The most recent Surface Pro is loaded with great new features. Both the screen and the chassis are new. It finally supports Thunderbolt 4 and utilizes the most recent Intel chipset. Even Windows 11, which adds a host of new capabilities, is included with the Surface Pro 8. Both the optional keyboard and the recognizable kickstand function more effectively now.
The MicroSDXC slot, which wasn’t included in this edition, is the only thing that is lacking. Despite being a significant upgrade from earlier generations, the Surface Pro 8 nevertheless feels comfortable. It was about time that Microsoft changed the Surface Pro’s appearance. The Surface Pro debuted in 2013 and over seven generations of products, the chassis scarcely changed.
Microsoft used the fantastic Surface Pro X body, which it unveiled in 2020, for the Surface Pro 8. And it’s wonderful. The Surface Pro 8 has improved greatly. I’ll say it out loud: The Surface Pro 8 is the best 2-in-1 to date. My favorite. The portable is a delight to use and a fantastic option for anybody searching for a Windows convertible computer.
The Surface Pro 8 is a powerful device. The moment you raise the kickstand, Windows 11 launches. Almost no delay is present. Everything loads and reacts quickly. With its eleventh-generation Intel Core CPUs, the Surface Pro 8 is quick in applications like Lightroom and Factorio.
It has one of the most beautiful screens I’ve ever seen on a mobile device. Unfortunately, not all purchasers will enjoy this screen’s full potential because Windows tucks the 120 Hz option away in the Control Panel. As I was unable to make HDR support work, I am unable to report on it.
Windows appears to be the Surface Pro 8’s weak link. The operating system continues to be a drawback of the Surface Pro, even with this updated version of Windows 11. I’ve been slow to accept certain strange, ostensibly anti-user oddities in Windows 11.
The beautiful, anodized aluminum body of the 2020 Surface Pro X houses the Surface Pro 8, which is powered by the most recent Intel processors. The redesigned chassis has prevented fingerprints from adhering to the surface. It has more polished hardware than earlier generations, with rounded edges.
It is 2mm thicker and 100 grams heavier than its predecessor. A Microsoft spokeswoman was questioned why, to which she said that the business believed the improved cooling and larger battery were worth the slightly thicker design. The greatest screen for a portable device is found in the Surface Pro 8.
Both the picture quality and touchscreen capabilities of the screen are excellent. It has a lot of sharpness and pixels and is bright. Although users must turn on this function in an advanced menu under Display options, the screen features a refresh rate of 120 Hz.
Although that functionality doesn’t appear to be accessible at the time of testing, it is also claimed to enable HDR. The display now allows for adaptive color adjustment. In order to match the ambient light, the Surface Pro 8 subtly changes the color temperature.
With 267 pixels per inch (PPI), the 11.3-inch screen has a resolution of 2880 x 1920. In contrast, the most recent iPad Pro has an 11-inch screen with a resolution of 2388 x 1668 and 264 PPI. A significant selling point for this new Surface Pro is the screen. It’s beautiful and renews the gloss on everything, from Photoshop to Slack.
It appears that using the touchscreen is better as well. When using a stylus or finger, the new screen (or possibly Windows 11) feels more fluid. Further, touching the screen is a joy – I know that sounds exaggerated, but that’s how I feel. Microsoft just unveiled a new Surface Slim Pen model. This updated version has haptic feedback, a new tip design, and decreased latency.
The Slim Pen 2 is entertaining since it may serve as several brush kinds for tactical feedback. When compared to using a smudging stump, using a brush feels different. The Slim Pen 2 returns a scraping feeling when a pencil is chosen. The effect is much different from previous experiences, but the programs must support this feature.
Additionally, the Surface Slim Pen 2 is cleverly concealed and charged on the keyboard hinge. But once more, the Surface series has always had this functionality. In 2020, Microsoft introduced this with the Surface Pro X. The Surface Pro 2 is powered by an 11th-generation Intel chip inside, and active cooling maintains consistent performance.
The Surface Pro doesn’t seem to scale performance as aggressively as previous versions do this time around. A Core i7 with 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD powers my test computer. It utilizes Iris X Graphics from Intel. The retail price for this device is $1,599. In addition, a keyboard (bundled with or without the Surface Slim Pen 2) is required.
The model with the Core i7 CPU that costs the least is this one. If you spend extra, you’ll get a Surface with greater RAM and storage. The cost rises to $2,599 and includes 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. The previous USB-A ports have been replaced. Instead, USB-C, the newest Thunderbolt 4 flavor, was eventually added by Microsoft to the Surface Pro series.
