Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 comes in two variations, unlike the Surface Pro 8, which is simpler to use. One is the standard Intel model, which has been updated with quick 12th Gen “Alder Lake” CPUs; however, the machine we are reviewing has an Arm-based processor built by Microsoft utilizing a specially developed Qualcomm SQ3 processor. Running Windows on an Arm device, like the Surface Pro X before it, entails performance restrictions and app compatibility concerns, limitations that are reflected in our subpar grade. The Pro 9 features 5G support and a few video call tricks, but only with the SQ3 model, thus the differences go beyond the CPU. These attributes, along with a 21-hour battery life, make the SQ3 Pro 9 the best option for mobile users who value longevity and internet connectivity.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review: Design

The Surface Pro 9 is adhering to a pattern. It’s a slim tablet that can be turned into a full Windows 11 PC by connecting to a keyboard. The only model Microsoft sells with Arm processors is the Pro 9 (equipped with a Microsoft SQ3; more on that later). With a thin frame and rounded corners, it is even more similar to the Surface Pro X than the Pro 8. Other than a few antennae lines, the only marking on the device is a reflective Windows logo on the kickstand, which extends nearly flat. You still get a 13-inch display that is tall and 3:2, with tiny bezels on the sides, albeit there is still some potential for improvement. However, that top does have an infrared sensor and a 1080p webcam, so the available space is being effectively utilized. The power and volume controls are located on the device’s top (the latter make great sense when used as a tablet, but less so when in laptop mode). You’ll need to attach a keyboard if you want to use the Surface as a laptop. Although you could use a Bluetooth keyboard or a USB-C keyboard that you currently own, Microsoft’s Type covers are the best option for portability. In our review package, that meant a $279.99 Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 bundle; however, there are less expensive Signature Keyboards without the stylus ($179.99), or just a regular keyboard without space to charge a pen ($139.99, initially planned for the Surface Pro X). The Pro 9’s bottom is where the keyboard magnetically fastens. The kickstand can be removed to reveal a laptop, sort of. Even after 10 years, the Microsoft Surface still performs poorly on a lap, but it excels at a desk. The Surface Pro 9 is notable for lacking a 3.5 mm headphone port. Microsoft has followed Dell’s lead by removing the port from the XPS 13 and XPS 13 Plus, just as Apple did with nearly all of its iPads. Fair enough, Microsoft didn’t have this port on the Surface Pro X with an Arm processor, but it’s a first for the Arabic-numbered line.

Keyboard and touch pad

The Surface Pro 9 comes preinstalled with Windows 11, Microsoft’s most recent operating system, which provides Windows with a much-needed visual update as well as a multitude of practical multitasking and general quality-of-life improvements. The Pro 9 is not ideal as a stand-alone tablet because it relies so heavily on a mouse and keyboard. Because there isn’t a separate tablet mode like in Windows 10, you have to use the software’s comparatively small menus and icons by hand to do tasks. It’s a long cry from the simple, touch-friendly navigation you get on an iPad Pro and just feels like a laptop touchscreen without a keyboard. When you attach the superb Signature Keyboard and utilize a Slim Pen 2, the Surface Pro 9 really comes to life. However, if you choose not to invest the additional $280 required to make it a true computer, the entire device may feel like an expensive brick.


The display of the Surface Pro 8 is identical to that on last year’s model. The screen is a significant upgrade whether you’re coming from the Surface Pro X or an older Surface model. The 120Hz refresh rate, which is actually configured that way by default, is the main explanation. Although we haven’t examined the Intel model, we are aware that the Pro 8 came with 60Hz as standard. Of course, panels with a high refresh rate utterly destroy the battery life of Intel PCs. After using it, you’ll notice that things appear more stuttery even though the greater refresh rate merely implies that everything is smoother. Depending on what you’re doing, the dynamic refresh rate setting can swing between 60Hz and 120Hz, which should help you conserve battery life. But if you’re not utilising the Intel model, we don’t think you need to worry too much. According to our testing, the Surface Pro 9 has good compatibility for 100% sRGB, 78% NTSC, 82% Adobe RGB, and 85% P3. In fact, it performs significantly better than the Surface Laptop 5 did in our tests. Though it’s not entirely unexpected, the Surface Laptop series hasn’t had a meaningful display refresh in a while. When Microsoft promised 1,200:1, the contrast ratio was unexpectedly low at 1,050:1. At 447.1 nits, the brightness is quite high for a laptop. However, we must admit that the Microsoft panels are so shiny that we would prefer them to be even brighter.


