The $999 Surface Pro X delivers a phone-like Windows experience, while the Surface Pro 7 updates the Pro 6 tablet, now with USB-C.
It's been hard for Windows devices to break free of Intel's gravity, but Microsoft's giving it another shot with the new 13-inch Surface Pro X, a tablet running Windows on an Arm processor. The company announced it Wednesday at its annual Surface hardware event in New York. It incorporates the Microsoft-custom version of a Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, the SQ1 Arm chip. The goal is to deliver a more phone-like, always-connected Windows experience. And in case you're wondering, it's pronounced "ex."
The event also saw the launch of the Surface Duo dual-screen Android phone, Surface Neo dual-screen tablet and Windows 10 X software for dual-screen devices. More conventional new products included the Surface Laptop 3 and Surface Earbuds.
The Surface Pro X is available for preorder now, starting at $999, and will ship in November.
Thanks to thinner bezels, the tablet fits into a 12-inch footprint and weighs just 1.68 pounds (762 grams). It boasts a display at 2,880x1,920 resolution, for 267 pixels per inch, the PixelSense density. A new Surface Slim pen has a little garage in the keyboard, and it maintains a persistent connection for instant use, with wireless charging. And not one, but two USB-C connections, in addition to Microsoft's proprietary power connector.
Other Surface Pro X specs include:
Microsoft showed off the device with Adobe, whose Fresco painting and sketching app will be available on it.
It's coming, however, just as we're seeing the first ultramobile laptops based on Intel's 10th-generation Ice Lake processors, like the recently announced HP Spectre x360 13, also designed with long battery life and persistent connectivity in mind.
We've seen clamshell laptops designed around Qualcomm's Snapdragon processors, but the first couple waves of laptops didn't impress us: Battery life in the Asus NovaGo and HP Envy x2 (both tested in 2018) ran about 12 hours each. Excellent, but not the 20-plus hours promised. But the Samsung Galaxy Book S launched in August is based on Qualcomm's most PC-focused processor yet, the Snapdragon 8cx.
Microsoft also brings us the Surface Pro 7, a traditional update to its Surface Pro 6 tablet. Like the Surface Laptop 3, it finally gets a much-requested USB-C connection.
Though they talked about its performance, no mention was made onstage as to whether it incorporated new, faster chips with more cores or better graphics. It turns out they've been bumped up to the Ice lake-equivalents of their predecessors, though the higher-end models do include the improved integrated graphics.
Surface Pro 7 specs include:
It starts at $749 and is available for preorder starting today.