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Microsoft Surface Pro X Review - Microsoft's ARM-based tablet with poor compatibility

Too many limitations. The Surface Pro X comes with an ARM-based processor and an integrated LTE modem, which is why it is an interesting device for those who appreciate portability. However, in everyday use, the combination of an ARM SoC and Windows 10 results in a lot of limitations, and the battery life is also quite poor.
Andreas Osthoff, 👁 Andreas Osthoff (translated by Stanislav Kokhanyuk), 🇩🇪 🇷🇺 ...
Microsoft Surface Pro X (Surface Pro Series)
Processor
Microsoft SQ1 8 x 3 GHz, Cortex-A76 / A55 (Kryo 495)
Graphics adapter
Memory
16384 MB 
, 16 GB LPDDR4-3733
Display
13.00 inch 3:2, 2880 x 1920 pixel 266 PPI, Capacitive, LP129WT112684, IPS, glossy: yes, detachable screen, 60 Hz
Storage
256 GB NVMe, 256 GB 
, 190 GB free
Connections
2 USB 3.0 / 3.1 Gen1, USB-C Power Delivery (PD), 2 DisplayPort, 1 Docking Station Port, Audio Connections: 3.5-mm audio jack, Sensors: Accelerometer, Gyroscope, Magnetometer, Ambient light sensor
Networking
Qualcomm Wi-Fi B/G/N/AC (2x2) (b/g/n = Wi-Fi 4/ac = Wi-Fi 5), Bluetooth 5.0, LTE, LTE
Size
height x width x depth (in mm): 7.3 x 287 x 208 ( = 0.29 x 11.3 x 8.19 in)
Battery
38.2 Wh Lithium-Polymer, Battery runtime (according to manufacturer): 13 h
Operating System
Microsoft Windows 10 Home 64 Bit
Camera
Primary Camera: 10 MPix features autofocus, can record 1080p and 2160p video
Secondary Camera: 5 MPix located on the front, can record 1080p video
Additional features
Speakers: stereo, Keyboard: chiclet-style, Keyboard Light: yes, 65W PSU, 12 Months Warranty
Weight
1.048 kg ( = 36.97 oz / 2.31 pounds), Power Supply: 289 g ( = 10.19 oz / 0.64 pounds)
Price
1500 Euro
Note: The manufacturer may use components from different suppliers including display panels, drives or memory sticks with similar specifications.

 

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mögliche Konkurrenten im Vergleich

Rating
Date
Model
Weight
Height
Size
Resolution
Best Price
84 %
03/2021
Microsoft Surface Pro X
SQ1, Adreno 685
1 kg7.3 mm13.00"2880x1920
89 %
03/2021
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
i5-1135G7, Iris Xe G7 80EUs
796 g8.5 mm12.30"2736x1824
87 %
11/2020
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
i5-10210U, UHD Graphics 620
1.2 kg9.2 mm13.00"2160x1350
89 %
05/2020
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
A12Z Bionic, A12Z Bionic GPU
641 g5.9 mm12.90"2732x2048
88 %
01/2019
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
i5-8250U, UHD Graphics 620
1.3 kg8.9 mm13.00"3000x2000

Case, Connectivity and Input Devices

The Surface Pro X is a high-end tablet. Its housing is made of aluminium. The kickstand on the back is really thin, and the hinge is not particularly stable. Our review device is the matte black variant. There is also a silver version of the slate. The optional Alcantara keyboard doubles as a screen protector and provides good tactile feedback when typing. In addition, it also features a slot for the Slim Pen. The backlit keyboard offers a short travel distance and a satisfactory typing experience.  

In our Wi-Fi test, the Microsoft Surface Pro X achieves surprisingly poor data transfer speeds. However, in day-to-day use, the slate functions very well. Thanks to the Snapdragon X24 modem, the Surface Pro X supports LTE.

Microsoft’s slate offers two USB-C ports and a special Surface Connector, which can be used to connect additional accessories from Microsoft to the device. Moreover, it can also be used to charge the tablet (USB-C ports can also be used for charging). However, in everyday use, the charging cable proves to be rather clunky. 

