The Surface Pro 9 doubles down on bright colors and custom silicon
Microsoft's new Surface Pro 9 has a great 120Hz display, and options for custom Arm chip with 5G support and several new colors.
Microsoft is celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Surface Pro by launching the Surface Pro 9, a modest upgrade to the design of the landmark 2-in-1 with some important changes inside.
Besides coming in a slew of new colors (with keyboard covers to match) the Surface Pro 9’s biggest feature might be the fact that it can ship with either a 12th Gen Intel chip or Microsoft’s SQ 3 processor “powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon,” an Arm chip that promises 5G connectivity and dramatically longer battery life.
Last year’s design — Externally, the Surface Pro 9 carries over a lot of the great changes that shipped with the Surface Pro 8. There’s a 13-inch high refresh rate PixelSense Flow display with slimmer bezels, support for the great Surface Pro Keyboard and Surface Pen Slim 2, and the trademark aluminum kickstand.
This year’s Surface Pro 9 now comes in platinum (silver), graphite (grey), and new sapphire (blue), or forest (green) finishes, though getting a Surface Pen or keyboard is still going to cost you extra.
Surface Pro 9 Specs
- Screen: 13-inch PixelSense Flow display, 2,880 x 1,920 resolution, 120Hz refresh rate
- Processor: 12th Gen Intel Core i5-1235U, 12th Gen Intel Core i7-1255U (Surface Pro 9), or Microsoft SQ 3 with NPU (Surface Pro 9 with 5G)
- Ports: 2 USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4.0 and a Microsoft Surface connector (Surface Pro 9), or 2 USB-C 3.2 ports, a nano sim slot, and a Microsoft Surface connector (Surface Pro 9 with 5G)
- Battery: Up to 15.5 hours (Surface Pro 9) or up to 19 hours (Surface Pro 9 with 5G)
- RAM: 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM (Surface Pro 9), or 8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x RAM (Surface Pro 9 with 5G)
- Storage: 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB of removable SSD storage (Surface Pro 9), or 128GB, 256GB, or 512GB of removable SSD storage (Surface Pro 9 with 5G)
- Camera: 1080p Windows Hello front camera and a 10-megapixel rear camera
The Surface Pro 9 ships with either 12th Gen Intel Core i5 or i7 chips, and up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM. Opting for the Microsoft SQ 3 instead not only offers longer battery life and 5G support, it also unlocks several Windows Studio features enabled by the NPU (neural processing unit). For now, these are similar to what Apple offers with its custom silicon (auto framing in video calls, portrait blur, etc.) but it certainly hints at a future where Microsoft leans into exclusive AI features in the same way Google has on its Pixel phones.
Either way, supporting an Arm option on a flagship device like the Surface Pro 9 is a sign that Microsoft is taking Windows on Arm seriously. The company first introduced support for mobile-first processors with the Surface Pro X, but the SQ 3 on the Surface Pro 9 is both a vote of confidence and likely an attempt to keep up with Apple’s M-series competition.
10th anniversary design — Alongside the new colors, Microsoft is also debuting a special edition Surface Pro 9 designed by Liberty, a London design house. The Liberty Surface Pro 9 includes a custom floral blue keyboard cover, and a specially etched Surface inspired by the Windows 11 Bloom wallpaper. The look is definitely an acquired taste, but it's at least more fun than the usual Surface options.
Release date and price — The Surface Pro 9 will be available on October 25 starting at $999 for the entry-level platinum option. For more colors and at least 256GB of storage, you’ll have to step up to the $1,099 model, and for a taste of Windows on Arm, you’ll need to spend at least $1,299. You can look at all of the possible options for the Surface Pro 9 on the Microsoft Store.
Inverse may receive a portion of sales if you purchase a product through a link in this article.