Surface Pro X...what an awesome machine

Jcmg62

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My Pro 4 died last week, and I opted to try out windows-on-arm and grab a Pro X (£899). It's only been 2 days, but I love it and can see that Microsoft are onto something with this.

It looks and feels a lot better than the traditional Pro Tablets/ 2-in-1. Although it weighs the same than a Pro 4, 5, 6 or 7 (they all weigh about 770-780 grams), it feels lighter, because it's so much thinner, has rounded curves, smaller bezels and a much larger screen. It feels amazing to carry around and use.

I really want to clear this up for anyone considering this device. Unless you're a developer, video producer, professional photographer, musician or someone who needs a very specific or resource-intensive software programme, then APP COMPATIBILITY IS NOT AN ISSUE, AND HERE'S WHY:

This is the one thing you absolutely must do when you unbox this device, and frankly I'm surprised Microsoft doesn't do it when they ship the device:

!!UPDATE TO MICROSOFT EDGE CHROMIUM IMMEDIATELY!! RIGHT NOW!!

Here's the link to do it:

https://support.microsoft.com/en-gb/help/4501095/download-the-new-microsoft-edge-based-on-chromium

Have you done it yet? Why the hell not?? Get over there and download it now, dammit! :p

Seriously, make it the very first thing you do. It's a game-changer.

The new, Chromium version of the Edge Browser supports Progressive Web Apps far better than the version of Edge that ships with the device. I know I'm repeating myself here, but I really don't get why Microsoft would ship any new device with an outdated web browser. Makes no sense.

But whatever. Download the Chromium version of Edge and you can install Web Sites such as Amazon, eBay, Amazon Prime Video, Kindle Cloud, YouTube, Google Maps, Uber, Deliveroo, etc, etc, etc as a desktop app. And they actually work, just like regular apps.

You want your bank installed as an app? Simple. Just head to your bank website, click the little button on the top right and choose "install as an app" and it's right there, on your desktop.

You want your shopping, eating, travelling, social networking, news reading, tv watching, sports following apps on your device....no problem, just head over to the Edge Browser, hit "install as an app" and Boom...it's right there.

Virtually every modern website is a Progressive Web App (PWA) which simply means it can be downloaded and used just like its app store equivalent.

I, like 99.99% of the PC literate population, am a regular user. I use my devices for email, messaging, looking up directions, document/spreadsheet/presentation creation, note-keeping, calendar and reminder updates, reading the news, going online to laugh at cats on YouTube, listening to music, watching TV and films, light gaming, looking at photo's, checking out social media posts, etc, etc.

Good news. The Pro X comes with a tonne of high quality, Microsoft built apps pre-installed to do pretty much all of that stuff. And the Microsoft Store already has a lot of apps that the regular user is going to need. Netflix, Spotify, Tune-in Radio, WhatsApp, Instagram, etc are all there. The Pro X comes out of the box with a tonne of useful, high-quality apps from Microsoft, including Mail, Calendar, Calculator, Maps, OneDrive, OneNote and a Photo/Video Editor.

If heavy photo/video editing, music production, architecture, major software development or hardcore gaming is your thing, then why are you even looking at a Pro X?

You already know that this device isn't for you. Respectfully, you're in the wrong aisle. Head back over to the intel i9 range and drop £3-5K on the machine you know you need to do your job.

For the everyday user, there is no app gap. Between the pre-installed software, the app store and Edge Chromium web app download capability, you're more than covered.

Surface Pro X is an awesome machine. Battery life is superb. The screen is super bright and colourful. Instant-on and instant connectivity is something we're used to seeing on our phones, but to have it on a Windows 10 laptop is game-changing.

Is there room for improvement? Absolutely. For example, it would be great to see tighter integration between Windows-on-Arm machines and Xbox, particularly in terms of running play anywhere or Xbox game pass games, but I'm more than confident that Microsoft will be working hard to make it happen.

If you're the kind of user that needs a rock-solid daily machine with no limitations, and you're looking to step into a new, sleek and very capable Windows 10 experience, you'd do well to check out the Pro X
 
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toddpart

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Could not agree more with your review! I moved over to this device and have not even thought about looking back...been my main machine now for months. Great in all respects.
 

GSOgymrat

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I too wanted to upgrade from Surface Pro 4 but was leery of Surface Pro X after watching reviews and was going to buy Surface Pro 7. A friend generously let me borrow his Surface Pro X to make sure it could run all the programs I need, in particular it had to run Citrix for Epic medical records. I loved the form factor, the screen, the slim pen and especially the battery life. I bought a mint condition used 256GB Surface Pro X with pen and keyboard for $900.
 

bradavon

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Yeah it's awesome.

Most reviewers don't look past how they use a PC. I couldn't care less if my Pro X is poor at Games or Adobe apps, never used them *.

* Adobe Photoshop Elements 14 runs fine.
 

naddy6969

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"The Pro X comes out of the box with a ton of useful, high-quality apps from Microsoft, including Mail, Calendar, Calculator, Maps, OneDrive, OneNote and a Photo/Video Editor."

I have one coming tomorrow. Are all of these ARM64 versions?

I know about the new Edge, and of course it will be my first install. BTW new Edge makes a huge difference on this m3 Surface Pro 2017.
 

HeyCori

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"The Pro X comes out of the box with a ton of useful, high-quality apps from Microsoft, including Mail, Calendar, Calculator, Maps, OneDrive, OneNote and a Photo/Video Editor."

I have one coming tomorrow. Are all of these ARM64 versions?

I know about the new Edge, and of course it will be my first install. BTW new Edge makes a huge difference on this m3 Surface Pro 2017.

