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Microsoft's new Surface Pro 9 hides Arm options and cool features

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 is worth noting in one specific way: You can now choose an always-connected version with an Arm processor, or a more powerful 12th Gen Core

Essentially, a single Surface Pro 9 represents a fusion of two product lines, the traditional Surface Pro tablet and Surface Pro X are now transformed into Surface Pro 9 with 5G respectively and Surface Pro 9. This is interesting because the two different versions of the Surface Pro 9 continue to differ significantly in functionality and even feature sets: one for performance and one for connectivity.

Two versions of Surface Pro 9 will start shipping on October 25, starting at $999.99 for 12th Gen Core (Alder Lake) with 5G (Arm) version of Surface The Pro 9 starts at $1,299.99, and this version uses a Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 chip and is aimed at Microsoft’s specs, called the SQ3. Surface Pro 9 for Business will use the more powerful 12th Gen Core option. Pre-orders start today.

It’s fair to say that the Surface Pro 9 is basically the same as its predecessor, the Surface Pro 8, with the exact same physical dimensions (11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches). However, Microsoft reduced the chassis weight by 0.02 pounds, so both the SQ3 and Core versions weigh 1.94 pounds, with a slightly different WWAN option for the SQ3. Granted, this makes the Arm-powered version slightly thicker than Microsoft’s Arm-powered Surface Pro X.

A key feature of the Snapdragon architecture is the Neural Processing Unit (NPU). Recall that Microsoft took advantage of this to enable Eye Contact, an AI-powered feature where your eyes never seem to take your eyes off the camera during a Teams call. Microsoft implemented this in the Surface Pro X, and a more full-featured version, called Windows Studio, ships with the SQ3 variant of the Surface Pro 9.

The default Surface Pro Signature keyboard will continue the Surface Pro X design, with the Surface Slim Pen 2 tucked into the keyboard’s charging dock. The keyboard and Surface Pro 9 chassis will be available in two new colors: sapphire (blue) and forest (green) colors, as well as the traditional graphite color. The Platinum Edition will be exclusive to the 5G-capable Surface Pro 9. However, Microsoft did not disclose the price of the new keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is available in a variety of color options, including Sapphire and Forest.

Microsoft

Microsoft says the new Signature keyboard is made from a partially bio-based Alcantara material, with at least 12 percent renewable content from sugarcane waste. The tablet will also be compatible with existing Surface Pro, Surface Pro Signature, Surface Pro X and Surface Pro X Signature keyboards.

And something special: “To help us celebrate Surface’s 10th anniversary, we’ve teamed up with London-based global design firm ‘Liberty’ to bring together art and technology , creating a special-edition Surface Pro keyboard and laser-etched Surface Pro 9 with a unique pattern of vibrant blue flowers inspired by Windows 11 Bloom — only available at Liberty and the Microsoft Store, while stocks last,” Microsoft Chief Product Official Panos Panay wrote in a blog post.

Surface Pro 9 and its Liberty color variants.

Microsoft

Internally, Microsoft is now using LPDDR5X (as opposed to SP8’s LPDDR4X) memory and making all SSD options removable. However, the 5G-equipped Surface Pro 9 doesn’t offer all the same benefits as its Core cousin, with older memory technology and smaller storage options. Microsoft also seems to have finally done away with the 3.5mm headphone jack in favor of an external audio dock.

Surface Pro 9 Basic Features

Show: 13-inch PixelSense Flow (2880×1920, 267 PPI) up to 120Hz Dynamic Refresh Rate Processor: Surface Pro 9 (Consumer): 12th Gen Core i5-1235U, Core i7-1255U; Surface Pro 9 Business: Core i5-1245U, Core i7-1265U; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: Microsoft SQ3 Graphics: Surface Pro 9: Iris Xe (Core i5, i7); Surface Pro 9 with 5G: SQ3 Adreno 8CX Gen 3

  • Memory:
  • Surface Pro 9: 8/16/32GB LPDDR5 RAM; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: 8/16GB LPDDR4X RAM Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB removable solid state drive; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: 128GB /256GB/512GB removable SSD

  • Ports: 2x USB-C (USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4), 1x Surface Connect, Surface Keyboard Port

  • Security: Camera(Windows Hello)

