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The Good, The Bad, The Ugly with the Microsoft Surface Pro X

The Good, The Bad, The Ugly with the Microsoft Surface Pro X

Microsoft has launched a new generation of Surface products, including the Surface Pro X. What are the pros, cons, and weird little idiosyncrasies of this new hybrid tablet/laptop device? That’s the subject of today’s discussion, which you can watch below.

Watch the Discussion: Surface Pro X

The Unusual Processor of Microsoft’s Surface Pro X

One of the first things that Steve Goodman brought up about the Surface Pro X was that it runs a different type of CPU from the rest of the Pro line of Surface tablet/laptop hybrids. Most of the previous models of the Surface Pro, like the Pro 7 and Pro 6 LTE, utilized one of several different Intel® processors (such as the i5 or the i7). Instead, the Pro X uses a custom-built ARM processor.

Why the change? I bring up a potential reason in the video: “An Intel chip requires a lot of power, which generates a lot of heat... they run hot and they take a lot of power to run. So, your battery’s going to drain. That’s the biggest thing.” Here, Stephen mentions that, because of the excess heat these power-hungry Intel CPU cores generate, you’re also going to need fans to cool that chip so it doesn’t burn out and ruin the computer.

The ARM processor is less power-intensive as a whole; it doesn’t burn energy as quickly and is easier to keep cool. This helps to extend the battery life of the Surface Pro X so you can use it for longer when you’re on the go.

How Long Does the Surface Pro X’s Battery Last?

One of the biggest questions people have about any tablet or laptop is “how long will it last?” In the video, Steve even outright asks me, “what’s the longest you’ve ever gone on battery while using it?”

Of course, some activities will still drain the battery life of the Pro X faster than others. One particularly big drain on any computer is the web browser. As I mention in the video:

“If you look at your applications, which are your worst offenders of using battery? It’s going to be your browser. So, most people use Chrome, and Chrome just kills your battery… If you look at your CPU usage, the Chrome [app] is going nuts. And, it’s because you’ve got multiple tabs open, and they’re running JavaScript, and a lot of other things that they’re doing… and they’re just chewing up your battery.”

Even on the Surface Pro X, the Chrome app is going to be a power hog that drains the battery fairly quickly. However, for other applications, the battery may drain much more slowly. According to Microsoft’s own tests, the Pro X has about 13 hours of battery life for “normal” use involving a web browser and a few background programs. However, your mileage may vary depending on the specific programs and accessories you’re using.

The Always-Connected Surface Pro X

One of the key features of the Surface Pro X is that it comes with LTE as standard, not an option. This turns the Pro X into one of the best mobile computing devices for remote workers. As I mention in the video, with this device, I pretty much never have to worry about finding and connecting to a Wi-Fi network.

Why is this such an advantage?

There are a few reasons that having LTE built-in is useful:

  1. You always have access to your cloud-based software and services;
  2. You don’t have to connect to potentially-dangerous public Wi-Fi networks (increasing security); and
  3. You can easily communicate with your peers/coworkers using collaboration apps like Teams while you’re out of the office.

Who Should Get the Pro X?

When shopping for a computer, it’s important to get one that has the right specs, features, and form factor for the right cost. And, while the Surface Pro X is a wonderful device for a lot of people, it isn’t for everyone. This device, with its combination of power, remote connectivity, and native optimization for Microsoft’s Office software suite and solutions, is just about perfect for executives, sales team members, and service team members who work on various job sites. Basically, it’s ideal for anyone who isn’t a power user who needs really extensive processing power—but will be needing to access cloud-based documents, apps, and communication tools on a regular basis.

It’s also a good pick for anyone who needs to be constantly in the loop wherever they go because of its LTE connectivity. However, some users who need more power or aren’t going to be working remotely a lot may prefer a desktop or laptop computer instead.

Have questions about the Surface Pro X? Reach out to the Protected Trust team to get answers!

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