After several years of minor upgrades, Microsoft released the Windows 2-in-1 many people were asking for in 2021.
The Surface Pro 8 introduced a slew of upgrades over its predecessor, including a larger 120Hz display with slim bezels, better battery life and improved cameras. We also got the customary processor upgrade, while it was one of the first devices to run Windows 11 out of the box.
But assuming Microsoft reverts to its traditional update cycle, we’re expecting the Surface Pro 9 between now and the end of 2022. Here’s everything you need to know.
When will the Surface Pro 9 be released?
Microsoft is yet to confirm the existence of a Surface Pro 8 successor, let alone any potential release date. With no other rumours so far, our best guess comes from the release date or previous entries:
Surface Pro 8 – October 2021Surface Pro 7+ (for business and education) – January 2021Surface Pro 7 – October 2019Surface Pro 6 – October 2018Surface Pro 5 – June 2017
Aside from the pandemic-affected 2020, it looks like Microsoft has settled into a regular update cycle for the Surface Pro. That makes it likely we’ll see the Pro 9 in October 2022, although the launch event could be held a couple of weeks earlier. We may also see something completely different this year.
How much will the Surface Pro 9 cost?
Again, our best guess on Surface Pro 9 pricing comes from the original RRP of previous generations:
Surface Pro 8 – from £999/US$999.99Surface Pro 7+ – from £909/US$899.99Surface Pro 7 – from £799/US$749Surface Pro 6 – from £879/US$899Surface Pro 5 – from £799/US$799
As you can see, the cost of the Surface Pro has fluctuated in recent years. The price increase for the Pro 8 reflects several key upgrades, but its successor isn’t likely to be much more affordable.
An unofficial listing claiming to be the Surface Pro 9 on Laptop6 suggests it’ll be priced at $1,299 in the US. This supposedly gets you an i5 model with 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD, which would be a $100 price hike compared to the Pro 8. However, there’s no way of verifying the information on a site we haven’t heard of before.
Remember, any price you pay probably won’t include the Type Cover once again. If Microsoft sticks with the same version as the Surface Pro 8, it’ll set you back an extra $129.99/£149.99 when paying full price.
Expect a similar form factor to the Surface Pro 8
What specs and new features will the Surface Pro 9 have?
The Surface Pro 9 is expected to be unveiled in just a few weeks, but Microsoft has done a good job of stopping many leaks. In fact, the only concrete once we could find was from tech site Laptop6, which has a listing claiming to be the device.
There aren’t many surprises here, with a move to Intel’s 12th-gen CPUs the only obvious upgrade. Just the i5-12600K is mentioned, but there’ll probably be the option for i7 once again. AMD’s Ryzen 6000 Series are another option, with only Ryzen 7000 desktop processors expected until 2023. However, we’re expecting Intel CPUs and integrated GPUs (Iris Xe) across all models.
Assuming the Pro 8 shifts to Alder Lake processors, its new hybrid architecture includes specific cores for performance and power efficiency. The latter should benefit battery life, although the Laptop6 listing suggests Microsoft will still claim “up to 16 hours of typical device usage”. Strangely, it also says you’ll be getting a 60W adapter in the box, down from 65W on the Pro 8. Again, you should take these specs with a pinch of salt.
The 13in, 2880×1920 display is unlikely to change, especially with Microsoft introducing a 120Hz adaptive refresh rate on the Pro 8. There’s no need for a higher resolution, but it would be nice for the PixelSense (LCD) screen to be replaced by OLED at some point. That would pave the way for an in-display fingerprint sensor to be added, but there’s no sign of it coming to the Pro 9.
Both USB-C ports on the Surface Pro 8 support Thunderbolt 4 for fast data transfer. They can be used for charging, but the magnetic charging cable in the box is designed to be used with the proprietary Surface Connect port. This tends to be more frustrating than useful, so hopefully Microsoft will ditch it and fully embrace USB-C charging on the Pro 9. Adding a few extra ports wouldn’t go amiss either, although it doesn’t look like either will happen.
More Surface Pro ports would be welcome
But could the Surface Pro 9 merge with the Surface Pro X this year? That’s what Windows Central’s Zac Bowden suggested, given there are now very few differences between them. The only change Microsoft made in 2021 was to add a Wi-Fi-only option, and the Pro 8 now looks remarkably similar.
It would be easy to implement, just by adding extra configurations that used an ARM-based chip rather than an Intel one. It would be the perfect opportunity to add 5G support at the same time, especially if it’s based on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3. However, despite Bowden’s strong track record for Surface news, this is just his opinion and not based on any insider information. There’s also no sign of Microsoft moving away from 4G on the Pro 9.
Judging by a video on the official Surface YouTube channel, it looks like Microsoft is embracing the EU’s new ‘Right to Repair’ rules. The video in question concerns the education-focused Surface Laptop SE, but hopefully it’s a sign of things to come for future consumer devices.
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