Microsoft equipped the Surface Pro with two 2W speakers that can play Dolby Atmos music. It actually sounds pretty good for a tiny tablet. The vocals and guitars on Paramore’s “This is Why” were audible, and we could even pick out the bass, even if, like most laptop basses, it didn’t have much of a wallop. Although we have heard some other devices being louder, the Pro 9’s music and videos are loud enough to hear if you’re sitting in front of it. However, the sound here should be quite fine for the majority of folks. Same speakers as the Surface Pro 8 are present in the Surface Pro 9. We didn’t have big hopes for this test because we weren’t overly thrilled with the audio quality of the predecessor. When we viewed the Black Adam trailer, the audio was crystal clear. The same held true as “Holy Wars the Punishment Due” by Megadeth started playing. The song’s power was only slightly diminished despite the latter’s lack of bass. Simply put, the speakers are equipped to handle various audio formats. However, we do wish the speakers were a little bit louder. The Surface Pro 9 didn’t become particularly loud even when the volume was turned up to its highest setting, so perhaps years of listening to hard metal have damaged our hearing. The four speakers on the iPad Pro 2022, on the other hand, have a volume that can fill a complete room. Although we understand that two speakers cannot be as loud as four, we would have preferred a louder overall sound.


You will struggle to play games locally on the Surface Pro 9 because it uses the Intel Iris Xe graphics card rather than a discrete one. At 1080p resolution, Sid Meier’s Civilization VI: Gathering Storm averaged a pitiful 24 frames per second, and at 1920p, much worse. At these resolutions, the model from the previous year averaged 37 and 29 frames per second, respectively. also you read our article on Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review: Performance

The Surface Pro 9 has a Qualcomm Snapdragon-powered Microsoft SQ3 CPU or a 12th generation Intel Core “Alder Lake” processor. Large workloads are intended to be handled by configurations using Alder Lake chips. The newest CPU from Intel, according to Microsoft, gives the Surface Pro 9 up to 50% more performance than the Surface Pro 8. Rapid data transfer, multiple 4K display docking, and support for external graphics cards are all possible with Thunderbolt 4 technology. According to Microsoft, models with a SQ3 CPU offer 5G connection and have a battery life of up to 19 hours. Additionally, according to the firm, the CPU boasts new AI functions that are made possible by the NPU, which according to Microsoft is capable of more than 15 trillion computations per second. Models of the Surface Pro 9 with Intel processors come with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage. Up to 16GB of RAM and up to 512GB of (removable) SSD are available in 5G variants. Microsoft covered the capabilities of the NPU at its Surface presentation on October 12. In one illustration, the business demonstrated how the new technology can totally cancel out background sounds, such as a roaring jackhammer. Another illustration showed how the AI-based technology could stop a user’s face from becoming blurry when they approached the webcam too closely.

Battery life and heat

Similar to performance, there aren’t many obvious improvements between the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Pro 9. With very little usage, the Surface Pro 8 offered slightly over eight and a half hours of battery life on a single charge. The Surface Pro 9 receives around the same as it did before, leaving it well behind Apple products like the MacBook Air and iPad Pro. Again, the SQ3 model should somewhat balance things out, but we are unsure of the exact amount at this time. The Surface Pro 9 falls in the middle of other thin and light Windows laptops in terms of performance. The Dell XPS 13 and Microsoft Surface Laptop 5 both have longer battery lives by a few hours, while the HP Envy x360 13 and Acer Swift 3 lag behind by a few hours. However, we believe that customers do anticipate tablets to last a little longer, particularly given that the Surface Pro 9’s portability is one of its main selling points. You can also check our article on Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review. An entire workday should be possible with the Surface Pro 9 with SQ3. It lasted 11 hours and 50 minutes on our battery test, which involved continuous Internet use, web browsing, streaming video, and OpenGL testing at a 150 nit display setting. Another test run took the notebook only 10 hours and 10 minutes to complete. The lower result, however, was rejected because this was an aberration and other readings were quite near to the 11:50 mark. We believe that the 11:50 hours is the closest time to the device’s normal runtime when not powered by a mains source.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review: Configuration options

On October 25, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 will be on sale for a starting price of $999 / AU$1,649 for the Intel variant and $1,299 / AU$2,599 for the model powered by Qualcomm’s SQ3 SoC. (System on Chip). You may purchase a limited-edition Pro 9 (along with a keyboard to match) with a laser-etched blue floral motif. This variant, which was developed in collaboration with the London-based design firm Liberty to commemorate ten years of Surface technology, differs from previous Surface Pro 9 models only in terms of appearance.


The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 is a fantastic 2-in-1 that has superb build quality, feels nice to use, has some cool capabilities – like the amazing web camera – and will run full software, rather than depending on scaled-down apps. But you must be familiar with the two models. The less potent SQ3 should be avoided by many creatives, artists, and designers in favor of the potent i5 and i7 variants. The Intel 12th-gen CPUs are quicker and designed for performance, while the ARM-based SQ3 has a longer battery life, but we haven’t tested them in real-world conditions yet. in this article we will discuss about Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review. Consider this when investing in the model that is best for you. The SQ3 starts at $1,299 / £1,299, while the Intel model starts at $999 / £1099 (i5) and $1599 / £1599 (i7). While the i5 and SQ3 have similar starting pricing bands, as you start building out your device, the Intel will end up being more expensive. For instance, the Intel variants can have up to 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD, which will cost approximately $2599 / £2599 for the i7 build. The SQ3 is limited to 16GB of RAM.

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