Could X finally mark the spot for Windows on ARM?
In 2020, we struggled to see past the limitations of the, albeit beautiful, Surface Pro X. Despite being slim, light and fast, it was held back by the fact that the ARM-based processor couldn’t run certain software. So has Microsoft got the recipe right with this Windows 11 version?
The 2-in-1 looked as svelte as ever during the Microsoft event on 22 September and came with promises of “expanded native app support”, as well as x86 and x64 emulation. And the good news continues: more apps have now been optimised for Windows on ARM, including design heavyweight Photoshop, the ubiquitous Zoom and Microsoft’s own Office. In fact, Office has been completely recompiled for ARM, which should mean smoother handling of large documents and compatibility with existing 64-bit add-ons via emulation.
We’ll have to wait until we get our hands on a Surface Pro X to see just how much smoother it is – and how much it costs in the UK, with Microsoft announcing a US entry price of $899. We’re on firmer ground when it comes to the announced hardware tweaks, though: the new Surface Pro X comes equipped with either an eight-core Microsoft SQ1 or SQ2 processor and a 13in PixelSense touchscreen. It also supports the new Surface Slim Pen 2, which slots into the Signature Keyboard to charge.
Microsoft claims a battery life of up to 15 hours, which is easily enough to cover an intense working day, while you’re given the option of Gigabit LTE to ensure that your connection doesn’t drop. Connection-wise, you’re treated to two USB-C 3.2 ports, a Surface Connect port and, if you opt for the Gigabit LTE version, a nano-SIM slot.
More intriguingly, the Surface Pro X’s 5MP front camera supports a feature called Eye Connect during 1080p video calls. This uses artificial intelligence to automatically adjust the video angle to make it seem like you’re looking straight into the camera. Watch this space to find out how well it works for the Expert Reviews team.