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  • Soon Kai Hong

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 Review: Still The Best 2-In-1

Did you know that it’s actually been a decade since the very first Surface device hit the market? Back then, it was certainly questionable and it was definitely a rocky start. But we now have the latest Microsoft Surface Pro 9 and this is certainly what Microsoft dreamed of ever since the start. Today, it’s arguably the best in the business, setting the standard for others. Fun fact. You can actually sit on this opened flat and the kickstand wouldn’t break

Now we did also review the Surface Laptop 5 or rather, me, myself personally, took a look at it from a really personal perspective coming from the original Surface Laptop which I still own but we aren’t too sure if that video is going up first or this would be. If it’s already out, go ahead and check it out and if it isn’t, well it’ll be up soon. Or if you’ve already watched that and want to know more about the Pro 9 instead, thanks for tuning in because that’s what we’re going to talk about here.

Honestly if we’re talking about Surface products in general, this very design, the hybrid 2-in-1 tablet PC per se would usually first come to mind. And for sure, this is still Microsoft’s main focus per se.

So if you’re familiar with the Surface Pro in general, especially for the last couple of iterations or more, this is still as iconic as ever.

Now one difference that I’ve noted with the Surface Pro 9 and I believe this actually changed since the Surface Pro 8 is the fact that Microsoft is now using aluminium for the chassis. For the longest time, they’ve actually been using magnesium right up till the Surface Pro 7 and the reason for that is because of the lighter weight magnesium provides. The Surface Pro 7 weighed around 770g or 1.7lbs. With the Pro 8 and now the Pro 9, that weight increases to about 878g or about 1.93lbs. 100g or a quarter of a lb may not sound like much but it is worthwhile to take note.

Apart from that, it still retains the iconic design that the Surface Pro is known for and that’s a good thing. Really minimalistic design, pretty robust chassis and you can jazz it up a little simply by choosing a different coloured Surface Pro Signature Keyboard.

Unfortunately for us, we just have the standard black here and it’s not even the Alcantara version. It still works however, just perhaps not the best combo in our opinion.

But design aside, let’s talk about the display because this is properly good. While it might not have changed at all from the previous generation, still maintaining the same high resolution in that 3:2 aspect ratio with support for up to 120Hz including Dynamic 120Hz, that’s not a bad thing. It’s still awesome for general usage all the way to content creation. The speakers are also really well tuned, giving clear highs and mids with a little thump on the low-end, making for a great listening experience be it just for music or getting immersed in your movies.

It goes without saying that this does support 10-point Multi-Touch, so you can get all creative with how you interact with the Pro 9 and you can use it just by itself without any accessories should you wish to do so. Just like any other tablet. Arguably the best use case here is your digital signature, which you can do with your finger or with the new Surface Slim Pen 2.

Now to be clear, all of these are actually separate purchases, so you do need to take overall pricing into account if you want to know how much the actual damage is. But honestly, if you’re getting the Surface Pro in general, investing in the pen would be a no-brainer.

It’s really comfortable to hold on and it does feel pretty natural. There’s even haptics in it to better mimic the feel of pen on paper. Use it to take quick notes, use it for drawing, use it for general browsing even, it all feels great.

Best of all, it’ll simply charge when placed back in its slot on the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and that also keeps it out of sight and well protected while using the Surface Pro normally or totally folded and kept in your bag or more. Probably the best design to securely stow away the pen in my opinion.

Speaking of which, we do want to touch upon the kickstand mechanism a little.

What can we say, it’s arguably the best in the business. It just feels right and you can position at any angle with ease. And yes, you can literally sit on it and it wouldn’t break. It’s that good. Others will definitely have to learn a thing or two from Microsoft.

The last neat feature that’s pretty amazing with the Surface Pro 9 is the fact that the SSD is easily accessible. Flip open the kickstand and there’s a small cover in the bottom corner that’s actually just magnetically attached.

Simply press on the side with the small dimple cutout and it’ll pop the cover up like a lever. Remove that and you get instant access to the SSD. One thing to note is that this does use the smallest M.2 SSD form factor. So if you do want to do your own upgrade, make sure you get the right SSD size.

We then come to performance and this is where things get interesting. Now for our model, we specifically requested to take a look at the Intel variant featuring the latest 12th-Gen processor. But should you want to, there’s actually a Snapdragon variant as well and that’s the model that makes the Surface Pro 9 5G capable.

However, many other reviewers have already noted that with the Snapdragon variant, performance still leaves much to be desired. And 5G isn’t something that everybody is looking for as of yet. Thus, we take a look at the Intel variant, for this arguably makes more sense now. Not only will you have more choices in your desired configuration, you’re getting more for your buck for sure.

For our model, we have the Intel Core i7-1265U, 16GB of RAM and 256GB SSD and this will set you back S$2,488 or US$1,599.

Performance on the Core i7-1265U is splendid, being able to take on multiple tasks efficiently. Multiple tabs in Chrome is of no issues, editing photos in Lightroom is a great experience too and you can even play Genshin Impact with moderate settings should you wish to do so.

Battery life on the other hand will be dependent on the power and refresh rate setting you set to. But give or take, a day's use is of no issues, easily 8 hours and more.

So there you have it, the Microsoft Surface Pro 9, easily still the best Windows 2-in-1 hybrid device in the business. If you’re looking to get one right now, we would say it’s an easy decision and this is a definite recommend. However if you’re upgrading from a previous Surface Pro device, we would say to upgrade only if you own the Surface Pro 6 and before.

The 7 and 8 are still really capable with Intel 11th-Gen processors and with the 7, you might still prefer it even thanks to the magnesium chassis.

Personal opinion however, I’m more in the Surface Laptop camp than the Pro camp. But that’s me. If you need a hybrid device, this should be a part of your consideration.

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