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We tried Surface Pro X. Everything else suddenly looks old



Microsoft had tried with Windows RT and Surface RT: in 2013, it was the early years of Surface, and Windows in the ARM version was useless to get around the problem, a real disaster.

Today times have changed: ARM, with its processors, is dominating the mobility market and The use of this architecture has allowed us to overcome the limits historically imposed by the presence of an Intel processor.. An iPad Pro can not only be thinner and lighter than similar Windows-based solutions, it also enjoys tremendous autonomy and an always-on connection. And there's Windows: Windows 10 on Snapdragon works, it's fast, 32-bit and 64-bit application compatibility has increased and today there are not many applications that, in a similar solution, do not spin or are locked. They are, and always will be, but these are almost exclusively productivity-related applications or games that do not fit the typical 2-in-1 use cases.

Take the philosophy of Surface, an ARM processor made especially by Qualcomm for Microsoft called SQ1, an even more optimized operating system like Windows 10 with dedicated drivers, and here it is Surface Pro X, the future of 2 in 1, according to Microsoft.

The classic Surface Pro does not disappear, just reached version 7, but next to the new Pro X looks incredibly old, outdated. Surface Pro X, we were the first to play it yesterday, is not yet a definitive version, so we were not allowed to photograph the hardware configuration or even perform performance tests. We can only play with this a little, and in all honesty it seems to be on a traditional surface if you look at the flow of the system and the speed of openness of individual applications.

The performance side, especially for non-native applications, will be carefully evaluated in the review phase as soon as Microsoft provides us with a sample. From what we could see last year at Qualcomm's Snapdragon Summit, the C8X, the processor from which the Microsoft SQ1 with Adreno 685 GPU was derived, was definitely faster than all previous generations of ARM processors for Windows and He could also handle demanding applications like Adobe Suite without any problems. In the Microsoft product, there is an even more advanced and customized version, to which Microsoft has also adapted and optimized Windows 10.

The operating system and its drivers, edge browser and Office suite are obviously ARM-compiled and run natively on Surface Pro X, applications written for X86 processors are run by an emulator that, in its most up-to-date form, is compatible with 32-bit and 64-bit application.

Operating system aside, today it is not possible to make assessments. Instead, we focus on what is 2 in 1. The 13-inch screen, set in a very thin frame, has an excellent viewing angle, brightness and resolution, 2880 x 1920 in 3: 2 aspect ratio.

Not an HDR screen, but in direct light, it is clearly visible with a very effective anti-glare filter: according to specifications, it touches 450 nits and is obviously compatible with the Microsoft pen.

The shell is lightweight, thin and differs as a stylistic pattern from the sharp, sharp lines of the Surface line: for the first time along the edges there are also smooth curves where Microsoft hides both Type C USB ports and the Charging Surface Connector. fast.

In addition, Pro X does not abandon the dedicated connector to which the optional dock can be attached: we would have liked a full deviation towards USB Type C, but at least there is consistency. No microSD port slot, there is a replaceable SSD port and there is the nano SIM slot because, always remember, the presence of the Snapdragon processor, as well as autonomy, also ensures LTE connectivity.

The support angle is guaranteed by Surface's classic rear hinge and the same 2-in-1 logic with keyboard covers is also found on the Pro X with a variant, or the presence of the magnetic pen inside the cap. A very clever solution that helps keep the pen from sticking out, often attached to the outer edge, and above all improves grip because the pen is not round, it looks more like the classic, flat, wide construction pencil.

The apparently sacrificed keyboard is not so different from the classic Surface, even if we are not lovers of cover keyboards, because they inevitably bend under the fingers of those who are used to pressing a little.

Finally, a consideration about the name. We would call it surface X, a little because it represents a cross between the traditional way, Intel and the future, ARM, a little because it seems a bit "professional" to us.

The "Pro" suffix goes well with the rest of the track, where an Adobe Premiere can be used to render 4K videos and where music or design solutions are at home, but not with this X, where choosing a specific processor can put different boundaries ahead of productivity.

The price starts at 1169 euros for the 128 GB and neither pen nor keyboard is included. A price that is in line with Apple's choice for the 13 "iPad Pro in the LTE version, which costs 1459 euros with 256 GB. The 256 GB Surface Pro X costs 1499 euros and reaches 1999 in its most powerful version with 16 GB of RAM and 512 GB of storage, a price that clashes slightly with what Qualcomm's original idea for Windows was in Snapdragon or to provide connected and lightweight products at a price affordable to all. Today, the few products launched in the market are premium products.

Surface Pro X is a major innovation not only for the Surface system, but for the entire Windows world for the message it sends: times for ARM solutions are finally ripe. Qualcomm smiles, Intel is a little less, but just look at the curve with the year-on-year increase in performance of arm-based solutions and put it on the side of recent x86 evolution to realize that sooner or later, the arm of the laptops would have arrived. This time to stay.


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