Microsoft Surface Pro 9 review – IGN

The Surface Pro 9 has several things working for it. When paired with the matching Signature Keyboard Cover, the 13-inch tablet feels more like a true laptop experience than an iPad or Android device with a similar form factor. And when paired with the Slim Pen 2 from Microsoft, it provides a seamless drawing and note-taking experience. These advantages come with a few quirks, though: its very large 3:2 form factor makes it a difficult reader, and its unique capabilities don’t play well with some applications, so you don’t get the best possible Windows experience. It’s a little different, and that’s nice — except when it’s not.

This is not unlike the Surface Pro’s past. In fact, apart from the new configuration with an ARM-based chip and 5G support for mobile devices, there is very little that the Pro 9 is significantly different from compared to its predecessors. Models with Intel chips—which you’ll want if you plan to play games on them—feature upgrades to 12th Gen Intel Core U-Series processors and LPDDR5 RAM, but nothing will make Microsoft’s tablet line more attractive than before. (Unless you want to plug in headphones, in which case, I’m so sorry.)

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – Design and Features

Admittedly, the Surface Pro 9 looks pretty sleek. Measuring 11.31 by 8.19 by .31 inches (WDH), the 3:2 anodized aluminum sheet is large, yet thin. It weighs 1.93 pounds or 2.57 pounds with the keyboard and stylus attached, so it’s easy to carry around.

Its size and dimensions are finally adjusted for tabletop use. The screen is arguably too big to hold close to your face as if you were using a tablet or phone. Not to mention that, even with the touchscreen, we’re using Windows 11 here so neither the operating systems nor the software are optimized for “mobile” workflows the way iOS and Android are. Again, this isn’t anything new for the Surface Pro line: it’s always been more tacitly geared toward a productivity “laptop replacement” than the traditional mobile-style tablet. Given the $1,000 to $2,600 price range, you might argue that’s an implication, but flexibility is one of the tablet’s primary advantages.

Much of the design on Surface Pro 9 remains unchanged after last year’s most substantial redesign Surface Pro 8. It features a 2880 x 1920 pixels 10-point multi-touch display, which outputs at 120Hz and supports Dolby Vision HDR. The display has relatively large bezels, which makes way for a 1080p Windows Hello-compatible front-facing camera and a dual-microphone array for video calls and recording. (On the back, you’ll find a more powerful 10MP camera that can take 4K photos and video.) The bezels are thicker on the sides — the “top” and “bottom” bear the webcam in landscape mode — reinforcing the idea that you should be setting it up virtually like a PC. mobile. (The spacious, highly effective built-in kickstand says the same thing.)

In keeping with the Surface Pro 9’s simple aesthetic, you’ll only find a few connectivity options around its edges: All of your traditional devices—peripherals, hard drives, and external displays—go through its two Thunderbolt 4 ports. You also have a dedicated charging port and a dedicated two-point connection for the Surface Type Keyboard. cover. That’s more than you’d normally get from a tablet, but you might find it desirable if you start using the Surface Pro 9 as a laptop replacement. It should be noted that Microsoft ditched the 3.5mm headphone jack this year, which could be a problem for gamers and audiophiles looking to use wired headphones.

Let’s talk about peripherals for a second. Although sold separately, the Surface Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 are effectively mandatory for effective use of the Surface Pro 9. Both work fine. As in the past, drawing, note-taking, and other touch-enabled apps are some of the Surface Pro’s strong suits. Surface Slim Pen 2 feels comfortable to hold and provides haptic feedback to make the pen feel natural.

The Surface Pro Signature Keyboard Cover isn’t my favorite keyboard: It offers just enough travel to keep you from feeling like you’re banging your fingers on your desk, but the keys feel as thin and flat as they look. Likewise, the trackpad is quite small and difficult to use effectively compared to the larger versions you’ll find on most laptops. However, it is very convenient to have a keyboard that instantly connects and detaches, doubling as a cover and pen case.

