Powerful Surface 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

ARM-powered Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro X

The Surface Pro 7 hasn't seen a huge physical change from the Pro 6, though it now has a USB-C port. Inside, 10th Gen Intel Core "Ice Lake" processor (CPU) options are available, which deliver improved performance and Wi-Fi 6 connectivity. The display isn't as big and battery life won't match up compared to the Pro X, but you can get a baseline Pro 7 for less money.

From $749 at Microsoft

Pros

  • 10th Gen Intel Core CPUs available
  • Works with Wi-Fi 6
  • Cheaper starting price
  • Up to 1TB storage
  • Intel Iris Plus Graphics are relatively powerful

Cons

  • Smaller display
  • Less battery life
  • No LTE connectivity

The Surface Pro X is Microsoft's thinnest Pro to date, but it does come at a higher starting price. It's powered by a custom Microsoft SQ1 CPU with Adreno 685 graphics (GPU) for awesome ARM power and battery life. You don't get Wi-Fi 6, but LTE connectivity means you can stay in touch anywhere. Add the Surface Slim Pen and Type Cover to the mix for an overall stellar device for creatives on the move.

From $999 at Amazon

Pros

  • Adreno 685 GPU with 2 teraflops
  • LTE connectivity standard
  • Two USB-C ports
  • Thinnest and lightest Pro yet
  • Smart design with new Surface Slim Pen

Cons

  • No Wi-Fi 6 connectivity
  • ARM has some limitations
  • More expensive to start
  • No 3.5mm audio jack

The Surface Pro 7 is a continuation of the Pro design we've come to know and love, albeit with a few minor changes. On the other hand, the Pro X is a significant departure, as it's the first ARM-powered Pro we've seen. It's built for a different usage scenario despite following similar design cues, and it was announced alongside a new Surface Slim Pen and Type Cover combination. Let's take a look at the specs that make up these two devices.

Surface Pro 7 vs. Surface Pro X tech specs

Surface Pro 7 Surface Pro X
OS Windows 10 Windows 10
Processor 10th Gen Intel
Core i3-1005G1
Core i5-1035G4
Core i7-1065G7
Microsoft SQ1
RAM 4GB, 8GB, 16GB LPDDR4x 8GB, 16GB LPDDR4x
Storage 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD 128GB, 256GB, 512GB SSD
Display size 12.3 inches
Touch
13 inches
Touch
Display resolution 2736x1824
267 PPI
2880x1920
267 PPI
Aspect ratio 3:2 3:2
Graphics Intel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Plus (i5, i7)
Microsoft SQ1 Adreno 685
Ports USB-C 3.1
USB-A
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
microSD card reader
Two USB-C
Surface Connect
nano SIM
LTE No Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE modem
Connectivity Wi-Fi 6
Bluetooth 5.0
Wi-Fi 5
Bluetooth 5.0
Camera Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 8MP (1080p)
Front-facing 5MP (1080p)
Rear-facing 10MP (4K video)
Biometrics IR camera IR camera
Battery Up to 10.5 hours Up to 13 hours
Dimensions 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
11.3 x 8.2 x 0.28 inches
(287mm x 208mm x 7.3mm)
Weight From 1.7 pounds (775g) From 1.7 pounds (774g)
Color Platinum
Matte Black
Matte Black

Design and features

If you're familiar with the previous generations of the 2-in-1 Pro lineup, not much has changed for the Pro 7. It still has the folding kickstand on the back, a unibody aluminum design, and it includes an IR camera for Windows Hello. It's so similar that you will be able to use older Type Covers and Surface Pens with the Pro 7, potentially saving you a good chunk of money if you're upgrading.

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The Surface Pro X, on the other hand, has a thinner chassis that's lighter than Core i7 models of the Pro 7. It still has a kickstand on the back for propping up the tablet, and it works in tandem with a new style keyboard that has a storage bay for the new Surface Slim Pen.

For ports, the Pro 7 now includes USB-C instead of Mini DisplayPort, allowing more versatility while still offering external display support. The Pro X has two USB-C ports, but it doesn't have USB-A for your older devices. Both 2-in-1s have the proprietary Surface Connect port, and both have a Surface Keyboard connector. One thing that's irksome is a lack of 3.5mm audio jack on the Pro X; Microsoft has already put out a USB-C to 3.5mm adapter, so you'll have to jump on the dongle wagon if you'd like to use wired headphones.

