Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022 – the beat goes on (review)

The Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022 is another evolution of the Original Surface Pro circa 2013. It just keeps getting better whilst staying true to its roots – a hybrid tablet PC that can replace a desktop.

Some of those core values include:

  • Intel Core, laptop, low energy CPU and integrated GPU
  • Gorilla Glass screen
  • Wacom compatible digitiser screen and optional Pen
  • Magnesium Alloy/Aluminium body and kickstand
  • Detachable keyboard/trackpad/cover (option)
  • Surface Ribbon Port for charging and data, although the recent models are USB-C PD chargeable as well
  • And until the Surface Pro 8, all covers and keyboards fitted earlier models

It is a fascinating history, and the timeline reveals much about its evolution from 2013 into different formats and models for school, home, and commercial use.

Why do you buy a Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022?

It can replace a desktop or larger laptop if you add an expansion dock (Microsoft Dock to SP7 and from SP8 Thunderbolt 3 or 4) yet remains a portable tablet. That tablet now fits a 13” screen into a 12” body with thin bezels weighing 890g – it is a dream to travel with.

The Surface Pro 9 5G (not reviewed) introduces a new Qualcomm ARM-based Microsoft SQ 3 processor and Neural processing unit. It is more than an oversized smartphone – it runs Windows 11 on ARM (WOA), which has come a long way, and offers 99.9% of the full-fat Windows Intel experience.

Key differences between SP9 2022 and SP8 2021

On the outside, they are similar in size and weight. SP9 has Sapphire (light blue) and Forest (dark green) in addition to the standard Platinum and Graphite.

  • Both have 13”, 3:2 format, very bright 120Hz screens.
  • Both are Intel Evo certified. SP9 has Intel 12th Gen Core i5-1235U or i7-1255U on the consumer models or i5-1245U or i7-1265U for enterprise users. SP9 5G has an ARM-based SQ3 processor. SP8 has i5-1135G7 or i7-1185G7.
  • SP9 RAM is LPDDR5 versus LPDDR4
  • Both have 2 x Thunderbolt 4 ports (USB-C 4.0 and 3.1/2 Gen 1/2).
  • SP9 has Wi-Fi 6E AX and BT 5.1. SP8 has Wi-Fi 6 AX and BT 5.1.
  • Microsoft claims up to 15.5 hours of battery life on the SP9, but as we found in the SP8, that was closer to 9 hours.
  • Sound is Dolby Atmos tuned 2x2W speakers on both.

And I have an SP8 and am delighted with it. So SP8 users – don’t fret, as it is a tad slower than SP9.

Australian Review: Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022

WebsiteProduct Page (check MS December specials)
i5/8/128/256GB $1649/1799 i5/16/256 $2249
i7/16/256/512GB/1TB $2549/2999/3499 i7/32GB/1TB $4149
SQ 3 5G 16/256GB $2599
Special prices for students, parents, and teachers
Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 $429.95
As above, no pen $259.95
ColoursPlatinum, Graphite,  Sapphire and Forest (depends on the model)
 Microsoft Store, Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys, and other major retailers
WarrantyOne-year ACL with optional 2/3/4 Accidental Damage coverage
Country of ManufactureChina
CompanyMicrosoft is an American multinational technology company with headquarters in Redmond, Washington. It develops, manufactures, licenses, supports, and sells computer software, consumer electronics, personal computers, and related services.
MoreCyberShack Microsoft news and reviews

We use Fail (below expectations), Pass (meets expectations) and Exceed (surpasses expectations or is the class leader) against many of the items below. We occasionally give a Pass ‘+’ rating to show it is good but does not quite make it to Exceed. You can click on most images for an enlargement.

First impression – Hello, my little lovely, it is nice that you have not put on weight – Pass+

If Apple can repeat the same Macbook formula year after year, why not Microsoft? Apple would argue that its design is the ultimate balance between functionality, features, and price. Ditto for Microsoft.

The significant change was the 2021 SP8 which modernised and streamlined a format that had lasted eight years. That introduced the new anodised aluminium case, which meant all the old keyboards would no longer fit.

This is the same as the SP8, with the deletion of the 3.5mm, 4-pole headphone jack. That may impact gamers, but USB-C with a suitable Creative SoundBlaster X1 DAC and headphone amp ZZ090 (review) with mic support is easy and cost-effective.

Screen – 13” of usable and productive space – Pass+

It is a 13” Pixel Sense (Microsoft marketing name) in a 3:2 ratio, 2880 x 1920 (267ppi), 120Hz IPS screen.

It is a later version of the SP8 panel using an LG Display Model LGD0719/ LP129WT2-SPA6, although the panel can come from different suppliers depending on supply issues.

