Microsoft announces Surface Pro 9 with an Arm processor option

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9, announced today, offers a new processor option alongside Intel. Hint, it isn’t AMD.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 specifications

Device Surface Pro 9 (Intel 12th gen) Surface Pro 9 with 5G (Microsoft SQ3)
Display 13-inch PixelSense Flow,
2880 x 1920, 3:2, 120Hz
13-inch PixelSense Flow,
2880 x 1920, 3:2, 120Hz
Processor Consumer:

  • Intel Core i5-1235U
  • Intel Core i7-1255U

Commercial:

  • Intel Core i5-1245U
  • Intel Core i7-1265U
  • Microsoft SQ3
Graphics Intel Iris Xe Adreno 8cx Gen 3
Memory 8/16/32GB LPDDR5 8/16GB LPDDR4x
Storage Up to 1TB SSD Up to 512GB SSD
Battery Up to 15.5 hours, 65W charger Up to 19 hours, 65W charger
Ports
  • 2x Type-C USB 4.0/TB4 port
  • Surface Connect port
  • 2x Type-C USB 3.2 port
  • Surface Connect port
Camera
  • 1080p Windows Hello
    front camera
  • 10MP rear camera
  • 1080p Windows Hello
    front camera, supports
    Windows Studio effects
  • 10MP rear camera
Weight 879g (1.95lbs) 883g (1.95lbs)
OS Consumer:

  • Windows 11 Home

Commercial:

  • Windows 11 Pro
  • Windows 10 Pro
  • Windows 11 on Arm
Price Starts at CA$1,410, ships on Oct. 25.

 

The Surface Pro 9 is built using an anodized aluminum shell with Corning’s Gorilla Glass 5 protecting the display. Like the generation before, the Surface Pro 9 is Intel Evo platform certified for the model with the Intel processor.

The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet PC now comes with either Intel’s 12th gen mobile processor or Microsoft’s revamped SQ3 processor based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon system on chip (SoC). The Intel variant can be configured with up to an Intel Core i7-1255U for the consumer version, and the slightly speedier Core i7-1265U processor for commercial. Microsoft says that the new hardware improves performance by 50 per cent over the Surface Pro 8.

 

The Surface Pro series turns 10. Image credit: Microsoft

Unlike the Intel chip, which uses x86 instructions, Microsoft’s SQ3 chip is based on the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3, a system on chip (SoC) powered by Arm, the same instruction set architecture used for most smartphone processors and Apple’s M-series chips for Mac devices. The Microsoft SQ processors were previously exclusive to the Pro X, a branch of the main Surface Pro line that ran a custom version of Windows optimized for Arm. Historically, the Surface Pro X has always had more app incompatibility and performance issues than the main Pro line. It will be interesting to see how the new version performs.

Several hardware differences set the SQ3 model apart from the Intel one. It’s the only version that comes with 5G connectivity baked in. Furthermore, it includes Microsoft’s Pluton security co-processor, something missing from the Intel model. The downsides are that it uses LPDDR4x memory instead of LPDDR5, with the capacity capped at 16GB instead of 32GB. Also, it only supports up to a 512GB SSD, whereas the Intel models raise that to 1TB.

Both models carry a 3:2, 2,880 x 1920, 13-inch PixelSense Flow touch display with a 120Hz refresh rate and an impressive 1,200:1 contrast ratio. Interestingly, Microsoft only lists Dynamic refresh rate support for the Intel model.

Port-wise, the Surface Pro 9 comes with two type-C USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4 combo ports and one Surface Connect port. The Surface Pro 9 with 5G has two Type-C USB 3.2 ports and a nano-SIM tray.

Battery life depends on the user’s workflow, but Microsoft pegs the Intel Surface Pro 9 at 15.5 hours of “typical device usage,” and 19 hours for the Surface Pro 9 with 5G.

New device colours and Type Covers to match. Image credit: Microsoft

The Surface Pro 9 starts at CA$1,410 and comes in Platinum, Graphite, Sapphire, and Forest colour options. Microsoft also partnered with Liberty of London to create a limited edition design with etched floral patterns. Pre-orders start now. Shipping will begin on Oct. 25. The Surface Pen and the Type Cover keyboard are sold separately.

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Tom Li
Tom Li
Telecommunication and consumer hardware are Tom's main beats at IT World Canada. He loves to talk about Canada's network infrastructure, semiconductor products, and of course, anything hot and new in the consumer technology space. You'll also occasionally see his name appended to articles on cloud, security, and SaaS-related news. If you're ever up for a lengthy discussion about the nuances of each of the above sectors or have an upcoming product that people will love, feel free to drop him a line at [email protected]

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