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 three brand new devices being revealed.
But while the Surface Duo and Surface Neo perhaps offer a vision of the future of computing, the Surface Pro X was designed to be used in the here and now. It was Microsoft’s first Windows on Snapdragon device, using a custom-build SQ1 processor to create an ‘Always On, Always Connected’ 2-in-1.
However, what you gained in battery life and portability, you definitely lost in compatibility. Many of the most popular Windows apps couldn’t run natively, making for a frustrating workaround experience.
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?
The dust has barely settled on the launch of the 2020 Pro X, so it’s perhaps no surprise that nothing has been revealed with regards to its successor’s release date. Therefore, our best guess comes from when the first two generations went on sale.
With the original model unveiled in October 2019 and the follow-up announced almost exactly a year later, an October 2021 release looks likely. With the Surface Laptop 4 and Surface Pro 8 expected to launch in January, it may leave the autumn slot open again next year.
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?
Nothing has been revealed at this early stage, but there are a few things we’d be surprised not to see in the next generation of Pro X.
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 greater power efficiency. The latter could lead to even more gains in battery life.
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.
With 5G going mainstream in 2020 and the Pro X focusing so heavily on being ‘always connected’, it’s a surprise not to see the latter included yet. Expect Microsoft to put that right on the next generation.
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.
Microsoft Surface Pro X (2021) wish list
With almost nothing confirmed so far, we thought we’d put together a list of 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 most recent Surface Pro X.