Microsoft has just released the newest addition to the Surface lineup - the Surface Pro 8. While we’ve now seen eight generations of the Surface Pro, the new Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the biggest re-design the series has seen in years. It’s the best Surface Pro yet thanks to a larger touchscreen display and a 120Hz refresh rate, Thunderbolt 4 support, a more powerful processor, and the inclusion of Windows 11.
The Surface Pro 8 pulls from the Surface Pro 7 but brings a handful of updates to the design and hardware. It also injects some style cues from the ambitious Surface Pro X, combining the best elements of its predecessors to become the latest and greatest Surface Pro yet.
- New processors: Intel 11th Gen U-Series
- New operating system: Windows 11
- Larger display: 13-inch Touchscreen Display with 120Hz refresh rate
- 2x Thunderbolt 4 ports
- New Keyboard/Type Cover
- Support for Surace Slim Pen 2 with haptics
The Surface Pro 8 is essentially a mash-up of the Pro 7 and Pro X, offering the best of both worlds and then some. It’s a bit heavier than the earlier devices but not by much, and it’s only a small sacrifice to make for having a larger battery. Let’s take a closer look at some of the new and improved features of the Surface Pro 8.
The most visible change on the new Surface Pro 8 is the 13-inch PixelSense Flow Display. The Pro 8’s display is larger than the 12.3-inch display found on the Pro 7 by 11%, while also being 12.5% brighter and 11% higher in resolution. It has a resolution of 2880 x 1920 pixels and supports Dolby Vision and Adaptive Colour Technology - a built-in Ambient colour sensor that automatically adjusts the screen’s colour temperatures to match your surroundings. The larger display also helps reduce the size of the bezels on the sides of the Pro 8 providing more screen space and a similar appearance to the Surface Pro X.
The most important improvement of the Pro 8’s display to note is the 120Hz refresh rate, which is up from 60Hz on the Pro 7 or Pro X. The display will run at 60Hz by default but will jump up to 120Hz dynamically for touch or stylus tasks, or when you toggle it via the settings. The Pro 8 will make use of Windows 11’s new Dynamic Refresh Rate feature which allows the display to fluctuate between different refresh rates depending on tasks. According to Microsoft, the display on the Pro 8 is the “most technologically advanced” display they’ve ever built.
Performance & Battery Life
The Surface Pro 8 sports new 11th Gen quad-core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors, bringing solid performance to the 2-in-1 tablets. As the first Surface Pro built on the Intel® Evo™ platform, the Pro 8 will also light up the best of Windows 11. The base model of the device includes 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with the option to go up to 16GB of RAM or 512GB of storage. These upgrades are expected to bring twice the speed, over 40% higher sustained CPU performance, and 74% faster graphics sustained performance.
You’d expect a larger display and improved processors to decrease the Pro 8’s battery life, but luckily, Microsoft has included a larger battery in the Surface Pro 8 to make up for this. The Pro 8 battery is 51.5WHr, 19% larger than the capacity of the Pro 7 battery at 43.2WHr battery. With typical device usage, you can expect up to 16-hours of battery life which is enough to last you all day. Fast Charging on the device will also allow you to go from low battery to full faster.
Keyboard & Accessories
To enjoy the 2-in-1 functionality of the Surface Pro 8, you’ll need to pair it with a Surface Pro Type Cover. Microsoft has developed a new keyboard cover for the Pro 8 that is slightly larger than the Pro 7’s and has secure storage and charging for the new Microsoft Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately). The premium keyboard cover is made of a carbon-fiber core with a large glass trackpad and Alcantara® material covering. While most detachable keyboards are cramped and flat, that’s not the case with the Surface Pro keyboard cover. In addition to nice stability when in use, this detachable keyboard cover really has a premium feel to it.
At the top of the keyboard, you’ll find a handy slot for Microsoft’s new Surface Slim Pen 2 (sold separately). It’s said to be their best performing pen yet with real-time writing, pinpoint accuracy, and incredible shading thanks to a sharper pen tip and improved design. It also includes built-in haptic feedback which makes you feel like you’re writing or drawing on physical paper. It can also provide tactile signals that can make it easy for you to know when you’ve successfully used natural gestures, like circling to select and crossing out to delete in Microsoft Word and Excel. The strength of tactile signals when using Surface Slim Pen 2 can be easily adjusted or even turned off through Windows settings. Adding the Slim Pen 2 with the Pro 8 brings unlocks so many new uses, allowing you to get creative in Adobe Creative Suite, take handwritten notes in Microsoft Teams, create a brainstorm using Microsoft Whiteboard, and more!
Ports & Cameras
Microsoft has added two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports to the Surface Pro 8, leaving behind the aging USB-A port. This makes it easier than ever to connect the Pro 8 to multiple external displays, use high-speed external storage, or an external GPU to create a gaming setup. The Surface Pro 8 still uses Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connector for the power adapter, but you can also charge it via the new USB-C ports.
For the most part, the camera system on the Surface Pro 8 is fairly similar to its predecessor. It has a 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p HD video just like the Pro 7 but has a better 10MP rear camera with 1080p HD and 4k video. It also has dual far-field studio mics, Wi-Fi 6 support, Bluetooth support, and a 3.5mm headphone jack in addition to the Surface Connect and USB-C ports.
The Surface Pro 8 offers effortless performance and versatility in a slim and lightweight form factor. Whether you’re word processing, video calling, online shopping, or creating spreadsheets, this 2-in-1 tablet is the best Surface Pro yet to handle these tasks. It even comes with Windows 11 which brings more new features and enhancements to your computing experience. In the past, choosing a 2-in-1 tablet might mean choosing to compromise on things such as performance. With the Surface Pro 8, Microsoft shows that you no longer have to make that sacrifice. Unless you’re planning on running power-intensive applications, the Surface Pro 8 is a great choice for anyone looking for a laptop replacement or a 2-in-1 device.