As expected, Microsoft is launching a new thin-and-light Surface tablet powered by an ARM processor and Windows 10 on ARM software.
The Microsoft Surface Pro X is the first and only device to feature a Microsoft SQ1 chipset, which is the company’s name for a custom Qualcomm Snapdragon processor that runs at 7 watts and features a custom GPU and integrated artificial intelligence engine.
Microsoft says the use of an ARM-based chip means the Surface Pro X offers better battery life, a thinner and lighter design, and support for always-connected 4G LTE.
The Surface Pro X goes up for pre-order today for $999 and up and ships in November 5th.
In fact, the company says the Surface Pro X offers three times the performance-per-watt of the Surface Pro 6, which was powered by Intel processors.
As for the new AI engine, Microsoft says it allows the Surface Pro X to perform some complicated tasks that would otherwise need a 15W GPU while consuming 50 times less power.
The new tablet measures 5.3mm at it thinnest point, and weighs 1.68 pounds. It features two USB-C ports and support for fast charging.
While I know some folks were hoping for a smaller screen, the Surface Pro X actually has a larger display than the Surface Pro 7… but slimmer bezels. Microsoft says the new tablet has a 13 inch display but the same size chassis as the last few generations of Surface Pro.
To be more precise, the tablet has a 13 inch, 2880 x 1920 pixel PixelSense display with 267 pixels per inch and a 1400:1 contrast ratio.
Other features include support for up to 16GB of LPDDR4x RAM, up to 512GB of storage, an 11MP rear camera, and a 5MP front-facing camera.
Microsoft is also introducing new accessories including a Microsoft Surface Slim Pen with a rechargeable battery with support for wireless charging, plus a new Surface Pro X Keyboard cover that allows you to fold the pen into the hinge and charge it at the same time.
Here’s a run-down of the tablet’s key specs/options:
- Display: 13 inch, 2880 x 1920 pixels, 450-nits
- Processor: Microsoft SQ1
- Memory: 8GB or 16GB of LPDDR4x-3733
- Storage: 128GB. 256GB, or 512GB SSD (removable)
- Ports: 2 x USB-C, 1 x Surface Connect, 1 x nano SIM
- Cameras: 10MP rear, 5MP front (w/Windows Hello face sign-in)
- Microphones: Daul far-field Studio Mics
- Speakers: 2W stereo w/Dolby Audio Premium
- Wireless: 802.11ac WiFi, Bluetooth 5.0, Snapdragon X24 LTE
- Body: Anodized aluminum
- Cooling: Passive/fanless
- Dimensions: 11.3″ x 8.2″ x 0.28″
- Weight: 1.7 pounds
Prices range from $999 for a model with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage to $1799 for a 16GB/512GB model.
It’s worth noting that since all models have the same key specs, that means Microsoft is charging a whopping $800 extra for an extra 384GB of storage and 8GB of memory. If you can live with less RAM, you’re probably going to save a lot of money by purchasing an SSD and upgrading on your own, since Microsoft says the Surface Pro X does have a replaceable SSD. Update: Or maybe not — if the Surface Pro X’s “removable” SSD is anything like the one in the Surface Laptop 3, it sounds like Microsoft means “removable by an authorized technician,” and not necessarily by… you.
Update 2: OK, the messaging is a little confusing here. But The Verge confirms that the Surface Pro X has a removable M.2 2230 SSD that you can access by removing the same cover you’d open to get at the SIM card slot. You’ll need a specific Torx screwdriver to remove and replace the drive though.