The Book S 12.4 is Xiaomi’s first Windows tablet powered by an ARM chip and while its specs look good on paper, are they good enough to take on Microsoft’s Surface Pro X? Since the Windows-on-ARM project was announced years ago, all of the devices that have launched under the program have been powered by Qualcomm chips. However, in November of 2021, MediaTek made it known that it intends to make chips for Windows like it does for Chromebooks.
The first Surface Pro X was released in 2019 and is powered by the Microsoft SQ 1, a custom chip that’s based on Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 8cx Gen 1. In 2020, Microsoft released a new variant of the tablet that featured a new processor, the Microsoft SQ 2, based on the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2. The Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 has been succeeded by the more powerful Snapdragon 8cx Gen 3 which can be found in the Lenovo ThinkPad X13s.
Xiaomi and Microsoft have opted for different designs for their tablets. While both are made from metal, the two can easily be told apart. The Surface Pro X has a 3:2 aspect ratio which makes it look more like a square. It also has a built-in kickstand that props up the tablet when placed on a flat surface. In contrast, the Xiaomi Book S has a 16:10 aspect ratio which gives it a rectangular shape. Sadly, it is missing a kickstand, which means it has to be held or laid flat on a surface. Xiaomi offers the Book S in Dark Gray while the Surface Pro X is available in Platinum and Matte Black.
The Surface Pro X Has Two Variants
The Surface Pro X has a 13-inch (2880 × 1920) PixelSense Display, and thanks to its 3:2 aspect ratio, it is not as wide as the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 and its smaller 12.35-inch (2560 × 1600) display. Those who want a tablet solely for work, and especially those often involved in programming or editing/creating documents, will find the Surface Pro X’s 3:2 aspect ratio perfect. However, the Xiaomi Book S will suffice for those who want a device for editing images and videos or for streaming shows and movies. The two devices have a 5MP front-facing camera with support for 1080p recording, although only the Surface Pro X supports Windows Hello face sign-in. On the back of the Book S is a 13MP camera, while the Surface Pro X has a 10MP sensor.
Xiaomi’s tablet is powered by the Snapdragon 8cx Gen 2 chipset and it is available in a single configuration that has 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage. Even though its CPU has a higher clock-speed than the Microsoft SQ1, it isn’t as powerful as the Microsoft SQ 2 in the 2020 model of the Surface Pro X. Also, Microsoft ships the SQ 1 version with 8GB of RAM and 128GB/256GB of storage while the SQ 2 variant has 16GB of RAM and 256GB or 512GB of storage. The Surface Pro X has two USB-C ports, a Surface Connect port for power, and a nano-SIM (for the LTE variant). In contrast, the Xiaomi tablet has a single USB-C port for charging and display output. It also has a microSD card slot for storage expansion and an audio jack, two features missing on Microsoft’s tablet. Then again, the SSD on the Surface Pro X can be easily upgraded.
In terms of battery life, Microsoft also takes the lead with the Surface Pro X offering up to 15 hours of use. The Xiaomi Book S 12.4 isn’t far behind, however, with an advertised 13.4-hour battery life. Like Microsoft, the Book S comes with a charger in the box. It is also a 65W USB-C GaN charger, unlike the Surface Connect power adapter of the Surface Pro X. The two tablets have a detachable keyboard and a Bluetooth stylus that have to be purchased separately. Xiaomi is charging €699 (~$737) for the Book S 12.4, €99 for the SmartPen stylus, and €149 for the backlit keyboard cover. The Surface Pro X is priced at $699 for the base model with an SQ 1 chip, 8GB RAM, and 128GB storage. Those who want the LTE variant with the same configuration will have to shell out $999.
The more powerful SQ 2 version starts at $1,299 and has 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. The price goes up to $1,499 for the LTE variant and maxes out at $1,649 for the LTE model with a 512GB SSD drive. The Surface Pro keyboard cover is available for $99 while the Slim Pen 2 stylus is $129. There is also the $179 Surface Pro Signature keyboard with a slot for storing the Slim Pen 2. In addition to this, the Surface Pen retails for $46.99, making it a cheaper stylus. When compared to the Surface Pro X SQ1 model, the Xiaomi Book S 12.4 offers more for the price. Furthermore, while the Surface Pro X SQ2 version is more powerful, Xiaomi’s tablet still makes for a cheaper alternative, offering close-enough performance with half the RAM. Unfortunately, Xiaomi’s Windows tablet is only available in Europe for now, putting it out of the reach of those in other regions.