardware with 34 Comments

This week, Microsoft announced the Surface Pro X. With an all-new design, new internals, and lots of connectivity, this device is raising a lot of eyebrows. Here is a first look at the device from the keynote showcase.


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Comments (34)

34 responses to “Hands On: Surface Pro X”

  1. NotThatSRoss

    For owner/users of older Surface Pros that are looking to upgrade in the new future, I'd love to see an article comparing and contrasting the new Surface Pro (i.e. SP7) and the Surface Pro X. What's the advantages/disadvantages for people upgrading from the SP3, 4 or 5? Thanks!

  2. Polycrastinator

    The pen is $150. I expected a $100+ keyboard addition, but increasing the price of the pen even further seems like breathtaking greed.

  3. mrdrwest

    But it will run native 64-bit ARM compiled applications, right?

  4. cybersaurusrex

    I'm glad they're making black devices again.

  5. jgraebner

    This is tempting, but the lack of 64-bit legacy application compatibility and battery life that is a lot less than I expected for an ARM device make it, at best, a "wait and see" item. It's also a bit bigger than I would like (I'd love to see a similar device in the Surface Go form factor), although the really light weight and the tiny bezels do a lot to alleviate that.

  6. nbplopes

    Do you guys really think that a unproven tech, in this case Windows on ARM, should come at the same price if not more as a proven tech such as the likes of Surface Pro or even Macbook Air? I mean, this looks and feels like a Surface Pro so what's the catch?

    $2083 with 512 SSD. Honestly?

    PS: I can't envision the rationale. This is not even close to something unseen. This will only discredit Qualcomm and ARM for productivity machines ... yeah I know Duo is already Intel, Catch my drift?

    • warren

      In reply to nbplopes:

      I don't think "unproven" is the right word. Windows on ARM has been around for seven years already. And while the original Windows RT wasn't a sales success, people who did have them actually quite liked them as secondary devices.... and they lasted for years.

      But back in those days, you couldn't get Firefox on ARM for Windows -- now you can. Windows Services for Linux works on ARM too.

  7. wright_is

    The Pro X doesn't run Windows X, boy the Microsoft marketing department are really on top of things, as usual...

  8. Tony Barrett

    That's a lot of money for something to watch Youtube videos on! No heavy lift apps, no 64-bit x86 apps. That keyboard hinge which hides the (optional I'm sure) pen looks very flimsy as well, and x86 apps will still ne emulated, which adds a LOT of overhead. So, once you add the keyboard and pen you're likely looking at $2-300 more anyway. Finally though, a removable SSD - I'm sure that's there just to appease the enterprise though.

  9. dontbeevil

    I'm gonna love to use all the UWPs on this device, like the latest adobe fresco, and don't forget to follow the UWP sessions at MS ignite twitter.com/gcaughey/status/1179080387491971078

  10. mtalinm

    Tom Warren claims that dropbox won't work on the pro x. can you confirm?

  11. jaredthegeek

    I am in love with this thing but I am wary of the no 64 bit but then again I walk around with a Surface Go all the time.

  12. T182

    I wonder if the pen charger makes the battery life lower.

  13. kevineddy

    32bit apps only seems like an odd direction for Microsoft to go... I know it sounds pretty arcane to even bring it up, but Microsoft has fairly recently made O365 x64 the default moving forward. This feels like a step backwards. Since the machine comes with 8GB of RAM it's got to be a 64bit OS or there is no point in more than 4GB. So, what's the deal?

    • kevin_costa

      In reply to kevineddy:

      It will run 64-bit ARM-compiled programs (Win32 and UWP). 32-bit only for x86 programs

      • derekaw

        In reply to Kevin_Costa:

        This is the problem, what will it run?

        Will it run what I need well enough that I have no issues? What about the things I don’t know I will need, will it run them? Will there be any gotchas that I can’t account for?

        • kevin_costa

          In reply to derekaw:

          Almost every program out there has a 32-bit version, except maybe heavier ones, like AAA games and graphical apps. The 8cx SoC, supposedly has a Core i5 level performance, so it probably will run fine those apps. Even Photoshop CC 2018 (not 2019) has a functional 32-bit version. The only programs that you could (and probably will) have problems with are the ones that depends on custom drivers or deeper kernel/file system integration, like Sandboxie, Dropbox and VMware/VirtualBox, for example (but if you are running these, you will not use a WoA device as a main one).

    • bli

      In reply to kevineddy:

      I guess "32bit apps" refers to 32 bit apps compiled for Intel processors, which I believe the Pro X can run. This is done by having some code that emulates an Intel processor -- which will slow down the execution. On the other hand, Windows on Arm can not (at the moment) run 64 bit apps compiled for Intel processors.

      I'm sure Windows, as well as Office applications will be compiled to run natively in 64bit on this ARM processor. So I assume it will be possible to run 32bit versions of Office compiled for Intel processors on the Pro X, but Office products compiled specifically to run on ARM will surely run much faster.

      From the presentation, it appears that Adobe is in on the team, and will release (some of) their applications compiled to run natively on the Pro X computer.

      For those who run tools that are not widespread or which are open source tools, there is probably no guarantee that these will be compiled to run natively on the Pro X.

    • codymesh

      In reply to kevineddy:

      O365 has a native ARM version

  14. bli

    Two questions that arise from the Surface Pro X specs for someone like me who is interested in running non-Microsoft word processors (LaTeX, etc.), open source numeric computing tools, etc., ...

    1. The listed battery life is not very impressive -- some 13 hours. At the same time, the Surface Pro 7 is listed with 10 hours battery life, which is down from 13.5 hours or so on the Surface Pro 6. *Question:* Has Microsoft *changed* the way they measure battery life? In the past, I think they (i) turned down the screen brightness, (ii) turned off wi-fi, and (iii) ran a video in a loop until empty battery. NOW, they refer to turned down screen brightness (150 nits?), wi-fi turned on, and typical device usage (web search, run software, etc.)
    2. For those who need to run 64bit apps from Intel computers + need to run numeric computations... the Pro X can, of course, be used as a "terminal" by logging into a more powerful computer (Azure, job desktop, powerful home computer, etc.) via wi-fi or LTE while on the road. *Question:* What is the best "terminal" software? (TeamViewer? Other tools?)
    • Chris Payne

      In reply to bli:

      "What is the best "terminal" software? (TeamViewer? Other tools?)"

      For Windows, the built-in Windows Remote Desktop Tool.

      For other systems, VNC Server/Client.

    • paradyne

      In reply to bli:

      I noticed the change to battery measurement too, for a long time people have complained that their "typical usage" time was some hours less than the quoted time based on video playback (for ALL manufacturers). So perhaps this switch makes it more truthful, a good thing!. 13 hours is a full work day plus more so maybe I don't have to think , oh 13 hours quoted so it will only be 7 in real life. It will be interesting to see some tests and reports from people using it just normally. I want to know how well it can run Visual Studio (which actually is 32bit only still).

  15. BizTechSherpa

    I'm sorry, did they say "13" screen, Microsoft will say, in a 12" body"? That is ridiculous and I will slap the face of anybody who says it in front of me. And then kick them for good measure.

  16. dontbeevil

    probably we'll never see this news here, but Adobe is porting the full suite to windows on ARM