Microsoft has been selling Surface Pro models with basically the like design since at least 2015. In 2019, it slightly rectified that by releasing two flagship models. There was the Surface Pro 7 — a powerful, hardheaded machine with a four-year-old design — and the Surface Pro X — a modern-looking, thin device with a slow ARM check that wasn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate compatible with all kinds of popular apps .
Neither of these devices was in truth what I ’ five hundred consider an ideal machine — they both had serious drawbacks. “ I wish this looked like the Surface Pro X, ” lamented Tom Warren in his differently positivist review of the Surface Pro 7. Across the internet, reviewers begged Microsoft to find a way to put the Pro 7 ’ randomness chips in the Pro X ’ sulfur chassis .
And now, two years later, that ’ s precisely what Microsoft did. The $ 1,099.99-and-up Surface Pro 8 is the best of both worlds — it takes the best parts of the Pro 7 and the best parts of the Pro X, and puts them in one very excellent device.
Our review of
Surface Pro 8
out of 10
- Finally, a modern look
- Stylus has a haptic motor and keyboard garage
- 120Hz display
- Expensive (especially the base model)
- Keyboard and stylus aren’t included in the price
- Limited port selection
Buy for $1,099.99 from Microsoft
Buy for $1,099.99 from Best Buy
The first thing you ’ ll notice about the Pro 8 is its screen. The device has a 2880 x 1920 13-inch touch display, which is about an inch bigger than that of the Pro 7. The side bezels are visibly smaller than the Pro 7 ’ mho. The circus tent matchless is hush chunky — which makes sense, since you need something to hold if you ’ re using this as a tablet — but the keyboard deck covers the penetrate one when the Pro 8 is in laptop mode .
The other raw thing about this display is that it has a 120Hz refresh rate, which is strange to see outside of the bet on sphere. The extra frames make a huge difference in daily function — the cursor is nice to look at as you drag it around the screen, there ’ south less lag when you ’ re writing with the stylus, and scroll is precisely so much placid. It makes for a better Windows experience, regardless of the app you ’ ra using. But I do wish this device supported Dynamic Refresh Rate, which is supposed to be part of Windows 11 — that feature mechanically swaps a device between 120Hz and 60Hz depending on the app you ’ re using, in order to save battery. Microsoft hasn ’ t told us if or when that ’ south coming yet, so for the moment you ’ ra stuck ducking into Advanced Display Settings if you want to bump the review rate up or down. ( I barely left mine on 120Hz and took the battery life hit. )
What does get mechanically adjusted is the coloring material profile. With the Adaptive Color feature, the Pro 8 automatically adjusts the look of your filmdom based on the environment around you. This have was elusive enough that I didn ’ triiodothyronine in truth notice it in natural process while I was working — but you do see the remainder when you toggle it on and off, which you can do in brightness settings. It decidedly made the screen easier on my eyes, particularly at nox .
elsewhere, the Pro 8 besides has a 10-megapixel back camera ( which the Pro X had but not the Pro 7 ). This can capture 4K video recording ( vitamin a well as 1080p ) video. Like both of its predecessors, the Pro 8 besides has a 5-megapixel front-facing camera, which can capture television in 1080p for Zoom calls and the like. I rarely get to say this about webcam, but the Pro 8 actually delivers a good painting. Colors were vibrant, and my lines were clear, even in less-than-ideal light up. The television camera besides supports Windows Hello facial recognition, which is handy. The camera app occasionally got stick when I was trying to switch from front to rear, forcing me to reboot the broadcast, but that ’ s my only nitpick here .
Speaking of Zoom calls, the Pro 8 makes a great tele-conferencing device. There are two far-field studio microphones, which never had trouble picking up my articulation. And the audio besides sounds estimable, with pass percussion and audible bass. That ’ randomness impressive considering how small the device is — it ’ randomness 1.96 pounds and barely 0.37 inches slurred, which is reasonably big for a pill but quite portable as laptops go .
The keyboard binding ( which costs an extra $ 179 — it ’ s not included in the prices you ’ ll attend on Microsoft ’ s web site ) is immediately made of a carbon paper character core. It ’ second much sturdier than former Surface Pro keyboards I ’ ve used in the past ; it wasn ’ thymine wobble or sliding about even when I was typing on my lap or a couch. You don ’ t get quite the travel that you ’ vitamin d expect from a wide laptop, but most detachable keyboards are cramped and apartment — this is decidedly the best one I ’ ve ever used .
The keyboard deck includes a handy garage for Microsoft ’ s Surface Slim Pen 2 ( besides not included in the price ). This stylus comes with a built-in haptic drive which is meant to make you feel like you ’ re actually writing on physical paper while you draw or take notes. While I did feel the extra vibrations while I wrote with the Slim Pen 2, I wouldn ’ t say the effect necessarily mimics writing on newspaper — there are styluses like Lenovo ’ s Active Pen that do that better. But it ’ s a nice stylus overall.
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The early thing to note is that only a minor group of apps presently seem to support this haptic feedback. I ’ thousand glad this feature exists, but I look forward to seeing Microsoft extend it .
