Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 8 With Microsoft’s Surface 2022 hardware reveal event wrapped up, we now know what the tech giant’s next Windows tablet will be: the next-gen Surface Pro 9.
We’ve had some time with it and were impressed with what we saw, which means the Surface Pro 9 could soon take the top spot in our list of the best Windows tablets.
But to do that, it’ll have to dethrone the current reigning champ – its immediate predecessor, the generally excellent Surface Pro 8. At first glance, the two Surface tablets look remarkably similar, but once you dig beneath the surface (ho ho), there’s a lot that sets them apart.
But what is better? With Black Friday right around the corner, there’s a good chance we’ll see some sales on the Surface Pro 8 once the Pro 9 goes on sale on October 25. If you are going for a new model, or will you wait for a discount on the current-gen Surface Pro? Let’s break down the details.
Microsoft Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 8: Price
The Surface Pro 9 starts at $1,000 / £1,099
The Surface Pro 8 MSRP was higher but is now available at a lower price
A larger selection of models for the Pro 9
The Surface Pro line has always straddled the line between tablet and laptop, using Windows and Intel Core processors to give it the capabilities of the best laptops while maintaining a tablet form factor. This means that their prices are generally closer to those of professional laptops rather than cheaper Android tablets.
The Surface Pro 9 actually has a slightly lower MSRP at launch than the comparable entry-spec Pro 8 model: $1,000 versus the Pro 8’s $1,099. However, the Pro 8 is now available for much less; we’ve seen i5 models for as little as $800 on Amazon.
Now, you’re obviously getting more computing power for your money with the Surface Pro 9, although some of the higher-spec models can be very expensive. If you want a more powerful device, the newer Pro 9 is definitely the way to go. However, if you don’t plan to run any super-demanding software, the Pro 8 is a better value.
It’s worth noting that the Pro 9 is available with either an Intel Core processor or Microsoft’s new SQ3 chip (found in the Surface Pro 5G). The 5G-capable SQ3 models have a slightly higher starting price, meaning there’s more overall model choice than the Pro 8. There’s also a cheaper Pro 9 version without the Evo i5, which seems to only be available in the US.
Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 8: Specs
Surface Pro 9’s 12th Gen Intel chips are very powerful
The Pro 9 5G will use the untested Microsoft SQ3 processor
The Surface Pro 8 is only one generation of Intel chips behind, but it’s a big leap forward
This is a (mostly) clean design for the Surface Pro 9. Like the Pro 8, it’s available with an i5 or i7 processor – a move to ensure the new tablets meet Intel’s ‘Evo’ specs. There are no i3 models.
The key difference is that these are 12th Gen Intel Core processors, also known as “Alder Lake” CPUs. The 11th generation ‘Tiger Lake’ chips found in the Surface Pro 8 are no slouch, to be clear, but Alder Lake brings a unique new microarchitecture called big .LITTLE uses two different types of CPU cores: powerful cores and efficient cores.
This essentially means a huge generational leap in multi-core performance, with efficient cores handling background processors while powerful cores plow through more complex tasks. The 12th generation Intel basically blew the previous generation out of the water, so we expect much better performance from the Surface Pro 9.
It’s worth noting that the Surface Pro 9 5G runs Microsoft’s ARM-based SQ3 chip instead, and we haven’t tested it ourselves yet, so we don’t know how it stacks up against the Intel models.
differences between Pro 9 and Pro 9 5G
This is a tricky category because the overall design has hardly changed here. Compared to previous models, the Surface Pro 8 has changed its exterior design quite a bit; switching to the Pro 9 seems like a minor adjustment at most.
Both are incredibly sturdy tablets with a sturdy stand hinge and a mostly metal case. The Surface Pro 9 has slightly more rounded edges than the Pro 8, which is likely a callback to the more curved design of the Surface Pro X, which spawned Microsoft’s SQ processors.
There are also differences between the Intel models and the SQ3 Pro 9. Both versions have a ventilation duct that is hidden around the back of the display, but only the Intel one has holes cut into the back of the chassis for better cooling of the chip.
We prefer the slightly more rounded surface of the Surface Pro 9, as it feels a little more comfortable in the hands.
Surface Pro 9 vs Surface Pro 8: Which should you choose?
The Look, the Surface Pro 9 is the clear winner here. We can’t say we’re surprised by the result; it’s simply a newer, faster device that we fully expect to outperform the Surface Pro 8 in almost every department when we can properly test it.
However, the question of which one to buy depends largely on your personal needs and budget. If you can afford the mid-to-high-end Pro 9, we’d highly recommend pre-ordering it now. If you want a tablet with 5G support, the Pro 9 is again the only choice.
However, if you’re shopping on a budget or know that you don’t need a lot of computing power, it might be a good idea to keep an eye out for the Surface Pro 8 sale. It’s not that powerful. , but still comfortably handles everyday tasks like web browsing and office work.
So while the Surface Pro 9 may be our overall winner, don’t discount its predecessor just yet. The Pro 8 is still one of the best Windows tablets money can buy, and if you can find one for a good price, we’d still highly recommend it.