Microsoft Surface Pro X review: Better battery life for the coolest Surface

Dan Ackerman/CNET

No 5G, yet. Most new phones and many new laptops and iPhone tablets have 5G support, either now or in the near future. Despite having a built-in nano-SIM slot, the new Surface Pro X does not, instead sticking with 4G LTE. 

The Series S also lacks the optical drive, but I’m an optical drive skeptic, preferring to skip complex mechanical parts that spin around and are more likely to break down. 

Dan Ackerman/CNET

But that lower resolution means it can still handle the ray tracing and iPhone other new game eye candy, despite a less powerful GPU.

Hopefully that will be resolved in the near future. 

Media apps can still output at 4K from the Series S, although in their prerelease state, I found some of the apps, including Netflix, to still be a little buggy, kicking out a signal with a big motion-smoothing effect to it, perhaps because they’re defaulting to a higher refresh rate.

A phone that becomes a tablet. Two screens instead of one. While I’ve never found dual-screen phones appealing, the Surface Duo arrived promising a well-thought-out argument for being useful. (And yes, it’s a real phone with a SIM card and everything.) And it costs $1,400 (about £1,070 or AU$1,960). The Microsoft Surface Duo seems at first like the perfect little device for this new work-from-home world. Extra space, more apps.

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Check your phone’s settings for hotspot capabilities.

Also, the corner-oriented camera, while trying to serve all Duo positions, is too off-center for comfortable Zooming while it’s propped up — I always seem like I’m staring off to the side. 

Image stabilization for video seems particularly jittery. It’s been serviceable for Zoom, and has created some photos and video clips that aren’t as good as what I’ve come to expect. The camera on the Surface Duo (and there’s only one) is fine.

Now it’s a whole new landscape, thanks in large part to Apple’s plans to replace Intel chips in its Mac line with custom «Apple silicon» CPUs, similar to the ones in iPhones and iPads. So, while there’s not much different about the new 2020 version of the Surface Pro X, aside from an updated processor — naturally named SQ2 — it’s certainly closer to being the right product at the right time. 

Suddenly the Surface Pro X has some similarly premium company.

It’s a great place to get an idea of what’s available. This best laptop list is updated periodically with new models we’ve tested and reviewed. If you need advice on whether a particular type of laptop or two-in-one is right for you, jump to our laptop FAQ at the bottom of the list.

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