What you need to know
- Microsoft is refreshing Surface Pro X with its new SQ2 processor, faster GPU.
- Surface Pro X SQ2 comes in a new platinum color option.
- 3 new color options for Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen.
- Surface Pro X SQ2 comes out on Tuesday, October 13th. Preorders are now live.
Microsoft's Surface Pro X powered by a custom Qualcomm Snapdragon processor named SQ1, is getting a slight refresh for 2020. The new Surface Pro X gets a small bump in processing speed thanks to the SQ2 processor – a likely riff on the recently announced Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 – and a new, more traditional Surface colorway with platinum.
To add some confusion to the mix, Microsoft is not discontinuing the SQ1 models in matte black. Indeed, both will be sold together with the SQ2 models taking the place of the higher-priced SKUs, while the SQ1 models are more entry-level pricing.
Surface Pro X (2020) what's new
Like the SQ1, the SQ2 is a "custom processor developed in coordination with Qualcomm Technologies" and is typically clocked higher and is more performant than the standard Snapdragon 8cx. From Qualcomm's press announcement on the chip:
The new configuration of the Surface Pro X, powered by SQ2, continues to leverage the best features of Snapdragon compute, including intelligent camera experiences, like Microsoft's Eye Contact, powered by leading Qualcomm AI technology. As a Secured-core PC, the Surface Pro X also delivers enterprise-grade security, leveraging our dedicated secure hardware, firmware, and software capabilities. When added to the performance, efficiency, and connectivity users have come to expect from Snapdragon-enabled Windows PCs, the enhanced AI, camera, security, and audio experiences of the Surface Pro X address the growing demands and expectations of our current work environment. And with dependable cellular connectivity enabled by the Snapdragon X24 LTE modem, the Surface Pro X joins the expanding portfolio of Always On, Always Connected PCs built on Snapdragon compute DNA, meaning your device can keep up with you.
The GPU for the new SQ2 model is also getting an upgrade from the previous Adreno 685 to a beefier Adreno 690.
Besides the new platinum color for the chassis, Microsoft is also expanding the Surface Pro X Signature Type Cover with three new hues with Platinum, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red matching the Surface Pro 7 line. Each of those keyboards also has the Surface Slim Pen dock built-in for quick and easy access.
|Category||Surface Pro X|
|Operating System||Windows 10 Home on ARM (Consumer)
Microsoft 365 Family 30-day trial
3:2 aspect ratio
2880x1920 (267 PPI)
|Memory||8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x|
|Storage||128GB, 256GB, or 512GB SSD (removable)|
|Rear Camera||10MP autofocus (1080p and 4K video)|
|Front Camera||5MP (1080p)|
|Security||Windows Hello face authentication camera|
|Connectivity||Wi-Fi 5 802.11ac
Qualcomm Snapdragon X24 LTE
|Ports||2x USB 3.2 Gen 2 Type-C, 1x nano SIM, 1x Surface Connect, Surface Keyboard connector|
|Battery||Up to 15 hours typical use|
|Dimensions||11.3 x 8.2 x 0.28 inches
(287mm x 208mm x 7.3mm)
|Weight||1.7 lbs (774g)|
|Availability||Oct 13th and beyond|
|Pricing||Starts at $999 ($1,499 for SQ2)|
All of that is in addition to Surface Pro X already being the "thinnest and most connected 2:1" Microsoft has shipped – thanks to the Qualcomm-powered processor with built-in 4G LTE Gigabit internet.
Interestingly, while the processor is updated to SQ2, there is no support for 5G, which likely requires more significant reengineering due to the antenna requirements. The new Pro X still does not have Wi-Fi 6 and instead ships with the older Wi-Fi 5 despite Qualcomm bringing Wi-Fi 6 support to its Windows Compute Platform.
One other small change is battery life. Microsoft is now rating battery life for Surface Pro X – for all SKUs, including the older model – at 15 hours instead of the previous 13. This improvement was gained through "software improvements."
Windows on ARM momentum
Microsoft has been busy these last few weeks with a lot of news around Windows 10 on ARM-powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon processors.
At Ignite, Redmond announced its App Assure Program, which supports companies and developers, is now compatible with ARM. That free program goes a long way in working with companies to port their apps to ARM64, including solving roadblocks and development issues.
Microsoft Teams is also getting an ARM-optimized version in the coming weeks. While Microsoft Teams currently runs on Surface Pro X devices, it is not optimized for ARM64, causing some performance issues.
The biggest news is Microsoft has announced support for x64 app emulation arriving in November (Windows Insider Program). Current Windows on ARM devices can emulate 32-bit Windows apps but fail for x64 apps crucial to businesses and professionals. Once enabled, x64 app emulation should solve many of the incompatible app problems between traditional x86 laptops and ARM-based ones.
Next week, Microsoft is giving a keynote at DevSummit (formerly Arm TechCon) focusing on "Building for an ARM Ecosystem." The overview is as follows:
Our industry is going through a fundamental transformation as it pivots towards a focus on the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge, a shift that is enabling scenarios and experiences that were not possible a mere 5 years ago. The Arm ecosystem plays a central role in this transformation, and over the last decade, Microsoft has continually invested in building the operating system and developer platform to realize the full potential of Arm technology. In this session, we will highlight Arm devices and scenarios powered by the Windows operating system, the core value proposition behind the Arm platform, and some of the key initiatives supporting the intelligent cloud and intelligent edge transformation powered by the Arm ecosystem.
Surface Pro X (2020) pricing and availability
Surface Pro X is available on October 13th in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, India, Malaysia, and Singapore.
Additionally, Surface Pro X will be available on October 27th in the following countries:
- Saudi Arabia
China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan are slated to receive Surface Pro X on November 1st.
Pricing and configuration are as follows. The entry-level tier starts at $999 for the SQ1 model, while SQ2 starts at $1,499 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. The only difference between the consumer and commercial SKUs is the former ships with Windows 10 Home, while the latter is Windows 10 Pro (+$99 license) with additional enterprise support.
Surface Pro X Consumer
Surface Pro X Commercial
Like other Surface products, when bought through Microsoft, customers get a 60-day return policy with their purchase (undamaged, original packaging) via the Microsoft Store Promise for Surface. Eligible students, parents, teachers, and the military may qualify for a 10 percent discount through Microsoft.
The thinnest and lightest Surface Pro available – now better
Refreshed for late 2020 is the new Surface Pro X with the SQ2 processor. A faster CPU, more powerful GPU, improved battery life, x64 app emulation in November (Insiders), and now in platinum, there is a lot to like here. You can even now pick multiple colors for the Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen Bundle. Preorder now; get it for October 13th.
This bundle includes the Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard that features Alcantara and the Surface Slim Pen that charges wirelessly within the keyboard. Previously only in Black, you can now get newer colors like Platinum, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red.
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