The two good cameras are a big strength of the Surface Pro X. The front-facing shooter comes with a 5-MP sensor and the rear-camera features a 10-MP sensor.

Size Comparison

304 mm / 12 inch 225.6 mm / 8.88 inch 8.9 mm / 0.3504 inch 1.3 kg2.82 lbs297 mm / 11.7 inch 207 mm / 8.15 inch 9.2 mm / 0.3622 inch 1.2 kg2.6 lbs292 mm / 11.5 inch 201 mm / 7.91 inch 8.5 mm / 0.3346 inch 796 g1.755 lbs287 mm / 11.3 inch 208 mm / 8.19 inch 7.3 mm / 0.2874 inch 1 kg2.31 lbs280.6 mm / 11 inch 214.9 mm / 8.46 inch 5.9 mm / 0.2323 inch 641 g1.413 lbs
Networking
iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1382 (984min - 1508max) MBit/s ∼100% +333%
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1320 (1237min - 1367max) MBit/s ∼96% +314%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
827 (400min - 880max) MBit/s ∼60% +159%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
514 MBit/s ∼37% +61%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Qualcomm Wi-Fi B/G/N/AC (2x2)
319 (168min - 351max) MBit/s ∼23%
Average Qualcomm Wi-Fi B/G/N/AC (2x2)
  (300 - 319, n=2)
310 MBit/s ∼22% -3%
iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
1354 (783min - 1513max) MBit/s ∼100% +128%
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
Intel Wi-Fi 6 AX201
928 (877min - 942max) MBit/s ∼69% +56%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
Intel Dual Band Wireless-AC 8265
633 MBit/s ∼47% +6%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
802.11 a/b/g/n/ac/ax
612 (573min - 630max) MBit/s ∼45% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Qualcomm Wi-Fi B/G/N/AC (2x2)
595 (575min - 612max) MBit/s ∼44%
Average Qualcomm Wi-Fi B/G/N/AC (2x2)
  (312 - 595, n=2)
454 MBit/s ∼34% -24%
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03570105140175210245280315350385420455490525560595591585606591598594598597603604605595612602595587601604579606590608575595596582590580582600591585606591598594598597603604605595612602595587601604579606590608575595596582590580582600168350287313307314332325291309302296266305307323322317343312320318341343333336320351321334Tooltip
; iperf3 Client (receive) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø595 (575-612)
; iperf3 Client (transmit) TCP 1 m 4M x10; iperf 3.1.3: Ø314 (168-351)
ColorChecker
5 ∆E
7.4 ∆E
12.2 ∆E
10.2 ∆E
15.1 ∆E
15.2 ∆E
8.3 ∆E
4.7 ∆E
8.2 ∆E
6.6 ∆E
9.8 ∆E
11.9 ∆E
4.7 ∆E
2.8 ∆E
7.2 ∆E
2.5 ∆E
11.6 ∆E
21.8 ∆E
9 ∆E
6 ∆E
3.3 ∆E
2.5 ∆E
7.2 ∆E
12.6 ∆E
ColorChecker Microsoft Surface Pro X: 8.57 ∆E min: 2.45 - max: 21.82 ∆E

Display - 3:2 touchscreen

Pixel arrangement
Pixel arrangement
No visible Screen bleeding
No visible Screen bleeding

The 13-inch touchscreen has a native resolution of 2880x1920 pixels and a 3:2 aspect ratio. Subjectively speaking, everything looks good on this screen. Text appears sharp and the colours seem natural. The average brightness amounts to 470 cd/m². The black value is slightly elevated (0.44 cd/m²). However, the tablet still offers a contrast ratio of more than 1000:1. Nevertheless, the contrast ratio could have been higher. Outdoors, users will have to deal with strong reflections.

The screen comes with a good factory calibration. The colour temperature is very good and the colours are reproduced faithfully. We could not calibrate the screen because the Microsoft slate does not support our calibration software.

There is no screen bleeding. However, the panel exhibits low-frequency PWM flickering at 50% brightness and below. This is why individuals who are sensitive to PWM flickering should avoid the Surface Pro X.

