If you came to think that putting the processor of a smartphone on a laptop was not possible, it is now completely possible, but these chips have advanced in such a way that the Microsoft team has been betting on a new segment of devices that at last offer an alternative to AMD and Intel chips and, above all, to the x86 architecture that has dominated this landscape for several decades.
ARM processors are ready, and their latest attempt to convince us that an ARM laptop is possible is the Surface Pro X, which inherits many of the virtues of Surface Pro that we all know, but that changes in that critical component. That hardware change has its advantages and disadvantages, and we have tried to fall into the networks of a concept that has matured and that is already very close to achieving its purpose in many areas.
The specifications of the Surface Pro X don’t look very different from any other laptop or convertible in this range.
Until one is set at a key section: the processor, which instead of following the classic trend and being some model from manufacturers like Intel or AMD is actually a very different chip.
This is the Qualcomm Snapdragon / Microsoft SQ1, a development in which this manufacturer has collaborated with Microsoft to adjust it to the specifications that both have considered optimal.
The SQ1 is a unique variant of the Snapdragon 8cx, and as the latter is manufactured with 7nm technology and has a very contained TDP: only 7 W that of course condition the performance, but they are also key to keeping that processor at controlled temperatures even in scenarios where it demands all its power.
We are looking at an octa-core CPU that is capable of reaching up to 3 GHz in its cores, but this SoC demonstrates that versatility of ARM chips and that allows to integrate into a single die a set of really amazing functions.
Among these functions is the one oriented to graphical tasks. The Adreno 685 GPU can deliver up to 2.1 TFLOPs of raw power, which essentially means it’s – at least in those terms – twice as powerful as the integrated GPU of 8th Gen Intel processors.
A design that brings a great idea
Surface Pro X doesn’t look much different from the Surface Pros that the form factor inherits from. However, it is a design that gains integers in several sections.
Microsoft’s proposal here builds on the same principles as its Intel micro-based predecessors, but the presence of an ARM chip seems to have led to remarkable ambition when it comes to slimming this device.
The thickness is 7.3 mm compared to the 8.5 mm of the Surface Pro 7, but the outline of the edges itself changes completely, and from those flat sides we now move to rounded contours.
Those rounded sides hide connectivity options, which are a little smaller than we would have liked: the Surface Pro X has two USB-C ports, a Surface Connect port, and the slot for a nano SIM card (although the eSIM option also exists). We miss a conventional USB-A connector, but above all the headphone jack that is also absent on this computer.
The screen frames are also clearly less thick than those of the Surface Pro 7, and it is surprising that this device has almost the same size and weight, but integrates a considerably larger screen: from 12.3 inches of the SP7 we move to 13 o’clock inches from the Surface Pro X, a remarkable achievement for Microsoft.
The design has certain commitments, and here we should highlight the fact that having kept the thickness at that 8.5 mm, would have allowed for a higher capacity battery, but the priority that Microsoft has given to that search for the minimum thickness.
A team’s performance with that Microsoft SQ1 seems ready to handle decent workloads at least in the realm of office productivity or web browsing.
The performance of the Surface Pro X is very similar according to Geekbench 4 and Geekbench 5 to the Surface Laptop 3, a remarkable achievement for a micro theoretically more mobile-oriented than laptops that can actually function as desktops as well.
|GEEKBENCH 4 (SINGLE CORE / MULTI CORE)||GEEKBENCH 5 (SINGLE CORE / MULTI CORE)|
|SURFACE PRO X (SNAPDRAGON SQ1)||3.554 / 11.600||729 / 2.834|
|SURFACE PRO 7 (CORE I5-1035G4)||n.d.||1.235 / 3.837|
|SURFACE LAPTOP 3 (RYZEN 5 SURFACE EDITION)||3.864 / 11.605||847 & 2.903|
|LENOVO THINKBOOK (CORE I5-8265U)||4.387 / 12.678||1.027 / 3.234|
We performed a performance test of the SSD of the computer through the CrystalDiskMark tool, and with it we obtained a very decent figures: 1,989 MB/s in reading and 811 in writing, which is on the line of the 2,001/823 MB/s of the Surface Laptop 3, per axis, plo.
The truth is that it showed that the fluidity of the Windows 10 interface and the applications were remarkably good at all times.
Surface Pro X, conclusion
This is not a laptop for all audiences, and Panos Panay, head of Microsoft’s hardware division, has already made it clear when introduced: this is a product aimed primarily at mobile workers: people who need to be always connected and who take advantage of the portability and connectivity of this equipment.
The Surface Pro X can be really interesting, and where those options shine that curiously make a nod to a future Surface Pro 8.
There is talk that Microsoft is working on an emulation layer for x86-64 64-bit binaries that allows you to file much of the current roughness.
The Surface Pro X may not be perfect, but it’s a good step on a complex path to ARM architectures.
Microsoft Surface Pro X
- Design that takes more advantage of the front
- Good audio and video quality display
- Good WiFi connections
- Software incompatibilities
- Conventional USB port
- Design 0%
- Performance 0%
- Software 0%
- Screen 0%