Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: ARM or Intel for your next 2-in-1?

Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 11 as the world's first Copilot+ PC on May 20. It's a 2-in-1 Windows on ARM laptop built around Qualcomm's Snapdragon X series chips, featuring an OLED touch display, impressive battery life, and a Neural Processing Unit (NPU) powerful enough to get access to Windows 11's advanced AI features arriving in the near future.

The Surface Pro 11 is available to preorder at Microsoft, with prices starting at $1,000. You can also preorder at Best Buy starting at the same price.

The Surface Pro 10 for Business has been on the market for a few months, and it remains a great 2-in-1 for those who prefer Intel Core Ultra processors (CPU). The NPU inside isn't powerful enough to get access to Copilot+ features, but that won't matter for users who aren't particularly interested in local AI.

The Surface Pro 11 represents a massive shift in the Windows PC world, with Editor-in-Chief Daniel Rubino calling the combination of ARM64 and AI a "Great Reset" unlike anything else in the last 30 years. 

Let's take a look at the similarities and differences between the ARM-based Surface Pro 11 and the Intel-based Surface Pro 10 for Business to ensure you make the right decision with your next laptop purchase.

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Specs

Before we get too far into the detailed comparison between these premium 2-in-1 PCs, it's worth taking a look at the raw specs.

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Pro 11Surface Pro 10 for Business
CPUQualcomm Snapdragon X Elite (X1E-80-100), Snapdragon X Plus (X1P-64-100)Intel Core Ultra 5 135U, Core Ultra 7 165U, vPro
RAM16GB, 32GB LPDDR5x8GB, 16GB, 32GB, 64GB LPDDR5x
GPUQualcomm Adreno (integrated)Intel Graphics (integrated)
NPUQualcomm Hexagon (45 TOPS)Intel AI Boost (10 TOPS)
Storage256GB, 512GB, 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD (upgradeable)256GB, 512GB, 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD (upgradeable)
CameraFront-facing 1440p + IR, rear-facing 10MPFront-facing 1440p + IR, rear-facing 10.5MP
SpeakersDual 2W speakers, Dolby AtmosDual 2W speakers, Dolby Atmos
Display13 inches, 2880x1920 (2.8K), OLED or LCD, 3:2 aspect ratio, 120Hz, touch13 inches, 2880x1920 (2.8K), LCD, 3:2 aspect ratio, 120Hz, touch
PortsTwo USB4, Surface Connect, Nano-SIMTwo Thunderbolt 4, Surface Connect
WirelessWi-Fi 7, Bluetooth 5.4, 5G (optional)Wi-Fi 6E, Bluetooth 5.3, 5G (optional)
BatteryOLED: 53Wh, LCD: 48Wh48Wh
Dimensions11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches (287mm x 208.6mm x 9.3mm)11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches (287mm x 208.6mm x 9.3mm)
Weight1.97 pounds (0.89kg)1.94 pounds (0.88kg)
PriceFrom $1,000From $1,200

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Price and availability

The Surface Pro 11 with Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus Systems-on-Chip (SoC) is now available to preorder at Microsoft and Best Buy. Models with an X Plus chip, LCD display, 16GB of RAM, and 256GB of solid-state drive (SSD) storage start at about $1,000

Bumping up to an OLED display and Snapdragon X Elite chip with 16GB of RAM and 512GB costs about $1,500, and a model with twice as much RAM and storage again jumps up to about $2,100.

These prices do not include the new wireless Surface Pro Flex Keyboard, which costs $350 on its own or about $450 when you add a Slim Pen 2. Of course, you don't need to buy the latest wireless version of the Surface keyboard for use with your Pro 11. Options start as low as about $140 for the standard Surface Pro keyboard.

The Surface Pro 10 for Business is available on the business side of Microsoft's store; prices start at about $1,200 for a model with an LCD display, Intel Core Ultra 5 135U CPU, 8GB of RAM, and a 256GB SSD.

To compare with the highest config of the Pro 11, a Surface Pro 10 with LCD display, Core Ultra 7 165U CPU, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD costs about $2,400. That's $300 more than the Pro 11, and that's without an OLED display.