The factory-calibrated panel (before Gorilla Glass 5 and the touch and digitiser overlay) has 454nits brightness (tested 455nits), 1320:1 contrast (tested 1310:1), 99% sRGB gamut (tested 105%) and a Delta e of <2 (<4 is good). It uses Pulse Width Modulation (PWM) for dimming at 300kHz. It should not affect PWM-sensitive users.

It supports Dolby Vision IQ, meaning it can decode Dolby Vision and Atmos metadata and play it to the panel and speaker’s capability.  It will play HDR content downscaled to the SDR (standard dynamic range) panel and 2.0 speakers.

Summary: A nice, bright, colour-accurate sRGB), responsive, touch/stylus screen that, as always, is a pleasure to use for extended periods.


The review unit is an Intel 12th Gen Core i7-1265U, 16GB DDR-1197Mhz commercial model. Other model specs are from other GeekBench 5 results for single/multi-core. Note that these are on mains power. The multi-core drops by over 20% on battery.

  • i5-1235U– consumer model 1523/7470
  • i7-1255U – consumer model 1598/8734
  • i5-1245U – commercial model 1606/7025
  • i7-1265U – commercial model 1605/8164

As expected, there is a little between them. The Commercial models have extra security features. These are faster than the SP8 by about 20-30% due to speedier RAM and SSD.

Disk tests

Review Unit: 256GB Samsung MZVL2256HCHQ  in M2.2230 format behind a quick-release panel under the kickstand. It is a PCIe Gen 4 x4 (or backwards Gen 3 x4) capable of 6400/2700MBps sequential read/write.

Crystal Disk Mark is about maximum speed – sequential read/write is 3505.93/2523.14MBps, which leads me to believe it uses the Gen 3 mode.

CPDT is about sustained speeds – sequential read/write is 2.22GBps/846.09MBps

Blackmagic DaVinci Resolve is video editing software, but it tests the disk for speed and capability.

Summary: A pity it does not implement Gen 4 x4, but it is fast anyway.

Wi-Fi 6E – Pass+

It uses the Intel Wi-Fi 6E AX211 160Mhz controller. We could not connect to a Netgear Orbi RBKE963 Quad-band Wi-Fi 6E AX 11000 mesh (network review) in 6E mode, but it connected to the 5GHz band at 1200Mbps full duplex.

BT 5.1 supports multi-point (PC and smartphone) and Windows Fast pair.

Ports – Pass

Some will lament the passing of the 3.5mm 4-pole headphone/mic jack. As mentioned earlier Creative has a USB-C powered DAC/headphone/mic AMP that cures all issues.

It has two independent Thunderbolt 4 ports that are backward comparable with Thunderbolt 3 (40GBps), USB-C 4.0 (20Gbps), USB-C 3.1/3.2 Gen1/2 (5/10Gbps) and earlier (USB-A 480Mbps half-duplex.

Expansion can be via a simple USB-C Dongle supporting an HDMI 2.0 4K@60Hz monitor or a Thunderbolt dock .

Our favourite is the Plugable TBT3 Thunderbolt 3/4 docking station range – UDZ or UDC range with the UDZ having 96W downstream power and dual HDMI or Display Ports (or use one of each).

Microsoft has also released the $459 Audio dock that supports 60W downstream charging, one HDMI and One USB-C monitor, as well as a mono speaker and two Omni-directional mic arrays for music or teleconference.

Don’t forget that it still has the Microsoft Surface ‘ribbon’ connector that can also provide power.

Battery Life – A working day – Pass

It has a 46.5Wh battery – slightly below the SP8. PC Mark 10 Modern Office Battery Test gives it 10 hours 42 minutes, which is about the maximum for typical office use. It will play a 1080p video loop (50% brightness/sound/aeroplane mode) for just over 14 hours.

The Surface Connect charger (Ribbon) outputs 15V/4/60W and will fill the battery in about 1.5 hours. The unit is also 60W USB-C PD upstream chargeable via Thunderbolt. Thunderbolt cables are marked 3 or 4 and have a maximum length of .5m (passive) or 2m (active). You can read more at our USB and Thunderbolt cables made easy.

We tested with a Plugable TB3 dock, and it supports 2 x 4K@60Hz plus the internal screen and one other monitor over USB-C (or Miracast) – a total of four displays.

Oh, and don’t forget the hidden USB-A 3.0 5V/1A/5W port in the charger brick. It is convenient for data and charging.

Sound – Pretty good, but Dolby Atmos is still 2.0 – Pass+

It has 2 x 2W stereo forward-firing speakers and a Realtek High-Definition Audio SST (Intel) 16-bit/48kHz (fixed rate) sound sub-system. It will decode Dolby Atmos metadata and downmix to the micro-speakers.

You can select Dolby Atmos for the built-in speakers or headphones. Don’t be impressed by Dolby Atmos – is it not. There is no 3D spatial sound, but the sound stage is perhaps a little wider than expected.

