Back in 2019, Microsoft launched the Surface Pro 7, which delivered faster performance than its predecessors but at the cost of battery life. It’s a good device — and even one of the best tablets and 2-in-1 laptops — but we expect to see improvements on all fronts, from the design to speeds and endurance. Our expectations only heightened when Microsoft chose to release the Surface Pro 7 Plus, a business version of the Surface Pro 7, instead of the Surface Pro 8. And now with the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable available, Microsoft should feel more pressure to get it right.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablets are popular among students and business users who travel frequently. They offer laptop-level performance in an ultraportable tablet form factor. When you need to get work done, just snap on the detachable (optional) keyboard and you’re essentially working on a laptop.
Microsoft tinkered with its Surface Pro series last year by adding the Surface Pro X SQ2 to the mix, but we weren’t so thrilled about it. While it has the nicest design of any Surface tablet, performance and app compatibility issues weigh it down. The Surface Pro 8 feels like a critical product for Microsoft after the disappointing Surface Pro X and a Surface Pro 7 that proved to be a worse value than its predecessor.
Can the Surface Pro 8 right the ship? Here is everything we know about the upcoming tablet and a list of things we want to see from the Surface Pro 8.
Surface Pro 8 price and availability
As many previous leaks predicted, the Surface Pro 8 made its debut at Microsoft’s September 22 event, and it’s expected to be available on October 5 to coincide with the launch of Windows 11.
Microsoft is currently accepting pre-orders for the device, and it will be priced from $1,099.99.
With that in mind, let’s look at the Surface Pro 7. The latest model starts at $749 for a Core i3 version and shoots up to $2,299 for a Core i7 config with a 1TB SSD. For us, the sweet spot is somewhere in the middle, at around $1,199 (Core i5, 8GB of RAM, 256GB SSD). Of course, the Signature Type Cover is extra ($159) and so is the Surface Pen ($99).
Surface Pro 8 design and features
Pictures of the Surface Pro 8 (and Surface Laptop 4) reportedly leaked online as the devices were being certified in South Korea. Twitter user cozyplanes says images of devices showed them certified under the model numbers 1950 (Surface Laptop) and 1960 (Surface Pro), which matched the model numbers uncovered by Windows Central.
But we now know more about the new hybrid tablet. At 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches, the anodized aluminum body is slightly bigger and thicker than the outgoing Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches), and the weight has gone up slightly too at 1.96 pounds (compared to the Pro 7’s 1.74 pounds).
The most noticeable difference is the display, as the screen gets a revamp in size (13-inch over the 12.3-inch Surface Pro 7), resolution (2880 x 1920 pixels) and refresh rate (up to 120Hz variable).
Battery life has also been bumped up too, as Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 8 offers up to 16 hours over the Surface Pro 7’s 10.5 hours. And thanks to fast charging, you can juice the Surface Pro 8 to 80% in just over an hour.
You’ll also see another big upgrade in the ports with two Thunderbolt 4 connectors. Convenience takes a hit, as the USB-A port and MicroSD card reader from the Surface Pro 7 is now absent, but the increased data transfer and power rates of these updated ports give the Surface Pro 8 access to a world of dongles, external GPUs and large external storage options.
Surface Pro 8 specs
Keeping Windows 11 running smoothly is a choice of 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs up to an i7-1185G7 with integrated Iris Xe graphics, a TPM 2.0 chip for security, and up to 32GB LPDDR4x RAM (up from the maximum of 16GB in the Surface Pro 7). Storage is now removable and upgradeable with SSD options maxing out at 1TB.
The new Surface Pro 8 makes room for some impressive upgrades to the internals, display and battery life. This includes a 40% higher sustained CPU performance, 74% faster-sustained graphics performance, 5MP front-facing and 10MP rear-facing cameras, support for the new Surface Slim Pen 2, and support for multiple 4K monitors via Thunderbolt 4.
Surface Pro 8: What we want
Thinner bezels: I don’t want thinner bezels, the Surface Pro 8 needs them if it doesn’t want to fall further behind design trends adopted by the iPad Pro and nearly every premium laptop. The Surface Pro X demonstrated how narrow bezels would benefit the Surface Pro’s gorgeous display, now all Microsoft needs to do is bring the same feature to the Surface Pro 8.
Longer battery life: It’s easier said than done. Or is it? Because Microsoft released the Surface Pro 6 with 9+ hours of battery life only to take a step back with the Surface Pro 7. With a battery life of around 8 hours, the newest model just doesn’t cut it. We need to see the Surface Pro 8 hit that 9-hour mark, or it could be in trouble.
Keyboard and Pen included: OK, so this isn’t happening. I want to bring it up anyway because Microsoft markets the Surface Pro as a convertible but sells it as only a tablet. The Type Cover keyboard is what makes the Surface Pro such a compelling product.
Faster SSD: The Surface Pro 8’s performance isn’t entirely up to Microsoft. The company will use the latest Intel or AMD CPU and hope it goes the job. What is on Microsoft is using a fast SSD in the Surface Pro, something it has failed with in recent years. To add insult to injury, Microsoft charges an arm and a leg to expand the storage. For the Surface Pro 8, we want to see faster, cheaper storage options (they exist, trust us).
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