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Microsoft Surface Pro X review: Great design but lacking in power

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Quick verdict: The Surface Pro X is ultraportable and looks great, but the use of an ARM processor robs it of app compatibility without giving it the battery boost.

The good

  • Sleek and attractive design
  • 4G is easy to add

The bad

  • Lack of 64-bit x86 support limits its functionality
  • Battery life should be way better
  • Keyboard and pen cost extra

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Microsoft Surface Pro X
For the best part of the last decade, Microsoft really didn't mess with the core design of its Surface Pro laptop range. Microsoft did experiment with devices like the Surface Book and Surface Laptop product, but a Surface Pro from 2012 really didn't look that different to one produced in 2019.

That changes with the Microsoft Surface Pro X, which (alongside the upcoming Microsoft Surface Neo) give the clearest indication that Microsoft's not resting on that well-aged Surface Pro design any longer. There's a lot to be said for innovation, and the design of the Microsoft Surface Pro X is extremely enticing after so many years of the same old Surface Pro look and feel.

Sadly, that's where the good news stops, because in terms of app performance and battery life, the Surface Pro X is seriously compromised.

Design

Design

  • Thin and light
  • You can have it in black or... black
  • Keyboard and Touch Pen are great additions, but they cost extra
Microsoft Surface Pro X
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Performance

Performance

  • Microsoft SQ1 is OK for basic tasks
  • ARM basis seriously limits its overall Windows 10 compatibility
  • Inbuilt 4G via Nano SIM or eSIM
Microsoft Surface Pro X
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Battery life

Performance

  • Battery life is astonishingly low for an ARM-based laptop
Microsoft Surface Pro X
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Verdict

Verdict

  • A glimpse into the design future of Surface, but not a laptop worth buying
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Should you buy it?

The Surface Pro X has a refined design, inbuilt and easy-to-use 4G LTE and the best display I've seen on a Surface to date. It's not too hard to see that this is where Microsoft sees the future of its Surface brand, and that's great news for you in the future.

But should you buy one right now?

Probably not. You're going to have to cough up more again for the keyboard and pen and put up with sketchy app compatibility along the way that you simply wouldn't hit with any regular Windows 10 laptop. That should be mitigated by superior battery life, but instead the Surface Pro X underperforms relative to a Surface Pro 7.

Considering that for the $1,699 asking price of the cheapest Surface Pro X, you could score a Surface Pro 7 with a Core i5 processor, full application support and have enough change left over for the keyboard cover that Microsoft really ought to be including as standard, it's genuinely hard to see why even the most hardcore dedicated Surface fan should opt for the Surface Pro X.

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Pricing and availability

Price

8GB RAM/128GB SSD: $1,699 RRP
8GB RAM/256GB SSD: $2,149 RRP
16GB RAM/256GB SSD: $2,499 RRP
16GB RAM/512GB SSD: $2,899 RRP

Where to buy

Specifications

Microsoft Surface Pro X
Finder score: 2.5

General

Type
2 in 1
Processor Family
Microsoft SQ1
RAM options
8GB/16GB

Display

Screen Size
13 inches
Resolution
2880 x 1920px
Graphics Processor
Microsoft SQ1 Adreno 685

Features

Operating System
Windows 10 Home
USB 3.0 Ports
2
Bluetooth
v5.0
Wi-Fi
802.11 ac
Touchscreen
Yes

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