464
cd/m²
466
cd/m²
457
cd/m²
463
cd/m²
466
cd/m²
474
cd/m²
473
cd/m²
470
cd/m²
495
cd/m²
Distribution of brightness
LP129WT112684
X-Rite i1Pro 2
Maximum: 495 cd/m² Average: 469.8 cd/m² Minimum: 5.6 cd/m²
Brightness Distribution: 92 %
Center on Battery: 473 cd/m²
Contrast: 1059:1 (Black: 0.44 cd/m²)
ΔE Color 2.1 | 0.59-29.43 Ø5.6
ΔE Greyscale 2.8 | 0.64-98 Ø5.8
96.8% sRGB (Argyll 1.6.3 3D)
72.1% AdobeRGB 1998 (Argyll 1.6.3 3D)
Gamma: 2.05
Microsoft Surface Pro X
LP129WT112684, IPS, 2880x1920, 13.00
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
LG Philips LP123WQ332684, IPS, 2736x1824, 12.30
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
CSOT T3 LEN8290, IPS, 2160x1350, 13.00
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Liquid Retina Display, IPS, 2732x2048, 12.90
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
LP130QP1-SPA1, IPS, 3000x2000, 13.00
Display
Display P3 Coverage
66.89
68.94
68.14

67.79

sRGB Coverage
96.68
98.22
99.43

99.11

AdobeRGB 1998 Coverage
69.1
71.06
69.87

69.26

Response Times
-5%
-2%
9701%
-17%
Response Time Grey 50% / Grey 80% *
49.6 (25.2, 24.4)
50.8 (25.2, 25.6)
-2%
58 (24, 34)
-17%
46.8 (18.4, 28.4)
6%
47.2 (21.2, 26)
5%
Response Time Black / White *
30.4 (18, 12.4)
33.6 (18.8, 14.8)
-11%
26 (14, 12)
14%
24.4 (8.4, 16)
20%
42.4 (19.6, 22.8)
-39%
PWM Frequency
201.6 (50)
199.2 (57, 119)
-1%
58820 (13)
29077%
Screen
10%
-32%
23%
-14%
Brightness middle
466
408
-12%
450
-3%
625
34%
474
2%
Brightness
470
425
-10%
411
-13%
599
27%
418
-11%
Brightness Distribution
92
85
-8%
83
-10%
87
-5%
76
-17%
Black Level *
0.44
0.34
23%
0.22
50%
0.47
-7%
0.33
25%
Contrast
1059
1200
13%
2045
93%
1330
26%
1436
36%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 *
2.1
1.5
29%
4.15
-98%
1.3
38%
3.2
-52%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 max. *
4
2.5
37%
11.49
-187%
2.7
32%
6.1
-53%
Greyscale DeltaE2000 *
2.8
1.6
43%
6.66
-138%
1.8
36%
4.5
-61%
Gamma
2.05 107%
2.05 107%
2.42 91%
2.23 99%
2.07 106%
CCT
6589 99%
6432 101%
6043 108%
6765 96%
5881 111%
Color Space (Percent of AdobeRGB 1998)
72.1
63.7
-12%
65
-10%
64
-11%
Color Space (Percent of sRGB)
96.8
96.8
0%
98
1%
99.4
3%
Colorchecker DeltaE2000 calibrated *
1.4
1.09
0.9
Total Average (Program / Settings)
3% / 7%
-17% / -27%
4862% / 2662%
-16% / -14%

* ... smaller is better

Display Response Times

Display response times show how fast the screen is able to change from one color to the next. Slow response times can lead to afterimages and can cause moving objects to appear blurry (ghosting). Gamers of fast-paced 3D titles should pay special attention to fast response times.
       Response Time Black to White
30.4 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 18 ms rise
↘ 12.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 240 (maximum) ms. » 76 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (24 ms).
       Response Time 50% Grey to 80% Grey
49.6 ms ... rise ↗ and fall ↘ combined↗ 25.2 ms rise
↘ 24.4 ms fall
The screen shows slow response rates in our tests and will be unsatisfactory for gamers.
In comparison, all tested devices range from 0.8 (minimum) to 636 (maximum) ms. » 81 % of all devices are better.
This means that the measured response time is worse than the average of all tested devices (38.1 ms).

