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Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 is now faster, but no longer offers an audio jack

Microsoft Surface Pro 9
Microsoft Surface Pro 9
The Surface Pro is Microsoft's flagship convertible, and the ninth generation now offers Wi-Fi 6E and a leap in performance thanks to the Alder Lake CPU, but other features such as the optional LTE modem or the audio jack have been omitted. This doesn't make the device any better.

The Surface Pro has been one of the best - and most expensive - convertibles on the market for years, but aside from the expected updates to the processor and WLAN module, Microsoft has also made some things worse in the current Surface Pro 9. We actually had to check several times to see whether the new model is really missing an audio jack. Of course, this was not mentioned at all in the press release, because the manufacturer knows very well that this is unlikely to be received well by customers. We can't really understand this change either, since not every customer wants to use Bluetooth headphones.

The second omitted feature concerns the optional LTE module, which was previously available for business customers. Microsoft is now circumventing this problem with the ARM version of the Surface Pro 9, which was previously sold under the name Surface Pro X. This offers a 5G modem ex works, but we are not sure whether Windows on ARM is now really a proper alternative to the Intel version. A review of the ARM Surface Pro 9 will clarify this question soon. The card reader, which was removed some time ago because of the optional SIM slot, didn't make it back into the Intel model either.

The processor has been upgraded to a current Alder Lake U processor from Intel. The fact that it's not yet a Raptor-Lake processor shouldn't be an issue, because we don't expect much from the new Raptor-Lake chips in the mobile sector (slight clock increases, but no major changes and no new iGPU either). The new Alder-Lake U chip (Core i7-1255U) offers significantly more performance than the old Core i7-1185G, especially in the multi-core area. Microsoft gives the processor free rein here and the cooling system manages to keep 35 watts cool for a few minutes and 22 watts continuously. Even at this low value, however, an Alder Lake P processor such as the Core i7-1260P with its two additional performance cores would be faster.

This still leaves the problem of the price. The basic model with the Core i5-1235U, 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD doesn't exactly live up to the "Pro" claim in 2023, but Microsoft still charges a hefty EUR 1,299, and you have to buy the keyboard and stylus separately. Our review device with the Core i7, 16 GB RAM and a 512 GB SSD even has an RRP of more than EUR 2,100, but is already available in stores from EUR 1,900 (again without input devices). The ARM version with 8 GB RAM and a 256 GB SSD even costs around EUR 1,600, which is almost as much as a current iPad Pro 12.9 with the M2 processor, but with a much better mini LED display. All further information on the new Surface Pro 9 can be found in our detailed review:

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> Expert Reviews and News on Laptops, Smartphones and Tech Innovations > News > News Archive > Newsarchive 2023 01 > Microsoft's Surface Pro 9 is now faster, but no longer offers an audio jack
Andreas Osthoff, 2023-01-27 (Update: 2023-01-27)