The Surface Pro 8 is capable of driving multiple 4K monitors in this configuration, connecting to an external GPU, and using a variety of additional data-intensive accessories. Although Microsoft would prefer that the Surface Pro be recharged through the exclusive Surface Connect port, it may also be recharged via USB-C ports.
Despite the lack of a MicroSDXC slot, the SSD can now be changed by the user. I regret Microsoft getting rid of the MicroSDXC slot. It was a significant advantage over an iPad Pro. Under the kickstand, a panel conceals the SSD. The SDD is quickly accessible and is fastened with just one screw when you poke it out. It shouldn’t take more than a minute to swap the SSD.
The Surface Pro 8 is portable for the whole day. My test machine has only been in my possession for a little more than a week, but I have already used it nonstop and have only needed to plug it in at night. And I don’t use Microsoft apps. Instead of Edge and Teams, I use Chrome, Slack, and Xoom. This matters a lot.
Microsoft made it obvious that it customized its apps to increase battery life while discussing battery life. I fell short of the 18 hours of battery life that Microsoft claims the Surface Pro 8 is capable of. I saw an average battery life of 10 hours while using Chrome, watching YouTube TV, and making video chats.
Despite having a new active cooling system, the Surface Pro 8 still gets warm to the touch. I found it uncomfortable to use it as a tablet for media editing because of the heat. While Photoshop makes the Surface Pro 8 overheat to an uncomfortable degree, Lightroom performs well.
The Surface Pro 8 includes a beautiful webcam that is conveniently located. Microsoft also criticized Apple for its positioning. A Microsoft representative said during the unveiling event, “And a front-facing camera, not on the side, but centered — right where it belongs.” For some reason, Apple keeps positioning the iPad’s camera on the screen’s shorter side.
This means that the webcam is relocated to the side while the tablet is in laptop mode and linked to a keyboard, making for an unusual webcam experience. The front-facing camera appears to be really good. With extensive adjustments for white balance, exposure, and other factors, it has 1080p video and 5MP stills. Here is a comparison between the iPad Pro (2020) and Surface Pro 8.
Quick Note on Windows 11
Gaming and media editing are the two things I do on my computer. I’m using a Mac to write this evaluation because that’s where I do my work. Both Windows 10 and Mac OS do not appeal to me on a daily basis. The user finds the new Start menu insulting. It occupies a sizable portion of the screen’s middle and doesn’t seem justified in its size.
The new Start menu has a lot of empty space. Even worse, unlike earlier iterations of the Start Menu, little customization is possible. The remainder of the new Windows experience seems to be alright. This new system feels very similar to the older one to me, someone who only uses the top layer of Windows.
Widgets are not something I use, and I don’t think I will either with Windows 11. These widgets can’t be customized at the moment on my test system. Although I can alter the already-installed widgets, I am unable to add new widgets. They load and update slowly as well. Watch for a fuller examination of Windows 11 from a regular user.
Surface Pro 8 versus the iPad Pro
Although they have very distinct target markets, the Surface Pro 8 and iPad Pro have many of the same features. The iPad Pro runs a mobile, yet capable, version of the software powering the iPhone, whereas the Surface Pro 8 runs a complete desktop operating system.
The panels of the iPad Pro and Surface Pro are both excellent, and the touchscreen capabilities are equally stunning. The two styluses also function identically. Despite having haptic feedback, the most recent iPad Pro and Apple Pencil appear to be more accurate and fun to use.
Customers must examine their use cases in order to choose between the two. Although the Surface Pro 8 is a better desktop substitute, some users may find that certain jobs are better served by a mobile operating system. I have some suggestions.
Purchase a Surface Pro 8…
– If you’re looking for a computer that can replace a desktop and run proprietary software
– If you require a portable device to run Microsoft’s business software
If you enjoy gaming, Xbox games on streaming fulfill that requirement.
– If a full-size detachable keyboard is required.
Purchase an iPad Pro.
– If you’re searching for a tool to edit media with well-known programs (such as Adobe Photoshop or Lightroom)
– If running Google’s G-Suite requires a high-end portable,
– If you are utilizing Microsoft Office 365’s fundamental tools and features
– If you appreciate playing mobile-first games on smartphones
The most recent model of the Surface Pro boasts the best appearance yet. At the debut, a few essential functions are absent, but the potential is there. This kit is excellent, with a stunning presentation and superb construction. The new stylus is a much-welcomed improvement, and Intel’s most recent processor improves performance and reliability.
The Surface Pro line has always occupied an odd space, but this iteration brings it closer to becoming a common choice. The performance had previously been barely adequate, and the hardware was barely adequate. With the Surface Pro 8, the hardware is gorgeous and the performance is at last respectable. The most effective Windows 2-in-1 is the Surface Pro 8.