Microsoft Surface Pro With LTE Scheduled For Spring 2018 Launch

Microsoft is prepping a version of its popular Surface Pro tablet/laptop/2-in-1/convertible (or however you want to classify it) with a Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 modem inside. A peek at the Surface Pro's product page in the Microsoft Store now states that the LTE-equipped variant will be available sometime next spring, and not on December 1 as a Surface Pro product manager stated last month at Microsoft's Ignite conference.

There is an FAQ section at the bottom of the Surface Pro product page and one of the questions asks when LTE will be available. It goes like this:
When will LTE be available?
The new Surface Pro with LTE will be made available for purchase at retail Spring 2018. We're excited to bring you a Surface Pro that is now faster, lighter, quieter, and more connected than ever.

Microsoft Surface Pro

Microsoft as a company never confirmed the December 1 release, though it did say in a statement last month that "The Surface Pro with LTE will be available later this year," adding that it will have more to share in the coming months. We suspect (and hope) that Microsoft will talk a bit more about this during its Future Decoded conference in London later this month, but for the time being, all we have to go on is the FAQ listing.

For those who need LTE connectivity, Surface Pro with a Snapdragon X16 chip inside is worth waiting for. Microsoft made several subtle changes to its newest Surface Pro models, which we covered in detail in a recent review of a non-LTE variant. One of the things that impressed us most was that Microsoft was able to remove the fan on the Core i5 model, resulting in a powerful yet silent 2-in-1.

As for the upcoming LTE model, the Snapdragon X16 modem will sit where the fan would normally go. That means LTE connectivity will only be available on the Core i5 version and not the Core i7 SKU. As we discovered, there is plenty of performance with a Core i5 underneath the hood, so this shouldn't be a big issue. On top of that, Microsoft previously said that cellular connectivity will not have a major impact on battery life.

Qualcomm Snapdragon X16 LTE Graph
Source: Qualcomm (Click to Enlarge)

In regards to the LTE modem, the Snapdragon X16 chip is capable of up to 1Gbps download (LTE Category 16) and 150Mbps uploads (LTE Category 13), both of which are peak ratings. During its unveiling last year, Qualcomm described it as "the mobile industry's first announced LTE Advanced Pro modem with support for Licensed Assisted Access." It is the same modem that is integrated into Qualcomm's flagship Snapdragon 835 chipset.

Interestingly, Qualcomm has a newer LTE modem available for mobile devices, the Snapdragon X20. It boosts peak downloads to 1.2Gbps, with peak uploads the same as the Snapdragon X16.