Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 8

There’s a new flagship Windows 11 2-in-1 in town from Microsoft, and it’s the new Surface Pro 9. This year’s latest Surface Pro brings a switch to Intel CPUs, new color options and, for the first time, a 5G option powered by Microsoft’s Arm-based SQ3 chip. All this is great, but at first glance it doesn’t look much different from last year’s Surface Pro 8. The Surface Pro 9 is a 2-in-1 laptop that doubles as a tablet thanks to its touchscreen and detachable keyboard.

In line with the latest versions of the Surface Pro, it is necessary to purchase the Type Cover in addition to the Surface Pro 9 to use it as a clamshell laptop. With the release of these new devices, we have to ask how they compare with their predecessors. If you are interested in finding out what new features and design elements Microsoft has brought to its latest hardware. Microsoft has unveiled the Surface Pro 9, which retains the same basic design while updating the internal components. Read on to find out if the latest Surface Pro is worth an upgrade.

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 8


This is a difficult category, as the overall design has barely been changed. The Surface Pro 8 has significantly changed the exterior design from previous models; the transition to the Pro 9 looks like a minor change at best. Both tablets are incredibly sturdy, with a solid kickstand hinge and a mostly metal casing. The Surface Pro 9 has slightly more rounded edges than the Pro 8, probably to echo the more curved design of the Surface Pro X, which gave rise to Microsoft’s SQ CPUs.

There are also differences between the Intel and SQ3 models of the Pro 9. Both versions have a ventilation channel running hidden around the back of the display, but only the Intel one has holes cut through the back of the chassis to better cool the chip.


For the Surface Pro 9, Microsoft has retained the same 13-inch (2,880 X 1,920) 120 Hz touchscreen with 3:2 aspect ratio as the Surface Pro 8. However, under the hood Microsoft claims to have done some work on the software side that should make writing on the screen with the Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus (sold separately for $129) a bit more natural.

The 120 Hz refresh rate of the display has long been considered better for writing with the stylus because the screen is more responsive (a side effect of the fact that it refreshes more often per minute and thus requires pen input more often per minute), and Microsoft claims that the Surface Pro 9’s custom G6 chip further improves the screen’s haptic feedback.


The biggest difference between the Surface Pro 9 and Surface Pro 8 is the engine that powers these tablets. The Surface Pro 9 uses updated Intel 12th Gen Core CPUs. These are Intel Core i5-1235U or i7-1255U for consumer models or i5-1245U or i7-1265U for business users. In addition, the Pro 9 has the aforementioned Microsoft SQ 3 SoC variant with 5G support.

Based on what we have seen this year with Intel processors, we expect this to have a more significant impact on battery life than performance. We’ll talk more about this later, but considering that the Surface Pro 8 was already more than capable of handling whatever was thrown at it, performance should not be an issue for either model.

Microsoft’s SQ3 model will have to be examined further, as we have seen a marked improvement in the Qualcomm Snapdragon 8CX Gen 3 on which this SoC is based over previous generations, so this could be the wild card that tips the hand in favor of the Pro 9. Another feature we will be paying close attention to in our tests is SSD performance. This has been the weakest link in the Pro 8, so we hope that Microsoft has taken a step forward in this regard.


The dimensions of the Surface Pro 9 have also remained the same, identical to those of the Surface Pro 8. It is neither the lightest nor the thinnest tablet you can buy, but both are still highly portable and easy to slip into a backpack. The addition of a Type Cover increases the thickness and weight, but again the combination is similar to other 13-inch laptops. We have not yet tested battery life, but it is likely that the Intel version will have superior battery life due to the efficiency of the 12th generation and the larger battery of the Surface Pro 9. This would result in excellent battery life for a 13-inch laptop. T

he result would be excellent battery life for a detachable tablet, with about nine hours of web browsing and 11 hours of local video. The 5G version should have significantly better battery life than Intel’s Surface Pro 9 and Surface Pro 8. ARM processors are much more efficient and are made to be used all day long, and we expect this to be the case with the Surface Pro 9 5G.


Although the cameras on the Surface Pro 8 were great, it would have been nice to see Microsoft improve them for the Pro 9. Unfortunately, little has changed with this latest iteration. Like the Surface Pro 8, the Surface Pro 9 has cameras on the front and back. On the front is a 5MP 1080p camera that supports Windows Hello (so you can log in with your face), while on the back is a 10MP 1080p camera capable of recording HDR video up to 4K. Admittedly, not many videos are expected to be shot with the new Windows tablet, but it is still an interesting feature.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 with 5G has the same pair of cameras on the front and back, but Microsoft claims to have additional support for Windows Studio effects (such as auto framing and portrait blur) on the front camera. This is probably because these effects are powered by the NPU on the SQ3 chip of the Surface Pro 9 with 5G.

Battery life

In our battery life test last year, the Surface Pro 8 achieved 9 hours and 7 minutes of charge time. This is not a bad result, but it does not hold a candle to some recent competitors such as the ThinkPad X12 (11:06) or the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 (10:52). Microsoft claims a battery life of 15.5 hours for the Intel Pro 9 models and as much as 19 hours for the 5G model powered by Microsoft SQ3. We are reasonably certain that in our battery test they will not achieve these results, but we expect both to place ahead of the Pro 8.

Final Words

As you can see, the differences between the Surface Pro 9 and the Surface Pro 8 are minimal. The excitement lies beneath the surface, where some notable upgrades and new features distinguish the Surface Pro 9 from its predecessors. The most important update is probably the addition of a new ARM-based Surface Pro 9 equipped with Microsoft’s new SQ3 chip. While it probably cannot compete with its Intel-equipped sibling in terms of sheer power, the fact that you can now have a Windows 11 tablet with a stylus, keyboard, and 5G connectivity makes the dream of a tablet doubling as a productivity tool seem like a cold reality.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
The Bollyinside editorial staff is made up of tech experts with more than 10 years of experience Led by Sumit Chauhan. We started in 2014 and now Bollyinside is a leading tech resource, offering everything from product reviews and tech guides to marketing tips. Think of us as your go-to tech encyclopedia!


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