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Surface Pro X Hands-on: The Sleekest Tablet I've Ever Used

Microsoft has a new detachable tablet. The Surface Pro X is an ultraportable tablet with a custom ARM-based Microsoft SQ1 processor. We got to spend some time with the new tablet and were floored by its modern design and beautiful 13-inch display.

The Surface Pro X will be available on November 5 for $999.

Surface Pro X specs

Microsoft Surface Pro X
Starting Price$999
Display13-Inch, 2880 x 1920
CPUMicrosoft SQ1
RAM8GB, 16GB
GraphicsAdreno 685 iGPU
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB
Ports2 USB-C, Surface Connect, nano-SIM
Size0.2 inches thick
Weight1.7 pounds

Surface Pro X Design

The Surface Pro X is all about portability. At just 5.3mm, or 0.2 inches thin and 1.7 pounds, the Pro X should be great for frequent travelers or students getting around campus. Microsoft made some bold promises about the Surface Pro X's design, and boy did they pull through.

The Pro X's metal chassis is razor-thin and quite compact, especially compared to the Pro 7. That's thanks to its relatively slim bezels surrounding the Surface Pro X's 13-inch display.  Those make this sleek device look even more elegant than the new Surface Pro 7. 

The Pro X is also extremely lightweight. It almost felt like I was carrying a folder in my hand when I lifted the Pro X, even when it had the detachable keyboard attached.  

Ports are limited to two USB-C inputs, a Surface Connect port and a nano-SIM for LTE connectivity. Yes, that means there is no headphone jack, so start saving for Microsoft's $249 Surface Earbuds

Surface Pro X Display

The sleek tablet has a 13-inch PixelSense display with narrow bezels that keep the tablet at around the same size as the Surface Pro 7. That panel has a 2880 x 1920-resolution with a pixels-per-inch (ppi) rating of 267. That should keep text and images looking very crisp.

In true Surface form, the Pro X's display had saturated colors and was plenty bright in a dimly-lit event space. We'll have to do more display testing once we get a review unit in, but I wouldn't be surprised if this was one of the better tablet displays panels. 

Surface Pro X keyboard, touchpad and pen

Like Microsoft's other Surface tablets, the Surface Pro X can dock to a keyboard, which essentially turns it into a laptop. What's interesting about the Pro X's keyboard is that it not only has a touchpad, but there is a magnetic groove near the hinge where you can house Microsoft's new slim rechargeable stylus. That stylus is significantly smaller and lighter than the Surface Pen we're used to from the Surface Pro 6. It also has a flat edge, which makes it easier to hold. 

I spent a few minutes typing on the Surface Pro X's detachable keyboard and my impressions of its typing experience are generally favorable. The keys offer a decent amount of travel (all things considered) and they have a nice weightiness to them. The detachable keyboard also has a touchpad for using the Pro X as a proper laptop. While it may not feel as solid as a true laptop's touchpad, the surface was a good size and felt smooth to the touch. 

Surface Pro X Performance 

Another way the Surface Pro X differs from the Surface Pro 7 is that it uses a custom SQ1 chip with "Snapdragon DNA," built-in LTE and an AI accelerator. Microsoft promises that this chip enables long battery life and "unprecedented performance" because the custom CPU has 3x more performance-per-watt than the Surface Pro 6.

Surface Pro X Battery Life

Microsoft promises 13 hours of battery life out of the Surface Pro X, which is quite an ambitious runtime.

Better yet, the Surface Pro X can supposedly charge from 0% to 80% in just an hour --- the sort of fast charging capabilities previously seen only in smartphones. 

Outlook 

I'm really impressed with the Surface Pro X, even if I'm not sure who it's meant for. There's no question this tablet is meant for portability and its gorgeous display should make it great for consuming content. 

But there are still a lot of question marks surrounding the Surface Pro X, especially when it comes to the tablet's custom processor. Can it offer anywhere near the power and battery life? We'll have to wait for a review unit to find out. If it can, we could have a serious iPad killer on our hands. 

Phillip Tracy is a senior writer at Tom's Guide and Laptop Mag, where he reviews laptops and covers the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News and NewBay Media. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, listening to indie music or watching soccer.