Specs Appeal: Here is how Surface Pro 9 compares to Pro 8 and Pro 7

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 with its accessories

In this Specs Appeal article, we dive deep into all the differences between the new Surface Pro 9 and its two preceding generations. If you are considering buying the Surface Pro 9, this article will help you see how the tablet compares to the Surface Pro 8 and the Surface Pro 7, which you can still buy with significant discounts. We did not include the Surface Pro 7+ since Microsoft aims this device squarely at commercial customers.

The Surface Pro 9 focuses on improving the redesigned model that Microsoft introduced last year, so there are no major or ground-breaking visual changes this year. The only design change you can spot on the surface is two new vivid color variants. Besides the same chassis, the Surface Pro 9 features the same 120Hz display (now with dynamic refresh rate support out of the box).

Surface Pro 8 device images
Surface Pro 8

A significant difference between the Surface Pro 9 and 8 is the optional variant with an ARM processor, which was previously available in the separate Surface Pro X lineup. Microsoft is now confident in its custom ARM processors (made in partnership with Qualcomm) enough to include them in the Surface Pro lineup. Besides offering a notably better battery life, the Surface Pro 9 with the Microsoft SQ 3 processor is your choice if you want a Surface with 5G. Intel-based variants are Wi-Fi-only.

Speaking of less exciting changes, Microsoft this year, for some reason, decided to ditch the 3.5 mm headphone jack. Also, despite having a user-upgradeable SSD, the Surface Pro 9 does not allow you to expand its storage with microSD cards since Microsoft removed that slot in the Surface Pro 8.

The Surface Pro 7 propped on its built-in kickstand
Surface Pro 7

Here are the key changes summed up in a list:

  • New color variants: blue (Sapphire) and green (Forest)
  • 12th Gen Intel processors and the third-gen Microsoft SQ by Qualcomm
  • Newer LPDDR5 memory
  • Improved security with TPM 2.0 chip and Windows 11 Secure-core PC standard
  • Wi-Fi 6E support and optional 5G
  • Better battery life (only in the Microsoft SQ 3-based variants)
  • No 3.5 mm headphone jack
Surface Pro 9 Surface Pro 8 Surface Pro 7
Chassis 11.3" x 8.2" x 0.37", 1.94 lbs
287 x 108.28 x 9.3 mm, 879.9 g
11.3" x 8.2" x 0.37", 1.96 lbs
287 x 108.28 x 9.3 mm, 889 g
11.5" x 7.9" x 0.33", 1.7 lb
292 x 201 x 8.5 mm, 790 g
Colors Platinum, Graphite, Sapphire, Forest Platinum, Graphite Platinum, Matte Black
Display 13-inch 3:2 PixelSense with narrow bezels
2880x1920 (267 ppi)
Dynamic refresh rate up to 120Hz
13-inch 3:2 PixelSense with narrow bezels
2880x1920 (267 ppi)
Up to 120Hz refresh rate
12.3-inch 3:2 PixelSense
2736x1284 (267 ppi)
60Hz
Processor Intel Core i5-1235U
Intel Core i7-1255U
Microsoft SQ 3
Intel Core i5-1135G7
Intel Core i7-1185G7
Intel Core i3-1005G1
Intel Core i5-1035G4
Intel Core i7-1065G7
Memory 8GB, 16GB, 32GB LPDDR5 8GB, 16GB, 32GB LPDDR4x 4GB, 8GB, 16GB LPDDR4x
Storage User-removable SSD
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Non-user-removable SSD
128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB
Security TPM 2.0 Chip
Windows Hello face sign-in
Windows 11 Secured-core PC
Firmware TPM
Windows Hello face sign-in
Network Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.1
Optional 5G
Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1 Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.0
Battery Up to 15.5 hours of typical use (Intel)
Up to 19 hours of typical use (ARM)
Up to 16 hours of typical use Up to 10.5 hours of typical use
Cameras Front-facing camera with 1080p video and Windows Hello
10MP rear-facing camera with 4K video support
5.0MP front-facing camera with 1080p video and Windows Hello
8.0MP rear-facing camera with auto-focus and 1080p video
Ports

Intel:

2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4/USB 4.0 (Intel)
1x Surface Connect
1x Surface Keyboard Port

ARM:

2x USB-C 3.2
1x Surface Connect
1x Surface Keyboard Port
1x nanoSIM

2x USB-C Thunderbolt 4/USB 4.0
3.5mm headphone jack
1x Surface Connect
1x Surface Keyboard Port
1x USB-C
1x USB-A
3.5mm headphone jack
1x Surface Connect
1x Surface Type Cover
1x microSDXC
Accessories Surface Slim Pen 2
Surface Signature Keyboard
Surface Pen
Surface Slim Pen 2
Surface Type Cover
Price TBA $1,099 $750

The Surface Pro 9 looks like a great upgrade option for owners of the Surface Pro 7 or older models. You will get a significantly upgraded display, much more horsepower courtesy of Intel's 12th Gen processors, better battery life, and an overall more modern-looking device. If you own the Surface Pro 8, upgrading to the Surface Pro 9 does not feel like a reasonable decision unless you want 5G. Also, users who can accept using a device with an older processor could just buy the Surface Pro 8 for notably less money.

Do you think the Surface Pro 9 offers enough changes to justify upgrades from the previous two generations? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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