There's no LTE connectivity for the Pro 7, though it does offer Wi-Fi 6 connectivity for blazing wireless speeds. The Pro X is stuck on Wi-Fi 5, which is what we're used to, but it does have support for both physical (Nano SIM) and eSIM to keep you connected when out of Wi-Fi range.

The front-facing cameras are similarly 5-megapixel (1080p) on both models, though the rear-facing cameras differ. The Pro 7 has an 8-megapixelcamera capable of 1080p video, while the Pro X has a 10-megapixel camera capable of 4K video. If you're concerned with capture quality, the Pro X will no doubt be the better choice.

Display and inking

Nothing has changed for the Surface Pro 7 in the touch display department compared to the Pro 6. It's sized at 12.3 inches with a 2736x1824 resolution and 267 PPI, with boxy 3:2 aspect ratio that's ideal for a tablet. It works with the Surface Pen for a quality inking experience with 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt support for shading. To keep the Pen nearby, it clips magnetically onto the side of the tablet.

The Pro X has shaken things up when it comes to the touch display. The chassis has almost the same footprint as the Pro 7's, but the screen has had its bezel shrunk to accommodate more screen real estate. The result is a 13-inch display with 2880x1920 resolution and 267 PPI. It has the same 3:2 aspect ratio and ultimately will offer about the same experience as you'll get with the Pro 7.

However, the Surface Slim Pen has a storage bay built into the attachable keyboard, where it will charge while not in use. If you're sick of your Pen falling off your Pro while in your bag, the Pro X's setup will be a welcome change. Note that the Slim Pen should work with other Surface devices.

Performance

The Surface Pro X is the first ARM-powered Pro device to hit the market. It has inside a custom 7nm Microsoft SQ1 7W CPU that can apparently deliver three times more performance per watt than the Surface Pro 6. This CPU is essentially a suped-up Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx complete with eight cores, 3GHz clock, and custom Adreno 685 graphics (GPU), able to power dual 4K external displays.

The GPU delivers two teraflops of power — the original Xbox One had 1.3 teraflops — but it's not exactly meant for gaming. OpenGL games won't work on ARM, and the device is ultimately suited best for web and scripted apps. UNITY and Unreal engines are getting ARM support, though, so we could begin to see some very good mobile games for the Pro X in the future. We will have to do our own testing before we know how well the GPU inside the Pro X really runs, since teraflops don't tell you everything you need to know about a GPU. As a bottom line, though, don't buy a Pro X and expect it to be your next gaming machine.

Intel Iris Plus Graphics in Core i5 and Core i7 Surface Pro 7 models will be able to handle light to medium gaming, but likewise don't expect it to perform as a gaming juggernaut. One thing to keep in mind is the arrival of Project xCloud, Microsoft's upcoming game-streaming service. With a fast, steady internet connection, both the Pro 7 and Pro X could be used for a quality gaming experience.

Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
Surface Pro 7 i5-1035G4 1,191 4,441
Surface Pro 6 i7-8650U 1,113 3,519
Surface Pro 6 i5-8250U 904 3,440
Surface Laptop 3 Ryzen 5 769 2,720
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 i7-1065G7 1,209 3,571
Dell XPS 15 7590 i9-9980HK 1,176 7,624

Geekbench 4

Geekbench 4.0 (CPU) (higher is better)

Device CPU Single core Multi core
Surface Pro 7 i5-1035G4 5,245 17,350
Surface Pro 6 i7-8650U 5,037 13,864
Surface Pro 6 i5-8250U 4,287 14,031
Surface Pro 5 i5-7300U 4,302 8,482
Surface Pro 5 i7-7660U 4,513 9,346
Surface Pro 4 i5-6300U 3,319 6,950
Surface Laptop 3 15 Ryzen-5 3,985 12,079
Surface Laptop 2 i5-8250U 4,203 13,233
Surface Laptop i5-7200U 3,725 7,523
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 i7-1065G7 5,459 19,097
Razer Blade Stealth i7-8565U 5,139 16,339
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1 i7-8665U 5,469 15,800
HP Spectre x360 13t i7-8565U 5,056 14,767
Lenovo Yoga C930 i7-8550U 4,787 15,028

