Surface Pro X

Falhófnir

macrumors 68040
Aug 19, 2017
3,667
4,013
Well, other reviews are out as well, and they do not seem to be as negative as this one.





Most of reviewers complain about the poor performance, software incompatibility, and high price for the package.

It looks like a beautiful machine, and a shift to ARM is perhaps inevitable, as these processors become increasingly more powerful and efficient, while Intel is still struggling to improve its architecture.

Apple is clearly moving towards ARM, it just has not yet announced any ARM Mac yet. There are Windows machines already, but perhaps it is still a little too early to adopt it.

I remember when Microsoft first unveiled the Surface back in 2012, and it was poorly received. Everybody was ready to deem it as a huge failure. It eventually got much better, and now Microsoft managed to create a reasonably successful line of Surface devices. It is not a huge hit, but it has its reputation.

That is to say that the Surface Pro X does not seem bad at all, but perhaps it is the first step in a move to ARM. It may not make sense now, as ARM processors are evolving fast, and 5G Internet is not widely available in these devices. But in a few years, it is possible that ARM Windows computers take over (and ARM Macs as well).
Also like the MacBook Air which took a few generations to fully realise the vision of a super slim but not underpowered flash-based computer of the future. Looks like this will be fine for office and web based productivity workflows, which is what I'm imagining it will be sold as. Just hope the devs actually commit this time (and MS finally pick a strategy and stick with it, too much chopping and changing is what has hurt a lot of previous efforts to move windows on).
 

akuma13

macrumors 6502a
Jan 10, 2006
828
324
Yeah it seems like the machine is pretty useless until devs get behind it and start producing software for it. Such a shame. It’s a gorgeous piece of hardware.
 

TopherMan12

macrumors 6502
Oct 10, 2019
310
276
Atlanta, GA
Well, other reviews are out as well, and they do not seem to be as negative as this one.

I agree with the NY Times review.

"The software was the biggest problem. When you use the device as a tablet, Windows doesn’t properly adapt to become a touchable operating system. Important elements, like the search icon or “X” button to close windows, remained tiny and difficult to tap with a fingertip. Web browser tabs appeared to be jammed into the top of the screen."

Windows just isn't very good at being tablet software. That is the biggest gripe I had when I owned a Surface.
 

derekamoss

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
859
446
Houston, TX
Indeed, although with an intel chip it wouldn't be a consideration, everything would just work.

It's not just about the available software, adding an emulation layer between the chip and OS means potential performance issues amongst others. I have seen some reviews also suggesting some basic windows functionality is either missing or neutered in some way as a result. Windows RT springs to mind.

Will give it time, once it in the hands of people more will come out, but yeah, still feels like early adoption given new chips and emulation.
I actually lived on a RT for about 8 months and it worked perfect for what I needed it for. All I needed was word, outlook, the internet and torrex and I was set. Would come home and dock it to a monitor and usb hub with keyboard and mouse. The game Reaper kept me occupied forever. If you haven't played it, try it! I still go back and play even to this day. Anyways a Surface Pro X can be perfect for the people who can live within it's limits. It's kinda just like buying a chromebook but with windows instead. People don't buy a chrome book expecting to run photoshop on it.
 
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derekamoss

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
859
446
Houston, TX
I agree with the NY Times review.

"The software was the biggest problem. When you use the device as a tablet, Windows doesn’t properly adapt to become a touchable operating system. Important elements, like the search icon or “X” button to close windows, remained tiny and difficult to tap with a fingertip. Web browser tabs appeared to be jammed into the top of the screen."

Windows just isn't very good at being tablet software. That is the biggest gripe I had when I owned a Surface.
They were good at tablet software... It was called Windows 8.
 

pesos

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2006
611
143
I've had one on preorder, it's out for delivery at the moment.

Went by the MS store last night to touch/feel and look for a reason to save the $$ and return it. Was surprised by how much I loved it. Incredibly thin and extremely stiff, high quality feel - both in the main unit and in the more expensive/fancier type cover that comes with the pen. Significantly stiffer than the type cover I have with my gen5 surface pro.

As long as folks understand the software and emulation situation, battery life will be solid. If they don't, battery and performance will likely suffer.

Not a good option for someone who just has one machine, but as my second and travel machine it's looking like a winner.
 
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thejadedmonkey

macrumors G3
May 28, 2005
8,004
548
Pennsylvania
I tried one out at my local BestBuy last night.

I liked it, but not $1400 liked it. Too many limitations mean that it would work better as a surface mini. That, and I didn't like the way the keyboard cover and pen interacted to prevent it from flipping backwards flat.

Once the software catches up, it might work better, but the problem is that most software isn't ever going to catch up. The oddball apps won't ever run, meaning it'll never be able to be anything more than a 2nd or 3rd machine. I wish it was the size of the Go, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
 

booksbooks

macrumors 6502a
Aug 28, 2013
599
440
I tried one out at my local BestBuy last night.

