Product Review - What's new for the Surface Pro X?

By Samantha Cordell | November 26, 2019


Microsoft, along with Apple and other manufacturers are constantly looking to improve functionality and usability, including creating a device that lets a user access work and social interests, at any time, without enough compromises to cancel out their benefits.

I wrote in 2018 that the concept of the original Surface - the Surface RT - had been revived in the Surface Go, but in a form more likely to appeal and connect with users. The Surface Pro X is clearly a further development of that concept.

Surface Pro X

The Surface Pro X is a new product using lessons learnt from previous products such as the Surface Go, Surface Pro and the original Surface RT.

Microsoft imagines the Surface Pro X appealing to highly mobile workers and students who may be iPad customers but want more flexibility with the software that they run. To achieve this it has great battery life, a custom-developed CPU that sips battery power but can go into overdrive when required to get tasks done, and has a screen big enough to be comfortable for more than an hour or so.

The Surface Pro X will be able to run mobile software natively or PC software through emulation. The Pro X runs Windows 10 Home (upgrade-able to Pro), or can be purchased with Windows 10 Professional as default in the Surface Pro X for Business device.

The Surface Pro X includes the regular Surface Connect port and two USB-C ports (without Thunderbolt 3 support), but notably has none of the typical USB-A ports.

The new CPU developed especially for the Surface Pro X flips back to a "mobile phone" ARM chip, developed in partnership with Snapdragon, who make many of the CPUs we see in our current tablets, phones, TVs and other "smart" devices.

Windows 10 on ARM

Windows 10 on ARM will run all ARM-native applications, and all Windows store applications at full power. Microsoft says the vast majority of regular (Intel x86) 32bit apps will run fine in emulation on the Pro X, but notably will not run any x86 64 bit apps.

As mentioned above, the Surface Pro X is available running full Windows 10 Home or Windows 10 Professional.

A device like the Surface Pro X is intended for maximum portability, and Microsoft hopes that the lack of processing power to run applications (that may be 64 bit) like Adobe Photoshop CC won't be a factor, that people will be mostly operating cloud-based applications, or lightweight ARM or x86 applications.

Who should buy a Surface Pro X?

The Surface Pro X has minimised the thick bezels around the display of the regular Surface Pro, comes with LTE/4G connectivity built-in and has a longer battery life with great performance outside of heavy lifting running emulation-mode programs.

Considering the above, the Surface Pro X is an ideal tool for students, teachers or sales people who are highly mobile but need only to connect to database or online applications. The big, beautiful display means it's easy on the eyes enough to use for extended periods. The Pro X has reduced bezels around the edges of the display for a larger display area than the regular Surface Pro (including the new Surface Pro 7).

It also makes a great 2nd PC for travelling execs.

If you need a single PC that is capable of doing the job of the Surface Pro X and a regular desktop PC, try instead the Surface Pro 7 Intel i7. It does a decent job of both tasks.


Though the regular Bluetooth connections and Type Cover magnetic keyboard connection the Surface Pro X will connect to most of the Surface accessories, and is the first product to feature the new keyboard with a slimline stylus called the Surface Slim Pen, that hides away in the fold of the new Surface Pro X Keyboard cover, where it magnetically sticks and charges ready for use.

At the time of writing, Microsoft had not updated the compatibility of their Surface Dock accessory to say if it supported the new line of products, with the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Laptop 3 expected to be compatible and the Surface Pro X uncertain.

Hardware advice from the experts

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About Samantha Cordell
Samantha Cordell

Group Marketing Manager @ Diamond IT - Samantha (Sam) fell into the IT Industry after studying a combination of computer science and marketing at Uni, starting in Operations with the now decentralised Cabletron Systems. Over the next 20 years Sam undertook various marketing roles within Intel, Microsoft and Cisco Systems before moving to Newcastle for a sea-change working for Wine Selectors. “Not able to stay away from the IT Industry I jumped at the chance to join the Diamond team. I am excited to drive the marketing strategy for Diamond’s range of services including Managed Services, Software Development and Telecommunications.”