Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review

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Verdict

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 isn’t a huge step forward for Microsoft’s tablet line, simply it’due south a definite move in the right direction. The device fixes a number of picayune flaws in past Surface Pro’s designs and offers key performance upgrades thanks to the inclusion of Thunderbolt connectivity, an Intel 11th Gen CPU and 120Hz refresh charge per unit screen. This makes information technology a better option for buyers that want a laptop showtime and tablet second, if y’all invest in the optional keyboard cover. But it’south desktop-focussed Windows 11 software makes it a poor choice for anyone that but wants a tablet first and foremost.

Pros

  • Solid operation
  • Nifty screen for work and play
  • Reliable bombardment life, specially in 60Hz
  • Well-built kicking stand up

Cons

  • Signature Cover and Slim Pen 2 not included
  • Express port choice

Availability

  • U.k.
    RRP: £1499
  • United states of america
    RRP: $1099

Key Features


  • Fast refresh rate screen
    The 13-inch screen can run at 60 or 120Hz, making it better for gaming than past Surfaces

  • Windows eleven software
    The Surface Pro 8 runs using the latest version of Microsoft’south Windows operating organization

  • Does not ship with keyboard or stylus
    You have to pay extra for the Signature Cover keyboard and Slim Pen 2

Introduction

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s latest convertible tablet-come up-laptop, letting buyers use it equally a Windows tablet or portable laptop/sketch station when paired with the optional Signature Embrace case and Slim Pen ii.

This puts information technology in direct competition with Apple tree’s iPad Pro line of tablets. Microsoft has refined its blueprint and added upgrades similar more powerful components and a 120Hz screen. Just niggling bug with its software get in experience a little difficult to use equally a standalone tablet.

Only the flipside, when paired with a Type Cover, and the Slim Pen 2 its Windows xi software lets information technology function much meliorate as a full fatty laptop replacement than its Apple tree rival, making it meliorate for office employ.

Design

  • The design is a refinement rather than rethink
  • The Type Cover and Slim Pen 2 are sold separately
  • Features Thunderbolt connectivity

Surface devices traditionally have fairly utilitarian designs, with Microsoft tending to make pocket-size refinements, rather than outright changes year-on-year. With this in mind, it’s no surprise that the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 looks very similar to the Surface Pro 7 I tested back in 2022.

The black tablet section is all just identical to its predecessor at first glance, beingness a simple slate with slightly round edges and a apartment back. It too comes with a built-in kickstand, which tin can be used to prop the tablet upward at varying angles, including an creative person’due south easel. The only big visible difference is that the new Surface Pro eight has a smaller, just withal noticeable, bezel around its screen.

The smaller bezel is welcome, and like by Surfaces, in that location is plenty to like about the design. The tablet’s metallic frame feels well built and offers next to no flex when pressed. The matte finish looks nice, despite being decumbent to picking upward fingerprint marks and scratches a piffling too easily, and the tablet is light enough to bear and use on the go without breaking your dorsum.

Surface Pro 8 back

Ane of the Surface Pro viii’southward side-facing USB-C connections is a Thunderbolt 4 port. The lack of a Thunderbolt connector has been an ongoing gripe of mine with Surface devices, so it’s great to run into Microsoft finally comprehend the applied science. Thunderbolt 4 brings a number of primal benefits including faster data transfer speeds and the power to connect to multiple 4K displays via the USB C port.

Information technology can also be used for charging, though Microsoft has opted to load the Surface Pro 8 with a proprietary cable for this. The cablevision works fine, it’due south merely a faff having to recall to pack it every time you take the device out and about. USB-C charging is infinitely more convenient.

Merely fifty-fifty with Thunderbolt, the port offering feels a little light. The only other connectors you go are a headphone jack on the short left side. There’s no SD or Micro SD card slot hither, simply there is a swappable SSD within.

The Surface’due south rear photographic camera has also been given a spruce, with Microsoft loading it with the same 10MP sensor seen on the Surface Pro X. Up front end information technology has the same 5-megapixel front-facing camera seen on its predecessor.

