Microsoft’s next Surface Pro X could launch on 22 September

The popularity and success of the Surface line means Microsoft is able to try new things with its hardware every once in a while.

That was especially true in October 2019, with the Surface Duo and Surface Neo joined by a new 2-in-1 – the Surface Pro X. Microsoft worked with Qualcomm to produce a custom ARM-based processor for the device, offering a potential vision of the future of computing. 

It was a promising debut, but struggled with app compatibility and performance compared to rivals. Significant steps forward were made with the 2020 model, but it still has some way to go before it’s considered a better option than Surface devices equipped with Intel or AMD chips.

With that in mind, we’re interested to see what Microsoft brings to the table with the third generation. In the interests of simplicity, we’ll be calling it “the next Surface Pro X” from here on out. 

When will the next Surface Pro X be released?

Microsoft will be holding a virtual event on 22 September, where its full lineup of 2021 Surface hardware is expected to be announced. Here’s how to watch it live.

It’s not yet clear if that will include a new Surface Pro X, with other new entries in the Surface range more likely. However, an announcement at the event would availability align with the two previous generations of Pro X, which both released in October.

Whenever the next Surface Pro X arrives, it’ll run Windows 11 out of the box. Following the release of the new OS on 5 October, expect all future Surface computers to use it instead of Windows 10.

How much will the next Surface Pro X cost?

The pricing of the first two generations gives us a good idea on what to expect. However, in swapping out the SQ1 chip for SQ2, Microsoft focused primarily on high-end configurations for the 2020 model. As such, it’s no surprise to see them being sold together:

  • SQ1 chip, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD – £999/US$99
  • SQ1, 8GB, 256GB – £1,269/US$1,299
  • SQ1, 16GB, 256GB – £1,449/US$1,499.99
  • SQ1, 16GB, 512GB – £1,819/US$1,799.99
  • SQ2, 16GB, 256GB – £1,549/US$1,499.99
  • SQ2, 16GB, 512GB – £1,849/US$1,799.99

Do note that these prices exclude any accessories, with the Type Cover in particular remaining crucial to the way you use the Pro X. Regardless of which configurations Microsoft focuses on for the next generation, expect pricing to remain roughly the same.

What specs will the next Surface Pro X have?

There are no concrete leaks surrounding the next Surface Pro X, but previous generations give us a decent idea of what to expect.  

Chief among them is a new ARM-based chip, which we assume will be called the SQ3. It’s difficult to predict what sort of improvements this will provide, but we expect enhanced performance and better power efficiency, the latter leading to improved battery. According to XDA Developers, this will likely be based on Qualcomm’s upcoming Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3.

That would bring 5G to the Surface Pro X, as the same article goes on to acknowledge. However, with Microsoft notorious late adopters to some new technologies, we may have to wait longer.

Image: Microsoft

However, as a Windows on Snapdragon device, the key question will again be app compatibility. Microsoft appears to have made big strides forward on the 2020 model, although a few issues have been reported. 

There’s a chance the next Pro X will come with an OLED display, although that could lead to a significant increase in price. What’s far less likely to change is the bezels, which are already among the thinnest of any Surface device.

We’ll update this article once we know more. In the meantime…

Microsoft Surface Pro X (2021) wish list

Here are some key things we’d love to see come to the next Surface Pro X:

  • Cheaper starting price – While the Pro X is an appealing device for some people, paying for a separate Type Cover on top of the £999 starting price is hard to justify. It would be great for Microsoft to bundle the two, or drop the price of the tablet.
  • Sort out remaining compatibility issues – Microsoft has come a long way in the last year, but there are still a few niggles that stops the experience from being completely seamless
  • Support for Adobe apps – The Pro X tends to be pitched to creators, so being able to run the Creative Cloud natively would be a big step forward
  • 5G support – As mentioned above, 5G connectivity feels like a no-brainer for the Pro X line

We’ll update this article as soon as more information is revealed. In the meantime, check out our guide to the 2020 Surface Pro X

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