PCMark

PCMark 10

Device Score
Surface Pro 7 i5 3,992
Surface Pro 6 i7 3,644
Surface Pro 6 i5 3,501
Surface Laptop 3 15 4,006
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 4,427
Dell XPS 15 7590 5,521
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 4,427
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 3,764
HP Pavilion x360 14 3,558
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s 3,468

GPU

Geekbench 5.0 OpenCL (higher is better)

Device GPU Compute score
Surface Pro 7 Iris Plus 7,613
Surface Pro 6 Intel UHD 620 5,396
Surface Laptop 3 15 Vega 9 11,334
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 Iris Plus 10,406
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1 Intel HD 5,632
Dell Precision 3541 NVIDIA Quadro P620 12,469

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

Device Read Write
Surface Pro 7 2,040 MB/s 809 MB/s
Surface Pro 6 1,632 MB/s 814 MB/s
Surface Pro 5 847MB/s 801 MB/s
Surface Laptop 3 2,028 MB/s 806 MB/s
Surface Laptop 2 1,509 MB/s 811 MB/s
Surface Laptop 486 MB/s 244 MB/s
Surface Book 1,018 MB/s 967 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390 2,400 MB/s 1,228 MB/s
Huawei MateBook X Pro (new) 3,416 MB/s 2,779 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 13t 3,085 MB/s 1,182 MB/s
LG gram 14 2-in-1 558.1 MB/s 523.1 MB/s

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On the CPU side, we've seen a standard Snapdragon 8cx compared against an Intel Core i5-8250U, where the ARM chip fared quite well. Battery life was exceptional, graphics performance (without the modded GPU in the Pro X) was impressive, and raw processing power for productivity apps rivaled the Core i5. Of course, Intel has now moved into 10th Gen "Ice Lake" chips, which push performance and battery life in their own right. With the Core i5 Pro 7 model, you can expect at least eight hours from a charge.

RAM in both devices runs up to 16GB of LPDDR4x. You can go as low as 4GB of RAM in the Pro 7 to save money, while the Pro X drops down to 8GB. For storage, the Pro 7 goes up to a 1TB solid-state drive (SSD), while the Pro X maxes out at 512GB. However, storage on the Pro X can be removed without having to pull apart the entire chassis, something that's not possible on the Pro 7.

Price

Prices for the Pro 7 start at $749. These baseline configurations include an Intel Core i3-1005G1 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD, and do not include a Type Cover or Surface Pen. A decked-out model with Core i7-1065G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD runs at about $2,299, making it considerably more expensive than the Pro X.

There are several variants of the Surface Pro X available to buy, including an introductory $999 model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB SSD. Bumping storage up to a 256GB SSD raises the price to about $1,299, while adding a total of 16GB of RAM and the same 256GB SSD means you'll be paying closer to $1,499. Finally, a decked-out model with 16GB of RAM and 512GB SSD is going to set you back about $1,799.

Go with the Surface Pro 7 for the best performance

The 10th Gen Intel Core "Ice Lake" CPUs available in the Pro 7 are going to be hard to beat in terms of raw performance, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics are no joke either. Add up to 1TB of storage space and enjoy Wi-Fi 6 wireless speeds. You won't get LTE here and battery life won't be as good, but the Pro 7 is a more traditional device that comes at a cheaper starting price.

Powerful Surface 2-in-1

Microsoft Surface Pro 7

10th Gen Intel CPUs and Wi-Fi 6

The Surface Pro 7 has been refreshed with 10th Gen Intel Core i3, i5, and i7 "Ice Lake" CPU options for improved performance, and it offers USB-C for added connectivity.

Stick with the Surface Pro X for ultimate portability

The ARM-powered Surface Pro X won't match up performance-wise with the higher-end Pro 7 models, but LTE connectivity, longer battery life, and a slimmer body make it easy to take with you wherever you go. A smart new storage system for a slimmer pen is an attractive addition, and two USB-C ports offer decent connectivity.

ARM-powered Pro

Microsoft Surface Pro X

Thinnest Surface Pro yet

Powered by a custom SQ1 CPU, powerful Adreno 685 GPU, and with LTE connectivity, the thinnest Surface Pro yet is able to keep up with a mobile lifestyle.

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