Microsoft Surface Pro X Gets A Refresh: SQ2 Processor And Platinum Finishby Brett Howse on October 1, 2020 9:00 AM EST
Microsoft’s Surface Pro X seems to be a very divisive device. Being the only current generation Surface product powered by an Arm-based processor, it thrusts its users directly into the world of WoA: Windows on Arm – and all of the caveats that exist there. It is not too often we see Microsoft do a mid-cycle refresh, but the Surface Pro X gets to be the exception here as well. Today Microsoft is announcing some new updates to the Surface Pro X to make it faster, and flashier.
|Microsoft Surface Pro X|
|Memory||8 / 16 GB LPDDR4x|
2800 x 1920 (267 PPI)
3:2 aspect, 10-point multitouch
|Storage||128 / 256 / 512 GB removable SSD|
Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE
|I/O||2 x USB Type-C Gen 2
|Webcam||5.0 MP front camera 1080p video
10 MP rear camera autofocus 4K Video
|Battery||Up to 15 hours
60 Watt Adapter
|Dimensions||287 x 208 x 7.3 mm
11.3 x 8.2 x 0.28 inches
|Weight||774 grams / 1.7 lbs (no keyboard)|
|Starting Price (USD)||$999
$1499 for new SQ2 Processor
The big change is that Microsoft is going to be offering their new Microsoft SQ2 processor as an optional upgrade over the SQ1 found in the Surface Pro X. We’ve reached out to the company to get clarification on the changes, but have only been told so far that the new processor is an enhanced version of the Qualcomm-built SQ1, offering more CPU and GPU performance. At this point our best guess is that the SQ2 is a version of Qualcomm's 8CX Gen 2 SoC, similar to how the SQ1 was based on the original 8CX.
Under the hood of the SQ2, the GPU upgrade comes courtesy of the Adreno 690, compared to the Adreno 685 in the SQ1. We have not been told frequencies yet but the SQ1 was 3 GHz peak, so expect a number higher than that. More performance is always welcome, so we hope we can review this model to see how it fares.
The performance increases also go hand-in-hand with the news yesterday that x64 emulation coming to the Windows Insider Program in November, which likely means a rollout to full Windows 10 on Arm sometime next year. This, coupled with more programs being natively compiled for Arm, such as Teams, should help get the Surface Pro X over the hump for more people. If more of the apps you use are natively compiled, the emulation performance and battery impact will be less noticeable, so that is always going to be the goal, but Microsoft has never been able to get every developer to get on-board with major changes like this, so the x64 emulation is a big step in making the Surface Pro X more usable for more people.
Other than the new, optional CPU, the other big change is that Surface Pro X will now be available in Platinum, rather than just the matte black that it was before.
As this is just a refresh, not much else is changing. Surface Pro X still comes with LTE availability with the Qualcomm X24 LTE modem, a 13-inch PixelSense display with a 2880x1920 resolution for 267 pixels-per-inch, 8 or 16 GB of LPDDR4x RAM, and 128 / 256 / 512 GB SSD drives which are removable.
The Surface Pro X starts at $999.99 USD, with the new SQ2 powered update starting at $1499.99.
Microsoft is also announcing new accessories today, including new keyboard colors for the Surface Pro X, with Platinum, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red. There are also new Designer Compact Keyboards with Bluetooth, offering two years of battery life, and three-device support, as well as matching number pads.
Microsoft is offering a wide-range of colors on the Microsoft Modern Mobile Mouse (Quad M? Impressive) with a new sandstone color joining the mix.
If you prefer something with a bit more shape, Microsoft also is announcing the Bluetooth Ergonomic Mouse, priced at $49.99.
Finally, there is a new 4K Display Adapter from Microsoft, priced at $69.99.
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factual - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - linkWhat an overpriced piece of garbage! If you want a tablet buy an Apple/Android tablet, if you want a Windows PC buy an x86 ultrabook/laptop/desktop! Do not throw away your money by buying this!!
Meteor2 - Monday, October 5, 2020 - linkBattery life on this is far better than any x86 in the same form-factor.
factual - Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - linkNo, in fact it has worst battery life than most modern x86 laptops:
Windows on ARM just does not make sense let alone at this laughable price point! If it was 30% of the price of the cheapest x86 laptops, it might be of some value but otherwise … it's pure garbage
dan82 - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - linkI tried porting some of my old applications to Windows-arm64 and the developer support is pretty bad. Some examples:
- Visual Studio does not have an aarch64 version. So you have to either use it in emulation (which is really slow) or over the network, requiring two machines.
- Visual Studio Code does have aarch64, but many plugins do not. For example, the C/C++ plugin.
- Microsoft's own CppUnitTestFramework is not available on Windows-arm, so can't run unit tests to test consistent behavior.
- On the Java side, OpenJDK on Windows-arm64 is still in beta. But as IntelliJ IDEA brings its own (x64 only) JDK, you can't use that at all.
- Delphi doesn't exist for Windows-arm at all, as far as I can tell. Lots of legacy code written in it, with no way to port it.
Just a few examples. In my opinion, those things should be high priority for MS (especially bringing Visual Studio to arm), so that third party developers who care aren't held back by the tools :-)
domboy - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - linkThat's awesome to hear OpenJDK for ARM64 is being developed! For awhile I couldn't find anything on it, and gave up looking...
Zeratul56 - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - linkIt has definitely been a difficult and hard journey for Microsoft to get this far. They dumped OG edge because they wanted to brute force market share but then lost their arm compatible browser for a little while. Certainly mixed messaging.
I agree it would be awesome for visual studio to run natively on arm but considering the breadth of software development it supports it will be much harder than it was for Apple to recompile Xcode.
I think it’s worth it through and they seem to have slightly more momentum than windows rt. Firefox supporting arm 64 I think is pretty big.
digiguy - Friday, October 2, 2020 - linkThey announced Visual studio is coming natively to arm very shortly
Ithaqua - Thursday, October 1, 2020 - linkMicorosft SQ1 Small error here.
eastcoast_pete - Friday, October 2, 2020 - linkToo expensive for what is offered. Especially if the starting price for the SQ2 only include 128 GB of storage and 8 GB of RAM. This competes head-on with the iPad Pro, and not sure it'll come out ahead. That's also because they skimped on battery - 15h use sounds good, but isn't for an Ultra-portable device with the main selling point of having great battery life. I would gladly carry another 100 g or so around for the extra Wh, but then, I already find it overpriced.
Meteor2 - Monday, October 5, 2020 - linkIt comes out ahead for anyone who wants a Windows environment.