My biggest issue with both devices though, is the fact that you have to pay more for them. Really, given its unwieldy size and reliance on Windows 11, I’d feel really bad if I tried to use the Surface Pro 9 without a keyboard or trackpad (or mouse) and stylus. They should be included in the device’s base price, and after nine iterations, it’s a little worrying that Microsoft is still charging users an extra $279.99 for the privilege of using the device as intended.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – Configurations and performance

For Intel-based models like the one I’ve been using, the biggest update is realistically the standard move to the new 12th Gen Intel Core U processors. The base model features a Core i5-1235U processor. Our review unit has the most powerful i7-1255U. For reference, Intel’s U-series chips are designed to increase power efficiency — and extend battery life — often at the expense of raw computing power. Graphics-wise, both models are based on Intel’s Iris Xe integrated graphics, so don’t expect high performance from most games.

It also features updated, faster LPDDR5 RAM, though how that works out determines whether you stick to the 8GB rule or upgrade to 16GB or 32GB. The Surface Pro 9 relies on an internal SSD for storage, in options ranging from 128GB to 1TB.

However, the biggest innovation is a completely new configuration powered by completely different chips. In addition to the Intel models, Microsoft is now offering a “Surface Pro with 5G,” which features a Microsoft-designed ARM-based SQ3 processor instead of an Intel CPU. According to Microsoft, the 5G configuration is less powerful, but gives you better battery life and mobile broadband access. I didn’t have a hands-on time with this version, but reviews from other outlets have indicated that the ARM-based model may have more performance issues than the Intel models.

My review unit—an i7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage—generally feels very snappy in general use—web browsing, processing, and when using a pen. The back of the tablet will get hot after extended use, but you won’t feel it in the keyboard because the hardware is entirely in the tablet.

Not surprisingly, given that it’s a hybrid convertible with integrated graphics, the Surface Pro 9 has less-than-stellar standards. In Geekbench 5, the Surface Pro produced a single-core computing score of 1,590 and a multi-core computing score of 7,350. For reference, this is slightly below the average of tests on Intel’s eleventh-generation desktop chips. It earned a score of 3,911 on PCMark 10’s comprehensive computing test, well below most gaming laptops.

Unsurprisingly, it was also particularly poor in 3DMark’s graphics benchmarks. The Surface Pro 9 scored 1,460 in Time Spy, 3,950 in Fire Strike, and 12,679 in Night Raid. These scores don’t just fall short for The best gaming laptopsbut it’s actually less than what we got from the Surface Pro 8 when we measured it last year.

However, one of the Pro 9’s bright spots is its battery life. Although its 47.7Wh battery is smaller than the Surface Pro 8’s, it lasts longer, with an estimated 15.5 hours on a single charge. That matched my own experience: I usually get about a day and a half out of the Surface Pro 9 before I need a charge, though it obviously burns through the battery more quickly when gaming.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 – Games

As you might expect, given the specs and benchmarks, the Surface Pro 9 isn’t much of a gaming device. Even with the most powerful processor available, it would be difficult to play new AAA games on anything above low settings. Monitoring 2, for example, ran at 60fps on low settings, but crashed the moment I tried to use higher settings. She can handle Mortal Kombat 11 At 1080p at 60fps on Low, though this may not seem quite right for competitive gamers. Some games work fairly well, though: Death (2016) It fluctuated between 30-45fps with some stutter at Ultra settings, and ran at 45-60fps when I dropped it to high settings.

It should also be noted that early access and beta games may experience additional issues on Surface due to its unique interface. I tried to play Marvel Snap In its first week it was found to be almost unplayable due to touch screen issues. These issues have since been resolved — the controls are completely in game now — but I didn’t experience any such issues on any of the other devices I used to play Snap, including a Windows desktop, Macbook Air, iPhone 14, and M1 iPad Air.

Given all the issues here, I think it’s important to note that the Surface Pro 9 isn’t really a gaming machine, and its performance reflects that. It is mainly designed for portability and specific uses, such as taking notes. Really, it’s a perfect example of the type of device that pairs well with game streaming services like Xbox Cloud Gaming and Nvidia GeForce Now, since it has a big, sharp screen that can make a game look great, but lacks the GPU performance to bring it to life.

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