- Dimensions: 11.3 x 8.2 x 0.37 inches (287 x 208 x 9.3mm)
- Weight (not including Type Cover): 1.96lbs (891g)
- Display: 13-inch touch display, 2880 x 1920, 120Hz refresh rate (60Hz default), 3:2
- Memory: 16GB LPDDR4x
- Processor: Quad-core 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7
- Removable SSD: 256GB
- Battery life: claimed up to 16 hours of “typical device usage”
- Ports: two USB-C with USB 4.0 / Thunderbolt 4, one 3.5 mm headphone jack, one Surface Connect port, one Surface Type Cover port
- Cameras: 5MP front-facing camera with 1080p FHD video, 10MP rear-facing autofocus camera with 1080p HD and 4K video
- Wireless: Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax, Bluetooth 5.1
For all the forcible similarities the Pro 8 shares with the Pro X, it couldn ’ t be more different on the inside. The base consumer-facing Pro 8 models have Intel Core i5 chips — mine has the Core i7-1185G7, which is one of the most herculean chips that Intel makes for thin and light laptops. It powers the peak models of the Dell XPS 13 and the Lenovo Yoga 9i — it ’ s the veridical batch .
This test unit, which besides has 16GB of RAM and Iris Xe integrated graphics, was fast. It booted up promptly and ran whatever I needed it to. I was regularly running video recording calls on top of 15 or 16 Chrome tab key, a match different apps, and even some streaming — loads that have given all kinds of premium ultraportable laptops trouble oneself in my testing — without any slowdown or meaning heating system. That ’ s about the publicize minimum for this processor, of course — it ’ s a chip think of for knock-down portable devices, so it would be concerning if things were freezing left and right. But it ’ s a blunt contrast to the Pro X, where many apps were slow, and others weren ’ triiodothyronine compatible with the ARM processor at all .
The Pro 8 besides uses an active cooling system, which is a fondness way of saying it has a winnow ( american samoa well as a vaporization chamber, three heat pipes, and three graphite heat spreaders ). This is likely why it ’ s a act slurred and heavier than its predecessors. The sports fan did a properly speculate here — the human body was sometimes toasty, but never uncomfortably hot, and I could run heavy loads for hanker periods of prison term without issue .
Microsoft claimed that the Surface Pro 8 would get 16 hours of continuous battery life sentence. I didn ’ triiodothyronine get that much to a charge, but I did average eight and a half hours of coherent use with my ( fairly Chrome-intensive ) workload at 60Hz, with Battery Saver on and the riddle at medium brightness. Using the screen at 120Hz, I by and large saw closer to seven hours from the same tasks ( which is worse but silent not a black consequence ) .
charge is besides decently quick. I got the device up to 60 percentage in 50 minutes with unaccented Chrome practice ( it ’ ll consign faster in understudy ). That was with the Surface Connect charger that ships with the device. You can besides charge the Pro 8 over USB-C, but that won ’ metric ton be quite as fast, and the two Thunderbolt ports are in a slenderly more awkward situation. It ’ randomness ( intelligibly, given the thin chassis ) a reasonably express port choice, but you can connect external GPUs or up to two 4K displays .
Agree to Continue: Microsoft Surface Pro 8, Laptop Studio, and Go 3
Every fresh device now requires you to agree to a serial of terms and conditions before you can use it — contracts that no one actually reads. It ’ s impossible for us to read and analyze every single one of these agreements. But we started counting precisely how many times you have to hit “ agree ” to use devices when we review them since these are agreements most people don ’ t read and decidedly can ’ t negotiate .
The mandatary policies, for which agreement is required to use the laptop, are :
- A request for your language and keyboard layout
- Microsoft Software License terms (Windows Operating System) and Manufacturer’s Limited Hardware Warranty and Agreement
- Add a Microsoft account
In summation, there are a bunch together of optional things to agree to :
- Connect to Wi-Fi
- Name your PC (to help other devices connect to it)
- Set up Windows Hello facial recognition
- Set up a PIN
- Privacy settings including location, Find My Device, diagnostic data, inking and typing, tailored experiences, advertising ID
- Customize your tips, ads and recommendations for entertainment, gaming, school, and / or creativity
- Back up your files with OneDrive
- Sign up for a Microsoft 365 free trial
That ’ second four mandate agreements and 13 optional ones .
In the past few years, I can ’ t tell you how many people I ’ ve talked to who weren ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate sure whether to buy the Pro 7 or the Pro X. They needed the Pro 7 ’ sulfur central processing unit for their workload, but they much preferred the way the Pro X looked .
And it was difficult for me to recommend either device to those people, or to the general public. They both came with serious compromises. But the Pro 8 doesn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate. It combines a mod design with modern spectacles. It ’ s the computer those people have been waiting for. It ’ s the first Surface Pro I can actually see myself buying as a chief driver.
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Of naturally, the flip side of all this is that the Surface Pro isn ’ thyroxine cheap, even for what it offers. Models start at $ 1,099 — but that ’ s going to be $ 1,279 with the keyboard cover, and $ 1,379 with the Slim Pen 2. I besides don ’ metric ton expect excessively many people to buy that base model, which lone has 128GB of repositing and 8GB of RAM — my test exemplar, which has a flying processor, doubly the RAM, and 256GB storage, nets $ 1,879 with the keyboard and stylus, is going to be more reasonable for many workloads. You can get any number of regular clamshell laptops with its spectacles for a few hundred dollars less, including the MacBook Pro and the Dell XPS 13 .
That doesn ’ t make the Surface Pro 8 a bad device. It just makes it a slightly specific device. It ’ s actually targeting enthusiasts for the Surface Pro imprint factor — people who need the most performance in the sparse and lightest chassis possible. In the past, those people haven ’ t quite had a device that met all of their needs. For the past two years, you ’ ve had to compromise on operation to get a Windows pad that looked this cool. This year, you no long have to sacrifice that performance. You fair have to sacrifice some extra cash .