The Surface Pro 10 for Business does not come with a keyboard, either, so you're looking at adding at least about $140 to the cost of the PC.

The Surface Pro 11 is expected to begin shipping on June 18, 2024.

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Design, keyboard, and features

Microsoft didn't really make any changes to the design of the Surface Pro 11 compared to the Pro 10 for Business and Pro 9. It's still a compact, premium 2-in-1 PC with venting around the edges, a folding stand built into the back, and dual cameras. 

If you're approaching these two laptops from a physical design standpoint, there's really not much to discuss. They have the same dimensions, and the Pro 11 weighs 1.97 pounds (0.89kg) compared of the Pro 10's 1.94 pounds (0.88kg).

Both the Pro 11 and Pro 10 for Business have dual 2W speakers with Dolby Atmos, front- and rear-facing cameras with similar resolutions — Microsoft lists the Pro 11 with a 10MP rear camera and the Pro 10 at 10.5MP — and a similar selection of ports. 

While both PCs feature dual USB-C, the Pro 11 sticks with USB4 instead of Thunderbolt due to it being an Intel technology. The Pro 10 for Business, which runs on Intel, has Thunderbolt 4. It's worth pointing out that both 2-in-1s should work well with some of the best Thunderbolt docks and hubs on the market, but we'll have to verify compatibility to be sure. You also get a proprietary Surface Connect hookup on both PCs. 

Both the Pro 11 and Pro 10 are expected to receive optional 5G connectivity later in 2024. For the time being, you get Wi-Fi 7 and Bluetooth 5.4 in the Pro 11, with Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.3 in the Pro 10.

The Surface Pro Flex wireless keyboard. (Image credit: Windows Central)

One of the most notable changes announced alongside the Pro 11 is the new Surface Pro Flex keyboard. It takes the detachable Pro keyboard we love and adds Bluetooth connectivity and a built-in battery to allow use when disconnected physically from the PC.

Microsoft has reinforced the new keyboard with carbon fiber to provide extra stability, and it has leaned into Sensel's haptic technology for an overhauled pointing experience. There's also a slot for the Surface Slim Pen 2 above the keys.

The new Pro Flex keyboard is available in Sapphire and Black colors; the Pro 11 PC is also available in those two colors but also adds Dune and Platinum. The Pro 10 for Business comes in just Platinum and Black.

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Display

Surface Pro 11 with OLED touch display. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Pro 11's OLED display is undoubtedly going to be a huge attraction for many users. It's a feature that a lot of us have been hoping for, and it's now an option in the ARM-based models. Microsoft still offers the more budget-friendly LCD display in the Pro 11 and Pro 10 for Business.

The new OLED display option shares a lot of similarities with its LCD counterpart. It measures 13 inches, it has a 2880x1920 (2.8K) resolution with 267 pixels per inch, a boxy 3:2 aspect ratio, and a dynamic refresh rate of up to 120Hz. However, thanks to the OLED technology, contrast is miles beyond what LCD can offer. If you want the best-looking display for your 2-in-1, the Pro 11 is the easy choice.

A lot of people are no doubt wondering if the $500 bump in price for the OLED display is worth it. Considering the OLED display configurations also swap the SoC to the more powerful Snapdragon X Elite and double the storage up to 512GB, the price difference isn't nearly as drastic as it first seems.

Both 2-in-1 PCs offer a high-end inking experience, but you will have to buy a pen separately for both models.

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Performance and battery

Surface Pro 11 in Sapphire Blue. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Pro 11 is one of the first Surface devices to include Qualcomm's Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus chips. Revealed alongside the Surface Laptop 7, the Pro 11 is a Copilot+ PC that promises to deliver strong performance and long battery life. We don't yet know exactly how the new ARM chips perform in the Pro 11, but we'll be sure to update this comparison when we get our hands on a model for in-house testing.

Windows Central Senior Editor Zac Bowden has confirmed that the Surface Pro 11 uses the Snapdragon X Elite (X1E-80-100) SoC. That's the mid-range X Elite chip with 12 cores, a 3.4GHz frequency, a 4.0GHz dual-core boost, an Adreno GPU with 3.8 TFLOPs, and a Hexagon NPU with 45 TOPS of power. Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 11 is 90% faster than the Surface Pro 9, and that no doubt applies to the X Elite chip.