Pen dock

I wouldn’t recommend using the 10MP rear camera to take stills as your phone will almost certainly capture better images. Only the power to capture video in 4K with the rear camera is useful, peculiarly if you’re recording a presentation for work.

The front camera told a similar story. Information technology was able to capture keen 1080p footage for work Zoom calls, with the image looking well-baked and articulate to people on the other end. The two far-field studio microphones also never had whatsoever issue picking upwards my phonation.

The biggest, and near positive, changes relate to the Surface Pro 8’s Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 active stylus. The keys are moderately more comfortable to type on than their iPad rivals and take reliable rail pads, but in the past they’ve had a tendency to flex when met with even moderate force. Past Surface’s accept also offered no way to hands dock their optional active styluses.


Thankfully these two issues have been, for the virtually office, fixed with the new Signature keyboard and Slim Pen 2. The new keyboard has a carbon fibre layer, which makes it feel a lot sturdier to type on, removing the flex I experienced using past Type Covers. As an added perk, the keyboard as well has a dock for the Slim Pen. This sits on its top long side and has a clever magnetic mechanism that charges and hides the pen when the tablet section is attached.

The pen is slightly different to the older Surface Pen seen on past Pro tablets. Information technology’s plastic, has flat sides and features a new born haptic motor that aims to replicate the feeling of drawing or writing on paper when interacting with the Pro eight’s screen. The feature works well enough, though information technology’s not quite every bit authentic every bit the experience I have using i of Remarkable’southward tablets. But the flat sides did have some getting used to. For the first few days I felt the pen’south shape wasn’t quite as ergonomic, and occasionally I experienced hand cramps when using information technology for prolonged digital painting sessions.

The upgrades are very welcome and make the Surface Pro 8 feel like a much more competent laptop replacement than most competing convertibles, including the iPad Pro. My only quibble is that Microsoft’s even so charging an arm and a leg to go them. The keyboard solitary costs an extra £159.99. Because the fact you lot actually need this to make the most out of the device, I can’t help but recollect the keyboard should come up bundled with the Surface Pro by default.

Screen

  • The screen features a 120Hz refresh rate
  • Uses LCD engineering science and has same resolution as older model
  • Colours aren’t quite authentic enough for professionals

1 of the biggest updates Microsoft has made to the Surface Pro 8 relates to its screen. Information technology hasn’t updated the console to use Mini LED tech, like the stuff seen on the new iPad Pro. It hasn’t even made the jump to OLED.

The 13-inch LCD screen has the same iii:ii aspect ratio, 2880 ten 1920 resolution as the Surface Pro 7. The deviation is that Microsoft has increased the screen’s max refresh charge per unit to 120Hz.

This increases the maximum number of images per 2d the screen can display from 60 to 120. A higher refresh rate brings with it a number of benefits. The well-nigh noticeable is smoother scrolling and navigation, every bit there’s less of a gap between each image in an blitheness.

Information technology can also help gamers for the same reason, reducing the gap between a command beingness input and information technology playing out on screen. That said, the Surface Pro 8 is not powerful enough for native AAA gaming, and the merely deject streaming service that supports a 120Hz refresh rate is the premium plan of GeForce Now which costs a whopping £89.89 every six months.

The downside to a college refresh charge per unit is that the increased force per unit area to push out more images per 2nd puts a much bigger drain on a device’southward battery. You lot also have to manually go into the Surface Pro 8’s settings and gear up the display to run in either 60Hz or 120Hz, although downloading an Intel commuter will make the procedure automatic.

Surface Pro 8 crunchyroll

Elsewhere, the screen feels very similar to past Surfaces. This means the screen is great for productivity and basic things like Netflix binging, simply not appropriate for hardcore creative piece of work.

To the naked eye the screen looks vibrant. Netflix movies have dainty deep blacks, despite the screen being LCD, and max brightness levels let content and text remain legible in everything but directly, brilliant sunlight. Content on Netflix looks neat, despite the lack of formal HDR support and all in all I had no problems using the screen day-to-mean solar day during testing.

Cracking out a colorimeter, our examination results backed up my real earth findings. The device recorded a 0.36 nit black level, which is very good for a non OLED screen and above average 460.99 nit max brightness. The end issue gives the screen a reliable 1279:i contrast ratio. As a dominion of thumb anything over 1000:1 on a laptop is skilful.

