The Surface Neo and the Surface Duo may have stolen Microsoft’s event last month but those two won’t be coming until late 2020 at the earliest. For more practical Surface users, the Surface Pro X is the one that brings the future here and now. That “now” is finally happening as Microsoft announces the availability of the latest ARM-powered Windows PC. Unfortunately, it seems that Microsoft still hasn’t addressed the most important shortcoming of its Windows on ARM version.
It’s not too often that you hear reviewers generally agreeing about the exact same things. On the surface, no pun intended, the Surface Pro X definitely deserves the hype. Its thin form factor, thin bezels, and stylish design make it almost worthy of that $999 base price tag. The promise of an always-on and always-connected computer, thanks to the custom Microsoft SQ1 ARM processor and built-in LTE, is always alluring.
The Surface Pro X, however, suffers from two practical problems. The least of which is how Microsoft continues to market its 2-in-1 Surface tablets with a Surface Keyboard and a Surface Pen but never really includes those in the price tag. Yes, to date, those two essential accessories are separate purchases at $269.99, presuming the special bundle lasts.
More worrying for users, however, is how reviewers seem to be united in concluding that the software experience is still far from being usable. Compatibility with x86 software, even with Microsoft’s special layer, is still unreliable at best. Worse, the performance even of native supported apps is unimpressive as well.
Some of these could be addressed by future software updates. Or rather, they have to be addressed and can only be fixed via software updates anyway. Until that happens, the $1,300 Surface Pro X package will look like a very expensive leap of faith in Microsoft’s dream.