Screen Flickering / PWM (Pulse-Width Modulation)

To dim the screen, some notebooks will simply cycle the backlight on and off in rapid succession - a method called Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) . This cycling frequency should ideally be undetectable to the human eye. If said frequency is too low, users with sensitive eyes may experience strain or headaches or even notice the flickering altogether.
Screen flickering / PWM detected 201.6 Hz ≤ 50 % brightness setting

The display backlight flickers at 201.6 Hz (Likely utilizing PWM) Flickering detected at a brightness setting of 50 % and below. There should be no flickering or PWM above this brightness setting.

The frequency of 201.6 Hz is relatively low, so sensitive users will likely notice flickering and experience eyestrain at the stated brightness setting and below.

In comparison: 51 % of all tested devices do not use PWM to dim the display. If PWM was detected, an average of 14825 (minimum: 5 - maximum: 2500000) Hz was measured.

CalMAN - Grayscale tracking
CalMAN - Grayscale tracking
CalMAN - Saturation sweeps
CalMAN - Saturation sweeps
CalMAN - Colour accuracy
CalMAN - Colour accuracy
sRGB coverage: 96.8%
sRGB coverage: 96.8%
Viewing angles
Viewing angles
Outdoor use
Outdoor use

Performance, Emissions and Battery Life

Microsoft offers the Surface Pro X with either the SQ1 or the somewhat more powerful SQ2 processor (both from Qualcomm). Our review device uses the SQ1 SoC, which offers a very good level of performance, subjectively speaking. Windows 10 feels very responsive. However, the main issue is the app compatibility. The slate only supports applications from the Microsoft Store and 32-bit programmes, which, in practice, can lead to severe limitations. This is why we were unable to conduct many of our usual benchmarks. The small NVMe SSD can be replaced. Howbeit, there are not many M.2-2230 SSDs out there.

Those who only use Microsoft’s office programmes or do most of their work in the browser will be satisfied with the level of performance that the Surface Pro X provides. However, in most cases, the Surface Pro 7 Plus with a normal x86 CPU is a significantly better choice. Microsoft has been working on 64-bit emulation for a while now. Nevertheless, there is still no official release date for this feature. Here, Apple’s M1 MacBooks are a much better choice, because they offer very good x86 emulation. 

The Surface Pro X is passively cooled, which is why it is always silent (no coil whine). We are disappointed by the battery life. Microsoft promises 15 hours of battery life. However, in our web-browsing battery test, the Microsoft slate lasted about 8 hours, and less than 5 hours with the brightness maxed out. 

Jetstream 2: Total Score | Speedometer 2.0: Result | WebXPRT 3: --- | Octane V2: Total Score
Jetstream 2 / Total Score
Average of class Convertible
  (32.2 - 180, n=24, last 2 years)
140 Points ∼100% +83%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic
126.1 Points ∼90% +64%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft SQ1
76.7 Points ∼55%
Average Microsoft SQ1
 
76.7 Points ∼55% 0%
Speedometer 2.0 / Result
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic
135 runs/min ∼100% +118%
Average of class Convertible
  (27.7 - 176, n=16, last 2 years)
104 runs/min ∼77% +68%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft SQ1
61.8 runs/min ∼46%
Average Microsoft SQ1
 
61.8 runs/min ∼46% 0%
WebXPRT 3 /
Average of class Convertible
  (59 - 279, n=71, last 2 years)
201 Points ∼100% +73%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
Intel Core i5-1135G7
197 Points ∼98% +70%
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
Intel Core i5-10210U
182 Points ∼91% +57%
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic
140 Points ∼70% +21%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft SQ1
116 Points ∼58%
Average Microsoft SQ1
 
116 Points ∼58% 0%
Octane V2 / Total Score
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Apple A12Z Bionic
43057 Points ∼100% +38%
Average of class Convertible
  (9656 - 66881, n=45, last 2 years)
39536 Points ∼92% +27%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Microsoft SQ1
31099 Points ∼72%
Average Microsoft SQ1
 
31099 Points ∼72% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
Intel Core i5-8250U
28118 Points ∼65% -10%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
256 GB NVMe
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
Samsung PM991 MZ9LQ256HBJQ
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
UMIS RPJTJ256MEE1OWX
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
Samsung PM961 MZVLW256HEHP
Average 256 GB NVMe
 