  • Camera: Surface Pro 9: Undisclosed/1080p (for users), 10MP/1080p and 4K video ( Backward); Surface Pro 9 with 5G: same, but with Windows Studio effects

  • Battery: Surface Pro 9: 15.5 hours; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: 19 hours
  • wireless:Microsoft Surface Pro 9 network edit Both: Wi-Fi 6 (802.11ax), Bluetooth 5.1; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: see below Microsoft Surface Pro 9 network editMicrosoft Surface Pro 9 network edit OS: Consumer, both Surface Pro 9 Edition: Windows 11 Home; Business, Surface Pro 9: Windows 10 Pro or Windows 11 Pro; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: Windows 11 Pro
  • size: 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches

  • Weight: Surface Pro 9: 1.94 lbs; Surface Pro 9 with 5G: 1.95 lbs (mmWave); 1.94 lbs (Sub6)
  • color:
  • Platinum, Graphite, Sapphire, Forest, Liberty (Limited Availability)

  • price:
  • Surface Pro 9 (Consumer): $999 to $2,599.99, depending on configuration; Surface Pro 9 with 5G (Consumer): $1,299.99 $1,899.99; Surface Pro 9 Business: $1,099.99 to $2,699.99; Surface Pro 9 with 5G for Business: $1,399.99 Undisclosed

    Optional accessories: Surface Slim Pen 2: $97 at Amazon; Surface Pro Signature Keyboard: $149.99 at Amazon Microsoft Surface Pro 9 pricingHow to choose a Surface Pro 9 to buy

    Surface Pro 9 Variants do have some tradeoffs. For one thing, Intel’s new 12th-gen Alder Lake chips are significantly better than their predecessor’s 11th-gen Core chips, while the Surface Pro 9 with 5G comes with a footnote that the tablet “will not have some games and CAD software installed. , and some third-party drivers or antivirus software,” because of the internal Arm chip — games with OpenGL 1.2 or higher or with anti-cheat software, essentially. Also keep in mind that the Thread Director software included in Windows 11 (not Windows 10, business users) has been tuned for Intel’s Alder Lake architecture.

    If it matters, the Core version is an Intel Evo design; unsurprisingly, the Arm version is not. The Surface Pro 9 also supports HDR technology Dolby Vision IQ; the Surface Pro 9 with 5G doesn’t. While both devices are secure core PCs designed to prevent firmware attacks, only the Surface Pro 9 with 5G uses Microsoft’s Pluton security module. (We discussed possible reasons for this different approach in a previous article.)

    However, the 5G-capable Surface Pro 9 is the only Surface Pro 9supply 5G, which also moderately improves battery life. Microsoft will be offering a number of different LTE and 5G options, which we’ve included below for those interested.

    Surface Pro 9 with 5G has access to a variety of LTE and 5G frequency bands.

    Microsoft

    Also, while Microsoft touts its “Windows Studio Effects” as a feature (22H2) of Windows 11’s 2022 Update, the feature has never appeared in the real world. Now we know why: it will depend on the SQ3’s NPU. It looks like the Surface Pro 9 with 5G will offer auto framing (a software-based zoom feature that “frames” your face in the center of the screen if possible; the aforementioned eye contact feature; voice focus, which uses AI filters out background noise; and portrait background blur. Of course, the latter is already used in Zoom and Microsoft Teams, although it’s a feature of the app, not Windows.

    Interestingly, Microsoft told PCWorld that these features require 15 TOPS, or trillion operations per second. Microsoft says that only the SQ3 or the related Qualcomm Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 can deliver this AI performance.

    Microsoft Surface Pro 9 pricingMicrosoft Surface Pro 9 Microsoft earlier this year demonstrated portrait background blur, an app-agnostic placement You are the focus , not something behind you.

    Microsoft

    Microsoft also said the new camera includes a “4-degree tilt”, but it’s unclear if this is a physical feature or if the camera has room for auto-framing.

    Microsoft also includes a lengthy list of various pricing options associated with the various Surface Pro 9 models – when you start thinking about consumer models vs Surface Pro 9 for Business and SQ3 vs Core can get pretty verbose when it comes to the various options. Microsoft also doesn’t seem to fix some of its high-end prices.

    In an email, a Microsoft representative sent PCWorld a price list for the Surface Pro 9.

    Microsoft

    More to come on Surface Pro 9 if we get our hands on a review unit .

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