Although we had every reason to expect Microsoft to hold some sort of an event this fall dedicated to something other than the experimental Surface Duo
, the Redmond-based tech giant made absolutely no effort to build buzz for what was ultimately announced earlier today.
That might be because the Surface Pro 8 is not ready for primetime yet, reportedly looking at a spring 2021 launch, while the recently rumored Surface Pro X2
is not even branded like that, bringing far too few and modest improvements to the table to warrant its own name. And no, said improvements do not include 5G speeds.
A new chipset and a software-based battery life upgrade
The refreshed 13-inch tablet is simply joining the first-gen Surface Pro X lineup with an upgraded processor under the hood you'll have to cough up at least $1,500 for. In other words, the more affordable $999 and $1,299 configurations will still be the same old SQ1-powered models, while $1,499 and $1,799 will buy you a "new" SQ2 product with a 256 or 512GB SSD respectively starting today.
Developed in collaboration with Qualcomm, just like its predecessor, the Microsoft SQ2 chipset promises to deliver "best-in-class" graphics performance thanks to an integrated Adreno 690 GPU, up from the SQ1's 685.
Interestingly, the battery life is also enhanced, from up to 13 to a maximum of 15 hours of "typical device usage" on a single charge, but that goes for both the SQ1 and SQ2 variants, being made possible by some proprietary software wizardry.
The only other change exclusive to the costlier Surface Pro X models is a swanky Platinum hue borrowed from so many previous and current Microsoft-made products, with new Platinum, Ice Blue, and Poppy Red color options soon to be made available for the optional productivity-enhancing Signature Keyboard as well.
4G LTE is... better than nothing
Speaking of availability, the refreshed ultra-high-end Surface Pro X variants are supposed to go up for pre-order today, although that doesn't appear to have happened at the time of this writing. We'll be sure to update our story with some relevant links as soon as they materialize, but there's probably no reason to hurry and buy this extravagant thing, which will only start shipping stateside on October 13.
Much like the Surface Duo
, the Surface Pro X with SQ2 processing power inside inexplicably snubs the increasingly ubiquitous 5G cellular standard, sticking to Gigabit LTE Advanced Pro connectivity only.
Unlike the Surface Pro 7
, every single Pro X configuration does at least come with built-in 4G LTE support, which makes its battery life claim that much more impressive. Of course, the SQ1 chipset proved nowhere near as fast as a good old fashioned Intel Core i-series processor of the 10th generation for most everyday tasks last year, and something tells us the SQ2 will not be able to make up the full difference in performance either.
On the bright side, the PixelSense display is still great, sporting a resolution of 2880 x 1920 pixels, and you get up to a hefty 16 gigs of memory, two USB-C ports, and a premium body measuring a measly 7.3mm in thickness with the Surface Pro X.