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A year ago, the Surface Pro 8 brought one of the biggest upgrades to the Pro series, at least in terms of design. At its Surface Event 2022 today, Microsoft once again transformed the Surface Pro lineup with the debut of the Surface Pro 9. Microsoft claims this is a new class of device and as expected the company has combined the standard Pro hardware with the Surface Pro X.

Yes, that means the Surface Pro 9 will be available in either Intel or ARM variants. This essentially mainstreams Microsoft’s Windows on ARM plans and puts it on the company’s flagship device. Aside from that huge first, the Pro 9 is very much a small upgrade on last year’s model, albeit it with significant talking points such as 5G support thanks to that ARM support.

On the Intel side, the Surface Pro 9 is available running 12th generation CPUs from Intel. Though, it is no doubt the custom SQ Arm chipset variant is the true headline grabber here. This is an updated version of Microsoft’s proprietary chipset that made its debut on the Surface Pro X.

That is likely to be plenty confusing for customers. Many will want the benefits of a 5G, but will be unaware of the compromises that come with Windows on ARM. There is a reason why the Surface Pro X was not a raging success. The updated SQ CPU is unlikely to have solved problems such as not being able to run traditional Windows apps.

Will the average customer know this? Probably not, and they will be in for a shock. There are real questions regarding Microsoft’s decision to mainstream Windows on ARM on the Pro. I get it from a business perspective… but the ARM variant of the Pro 9 has a lot to do to convince me it is a better bet that the Intel variant.

Specs

Concerns aside, the new Surface Pro is a typically well-spec’d and gorgeous device. The design is unchanged from last year (not a complaint) but is now available in Forest just like the Surface Laptop 5, Sapphire, and Liberty London. Of course, you still need to buy the Surface Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 separately if you want to make your Surface Pro 9 in any way productive.

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There is a 13-inch PixelSense display with a 120Hz refresh rate. The Intel version comes with up to 32GB of LPDDR5 RAM and a 1TB SSD, while the 5G Arm model provides only up to 16GB of LPBBR4x RAM and a 512GB SSD. Boy, it really seems like Microsoft is trying to sell the Arm variant purely on its 5G capabilities.

Connectivity options a limited but solid, including two USB-C 4.0/Thunderbolt 4 ports on the Intel model. On the Arm version, there are just two USB-C 3.2 connections instead. Yikes.

Looking at prices, the Intel Surface Pro 9 starts at $999 for the Core i5 model with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage. On the 5G Arm side, it starts at a whopping $1,300 with the same starting specs. Microsoft says the Surface Pro 9 is open for pre-order today and will start shipping on October 25.

Tip of the day: To prevent attackers from capturing your password, Secure Sign-in asks the user to perform a physical action that activates the sign-in screen. In some cases, this is a dedicated “Windows Security” button, but the most common case in Windows is the Ctrl+Alt Del hotkey. In our tutorial, we show you how to activate this feature.