Surface Pro 9 5G (SQ3) review: A pretty lie

Surface Pro 9 5G (SQ3) review: A pretty lie

Can you believe it’s been 10 years since Microsoft Surface launched for the first time? It’s been a decade of trying to make hybrid tablet PCs a thing, and it’s something I’m still not sure many people actually want. But, you know, I’ll give Microsoft credit for trying to push laptop designs forward in an era when everyone was trying to copy Apple’s MacBook Pro that’s so thin MacBook Air. The roof was a radical alternative.

The Surface Pro 9 with 5G He explains that Microsoft has learned some lessons since the first tablets: It’s precision-engineered, and it’s the first Surface to use fast 5G networks. Unfortunately, it’s also a disappointing reminder that Microsoft can’t help but repeat many of its past mistakes. It’s another ARM-based Windows PC that we can’t recommend.


  • Cool AI Webcam Features
  • Excellent hardware design
  • Amazing 13 inch screen
  • SSD Convenient Removable
  • Built-in 5G


  • The ARM chip generally results in slow performance
  • Some compatibility issues with older apps and games
  • More expensive than the faster Intel model
  • Still has ergonomic surface problems

Gallery: Surface Pro 9 5G | 13 photos

That’s not entirely surprising, given our lukewarm reaction to ARM-powered Surface Pro X Line. But the most annoying thing this year is that Microsoft is actually calling it the Surface Pro 9 with 5G, as if it could be compared directly to the Surface Pro 9 powered by 12th generation Intel chips. This is more than just arrogance – it’s an outright lie, which will undoubtedly confuse shoppers and IT professionals for the coming year.

Sure, they both have the same gorgeous and impressively thin aluminum housing, 13-inch PixelSense display, and very usable keyboard covers (which unfortunately are still sold separately). Both models also have the same built-in stand, which lets you prop the monitor on a table or, if you’re feeling risky, on your leg for computing on the go. If you’ve seen a Surface tablet before, especially last year’s powerful Pro 8, not much has changed.

Surface Pro 9 with 5G

Devendra Hardwar / Engadjit

Two surfaces tale

And here’s the catch: Microsoft now has one product line running on two completely different chip designs, Intel x86 hardware and Microsoft’s custom SQ3 ARM system on a chip (itself based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3). The Surface Pro 9 powered by Intel can run all the old Windows apps you’d expect. On the other hand, the SQ3 model can only run new applications in the original. Everything else is simulated, which results in significantly slower performance. On the positive side, Windows 11 It supports x64 emulation now, so the Pro 9 with 5G can run a lot of apps that the Pro X couldn’t when it was launched. But that doesn’t include games, which is a compromise I don’t think anyone should make at this point.

Even more frustrating is that Microsoft makes you pay a $300 premium on the $999 Surface Pro 9 for the privilege of owning an inherently slower PC. What is the value of embedded 5G to you then?

Surface Pro 9 with 5G

Devendra Hardwar / Engadjit

The Windows on Arm experience is better, but not by much

After using the Pro 9 with 5G for several days, I was even more baffled by Microsoft’s reckless attempt to push its x86 and ARM product lines together. While a few of the company’s engineers assured me in a recent interview that performance would be comparable between the SQ3 and Intel models, I knew that wasn’t accurate the moment I launched Chrome. As an emulated x86 application, it runs slower and is somewhat slow while browsing the web and lightning tabs. On the other hand, Microsoft Edge is more elegant all around because Native ARM app.

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

Geekbench 5 . processor

3DMark Wildlife Extreme

Cinebench R23

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

1,122 / 5,764


575 / 1,866

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




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



1,127 / 3,115

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




All my benchmarks on the Surface Pro 9 also show that it’s slower than any premium laptop we’ve reviewed over the past few years. Sure, Geekbench 5 was running as a slower emulation app, but its result also indicated how other emulated programs would run. Even the weak Surface Go 2, with its low-power 11th-generation Intel chip, was able 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 games across platforms, also returned a low score, as I expected. (Biggest surprise? It was on par with ASUS ZenBook Fold 17a foldable computer installed by a low-wattage Intel chip.)

#Surface #Pro #SQ3 #review #pretty #lie

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