The Surface Pro 9 will start at $1,000 for the Intel Core i5 configuration, which comes with 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of SSD. The cheapest SQ3 configuration will start $1,100, while you’ll need to pay $1,400 to get the entry-level 5G model. The Surface Pro 8 had a starting price of $1,100 for a Core i5, 8GB of RAM, and a 128GB SSD. At the high end, the Surface Pro 8 was originally priced at $2,600 for a Core i7, 32GB of RAM, and a 1TB SSD. Currently, the Surface Pro 8 is on sale from $800 to $2,200.
The Surface Pro 8 was a significant revision from earlier Surface Pro models. It incorporated a larger 13.0-inch display, up from 12.3 inches, with smaller side bezels and a more rounded chassis. It maintained the full-friction kickstand built into the back cover, which flips out from the center to provide a wide range of motion. It’s one of the better kickstands available on detachable tablet 2-in-1s. The Surface Pro 8 also switched to an all-aluminum chassis from the magnesium alloy used on previous models, which gave it an even more solid feel and added a small amount of weight. As is the case with every Surface machine, the Surface Pro 8 has an incredibly solid and quality build that rivals the best laptops available.
The Surface Pro 9 maintains the same design and thus benefits from the same qualities. The only change is the addition of two new colors, with Sapphire and Forest joining Platinum and Graphite (the 5G model, discussed below, is limited to Platinum). There’s also a Liberty Special Addition with its own engraved design. All the chassis colors are matched with Signature Type Covers to maintain a cohesive color scheme.
Speaking of the Type Covers, they enjoy the same design as before. That means they have light, snappy switches with plenty of travel and a comforting bottoming action. They’re as good a typing experience as you’ll find on the best clamshell laptops, except for some bounce when the keyboards are magnetically propped up at an angle. The touchpads are small but functional, with comfortable swiping surfaces, reasonably quiet clicks, and support for Windows 11’s multitouch gestures. Both displays support touch, of course, along with the Microsoft Surface Pen 2 with its haptic feedback that more closely mimics pen on paper.
The Surface Pro 9 Intel version’s connectivity mimics the Surface Pro 8 with one exception, with two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 support, and a Surface Connect port. Microsoft doesn’t list a microSD card reader in the Surface Pro 9 specs, so that might be a loss over the Surface Pro 8, and there’s definitely no 3.5mm audio jack leaving users with the choice of either Bluetooth headsets or a USB-C to audio adapter. The 5G version of the new machine is limited to USB-C 3.2 without Thunderbolt 4 and adds in a nano SIM slot for the 5G WWAN connectivity. It, too, doesn’t have an audio jack. Both tablets offer Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1.
The Intel version of the Surface Pro 9 uses Intel 12th-generation CPUs running at 15 watts and sporting 10 cores (two Performance and one Efficient) and 12 threads. That compares to the Surface Pro 8 that used 28-watt Intel 11th-gen CPUs with four cores and eight threads. There are significant platform differences between the CPUs, but in our testing, the Core i5-1235U and Core i7-1255U have been faster than the equivalent 11th-gen Intel part in our suite of benchmarks. The Surface Pro 9 also benefits from an upgrade to faster LPDDR5 RAM, up from the LPDDR4 memory in the Surface Pro 8.
We’ll have to wait for our review to be certain, but the Intel Surface Pro 9 is likely to provide a significant boost in productivity performance. The integrated Intel Iris Xe graphics haven’t changed much, though, so creativity and gaming performance isn’t likely to have improved much.
The 5GSurface Pro 9 is a different story entirely. It uses Microsoft’s SQ 3 CPU, which is a custom version of Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 ARM processor. In our experience, that’s a CPU that’s competent at typical Windows productivity workflows but won’t keep up with the Intel options. The Qualcomm Adreno graphics also won’t be as fast as the Intel version. One advantage of the 5G version is that it will run cooler and therefore doesn’t need the Intel version’s active cooling.