Average of class Convertible
 
CrystalDiskMark 5.2 / 6
391%
350%
342%
13%
383%
Write 4K
24.27
165.3
581%
118
386%
95.43
293%
35.8 (19.1 - 69.2, n=4)
48%
132 (12.9 - 311, n=84, last 2 years)
444%
Read 4K
13.57
42.95
217%
52.98
290%
39.19
189%
16.2 (11.6 - 20.3, n=4)
19%
52.6 (5.32 - 191, n=84, last 2 years)
288%
Write Seq
429.27
954.7
122%
1208
181%
362 (210 - 429, n=4)
-16%
1357 (121 - 4195, n=81, last 2 years)
216%
Read Seq
664.77
867.3
30%
1625
144%
726 (438 - 1232, n=4)
9%
1565 (257 - 3234, n=81, last 2 years)
135%
Write 4K Q32T1
63.38
423.5
568%
431
580%
399.24
530%
63.1 (39.2 - 95.8, n=4)
0%
389 (15.2 - 803, n=84, last 2 years)
514%
Read 4K Q32T1
31.62
479.2
1415%
356
1026%
260.67
724%
62.7 (31.6 - 122, n=4)
98%
396 (31.6 - 849, n=84, last 2 years)
1152%
Write Seq Q32T1
729.2
1060
45%
1278
75%
1286.9
76%
456 (217 - 729, n=4)
-37%
1695 (109 - 4931, n=84, last 2 years)
132%
Read Seq Q32T1
894.4
2251
152%
1949
118%
3024.8
238%
761 (528 - 1047, n=4)
-15%
2501 (180 - 7103, n=84, last 2 years)
180%
Write 4K Q8T8
381
715 (122 - 1498, n=12, last 2 years)
Read 4K Q8T8
749.95
944 (134 - 1531, n=12, last 2 years)
3DMark 11 - 1280x720 Performance GPU
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
Intel Iris Xe Graphics G7 80EUs, Intel Core i5-1135G7
5926 Points ∼100% +208%
Average of class Convertible
  (429 - 17421, n=87, last 2 years)
4260 Points ∼72% +121%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
Qualcomm Adreno 685, Microsoft SQ1
1927 Points ∼33%
Average Qualcomm Adreno 685
 
1927 Points ∼33% 0%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-8250U
1812 Points ∼31% -6%
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
Intel UHD Graphics 620, Intel Core i5-10210U
1657 Points ∼28% -14%

Temperature

Max. Load
 37.4 °C
99 F
41.8 °C
107 F
39.3 °C
103 F
 
 36.5 °C
98 F
40.3 °C
105 F
37.1 °C
99 F
 
 36.2 °C
97 F
38.3 °C
101 F
36.5 °C
98 F
 
Maximum: 41.8 °C = 107 F
Average: 38.2 °C = 101 F
44.7 °C
112 F
45.7 °C
114 F
42.1 °C
108 F
40.9 °C
106 F
42.1 °C
108 F
39.3 °C
103 F
37.7 °C
100 F
38.4 °C
101 F
36.1 °C
97 F
Maximum: 45.7 °C = 114 F
Average: 40.8 °C = 105 F
Power Supply (max.)  33.3 °C = 92 F | Room Temperature 20.9 °C = 70 F | Voltcraft IR-900
(-) The average temperature for the upper side under maximal load is 38.2 °C / 101 F, compared to the average of 30.3 °C / 87 F for the devices in the class Convertible.
(±) The maximum temperature on the upper side is 41.8 °C / 107 F, compared to the average of 35.3 °C / 96 F, ranging from 21.8 to 55.7 °C for the class Convertible.
(-) The bottom heats up to a maximum of 45.7 °C / 114 F, compared to the average of 36.6 °C / 98 F
(+) In idle usage, the average temperature for the upper side is 25.1 °C / 77 F, compared to the device average of 30.3 °C / 87 F.
(±) The palmrests and touchpad can get very hot to the touch with a maximum of 38.3 °C / 100.9 F.
(-) The average temperature of the palmrest area of similar devices was 28.6 °C / 83.5 F (-9.7 °C / -17.4 F).