As far as I know, those should all run as native apps.

Let us know what you think of the Pro X once you get to spend some time with it!
 

Jcmg62

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"The Pro X comes out of the box with a ton of useful, high-quality apps from Microsoft, including Mail, Calendar, Calculator, Maps, OneDrive, OneNote and a Photo/Video Editor."

I have one coming tomorrow. Are all of these ARM64 versions?

I know about the new Edge, and of course it will be my first install. BTW new Edge makes a huge difference on this m3 Surface Pro 2017.

Hi naddy6969, how are you getting on with your new device?
 

naddy6969

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I love it. I have the 8GB/256GB version. It is very fast, and indeed everything I am running are ARM64 versions.

Everything is even faster once I disabled Bitlocker.

I also have an iPad Pro. Strangely, its 12.9" screen seems bigger than the 13" screen on the X. The iPad's screen is taller, but the X is wider.
 

naddy6969

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Well, the bad news is, most of the included apps in Windows 10 on the Pro X are X86 versions. Mail, OneNote, Photos, Weather, Calendar, Groove Music, Windows Media Player etc. are ALL X86 versions. Even the MS Store app is X86. The Calculator and Your Phone are ARM64.

This is very easy to check. Right click on the .exe and select the Compatibility tab. This tells you everything. On an ARM .exe (such as new Edge and Calculator) the emulation options are all greyed out. On the above apps - and most others - you can change the emulation settings.

This explains why no one is getting "all day battery life". I have a 2017 Surface Pro with the m3 CPU that gets better battery life than this Pro X.

To get maximum battery life, you have to kill everything that is 32 bit. There are several things that startup automatically on bootup which are x86 apps, which makes it a major PITA to achieve good battery life.

On top of this, the MS store does NOT tell you the correct info when you are looking for ARM apps. Under System Requirements, most say ARM when browsing with the Pro X. However, lookup the same app on Intel Windows and it says x64. Install the app on the Pro X and it is an x86 app.

This is all extremely discouraging, and I am seriously thinking of selling this thing already. To be clear, the hardware is great. But the software is far from ready. If MS can't be bothered to recompile their own apps for ARM, then no one else will either. Which means that WOA has no future.

Does anyone know if the new 2004 version of Win 10 has more apps compiled for ARM?
 
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jnjroach

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Well, the bad news is, most of the included apps in Windows 10 on the Pro X are X86 versions. Mail, OneNote, Photos, Weather, Calendar, Groove Music, Windows Media Player etc. are ALL X86 versions. Even the MS Store app is X86. The Calculator and Your Phone are ARM64.

This is very easy to check. Right click on the .exe and select the Compatibility tab. This tells you everything. On an ARM .exe (such as new Edge and Calculator) the emulation options are all greyed out. On the above apps - and most others - you can change the emulation settings.

This explains why no one is getting "all day battery life". I have a 2017 Surface Pro with the m3 CPU that gets better battery life than this Pro X.

To get maximum battery life, you have to kill everything that is 32 bit. There are several things that startup automatically on bootup which are x86 apps, which makes it a major PITA to achieve good battery life.

On top of this, the MS store does NOT tell you the correct info when you are looking for ARM apps. Under System Requirements, most say ARM when browsing with the Pro X. However, lookup the same app on Intel Windows and it says x64. Install the app on the Pro X and it is an x86 app.

This is all extremely discouraging, and I am seriously thinking of selling this thing already. To be clear, the hardware is great. But the software is far from ready. If MS can't be bothered to recompile their own apps for ARM, then no one else will either. Which means that WOA has no future.

Does anyone know if the new 2004 version of Win 10 has more apps compiled for ARM?

The inbox apps are ARM just 32bit ARM (most likely ported from Windows Mobile)

Task Manager Inbox Apps.jpg
 

wolfpack219

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A great review and applicable to the Surface Go and Go 2. Been using the original Go since launch and I love it. The PWA in the new Edge browser is indeed a game changer.
 

naddy6969

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I am sorry to say that I gave up on the Pro X. I installed Windows 2004, and all of the included apps are still X86. I have come to the conclusion that Windows On ARM makes as much sense as iOS on Intel would. The alleged benefits are entirely theoretical. The Go 2 has better battery life.

The fact that Microsoft can’t be bothered to recompile their apps for ARM tells me that it is not easy. Which means that no one else will either. Which means that there is no point to WOA. Which means that it has no future.

The hardware was great, but it is saddled with horrible software, and a “software” company that it is clearly not interested in improving the software. Edge browser is about the only native ARM app that MS has, but even the stupid auto updater that runs every couple hours is X86. How friggin pathetic is that? An X86 updater app, to update an ARM app.

I sold the Pro X on eBay and bought another iPad Pro. Lesson learned.
 
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Cruncher04

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The fact that Microsoft can’t be bothered to recompile their apps for ARM tells me that it is not easy. Which means that no one else will either. Which means that there is no point to WOA. Which means that it has no future.
.

Your loss i guess... But you are drawing all the wrong conclusions. It is very easy to recompile the apps - it is in case of built-in apps just not necessary - because you wont notice any difference.
Microsoft is currently investing heavily in ARM64 versions with big impact, like .NET Core 5.0 - which requires much more than a simple re-compile.

Regarding the thread title, i am also a happy owner of the Surface Pro X. Awesome machine - runs everything i need - most of them native. That having said, i compiled few apps myself such that i have a native version. And then all the Linux apps are native ARM64 as well. The next big step forward will be .NET 5.0, where we are getting native .NET CLR including WinForms and WPF.

Also coming next is OpenGL support for native apps. I have for instance Quake3 running here with pre-release OpenGL as prove of concept.
 

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