Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8 — Biggest upgrades to expect
The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 hasn’t been officially announced. However, considering that Microsoft has released a new model every year, it’s not unreasonable to assume we’ll see the Surface Pro 9 soon. In fact, the Surface Pro 9 could be announced at the Microsoft Fall 2022 event (opens in new tab) on October 12.
While the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 hasn’t yet been unveiled, we’ve heard some promising reports about what to expect from the next iteration of Microsoft’s flagship series of 2-in-1 Windows laptop/tablet hybrids. The Surface Pro 8 is currently one of the best 2-in-1 laptops you can buy, but if you read our Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review you’ll know there are a few weak points Microsoft could iron out to make the Surface Pro 9 a truly outstanding 2-in-1.
The Surface Pro 8 received major refinements such as a larger display with thinner bezels. It also added Thunderbolt ports. Since the current Surface Pro got such big improvements over its predecessors, it’s likely the Surface Pro 9 will only see iterative updates. But small things can make big differences, and some expected updates could make the Surface Pro 9 extremely enticing.
With that said, here’s a look at some potential Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8 differences we expect to see.
Editor’s note: Images in this post are of the Microsoft Surace Pro 8.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8: Price
As Tech Advisor (opens in new tab) reports, German sites Laptop6 (opens in new tab) and WinFuture (opens in new tab) suggest the Surface Pro 9 will start at around $1,299 in the United States. This presumably entry-level configuration would pack an Intel Core i5 CPU with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. If these leaks are accurate, then it appears the new 2-in-1 will cost $100 more than its predecessor — at least for starters.
Take these alleged leaks with a healthy amount of skepticism. But given how the price of electronics and most products has risen over the past two years, we wouldn’t be surprised if the Surface Pro 9 does indeed cost more than the Surface Pro 8.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8: Design
We haven’t heard much about how Microsoft plans to change up the design of the Surface Pro line for the Surface Pro 9, or if it plans to at all.
We expect little to change from the design of the Surface Pro 8, which sported a 13-inch (2,880 x 1,920) 120Hz touchscreen and an 11th Gen Intel CPU in a slim chassis that measured 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches and weighed a little less than 2 pounds. It also had a decent pair of cameras (5MP front/10MP rear) and some surprisingly good speakers for a tablet, though they got too distorted at high levels.
Hopefully, Microsoft will do a bit better on the next model. If and when the Surface Pro 9 manifests, it will no doubt ship with Windows 11 pre-installed, though we’re less confident Microsoft will also ship the 2-in-1 with a keyboard and stylus included.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8: Specs
So far, we haven’t heard anything to suggest the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 will be a radical departure from its predecessors in terms of specs. The most significant report we’ve heard about the Surface Pro 9’s specs is that Microsoft plans to offer an ARM version in addition to a model with Intel chips inside.
If that proves true, it effectively spells the end of the Surface Pro X line, which featured ARM-based Surface 2-in-1s powered by Qualcomm chips. Instead, Microsoft will reportedly merge it (opens in new tab) with the core Surface Pro line by offering the Surface Pro 9 with either Intel or Qualcomm chips inside.
Specifically, reports claim we can expect Surface Pro 9 models packing either Intel’s 12th Gen Alder Lake chips or a custom Snapdragon 8cx SoC from Qualcomm, reportedly branded as the Microsoft SQ3. Such a name would make it a clear follow-up to the Microsoft SQ2 which powered the 2020 Surface Pro X.
The other big spec change to expect as the result of this merger is the addition of a Surface Pro 9 model with 5G connectivity. That’s part of what the FCC was certifying in the aforementioned filing, and it makes sense given that a key value of the ARM-based Surface Pro PCs is their wireless connectivity.
If all of that is accurate, it’s reasonable to expect such a model might be closer in size to the Microsoft Surface Pro X, which is nearly a tenth of an inch thinner than the Surface Pro 8.
With regard to whether or not the Surface Pro 9 could pack Intel’s upcoming 13th gen “Raptor Lake” CPUs, it’s unlikely. Like the Surface Pro 8, the Surface Pro 9 is expected just before Intel’s new processor line arrives. Because of that, it will likely sport the latest available processor, the 12th gen Alder Lake chip. This is pure speculation on our part, but it seems the most likely outcome.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs. Surface Pro 8: Outlook
We’ve little information to go on at this time but we’re confident that Microsoft is working on a Surface Pro 9. But going on the little that has been reported, it doesn’t seem like this 2-in-1 device will offer the same big leap its predecessor did. Because of that, some prospective buyers who are happy with the Surface Pro 8 might not want to upgrade.
But as we said above, some small updates could be enough for some. Though it seems the upcoming laptop/tablet hybrid will be virtually identical to the Surface Pro 8 design-wise, a beefy 12th gen Intel Core processor could be enough to warrant an upgrade. After all, Alder Lake chips have delivered outstanding improvements in performance and power efficiency, helping many of the best laptops for battery life stay productive for 12-plus hours. If the Surface Pro 9 delivers killer battery life along with impressive performance, it could be an extremely tempting device.
We could see the Microsoft Surface Pro 9 unveiled during the Microsoft Fall 2022 event, alongside the Surface Laptop 5 and Studio 3, if rumors are true. When that happens, we’ll initiate a true face-off between it and the Surface Pro 8 to see if the new 2-in-1 is worth buying, or if it will have the other upgrades we want to see.