We tested using the Dolby Atmos for speakers setting, and the sound was excellent. The maximum volume is 80dB (loud enough), and the mid-bass kicks in at 70Hz, ramping up instantly to 120Hz, where it is flat to nearly 10kHz. This is an almost perfect neutral sound signature with enough mid-bass and mid-treble to satisfy. You can read more in our guide, How to tell if you have good music (sound signature is the key).

Keyboard/trackpad/kickstand and Slim Pen 2 – not for War and Peace

Alas, the keyboard/trackpad and Slim Pen are optional extras and not backwards compatible. The keyboard has a different connector to the SP7 and earlier, and the Slim Pen supports Tactile Signals.

The review keyboard is Alcantara covered (felt/suede effect) over a new carbon fibre frame – it is pretty hard-wearing. The keyboard throw is 1.4mm, and the 30g pressure is relatively light. It is a good keyboard for travel, but it does not address the characteristic Surface deck bounce.

The trackpad moves the mouse cursor from the top right to about 25mm above the bottom left of the screen. It is pretty good, but you may prefer a mouse for productivity.

The kickstand is infinitely adjustable from 0-165°.

The test unit has the Slim Pen 2, which docks to the keyboard for induction charging (optional external USB-A charger is $49.95). It is flat like a builder’s pencil, surprisingly comfortable. Tactile signals mean haptic feedback when you use natural gestures. It also features 4069 pressure levels and Zero force inking.

Cameras/mics – above average – Pass+

  • 5.0MP front-facing fixed focus camera with 1080p video and Windows Hello login
  • 10.0MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p and 4k video
  • Dual far-field Studio Mics

The front camera supports Windows Hello IR login. It is quick and works well in low light. Photo quality (stills) varies from 3.7MP in 16:9 to 4.4MP in 3:2. Video quality is a maximum of 1080po@30fps. It produces clear, natural-looking videos for video conferences, albeit its position is not flattering to double chins!

The rear camera varies from 8.9MP in 16:9 to 10.3MP in 4:3. Video is a maximum of 2160P@30fps, but it lacks stabilisation. 1080p@30fps is perfect with natural colour and good detail. There is a Pro mode if you want to play with the settings.

Mics are ‘studio’ quality and suitable to about three metres away. They record in stereo as well.

Missing – no deal breakers

  • MicroSD slot
  • 3.5mm head/mic port
  • Keyboard and pen

Repairability – Pass+

The SP7 gained 1/10 from iFixit. The SP9 has a 7/10 because of its removable M32 SSD, easy-to-replace battery and commitment to providing replacement batteries, displays and motherboards to qualified repairers.

CyberShack’s view – Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022 is an incremental upgrade

Slightly faster CPU/RAM/SSD, marginally brighter screen and more repairable – all worthy changes. Or rush out and get the SP8 now at run-out prices, which is very good too.

I am an unabashed Surface Pro fan. Why?

  • 3.2 format touch screen is better for displaying Office documents – productivity
  • Supports four screens, including 4K@60Hz
  • 2 x Thunderbolt 4 ports and a hidden USB-A port
  • Replaceable SSD
  • An excellent ‘reference’ quality display that is easy on the eye with accurate sRGB colours, brightness, sharpness and auto adjustment
  • A terrific build quality – mandatory if you travel
  • Great cooling, so no perceptible throttling
  • Offers a tablet for travel and a desktop for the office
  • Regularly updated (as well as Windows 11)
  • A stylus (option if I need it) for PowerPoint and Windows Ink
  • Can lay back to 165° for a studio-style workspace
  • Meets my productivity needs for speed
  • Windows Hello is a natural way to sign in
  • The i5 version is more than enough for office productivity
  • Terrific sound for a tablet
  • The full-fat Windows version of an iPad Pro offers me way more functionality than I can’t get with iOS (or Android).

Rating Explanation – Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022

  • Features: 90 – It has everything you could want (except that optional keyboard)
  • Value: 80 – Expensive, but it works so well that you overlook that
  • Performance: 90 – For a tablet, it is tops. The i5 is more than enough as long as you get 16GB
  • Usability: 100 as it’s a desktop replacement (with a dock) to a travel companion
  • Design: 10 – if it ain’t broke don’t fix it

Microsoft Surface Pro 9 2022

From $1649-4149 plus keyboard and Slim Pen







Ease of Use





  • Beautiful 3:2 format display for productivity
  • ncremental speed, SSD, and screen update to SP8
  • Interesting option of Windows on ARM Two new colours
  • Why fix something that isn’t broke?


  • Battery life depends on load – count on 8-10 hours
  • Expensive optional keyboard and pen
  • 3.5mm headphone jack MIA (use USB-C DAC)