Battle Royale (with Cheese): The Surface Pro X Vs. Intel Surfaces

ARM wrestle?

Joshua Beck
23 min readJul 7, 2021


Surface Pro X; image by Author.

Ok, let’s try this one again.

I say that because I’ve started, stopped, and restarted this story about ten times now, trying to decide if I was writing a review of the Surface Pro X, a comparison to other Surfaces, or a comparison to the ARM-based M1 MacBook Air. It’s gone through favorable and less-favorable reviews as I’ve tried to settle on my opinion of this device. But maybe first we should look at how I got here.

It all started when I fell out of love with my MacBook.

Look, I didn’t mean to fall out of love with it; of course, that’s what a person (or movie character) says when they no longer are in love. But seriously, the M1 Mac has been one of the best computers I’ve ever used. And yet I still fell out of love with it and it left me searching for something else.

I did some soul searching, trying to figure out where my aversion to using the MacBook was coming from. I mean, I loved this computer. I raved about it. I’ve written multiple articles about it- articles that were written on it- about how good a computer it is. And that opinion hasn’t changed. I do still love the MacBook Air. It is a wonderful, powerful machine. I just don’t seem to love using it anymore. So I began to look elsewhere. I revisited some old favorites, like Google’s Pixelbook Go and Microsoft’s Laptop Go, hoping to find what I was missing with the Mac. It wasn’t until I revisited the Surface Go 2 (I’m detecting a theme with the names) that I realized exactly what my problem was.

It was the keyboard. Despite it being literal magic, I wasn’t enjoying using it. Now, the keyboard is excellent; I’m not disparaging how good the keys are. But that didn’t keep me from not wanting to use it. The issue, silly as it may sound, came down to the aluminum build of the MacBook Air that surrounded the keyboard. I hadn’t consciously noticed it, but the metal edge of the thin and light “Air” design was digging into my wrists as I wrote. It was causing me discomfort, and because of that, I didn’t want to use it.

You might have guessed it; it was the Alcantara material on the Surface Go 2’s detachable keyboard that opened my eyes to my plight. This, of course, wasn’t my first…



Joshua Beck

I am just clever enough to get into trouble…