Surface devices almost universally enjoy reasonably bright IPS displays with excellent contrast and high resolutions. They don’t usually have better-than-average color saturation. That describes the display on the Surface Pro 8 perfectly, and it’s likely that the Surface Pro 9 display will perform the same way. According to its specifications, the new model enjoys the same 120Hz refresh rate for an ultra-smooth Windows 11 experience and superior inking, which combines with the haptic feedback in the Surface Pen 2 for more realistic inking.
That’s not to say that the Surface Pro 9 brings no display improvements. Microsoft has adapted a few technologies, such as Auto Color Management and Adaptive Color, along with Dolby Vision IQ for enhanced high dynamic range (HDR) images. We’ll have to confirm the benefit of these new features in our review, but on paper, the Surface Pro 9 is an improvement.
Also unchanged is the Surface Pro 9’s size, which is identical to the Surface Pro 8. It’s not the lightest nor thinnest tablet you can buy, but both are still highly portable and easy to toss into a backpack. Adding a Type Cover increases thickness and weight, but even then, the combination is similar to other 13-inch laptops.
We haven’t tested battery life yet, but the Intel version is likely to get higher battery life thanks to 12th-gen efficiencies and the Surface Pro 9’s larger battery. That would result in excellent battery life for a detachable tablet, at around nine hours of web browsing and 11 hours of local video. The 5G version should have considerably longer battery life than the Intel Surface Pro 9 and the Surface Pro 8. ARM processors are significantly more efficient and made for all-day use, and we expect that to be the case with the 5GSurface Pro 9.
Intel or ARM, the Surface Pro 9 is a meaningful update
The Surface Pro 9 adds some color and a choice of fast and more efficient Intel 12th-gen CPUs or a longer-lasting ARM processor with always-connected 5G internet. If prices remain the same, the Surface Pro 9 will have taken what’s great about the Surface Pro 8 and made it better.
We’ll have to conduct our review to be sure, but if you’re looking for your first detachable tablet, then it’s worth the wait until the Surface Pro 9 officially ships. If you already have a Surface Pro 8, then you’ll have to decide if the extra performance or always-connected internet and long battery life are worth the investment.
Buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ today and get a free Type Cover
Best Buy has one of the best laptop deals around for anyone seeking something stylish yet practical too. Today, you can buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ for $700 instead of $930 so you're saving $230 off the regular price. Even better, it comes with a black Type Cover so you're saving further there. If you're in the market for a flexible laptop, this could be the one for you. Let's take a deeper look at what you need to know about it.
Why you should buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+
Microsoft doesn't feature among the best laptop brands but that makes some sense for a company that only makes a handful of different devices. With the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+, you get its iconic 2-in-1 design which means it can work just as well as a laptop as it can in tablet mode. It can also be docked as a workstation with the power to utilize multiple 4K external displays.
Should you buy the Surface Pro 9, or wait for the Surface Pro 10?
When it comes to laptops, it seems like there's always something new and exciting over the horizon. In the case of the Microsoft Surface Pro line, that's literally the case right now, with the Surface Pro 10 almost certainly set to debut at the end of September. But what do you do if you need another 2-in-1 laptop right now?
Should you wait a little longer for the Surface Pro 10, or get a Surface Pro 9 instead?
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ with Type Cover is more than $200 off
There's no shortage of 2-in-1 laptop deals online, but few will match the popularity of Microsoft's Surface Pro line of devices. If you want to get one for cheap and you don't mind going for an older model, you should take advantage of Best Buy's $230 discount for the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ with Type Cover, which brings the bundle's price down to $700 from $930. We're not sure when the offer expires though, so it's highly recommended that you purchase it now so that you don't miss out.
Why you should buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ with Type Cover
The latest version of Microsoft's Surface Pro devices is the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, but even with the nearly two-year gap, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ will still prove to be a dependable device for daily use. A mid-cycle upgrade of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ features improved components with the 11th-generation Intel Core i3 processor and 8GB of RAM. The device is powered by Windows 11 Home, as expected, with the operating system pre-installed in its 128GB SSD that will provide ample space for your apps and files.