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Now is a good time to buy a high-performance tablet for your springtime travel — or some very early back-to-school prep. Microsoft is running a spring sale that offers up to $300 off Surface Pro 9 models, while Amazon is roughly matching many of those prices. Almost all versions are discounted, whether they’re Intel- or ARM-based, and the bargains get larger with more advanced configurations. An Intel Core i7 model with 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD is down to $1,600 (normally $1,900), while a Qualcomm SQ3 variant with 16GB of RAM, a 512GB SSD and 5G has dropped to the same price.
Other deals are still worth exploring. A $100 discount effectively gives entry-level Surface Pro 9 buyers a free upgrade to a 256GB SSD, and the sweet-spot Core i5 model with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD is down to $1,300. If you simply must have the best, a Core i7 tablet with 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD is down to $2,300. Surface Pro Signature Keyboards are up to $75 off, too.
The Surface Pro 9 unified Microsoft’s Intel- and ARM-powered tablet designs for the first time, and the results are mostly positive. This is a surprisingly thin slate that still has the power for serious multitasking, and you can even upgrade the SSD (a rarity in tablets) if you need more storage. The SQ3 version also includes 5G support to keep you connected while you’re camping or traveling on business.
We’ll be frank: you’ll probably want an Intel-based Surface Pro 9. It’s not only faster than its ARM equivalent, but compatible with a much wider range of software. And yes, the virtually mandatory keyboard attachment isn’t included in the price. Still, this is one of the precious few tablets that can truly be called a laptop replacement. It’s fast enough for serious work, yet portable enough for note-taking (with the optional pen) and other handheld duties.