Microsoft's answer to the M4 iPad Pro makes even Apple's tablet look cheap — Surface Pro 11 sports a 13-inch OLED display, Qualcomm Snapdragon X chip, and a huge price tag

Microsoft Surface Pro 11
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Just a week after Apple released the M4 iPad Pro to the public Microsoft has announced its own answer to the best iPad that money can buy. The Surface Pro 11 is here, and Microsoft is definitely bullish about what it can do — particularly when put up against Apple's high-end tablet.

Microsft's new tablet comes in a whole range of configurations but they all run some form of Qualcomm's Snapdragon X lineup of chips, one that is powered by Arm and is expected to give Apple's M-series chips a run for its money. That extends to AI workflows as well and Microsoft is quick to point out that the Surface Pro 11's "integrated NPU delivers almost 20% more TOPS for AI processing than the Apple iPad Pro M4." Those are definitely numbers and who doesn't like big numbers and AI processing?

But while this machine will undoubtedly be touted as Microsoft's answer to the iPad Pro — and it might well be — there's no denying the elephant in the room. Sure, the Surface Pro 11 starts at $999 but if you want to get one that actually competes with the iPad Pro you're going to need to spend 50% more. Yes, a Surface Pro 11 with a 13-inch OLED display will set you back a whopping $1,499. Whether or not it's worth it isn't really the point. All I know is that Microsoft somehow managed to out-Apple, Apple — at least in terms of dollar signs followed by big numbers. Maybe those big numbers aren't so great after all. For context, the 13-inch iPad Pro starts at $1,299 which is already a lot.

Starting from $999*

Snark aside, for now at least, let's take a look at the specs on offer here.

At the very bottom of the lineup, we have the tablet that costs $999.99 and comes with an LCD display (like an M2 iPad Air, not an iPad Pro) and a Qualcomm Snapdragon X Plus chip with 16GB of RAM and 256GB of storage.

At the very opposite end of the lineup is the model with an OLED display, a Snapdragon X Elite chip, 32GB of RAM, and 1TB of storage. Microsoft is quick to note that's an SSD by the way. Just in case you thought you might get a spinning HDD in your new tablet.

Note that all of these are Wi-Fi-only tablets, there's no 5G option yet. Buyers can expect up to 14 hours of battery life while on the go and the option to connect up to three monitors when at their desk, too.

This being a product announced in 2024, there's also a healthy dose of AI to go with all those specs.

"Whether your teams are dialing in from the road, the home office, or the conference room, the view is crystal clear with the ultra-wide front-facing camera paired with AI-enabled automatic framing to stay in frame," Microsoft's press release explains. "New enhanced voice focus exclusive to Copilot+ PCs leverages the power of the NPU to remove background noise for maximum clarity on video or audio calls and let the Studio Mics focus on your voice." All good stuff, I'm sure you'll agree.

In terms of software, the new tablet is powered by Windows 11 with Copilot Plus included. In fact, it's a "Copilot Plus PC," something that our friends at Windows Central explained as essentially being the next-gen AI PC. What does that mean? There's support for on-device live translations and enhanced features including Recall, software that will essentially allow Windows to remember everything you do on your computer via searchable screenshots.

If that sounds like your idea of fun, the Surface Pro 11 is now available for preorder from $999, but you'll want to upgrade to the OLED model to get the best one. Or just buy an M4 iPad Pro instead.

You won't have to use Windows then, either. (You will have to use iPadOS 17 though, but let's just skirt over that for now)

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Oliver Haslam

Oliver Haslam has written about Apple and the wider technology business for more than a decade with bylines on How-To Geek, PC Mag, iDownloadBlog, and many more. He has also been published in print for Macworld, including cover stories. At iMore, Oliver is involved in daily news coverage and, not being short of opinions, has been known to 'explain' those thoughts in more detail, too. Having grown up using PCs and spending far too much money on graphics card and flashy RAM, Oliver switched to the Mac with a G5 iMac and hasn't looked back. Since then he's seen the growth of the smartphone world, backed by iPhone, and new product categories come and go. Current expertise includes iOS, macOS, streaming services, and pretty much anything that has a battery or plugs into a wall. Oliver also covers mobile gaming for iMore, with Apple Arcade a particular focus. He's been gaming since the Atari 2600 days and still struggles to comprehend the fact he can play console quality titles on his pocket computer.

  • erikbock
    I'll repeat what I posted on another article. It's running and ARM processor and Windows ARM is only half baked at best. It is nowhere near as complete as MacOS is on Apple Silicon (ARM) so no matter how fast this thing is it doesn't matter if it's not just a seamless experience. Also, this is a laptop essentially as it has been compared to a M3 MacBook Air (Oh that was an apples to oranges comparison). This is comparison the current version of the iPad Pro and that's not a good comparison either. I will say that the M4 iPad Pro is throttled by iPadOS and Apple needs to address that and fast.

    I did upgrade from a M1 iPad Pro to the new one but did it only because of OLED and the front facing camera being on the long side as I use the Magic Keyboard almost exclusively with it and want that camera for meetings.
  • FFR
    Old Oled non tandem display and a 4 nm soc in 2024, for the price of an m4 iPad Pro .