The Microsoft Surface Pro X has been a slightly head-scratching addition to Microsoft’s lineup since it debuted in 2019. With a nearly identical form factor as the rest of the Surface Pro family, it’s the only system sporting an ARM-based processor and always-on connectivity via an LTE connection.
Microsoft is changing that formula up a bit in 2021 with the latest addition to the Surface Pro X lineup going Wi-Fi only.
If you are waiting for the rest of the updated specs, then you are in for disappointment as the Surface Pro X otherwise remains identical to last year’s update with SQ1 and SQ2 models available. That isn’t perhaps as harsh as it sounds, our primary complaint with the Pro X hardware has been the middling performance of the ARM processor. It’s otherwise a well-built convertible with solid battery life, an excellent webcam, and a gorgeous 2880 x 1920-pixel touch screen.
The one rising concern with the Surface Pro X hardware is that it lacks 5G and Wi-Fi 6 support. We addressed this with the Surface Pro X (SQ2, 2020) last year and while it was a notable omission then, it is edging towards inexcusable as we near the end of 2021.
The Surface Pro X update essentially has two things to recommend it and the good news for existing Surface Pro X owners is that one of them will apply to your laptops as well.
The first is the new low $899 price point for the Wi-Fi-only model. While again the lack of Wi-Fi 6 is inexplicable at this stage, for general usage, office and productivity tasks that probably won’t be a massive concern and this is a much more reasonable entry point for this laptop.
The second, and far more important, part of the update is entirely about the software. The laptop will launch with Windows 11, which is coming to all Surface Pro X models. This in turn means that it will now support 64-bit emulation, greatly expanding the app support for the laptop, which has been perhaps our harshest criticism of it to date.
A new 64-bit version of Office on ARM will deliver vastly better performance and more developers are coming on board with added support from Adobe, Zoom, Shapr 3D and more. Combined support for x86 and x64 emulation will prevent some of the frustrations that we’ve had just trying to run apps on Surface Pro X.
The Surface Pro X will also offer support for Microsoft’s new Slim Pen 2 with a dedicated slot for the pen in the detachable Surface Typecover that charges the pen, just like last year. The pen offers up to 15 hours of battery life on a charge, matching that of the Surface Pro X itself, so it can hold up to a full day of usage.