Microsoft’s New Surface Pro X: An Imperfect Taste of the Future
It’s a great all-day computer as long as it natively runs the apps you want to use
When Microsoft debuted the Surface Pro X in late 2019, its chip made it an anomaly. The computer, a radical redesign of the Surface Pro, featured an ARM-based processor (the SQ1) instead of a chip from Intel.
At the time, it seemed like a flight of fancy or perhaps a simple warning shot for Intel that indicated the company was actively flirting with the idea of ARM-based processors.
Microsoft is all-in on ARM processors, and it’s serious about continuing to invest in them — which may spell trouble for Intel’s x86-based processors in the long run.
But this October, Microsoft quietly doubled down on that decision when it announced a new iteration of the Surface Pro X. There are only two changes in this updated version: a new platinum color and a next-generation SQ2 processor that’s faster and more battery efficient.
While it appears to be a subtle refresh, the new Surface Pro X symbolizes something bigger: Microsoft is all-in on ARM processors, and it’s serious about continuing to invest in them — which may spell trouble for Intel’s x86-based processors in the long run.
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I’ve been putting the SQ2-powered version of the Surface Pro X through its paces for the last month, and it’s a curious device to review because of how little has changed outside of the new processor. That processor, however, is notably faster and makes the Surface Pro X much more capable. The idea that this can be an all-day computer that can replace your traditional laptop is now much more realistic.
To understand why this simple iteration of the Surface Pro X is important, we need to first take a brief tour of Microsoft’s convoluted history with ARM-based processors.