The just problems occurred afterward I started checking color gamut coverage. Gamuts are ranges that inform how many colours a screen tin accurately render. The college the coverage the more accurate the colours are. The Surface Pro 8 covers 99.4% of the bog-standard sRGB gamut, which makes it a solid performer for twenty-four hours-to-twenty-four hour period activeness.

But it only covers 73.four% of the Adobe RGB and 75.7% of the DCI P3 gamuts favoured by creatives that work in concrete media. Equally a rule I’d want a device beingness marketed for creatives to encompass at least 80% of these gamuts out of the box.

Functioning

  • The device runs using an Intel 11th Gen CPU
  • Information technology works for most creative piece of work, but it’s not for gaming
  • Windows 11 isn’t suited to tablet mode

Under the hood, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is powered by one of Intel’s 11th Gen CPUs. The exact CPU and RAM configuration can be customised in the Microsoft Shop. The version I tested features an 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM.

The Surface Pro 8 is more powerful enough for everyday use. Using it as my work laptop, I never had whatsoever problems, fifty-fifty when running a quite frankly ridiculous number of tabs in Chrome and doing some basic prototype retouch piece of work in GIMP.

Intel’southward integrated XE graphics aren’t a replacement for a dGPU, only the setup works well. True AAA gaming is beyond it, simply during testing I was able to get popular games including Minecraft and Apex Legends to run at playable frame rates, albeit with their graphical settings lowered.

Surface Pro 8 tablet

It also ran creative workloads okay. I’ve been able to digitally paint in Krita and practise basic 3D modelling in Blender on the Surface Pro 8 without any real fuss. Though more hardcore workloads like large calibration vector projects and video editing will give it pause.

I was also impressed how cool the tablet ran. The fan arrangement works well and ensured the device ran cool and quietly in virtually instances. The only time I noticed whatsoever warming or noise was when running demanding processes for prolonged periods, but even and so the dissonance and oestrus didn’t get real issues.

Putting the Surface Pro 8 through our standard suite of synthetic benchmarks, the figures matched my real world findings. You tin can see a breakdown of its scores and how they compare to competing devices in the table below.

Surface Pro 8 Dell XPS 13 OLED Surface Laptop four MacBook Air M1
Processor Intel Core i7-1185G7 Intel Cadre i7-1185G7 Intel Core i5-1135G7 Apple M1
Geekbench 5 single-core 1120 1465 1307 1731
Geekbench 5 multi-core 5071 5424 4844 7308
PCMark 10 4474 5042 4088 NA
3DMark Time Spy 1796 1459 1493 NA

The simply real performance bug I suffered occurred when I tried to use the device every bit a tablet. Windows 11 is a great step forwards for Microsoft, featuring a number of UI changes that brand it feel significantly more user friendly than Windows 10, plus some awesome backend security, stability and performance improvements. But the fact is, no matter what Microsoft says, it’s not properly optimised for pure touch inputs.

You can navigate through Windows 11 using the on-screen keyboard and touchscreen, but compared to iPad OS the experience feels very cumbersome. The desktop view is as well fiddly to navigate with even basic things, similar changing display settings not feeling as quick and easy to do in a few clicks as information technology is on Android and iPad OS. This is why I would describe the Surface Pro as a hybrid that’due south designed to exist a laptop first and tablet 2nd, despite the fact it doesn’t come with a keyboard.

Battery Life

  • sixteen hr regular apply claim is a lilliputian optimistic
  • But the tablet will final a full mean solar day’due south use in the office

Microsoft quotes the Surface Pro eight equally offer 16 hours battery life, and during testing I found that information technology is possible to get that much use out of the device under sure atmospheric condition.

How long the bombardment volition concluding is dependant on a variety of factors, chief of which is what processes y’all are running and what screen settings you’re using. I only got 16 hours when I completely shut downward all superfluous settings and lowered the screen effulgence to levels about people wouldn’t detect comfortable using.

