Microsoft Surface Pro X: A slim and stylish workmate

Mala Bhargava | Updated on July 09, 2020

This nicely designed laptop-tablet hybrid is for those who want to work on the go and don’t need heavyweight processing power

The notebook-tablet hybrid space is a tricky one. Try too hard to be a tablet, and users complain it’s not enough of a machine to take to work; try too hard to be a laptop computer and users can’t see why a little more effort was not put in to make it a tablet with which one can relax and be entertained. One can’t envy the companies that have to walk the tightrope to come up with the perfect balance between the two.

Microsoft’s Surface Pro X, part of a family of Surface products, has a good go at being both tablet and notebook. Does it manage it? Not quite, but it’s getting there. The Surface Pro X is a tablet to which you optionally add a keyboard. Actually, you have little option but to do so because Windows 10 is not an ideal tablet operating system and doesn’t have the wealth of apps that you would find on say, the iPad. It somehow makes for a workaround of a tablet. With the addition of a keyboard, it becomes an occasional tablet to use for entertainment, presentations, content consumption, etc, while leaving the avenue open for the user to do some office work.

Signature kickstand

The main tablet part of the device has a signature kickstand on the back which is by far one of the best things about the Surface Pro X and the few other products from the family that use it. It makes the screen able to stand up and tilt and remains rock steady wherever it is put down. It’s what gives the Surface Pro X its stylishness and postural flexibility.

This extends to yet another accessory: the Slim Pen, an optional stylus that has its own slot reserved on the top of the keyboard, where it magnetically snaps in to stay securely fitted. The pen is obviously for those who are creative or those whose work involves marking up or writing by hand. The kickstand lets you use the pen at varying angles of comfort. For anyone who doesn’t buy the pen, there will be an empty slot on the keyboard looking sad.

The Surface Pro X manages to feel quite light though it’s actually heavier than the iPad Pro 12.9 inches, which is its main rival. I found the 2880x1920 screen quite gorgeous and very responsive, as a tablet display should be. The side bezels are thin and the screen looks roomy. We have Windows 10 Home running and so it’s the Microsoft ecosystem applications that you can work with.

This poses the main problem with this machine: the Surface Pro X works with an ARM processor meant for lightness and mobility, like for a phone. The ‘heavier’ Windows applications run on another architecture for which this machine is not the optimal one. While one may coax them to function, they do so with an emulation layer and not on a system that was meant for them in the first place. It’s not for gaming either. It’s in this context that users find the Surface Pro X expensive, feeling that it should be a full fledged machine able to handle everything at the price. So, it’s not recommended for those users who need specific heavyweight apps, even like PhotoShop, but for those who need all the basics on the go. That’s why the Surface Pro X has an always-on LTE connection and a nano SIM slot. For those who use a lighter set of applications, it’s a nice machine to go about with and perfect for travel. Battery life is about 9 to 10 hours.

Typing experience

The typing experience on this machine is quite nice. The keyboard is comfortable to work with though many feel the touch pad should have been larger. There are two USB-C ports but these are not Thunderbolt and nor are they accompanied by a regular USB A slot, a proprietary charging connector that I’ve always liked, a nano SIM slot, but no headphone jack. There are 8GB and 16GB configurations, with 128 to 512GB storage. The cameras are 11MP (rear) and 5MP (front).

This hybrid is really meant for a specific niche group of users who aren’t looking for the ultimate do-it-all powerhouse but want to use light applications to work wherever they may happen to be.

Price: Surface Pro X – ₹98,999, Type Cover – ₹13,699, Slim Pen -- ₹14,29 or Type Cover and Pen combo -- ₹26,299

Pros: Very cool and stylish, easy to carry, great kickstand, excellent design, clever slot for pen, gorgeous screen, good typing experience, good audio, works well with apps meant for it, LTE support

Cons: Expensive package, X86 apps struggle, battery life a little less than expected, no headphone jack or USB A, ports not Thunderbolt, no memory card slot, should have more colour options

Published on July 09, 2020

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