I liked it, but not $1400 liked it. Too many limitations mean that it would work better as a surface mini. That, and I didn't like the way the keyboard cover and pen interacted to prevent it from flipping backwards flat.

Once the software catches up, it might work better, but the problem is that most software isn't ever going to catch up. The oddball apps won't ever run, meaning it'll never be able to be anything more than a 2nd or 3rd machine. I wish it was the size of the Go, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
What software do you need and use that doesn’t run on it?

And you certainly aren’t the final testimony on whether software will ever run on ARM or not.
 

derekamoss

macrumors 6502a
Jul 18, 2002
859
446
Houston, TX
Honestly even now I probably could gt away with using one. My computer has very few apps installed in the first place and almost all from the store. The only apps I have that aren't store related are Battle.net & Diablo 3 which I am just as fine playing on the Xbox One X if I had too, Microsoft Teams, which I could just use the web interface because I am pretty sure it will be ported soon and Microsoft Mouse and Keyboard Center, which I'm honestly not sure why I keep it on my PC in the first place. Never have changed a setting on my Arc Mouse. Other then that everything I really need is in the store. Microsoft 365 through the store, Onenote 2016 through the store. The only thing I would miss out on is Edge Chromium for now until they release an ARM build. Most if not all of my work is done in Word. (Re-writing manuals as a contractor fro companies, editing and proof-reading. I know I am not the norm but as long as it has internet, Word, netflix, hulu, torrex and vlc, I am pretty much set.

Honestly I over blew it buying a Surface Book 2. I knew it was more than I needed but when I had my Surface Pro 4, I always had the keyboard off unless doing some work in word so I figured, hey bigger and lighter tablet screen on the Surface Book 2. Now I almost never detach the screen and use it like a laptop most of the time and rarely use it as a tablet. (I am near a charger almost all day so wasn't worried about the smaller battery in the tablet portion. Just keep it plugged in while using. I honestly miss the Surface Pro over the book and could have just been as happy really with the Surface Pro X as long as native application speed was pretty good.
 

pesos

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2006
611
143
In case anyone is curious the Win10 Home that shipped with the X had no problem converting to Enterprise via KMS client key.
 

pesos

macrumors 6502a
Mar 30, 2006
611
143
Dropbox is not compatible - first major hurdle. Will see how responsive they are to this (arm-based Windows is only going to expand) otherwise will shift more of my usage to Onedrive I suppose.
 

dwig

macrumors 6502a
Jan 4, 2015
659
242
Key West FL
If its anything like PS for the iPad or Lightroom for iOS, I'll pass. Those two iOS products just don't have the same level of features. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
I would expect the first WOA releases to be on par, or close, to what the cloud versions are at present. In fact, the cloud versions of the various apps may be absorbed into an ARM & x86 code base which would be a common source for not only WOA builds but iOS and possible "masOS on ARM" and Android builds in addition to x86 builds, all uniform at 64bit.
 

Bodie CI5

macrumors regular
Apr 22, 2014
174
68
A critique of Microsoft’s handling of SPX compatibility issues especially in relation to Edge 64-bit version:

Microsoft is a massive company, and with that sometimes comes inexplicable decisions. Take the Surface Pro X – the company's first real stab at supporting the Windows on ARM architecture in premium hardware. You would think the company would be firing on all cylinders to sell the experience, but as is a familiar tale with the company, there are some bafflingly significant gaffs. [...]

So why is it that, if you plunk down well over $1,100 for a new Surface Pro X, you can't use an ARM64 version of that Edge browser? Microsoft is clear that it is not shipping a finalized version of the modern Edge until mid-January 2020, so that's understandable. Still, the ARM64 version is not even available as a Canary or Developer build for Insider testing.
MS needs to release Edge 64 on SP X now - Windows Central
 

skaertus

macrumors 68040
Feb 23, 2009
3,313
436
Brazil
I tried one out at my local BestBuy last night.

I liked it, but not $1400 liked it. Too many limitations mean that it would work better as a surface mini. That, and I didn't like the way the keyboard cover and pen interacted to prevent it from flipping backwards flat.

Once the software catches up, it might work better, but the problem is that most software isn't ever going to catch up. The oddball apps won't ever run, meaning it'll never be able to be anything more than a 2nd or 3rd machine. I wish it was the size of the Go, I'd buy it in a heartbeat.
I tried both the Surface Pro X and the Surface Pro 7 at a BestBuy store.

I like the larger screen on the X, and also the fact that the keyboard comes with a place to put the pen. However, I noticed that the Pro 7 has a faster performance, and I notice some slight lag in the Surface Pro X.

Both devices are nice, but what really impressed me was the metal Surface Laptop. It is just a laptop, pretty standard, but I thought it screams quality, and it is beautiful. It looks even better than MacBooks.
 
