Microsoft’s Surface Pro X adds a formerly missing piece to the Surface lineup: an always-on, always-connected device that enables productivity wherever you go. 

What it changes on the inside—especially the custom Snapdragon 8cx-based processor that Microsoft co-designed with Qualcomm—is reflected by dramatic changes on the outside: a pair of USB-C ports, a rechargeable pen tray…and the unfortunate removal of the headphone jack, USB-A, and the microSD slot. There’s also a SIM slot for connectivity, though it’s well hidden.

The 14-inch Surface Pro X tablet will ship on November 5 for $999 to $1,799. That base price is a few hundred more than the cheapest $799 configuration of the Intel-based Surface Pro 7. As shown below, users will get to select from various memory and storage options, as well as consumer and business versions. A new Surface Slim Pen and Surface Pro X Signature Keyboard are also specific to the platform. Both the Slim Pen and keyboard appear to be sold separately, though we don’t have prices for either.

Microsoft Surface Pro X Mark Hachman / IDG

Folded up, Microsoft’s Surface Pro X looks normal…

A bold new look for Surface

It’s sort of hard to believe that the first thing worth highlighting is the Surface Slim Pen, but it absolutely is. With the Type Cover inclined, there’s absolutely no indication that anything’s changed. Detach the Cover, though, and a small cubby is revealed: a new, flattish Surface Slim Pen! That recharges when tucked away! That launches the Whiteboard app! And that won’t get lost!

Microsoft Surface Pro X Mark Hachman / IDG

But when unfolded, Microsoft’s Surface Pro X reveals the rechargable Surface Slim Pen in its dedicated charging dock.

Yes, exclamation points are absolutely demanded here. As an occasional inker who has at one time or another touched almost every Surface tablet in existence, a literal handful of Surface Pens live in the bottom of my backpack. A safe, secure place to store a digital pen is absolutely worth applause, though I’m a teeny bit concerned that it will vampirically steal away power from the Surface device, which I consider more of a priority. Securing the pen has been a problem that’s demanded a solution for years. While Dell’s Inspiron 7000 Black Edition laptops got there first, Microsoft earns second place for the Surface Pro X.

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The Slim Pen is flattish, rather than perfectly cylindrical as the regular Surface Pen is. It felt comfortable in the hand and inks with 4,096 levels of pressure, which is pretty standard for competitive styluses. The stylus is apparently not compatible with the recently announced Universal Stylus Initiative, unfortunately.

Equally appreciated: not one but two USB-C slots on the left side of the tablet. Microsoft will still use the Surface Connector to power the tablet, but it sounds like USB-C might be an option in a pinch. Each port can supply 15W of power.

Microsoft Surface Pro X Mark Hachman / IDG

Microsoft’s Surface Pro X reveals a pair of USB-C ports on the side.

After years of ignoring USB-C, it’s sort of hard to believe Microsoft jumped into it with both feet, but it certainly did. Three ports that you’d expect to see in a Surface—the USB-A port, the microSD slot squirreled away under the kickstand, and the headphone jack—have all disappeared. It’s a plus for all those who have made the leap to Bluetooth earbuds, but ditching so many legacy ports so quickly is disconcerting.



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