Surface temperatures during the stress test (front)
Surface temperatures during the stress test (front)
Surface temperatures during the stress test (back)
Surface temperatures during the stress test (back)

Speakers

dB(A) 0102030405060708090Deep BassMiddle BassHigh BassLower RangeMidsHigher MidsLower HighsMid HighsUpper HighsSuper Highs2032.432.12526.927.4313031.54032.331.45028.229.56324.330.68023.226.610023.635.312522.443.216022.250.920022.250.825020.748.631520.255.340019.856.950019.557.463018.658.880017.663.6100017.567.4125016.867.4160016.465.3200016.269250015.969.7315015.968.4400015.767.1500015.863.1630015.761.8800015.758.31000015.758.81250015.555.21600015.360SPL28.978.1N1.240.2median 16.8median 58.8Delta2.36.332.829.726.223.123.319.421.921.12825.219.92319.135.419.946.216.556.119.662.617.560.717.562.413.96413.965.315.870.615.2711469.81470.613.972.913.470.113.865.514.3671469.414.570.314.669.614.563.414.762.915.155.6155714.862.226.5810.852.6median 14.6median 65.314.6hearing rangehide median Pink NoiseMicrosoft Surface Pro XApple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
Frequency diagram (checkboxes can be checked and unchecked to compare devices)
Microsoft Surface Pro X audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (78.1 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 11.5% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (13.2% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(±) | higher mids - on average 5.2% higher than median
(+) | mids are linear (5.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(±) | higher highs - on average 5.2% higher than median
(+) | highs are linear (4.3% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(±) | linearity of overall sound is average (15.7% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 21% of all tested devices in this class were better, 7% similar, 72% worse
» The best had a delta of 6%, average was 21%, worst was 53%
Compared to all devices tested
» 20% of all tested devices were better, 4% similar, 76% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020 audio analysis

(±) | speaker loudness is average but good (81 dB)
Bass 100 - 315 Hz
(±) | reduced bass - on average 6.6% lower than median
(±) | linearity of bass is average (10.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Mids 400 - 2000 Hz
(+) | balanced mids - only 4.2% away from median
(+) | mids are linear (4.6% delta to prev. frequency)
Highs 2 - 16 kHz
(+) | balanced highs - only 4.1% away from median
(+) | highs are linear (5.5% delta to prev. frequency)
Overall 100 - 16.000 Hz
(+) | overall sound is linear (9.8% difference to median)
Compared to same class
» 4% of all tested devices in this class were better, 3% similar, 94% worse
» The best had a delta of 7%, average was 20%, worst was 50%
Compared to all devices tested
» 3% of all tested devices were better, 1% similar, 97% worse
» The best had a delta of 3%, average was 21%, worst was 65%

Energy Management

Power Consumption
Off / Standbydarklight 0.88 / 1.24 Watt
Idledarkmidlight 3.2 / 8.5 / 9.6 Watt
Load midlight 19.8 / 24.7 Watt
 color bar
Key: min: dark, med: mid, max: light        Metrahit Energy
Currently we use the Metrahit Energy, a professional single phase power quality and energy measurement digital multimeter, for our measurements. Find out more about it here. All of our test methods can be found here.

Battery Life

Battery Runtime
WiFi Websurfing 1.3
Apple iPad Pro 12.9 2020
A12Z Bionic, A12Z Bionic GPU, 36.71 Wh
905 min ∼34% +93%
Average of class Convertible
  (248 - 1141, n=91, last 2 years)
567 min ∼22% +21%
Lenovo Yoga Duet 7 13IML05-82AS000WGE
i5-10210U, UHD Graphics 620, 39 Wh
523 min ∼20% +12%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
i5-1135G7, Iris Xe G7 80EUs, 48.9 Wh
483 min ∼18% +3%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
SQ1, Adreno 685, 38.2 Wh
469 min ∼18%
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Tablet G3-20KJ001NGE
i5-8250U, UHD Graphics 620, 42 Wh
395 min ∼15% -16%
WiFi Websurfing 1.3 max Brightness
Average of class Convertible
  (286 - 533, n=24, last 2 years)
400 min ∼47% +40%
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus
i5-1135G7, Iris Xe G7 80EUs, 48.9 Wh
349 min ∼41% +22%
Microsoft Surface Pro X
SQ1, Adreno 685, 38.2 Wh
286 min ∼33%
Battery Runtime
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3
7h 49min
NBC WiFi Websurfing Battery Test 1.3 max Brightness
4h 46min

