My Surface Pro X Review


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May 7, 2011
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There are lots of Pro X reviews out there, but most are written just by people who appear to believe that every laptop needs to be designed for the entire universe of laptop users. Daniel Rubino and a few others have done better than that, but I wanted to try to show that making something for segments, or "niches" of users, doesn't mean that there are not lots of people who could benefit from such a device.

Surface Pro X is an attractive and productive tool for a portion the population that some reviewers have called “niche” or have minimized as a small subset of PC users.

Actually, the types of PC users who will find the Pro X a compelling device is far larger than these reviewers can imagine: employees who work out of an office at least part of the time but need connections to company resources; students on the go between classes and dorm rooms; vacationers or retirees before, during and after travel; small business or sole practitioners needing access to files and product information on sales calls; real estate agents who now use phones or tablets to show listing photos to clients and then try to write an email on the touchscreen. The list goes on and on.

The Pro X is perfect for each of these types of users because it has instant on, is always connected, has a beautiful 13 inch touch screen, has all day battery life, is available with an excellent keyboard cover, is compatible with the Surface Slim Pen and Surface Pen, runs on regular Windows, and is compatible with nearly all the software any of these users need.

Running on an ARM processor known as the SQ1, the Pro X cannot run some high-end software such as the full Adobe Creative Cloud suite such as Photoshop and Lightroom. It apparently also cannot run the drivers of some peripherals, although it works perfectly with my 5-year-old HP printer and my stand-alone optical drive. If you use older or more exotic peripheral devices than printers or optical drives, you may have issues.
The SQ1 processor gives much more to the Surface Pro X than it takes away.

The SQ1 is what allows the Pro X to be the thinnest Surface Pro device ever made. The “feel” of the Pro X in your hand is extraordinary. It is incredibly well balanced and while it is not that much thinner than the regular Surface Pro, it feels as though it is. The Alcantara clad Signature Type Cover (which comes with the Surface Slim Pen and is an extra, yet essential, cost) makes the Pro X is a pleasure to carry. The SQ1 CPU also provides the instant on feature, which is accompanied with Windows Hello so that the PC is turned on and you are signed in before you can even finish opening the Type Cover.

ARM chips are known for very long battery life and the Pro X can easily get you to 10 hours. While this is shorter by several hours than other ARM based Windows tablets, that is because the SQ1 chip is custom silicon, tweaked to provide more power and better graphics performance than an out of the box Qualcomm chip. I think the trade off is worth it. This is a Windows PC after all. You want better speed and graphics than you get on a typical phone.

Pro X comes with 2 USB C ports and the new fast-charge Surface Connect port. This means it works with any Surface power supply and can also be powered via the USB C ports if needed. There is no USB A port on this PC, no headphone jack, and no micro SD card slot. The SSD storage, coming in 128, 256 and 512 GB sizes, is fast and replaceable if needed. There is a physical micro SIM card slot, but the Pro X also works with eSIM services that are available through the Windows Settings app.

Any Surface Pen will work with the Pro X, but the new Slim Pen is best. It is more comfortable to hold than the original, and it recharges in a dock in the Signature Type Cover.

Given all these features, the Surface Pro X is the perfect device for a student taking notes in class, snapping a picture of the classroom whiteboard with the excellent rear facing 10MP camera, signing in to the school Wi-Fi, writing a paper in full Office apps, capturing screen shots with the Slim Pen, plugging into a printer in the dorm, and reviewing notes while listening to Spotify or locally stored music on Bluetooth headphones or earbuds.

The Pro X is the device for retired couples to plan a trip, collecting ideas and reviews on Microsoft Edge, exploring online maps and searching out flights and accommodations, checking in with those back home via Skype or capturing pics of receipts on the 5MP front facing camera, journaling the trip with Word or One Note, examining photographs of each day on the large 13 inch screen, while saving the pics on One Drive or other cloud services, and editing those photos on a choice of quality apps that run perfectly on the SQ1 CPU.

A corporate employee who works out of the office will love the lightweight and quality feel of the Pro X, and its ability to run the full suite of Office 365 apps and Windows Defender protection while providing VPN access to the corporate network for mail and other resources.

The Surface Pro X is another beautifully designed and well-built member of the growing Surface family of devices. It will work well for those seeking a full Windows PC that is designed for use in business settings, school, or home and travel.


Aug 24, 2010
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I wanted to love this for working in the field, but unfortunately it misses the mark on a few things.

1. When I am back at my office, or other company offices, there is no Thunderbolt 3, so it won't work with any of the docking stations in the company.
2. I use a number of business applications such as Concur and Salesforce. Using the web site for these applications in touch is a terrible experience. They do not have apps for Windows, as they do for iOS.
3. As another forum user mentioned, there is no driver support for USB to Serial adapters, so as a networking professional, I cannot access the equipment I am working on.

Unfortunately there isn't one single device that works well for field engineers. I will have to continue using my iPhone for most of my work and pulling out a traditional Dell laptop for those times I need Serial connections. It's especially frustrating that Microsoft can't even convince the largest business application companies to make touch friendly applications for Windows. This whole notion that Windows is better for business is simply no longer true.


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Jul 17, 2004
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While I generally agree that it would be nice to see more touch friendly apps for Windows, the two you mention I can't imagine wanting to use with anything BUT a mouse and keyboard. I use both daily on my Pro X (have used both daily for years on Windows)...given the number of fields, etc. I'm always working with to run reports, update records, etc. in SFDC or create multi-city itineraries and expense reports....doing that via big wonky touch UI's would kill me.

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