Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Review
Most people think of the Surface Pro as a Windows 2-in-1 computer. Microsoft’s best 2-in-1 computer is now better than when it first appeared. After several years of small updates, the Surface Pro 8 of 2021 brought big changes. This time, the changes aren’t as big, but the new plan based on ARM got a lot of attention.
It has a longer battery life, new ways to make video calls, and 5G support for the first time. It replaces the Surface Pro X., But the speed and battery life are much worse than the Intel model, so most people should choose the Intel model instead. This is my complete review.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Specs
|Laptop Class||Detachable 2-in-1|
|Processor||Intel Core i7-1255U|
|Boost Drive Test||SSD|
|Native Display Resolution||2880 by 1920|
|Wireless Networking||802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.2|
|Dimensions||0.37 by 11.3 by 8.2 inches|
|OS||Windows 11 Home|
|Graphics Processor||Intel Iris Xe|
- Superb efficiency and runtime.
- Exceptional cameras
- Clean look and it takes ink well. 3:2 screen
- Two USB Type-C (Thunderbolt 4) ports
- expandable memory
- Important extras are still missing.
- No more 5G with a connector for headphones and only the SQ3 processor
The Surface line from Microsoft has never been a cheap choice. That probably didn’t matter much because Microsoft was leading the PC business out of the wilderness and into new design and market possibilities. The Surface Pro 9 starts at $999, £1,099, or AU$1,649 (without the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2, which cost an extra $279). The Surface Pro 9 5G starts at $1,299.99/£1,299. It has mobile access and some cool features driven by the brain. In Australia, the Surface Pro 9 5G starts with 16GB of RAM and costs AU$ 2,599.
Design & Build
If you’ve used the Surface Pro 8, the Pro 9 will look and feel very similar. The device looks the same as the one that came before it, which isn’t surprising given all the big changes in 2021. It’s not a bad thing, either. The Pro 9 is made of a smooth mix of glass and aluminum that makes it feel very high-end, which helps to explain why it costs so much. But the choice of materials shows in the weight: the tablet weighs 878g, making it hard to hold for more than a few minutes. But you probably weren’t planning on doing that with a 13-inch device anyway.
Microsoft keeps putting a kickstand on the back of the device, which is very helpful and makes it feel stable. Some low-cost devices cut corners in this area, but it’s one of Surface computers’ biggest benefits. Besides that, there isn’t much more to say about the back. Microsoft keeps things simple with a 10Mp camera and a simple Windows logo.
Tests of Graphics and Games
We do both fake and real-world game tests on Windows PCs.
The first one has two DirectX 12 gaming models from UL’s 3DMark: Night Raid (less demanding and works well on systems with integrated graphics) and Time Spy (more demanding and works well on gaming systems with separate GPUs).
The cross-platform GPU test GFXBench 5, which we use to measure OpenGL speed, is also part of this group. The Core i7 Surface was once again competitive in every way, but it’s not a machine made just for games. The Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 fell far behind because the graphics on its Core i5 processor are much slower than those on Core i7 processors. You shouldn’t expect this tablet to run games well, but it should work well as a cloud gaming device, especially with Microsoft’s Xbox Game Pass.
Battery and Screen
PCMag tests the battery life of laptops by playing the open-source Blender movie Tears of Steel, a locally saved 720p video file, with the screen brightness at 50% and the audio volume at 100% until the machine shuts down. During the test, Wi-Fi and computer lights are turned off. We also use a Datacolor SpyderX Elite monitor calibration sensor and its software to measure a laptop screen’s colour saturation—how much of the sRGB, Adobe RGB, and DCI-P3 colour gamuts or palettes it can show—and its brightness in nits (candelas per square meter) at the 50% and 100% settings.
The battery life is the most important reason to buy the Surface Pro 9 with ARM. Microsoft says you can get up to 19 hours of “typical device use” on a single charge, even though it only has a 47.7Wh capacity. Our 720p movie loop power test lasted 17 hours and 40 minutes and wasn’t too far off. That’s one of the best marks we’ve ever seen, and only ARM-based systems have done better. But don’t expect it to last as long as you use it daily. The test was done with the brightness set to 120 nits, which is not very bright. Other jobs will drain the battery much faster. But it will help if you let the battery-saver mode turn on itself (it wasn’t on for this test).
The Surface Pro has greatly changed since ARM was added, but it’s still not ready for the masses. Without question, the biggest problem is how it affects speed, as it slows things down and makes some apps run less smoothly. It’s hard to suggest because it has fewer ports than the Pro 8 and is more expensive.
The Intel version will be better for most people in the long run. The only difference between it and the Surface Pro 8 is its new Intel CPUs. But it’s fast, efficient, and does everything you need. If you can afford it, the Intel-based Pro 9 is still the best Windows 11 tablet and 2-in-1 you can buy.