Pros

+ made of premium materials
+ good 3:2 screen
+ silent operation
+ NVMe SSD can be replaced
+ LTE
+ good front-facing camera

Cons

- severe limitations due to the ARM сhip
- poor battery life
- PWM flickering at low brightness levels
- expensive
- only 12 months of warranty

Verdict - Windows and ARM do not mix

Microsoft Surface Pro X review. Device provided courtesy of: Microsoft Germany.
Microsoft Surface Pro X review. Device provided courtesy of: Microsoft Germany.

The Surface Pro X could have been an exciting device, but it is not, because of severe limitations, which Microsoft has been unable to resolve thus far. This is why we cannot recommend the Surface Pro X. Meanwhile, Microsoft offers the Surface Pro 7 Plus with an LTE modem, which makes the device significantly more compelling. It is very disappointing that it is taking Microsoft so long to come up with a decent emulation solution. With its impressive M1 MacBooks, Apple has shown the world what good emulation looks like. From day one, Apple’s x86 emulation worked well and did not incur a massive performance penalty.

The battery life should have been great, because the slate features an energy-efficient ARM chip. However, this is not the case in practice. The Microsoft slate lasts 5 to 8 hours depending on the screen brightness. This is why it offers worse battery life than the Surface Pro 7. 

The 3:2 screen leaves a better impression. However, it comes with the same limitations as the Surface Pro 7. At 50% brightness and below, the panel exhibits PWM flickering with a very low frequency. This is why individuals who are susceptible to PWM flickering should not get the Surface Pro X. 

Too expensive and too many limitations: We cannot recommend the Surface Pro X. The normal Surface Pro 7 is a much, much better choice.

All in all, the device is just too expensive, given the whole host of limitations that it comes saddled with. You would be much better off getting the normal Surface Pro 7 or the Surface Pro 7 Plus with an LTE modem.

Price and Availability

Our review model retails for $1085 on Amazon without the keyboard attachment. The new model with the SQ2 chip retails for $1499 on bestbuy.com. On Amazon, US-based users can get the Surface Pro X for as little as $899.97.

Microsoft Surface Pro X - 03/24/2021 v7
Andreas Osthoff

Chassis
83 / 98 → 85%
Keyboard
79%
Pointing Device
92%
Connectivity
56 / 75 → 75%
Weight
74 / 20-75 → 99%
Battery
79%
Display
88%
Games Performance
51 / 78 → 65%
Application Performance
53 / 85 → 62%
Temperature
89%
Noise
100%
Audio
72 / 91 → 79%
Camera
56 / 85 → 66%
Average
75%
84%
Convertible - Weighted Average

Pricecompare

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Andreas Osthoff
Editor of the original article: Andreas Osthoff - Managing Editor Business Laptops - 1280 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2013
I grew up with modern consumer electronics and my first computer was a Commodore C64, which encouraged my interest in building my own systems. I started working as a review editor for Notebookcheck during my dual studies at Siemens. Currently, I am mainly responsible for dealing with business laptops and mobile workstations. It’s a great experience to be able to review the latest devices and technologies and then compare them with each other.
Stanislav Kokhanyuk
Translator: Stanislav Kokhanyuk - Translator - 46 articles published on Notebookcheck since 2021
I am a big fan of technology, which is why I try to keep up with it. Among my other passions are literature and writing, and so it should not be surprising to anyone at all that I have a four-year bachelor's degree in philology. However, my interests are not limited just to the world of technology, or, for that matter, the world of literature. I am also interested in people and the stories they have to tell. And more recently, I took an interest in artificial intelligence.
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> Notebook / Laptop Reviews and News > Reviews > Microsoft Surface Pro X Review - Microsoft's ARM-based tablet with poor compatibility
Andreas Osthoff, 2021-03-26 (Update: 2021-03-26)