Microsoft’s October 12 Surface showcase has begun and now we have the details on what to expect from the tech giant’s suite of Surface products, including the Surface Pro 9.
In the past, the Surface Pro series has had issues both in sales and overall direction, but thanks to the excellent Surface Pro 8, which scored high marks with us due to its improved specs, beautiful redesign, larger display, and Thunderbolt 4 support, the Pro line has solidified itself as one of the best 2-in-1 laptops on the market.
As such, the bar has been set particularly high for the Surface Pro 9 to reach. And so far, it looks like Microsoft has stepped up to improve the camera, doubling the battery life, and offering two versions: including one with 5G that’s powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU. However, it’s certainly not a perfect upgrade either, opting to play it safe on specs and design.
Now that we know the specs and overall performance, let’s take a look at what the Surface Pro 9 has to offer.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9: straight to the point
- What is it? The new Microsoft Surface Pro tablet
- When do you leave? November 8, 2022
- What will it cost? From $999.99 / £1,099 / AU$1,649
Microsoft Surface Pro 9: release date and price
Microsoft has maintained a strict annual release schedule for each new Surface Pro model, generally dropping them in the third quarter of each year since 2013. The only exception was in 2020, where the pandemic’s impacts on tech supply chains likely caused a delay.
Still, in September 2021 we got the Surface Pro 8, and it looks like Microsoft wants to go back to annual releases with the Pro 9 slated for release this year.
Pre-orders of Microsoft Store is now live (opens in new tab), and start at $999.99 / £1,099 / AU$1,649, and there are several configurations available. It will go on sale on November 8, 2022.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9: Design
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 features the same 13-inch screen and 2880 x 1920 resolution as its predecessor. The camera has been improved, however, with both versions a front camera with full 1080p HD video and a rear 10.0MP autofocus camera with 1080p HD and 4k video. It’s a shame that the rear camera isn’t 12MP, unlike the iPad Pro, which would elevate the Pro 9 even further.
Its port selection remains weak, as both versions of the Surface Pro 9 feature two USB-C ports, a Surface Connect port (which clashes with the recent EU decision of laptops needing to support universal USB-C), and a Keyboard Keyboard. However, unlike the standard edition which has USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4 support, the 5G model only has USB-C 3.2 support but also comes with a nano-SIM port.
The Surface Pro 9’s design remains largely unchanged from the Pro 8, with the same mount on the back for extra support. And just like the 8, the 9 supports the Surface Slim Pen 2 and Signature Keyboard series, but doesn’t come with either in the box, forcing buyers to shell out more money for those accessories.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9: performance
Naturally, the consumer and commercial Surface Pro 9 models come with a 12-gen Intel processor, which is the obvious choice thanks to the big.LITTLE core architecture. The Pro 9 with Alder Lake chip puts it ahead of the Pro 8, which is equipped with Tiger Lake chips.
While the standard model uses the standard Intel Iris Xe GPU, the new 5G version of the Surface Pro 9 will feature an SQ3 CPU and an SQ3 AdrenoTM 8CX Gen 3 GPU, the latter of which is powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon. The SQ3 chip is said to give a significant 60% increase in performance over the SQ2 and massively boost the power of the 5G version.
There is support for LPDDR5 memory, but unfortunately only the standard model features this, along with up to 32GB of RAM. 5G had to cut costs somewhere we assume and it supports LPDDR4x memory with just 16GB of RAM.
Fortunately, there have been big improvements to battery life, with the standard model offering over 15 hours of battery life and the 5G with an impressive 19 hours of battery life.