Surface Pro 9 with 5G

Surface Pro 9 5G (SQ3) review: A beautiful lie | Engadget

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Microsoft first launched the Surface? It’s been a decade of trying to make hybrid tablets a thing, something I’m still not sure many people really want. But, you know what, I’ll give Microsoft credit for trying to push laptop design forward in an era when everyone was trying to copy Apple’s unibody MacBook Pro and ultra-slim MacBook Air. The Surface was a radical alternative.

The Surface Pro 9 with 5G clearly shows that Microsoft has learned lessons since its first tablets: it’s impeccably designed and it’s the first Surface to harness fast 5G networks. Unfortunately, it’s also a disappointing reminder that Microsoft can’t help but repeat many of its past mistakes. This is yet another ARM-based Windows PC that we cannot recommend.


  • Excellent AI webcam features
  • Excellent hardware design
  • Stunning 13-inch screen
  • Convenient removable SSD
  • Built-in 5G

The inconvenients

  • ARM chip leads to generally slow performance
  • Some compatibility issues with older apps and games
  • More expensive than the faster Intel model
  • Still suffers from surface usability issues

Gallery: Surface Pro 9 5G | 13 Pictures

That’s hardly surprising, given our lukewarm reaction to the ARM-powered Surface Pro X range. But what’s more infuriating this year is that Microsoft is actually calling it the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, as if it’s directly comparable to the Surface Pro 9 powered by 12th Gen Intel chips. It’s more than hubris – it’s a blatant lie, which will no doubt confuse buyers and IT people for the next year.

Of course, they both have the same gorgeous and impossibly thin aluminum casing, 13-inch PixelSense display, and very usable keyboard covers (which unfortunately are still sold separately). Both models also have the same built-in kickstand, which lets you rest the screen on a table or, if you’re feeling risky, on your leg for on-the-go computing. If you’ve ever seen a Surface tablet, especially last year’s solid Pro 8, not much has changed.

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

A story of two Surfaces

Here’s the catch: Microsoft now has a product line running on two very different chip designs, Intel’s x86 hardware and Microsoft’s custom SQ3 ARM system-on-chip (itself based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3) . The Intel-powered Surface Pro 9 can run all the legacy Windows apps you’d expect. The SQ3 model, on the other hand, can only run newer apps natively. Everything else is emulated, resulting in noticeably slower performance. On the plus side, Windows 11 now supports x64 emulation, so the Pro 9 with 5G can run many apps that the Pro X couldn’t when it launched. But that doesn’t cover games, and that’s a compromise no one should make at this point.

What’s even more frustrating is that Microsoft is charging you a $300 premium on top of the $999 Surface Pro 9 for the privilege of owning an inherently slower computer. How much is built-in 5G worth to you, then?

Surface Pro 9 with 5G

Devindra Hardawar/Engadget

Better Windows on Arm experience, but not much

After using the Pro 9 with 5G for several days, I’m even more baffled by Microsoft’s reckless attempt to bundle its x86 and ARM product lines. While a few company engineers assured me in a recent interview that performance would be comparable between the SQ3 and Intel models, I knew that was incorrect as soon as I launched Chrome. As an emulated x86 application, its launch is slower and quite sluggish when browsing the web and juggling tabs. Microsoft Edge, on the other hand, is faster because it is a native ARM application.

I usually run multiple browsers at once because it’s the easiest way to separate work and personal accounts. I can’t just move to Edge full time. So if I wanted to work like I am used to on the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, I would just have to live with an experience worse than a three-year-old Surface Laptop. Does this seem like progress to you? While it generally worked well with native apps such as Spotify and Evernote, multitasking between them and emulated apps still felt noticeably slow. In many ways, it felt like a step down from the Surface Pro 6 I reviewed four years ago, save for the silkier 120Hz refresh rate on the Pro’s larger screen. 9.

Geekbench 5 processor

3DMark Wildlife Extreme

Cinebench R23

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 5G (SQ3, Adreno 8cx Gen 3)




Microsoft Surface Pro 8 (Intel Core i7-1185G7, Intel Iris Xe Graphics)


N / A


Microsoft Surface Laptop Go 2 (Intel i5-1135G7, Iris Xe graphics)




ASUS Zenbook 17 Fold OLED (Intel i7-1280P, Iris Xe graphics)




All the benchmarks I’ve run on the Surface Pro 9 also show it to be slower than any high-end laptop we’ve reviewed in the past few years. Sure, Geekbench 5 worked as a slower emulated application, but its score also indicates how other emulated programs will perform. Even the weak Surface Go 2, with its low-power 11th Gen Intel chip, managed to outperform the Pro 9 5G in single-core performance. (At least the SQ3 performed better with multi-core speeds.) 3DMark’s Wildlife Extreme test, which is one of the best ways to compare cross-platform gaming, also gave a low score, as I would expect. was waiting. (The biggest surprise? It was on par with the ASUS ZenBook Fold 17, a foldable computer held back by a low-powered Intel chip.)

#Surface #Pro #SQ3 #review #beautiful #lie #Engadget

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