The Surface Pro 9 builds on 10 years of design improvements from Microsoft to create its best 2-in-1 to date. Many, including myself, would call the Surface Pro 9 the pinnacle of its form factor and the best 2-in-1 laptop. And right now, you can get a Surface Pro 9 for $540 off.
The Surface Pro 9 starts at $999.99 when it's not on sale, but that's for the version with just 128GB of storage. The current deal at Best Buy gets you a Surface Pro 9 with an Intel Core i5, 16GB of RAM, 256GB of storage, and a Surface Pro Keyboard. The keyboard is a must-have accessory if you want to use the Surface Pro like a laptop.
Usually, I complain that the Surface Pro Keyboard isn't included with the Surface Pro, but that's not the case today, thanks to Best Buy's deal.
10 years of perfecting the 2-in-1
Microsoft improved its Surface Pro design with each generation, resulting in a truly impressive 2-in-1. The external design of the Surface Pro 9 is similar to its predecessor, though there are some handy changes, such as its volume buttons being easier to use. A bigger change is the swap to a screen that adjusts dynamically between 60Hz and 120Hz.
The inside of the Surface Pro 9 was fully redesigned to make it more repairable and to reduce its carbon footprint.
I'd argue that there isn't a journalist on the planet who knows more about Surface devices than our Senior Editor Zac Bowden. So, when he calls the device the "best bit of hardware Microsoft has ever released" in his Surface Pro 9 review, it carries weight. Here's a snippet of that review:
"I never used to be a fan of the Surface Pro line, but that all changed with the Surface Pro 9. This PC is amazing. I love the display. I love the design. I love the premium chassis. I love the Type Cover. The only thing I dislike is the battery life, which could be better. Almost everything about the Surface Pro 9 is perfect.
This is what ten years of refining the same core idea looks like. It's a tablet that also happens to be able to replace your laptop. The first Surface Pro was not very good at this, and up until now, the Surface Pro line was never able to keep up with my performance needs."
Intel vs ARM
The version that's on sale through Best Buy runs on an Intel Core i5 processor. A model with the ARM-based Microsoft SQ3 chip is also available, but it has different strengths and weaknesses when compared to the Intel model. The ARM-based Surface Pro 9 with 5G has better battery life but the tradeoff is slower performance. The Surface Pro 9 with 5G isn't slow, but it won't handle demanding tasks as well as an Intel model.
Many apps have to run under emulation when running on Windows on ARM. Those apps run worse than applications running on the device natively. The Surface Pro 9 with 5G also lacks the thinner design of the Surface Pro X, despite both devices running ARM chips. Bowden said "the Surface Pro 9 5G is a Surface Pro X without the sex appeal."
It's not all bad news for the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, however. That model has an NPU for AI effects and cools passively, no fans or vents required. As the name suggests, the Surface Pro 9 with 5G supports 5G connectivity, which is handy for always-on computing.
Both versions of the Surface Pro 9 have pros and cons. If you're looking to handle heavy-duty work or need to use applications that aren't optimized for Windows on ARM, the Intel Core i5 Surface Pro 9 that's on sale is an excellent choice, especially given its current discount.
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Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.