Microsoft also offers a Snapdragon X Plus chip for the more affordable configs. The X Plus has 10 cores, a 3.4GHz frequency, no dual-core boost, an Adreno GPU with 3.8 TFLOPs, and an NPU with 45 TOPS. The Surface Pro 11 comes with either 16GB (the minimum for Copilot+ PCs) or 32GB of LPDDR5x RAM and up to 1TB of M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD storage.

On the Pro 10 for Business side, Microsoft uses Intel's Core Ultra 5 135U and Core Ultra 7 165U CPUs. These chips also have an NPU for AI acceleration, though they're capped at about 10 TOPS and don't make the cut for Copilot+. You can get anywhere between 8GB and 64GB of LPDDR5x RAM in the Pro 10, as well as up to a 1TB M.2 PCIe 4.0 NVMe SSD. Storage in both PCs is upgradeable after purchase.

We also don't know exactly how battery life will fare until we test these models ourselves. Microsoft is promising all-day battery life in the Pro 11, yet it lists on the product page "up to 14 hours of local video playback." It's worth noting that the Pro 11 with OLED display comes with a 53Wh battery, while the LCD Pro 11 and Pro 10 models have a 48Wh battery.

Microsoft's Copilot+ event on May 20, 2024. (Image credit: Windows Central)

ARM64 Windows PCs like the Surface Pro 11 require an emulation layer to run apps built for the x86-64 architecture used by Intel and AMD. While many apps are now compiled to run natively on Windows on ARM — now including Adobe Premier Pro — others still require that extra layer to run.

The good news is that your apps are still going to work on ARM. Microsoft also says that its new Prism emulation process coming with Windows 11 24H2 will perform up to 20% better, which is great news for the overall performance in new Copilot+ PCs.

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Copilot+ and AI

The Copilot+ logo. (Image credit: Windows Central)

Copilot+ was unveiled during the Microsoft Event 2024 keynote as a new term for advanced AI features coming to Windows, as well as the PCs that can run them. The Surface Pro 11 was one of the first Copilot+ PCs revealed to the world, followed up by plenty more from major laptop manufacturers.

The new AI features coming to Windows 11 are only available on Copilot+ PCs, which require an NPU with at least 40 TOPS of power to run locally. That leaves the Pro 10 for Business, with Intel Core Ultra's NPU behind. If you want a Copilot+ PC, you'll have to stick with the Pro 11.

Copilot+ AI features include improved Windows Studio Effects, local AI image and text generation, Live Caption translations in real-time, Auto Super Resolution, and a Recall tool that lets you search through anything you've seen or done on your PC on any app.

Surface Pro 11 vs. Surface Pro 10 for Business: Which should you buy?

Surface Pro 11 with the Dune color. (Image credit: Windows Central)

The Surface Pro series has long been considered some of the best Windows laptops on the market, and Microsoft has taken things to the next level with the Surface Pro 11 running Windows on ARM. 

While we don't yet have in-house benchmarks for the new Snapdragon X Elite and X Plus chips, we are expecting some potent power and long battery life. I'm very excited to try out these new Copilot+ PCs even before getting into the new AI features, and the Pro 11 is much easier to recommend to most people compared to the Pro 10 for Business. The Surface Pro 11 is available to preorder at Microsoft, with prices starting at $1,000. You can also preorder at Best Buy starting at the same price.

Considering the Pro 11 starts at a cheaper price, is available with an OLED touch display, and has what it takes to be a Copilot+ PC, it's no doubt going to prove a lot more popular than the Pro 10 for Business. However, if you prefer Intel CPUs or want Windows 11 Pro preinstalled, the Pro 10 is still readily available on the business side of Microsoft's store.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it. 

  • timwhite
    I was planning on getting a SP11 with the ARM processor, but I'm going to wait for 5G models to be available. It's a real bummer that they aren't offering the 5G models yet.