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fokmik

macrumors 68040
Oct 28, 2016
3,993
3,223
USA
Surface pro x is for no one...maybe the next models...
the performance even for basic stuff i had was worse than surface Go (as expected since all the x86 apps are emulated , but still worse than expected)...dont buy this prototype from Microsoft...if you want a surface , buy Surface Pro 7
Dont recomand surface laptop 3...its nice, around macbook style...but its still has huge backlight bleed and because they removed the rubber that surrounded the display, when you close the lid...there is just 1mm between the display and the keyboard..so you dont have to put absolutely nothing on the laptop...otherwise you will dmg or leave marks on the display
 

Queen6

macrumors 604
Surface pro x is for no one...maybe the next models...
the performance even for basic stuff i had was worse than surface Go (as expected since all the x86 apps are emulated , but still worse than expected)...dont buy this prototype from Microsoft...if you want a surface , buy Surface Pro 7
Dont recomand surface laptop 3...its nice, around macbook style...but its still has huge backlight bleed and because they removed the rubber that surrounded the display, when you close the lid...there is just 1mm between the display and the keyboard..so you dont have to put absolutely nothing on the laptop...otherwise you will dmg or leave marks on the display
Surface Pro X is 1st Gen of a new breed so no surprises, I've tried the Huawei MateBook E with ARM and it too suffers from performance issues, equally there always has to be a beginning. If no one makes a change then we'll be stuck with the same over and over. Hopefully Microsoft will stick at it for the long haul and encourage others to do the same as ARM certainly has some compelling features and a new player at the table only serves to add more choice.

Surface Pro X you need to know what your getting into IMO as if you just follow MS you'll be setting yourself up for a disappointment. Be far better if MS was a little less exuberant and clearer about the devices boundaries as once you step into the world of emulation it's going to slow down. By far the vast majority will be better served by the regular Surface Pro 7. Personally I like the X and could see myself with one in the right circumstance.

SL3 not seen as yet, nor on my radar as want more performance out of a 15" and upwards.

Q-6
 
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jjudson

macrumors regular
Sep 20, 2017
175
356
North Carolina
I had a chance to play with one yesterday at Best Buy. While I came into the session with high-hopes, I think I'll be sticking with my iPad for now.

The X is certainly built nice -- beautiful lines and a tough construction. The kickstand worked as advertised, and the keyboard is one that Apple should take some design lessons from. The glass screen in one corner was cracked, perhaps by being dropped on the corner once in the store. It was a 1/4" diagonal across the corner, and did not encroach on the visible area. The screen is bright and colorful, but not as bright and colorful as the iPad. I'm not thinking that this will be very noticeable in use, though.

The pencil worked great, although I found it a bit stubby compared to the Apple Pencil and difficult to hold comfortably. The stash area on the keyboard for the pencil was nice, although it had a tendency to snap upward against the unit and conceal the pencil. I'm not sure if that was a design feature or not. The pencil action was smooth and exhibited only a tiny amount of lag.

The software enablement was the real concern -- as others have noted. This operating system is definitely not "tablet-friendly". This is a real show-stopper. Worse, the action is slow. Turning the tablet from landscape to portrait results in a ridiculous lag as the screen changes position. It's literally a several-second routine. This shouldn't be in a tablet designed for multi-position use. The Windows interface is cumbersome, and there's no swiping to bring up any functions -- merely the windows start button, tiny and tucked in it's normal Windows place at the bottom corner. The "X" close buttons are small and not very responsive to the finger touch. In fact, without the pencil or mousepad, the overall usage of the operating system is difficult.

Where the unit really lost me, however, was that it locked up...

Repeatedly.

While typing, the unit stuttered and stopped, then after several seconds, it caught up, throwing a string of characters across the screen. A couple of times, it didn't catch up, and everything was frozen. Nothing responded -- touch, mouse, keyboard, pencil -- nothing. The Best Buy reps said that this had been going on with the unit since they got it, and he would help me with it in a moment. He never returned.

I am very disappointed with what I saw. It's a great platform, but poorly enabled. I'll stick out the wait for the new iPad Pro sometime next spring. I'm hoping that with Tim's newfound interest in media and social justice activities, he has found enough time to beef up the unit and add some value to it.
 

LeeW

macrumors 6502a
Original poster
Feb 5, 2017
933
1,267
Glasgow, Scotland
I have also tried one out, not impressed at all with the performance, I would actually rate it as shockingly bad for a base device priced at 1k+ just to get started. It was performance that would see you getting frustrated very quickly and stop using it fairly quickly. The few that I know have said the same thing. Slow to do anything even as simple as opening web pages and the like.

Not an isolated issue either, it appears to be common. Whilst my IPP has limitations of not being a full OS there is no way I would switch to the X.