With the screen locked to 60Hz and regular brightness (around 150 nits) the Surface Pro 8 easily lasted a full work twenty-four hours’s use withal. Logging on at viii.30am, running web apps and making and taking more Zoom calls than I care to admit, with a quick Game Laissez passer session during luncheon, the device still had effectually 10% of its accuse come up clocking off time at 5pm.

Surface Pro 8 flat

However, ramp the settings up and throw a few more than demanding workloads at the Surface Pro 8 and it’ll drain its charge a lot faster. Playing graphically-intensive tasks, like 3D modelling in Blender, I managed to bleed the bombardment in less than 3 hours. The 120Hz screen setting also sheds effectually 2-iii hours off the device’s life, even if you’re just doing basic role work and spider web browsing.

My existent world findings rang true when I ran PCMark x’due south synthetic battery test. This is a benchmark that simulates every day office workloads, similar video calling, web browsing and document editing, on a loop until the battery is completely tuckered.

Running the exam the Surface Pro lasted 8 hours 44 minutes when docked to a Signature Keyboard encompass, and 9 hours 52 when undocked. These figures aren’t groundbreaking by either tablet or laptop standards.

Thankfully the device is reasonably quick to charge. Using the included proprietary charger the Surface Pro took an average of 30-xl minutes to become from 0-100%.

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Should you buy it?

If you want a hybrid for work commencement and play second:

If yous’re on the hunt for a device that can function every bit a solid, highly portable laptop for office work that tin can double as a home entertainment station, then the Surface Pro 8 is 1 of the best options currently available.

If you just want a tablet:


Windows tablets in general aren’t a great buy if you just desire to sentinel Netflix or engage in the odd bit of digital artistic piece of work. Without a keyboard the software but isn’t as well optimised as Apple’south competing iPad Bone. This remains the case with the Surface Pro 8.

Final Thoughts

The Surface Pro 8 isn’t a huge shift for Microsoft’southward hybrid line of laptops-come-tablets. Simply it makes enough moves in the right direction to become a compelling choice for any heir-apparent on the market for an ultra-portable laptop that can double as a basic tablet. The just serious downside is that Microsoft’s however charging extra for the Signature Keyboard cover and Slim Pen 2 agile stylus, which are essential items you’ll need to become the most out of the device.

How we test

Every laptop or convertible nosotros review goes through a series of uniform checks designed to guess key things including build quality, performance, screen quality and battery life.

Used as our main laptop for the review catamenia

Tested for at to the lowest degree a week

Used consequent benchmarks for fair comparisons with other laptops

Reviewed using respected manufacture benchmarks and real earth use

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FAQs

Does the Surface Pro eight come with a keyboard cover?

The Surface Signature keyboards are not bundled with the tablet, you have to buy them equally optional extras.

Does the Surface Pro viii accept a variable refresh rate?

The Surface Pro 8’s screen does not accept a variable refresh rate. It can exist manually prepare to run at either 60Hz or 120Hz.

Is in that location a 5G version of the Surface Pro 8?

Microsoft does not offering a 5G version of the Surface Pro viii.

Trusted Reviews test data

Geekbench 5 multi cadre

Geekbench 5 single cadre

3DMark Time Spy

Battery recharge time

Battery Life

PCMark Battery (role)

DCI-P3

Adobe RGB

sRGB

White Visual Color Temperature

Dissimilarity

Black level

Effulgence

CrystalMarkDisk Write Speed

CrystalDiskMark Read speed

PCMark x

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

5071

1220

1796

33 mins

8.4 hrs

75.7 %

73.4 %

99.four %

1279:1

0.36 nits

460.99 nits

1529.4 MB/s

2300.vii MB/s

4474

Dell XPS thirteen OLED

5424

1465

1459

7 hrs

7 hrs

97.4 %

94.7 %

100 %

6028 Chiliad

1:1

0 nits

392.17 nits

2982.46 MB/s

3181.19 MB/s

5042

Full specs

United kingdom of great britain and northern ireland RRP

USA RRP

CPU

Manufacturer

Screen Size

Storage Capacity

Forepart Camera

IP rating

Battery

Battery Hours

Size (Dimensions)

Weight

ASIN

Operating System

Release Date

Kickoff Reviewed Date

Resolution

HDR

Refresh Rate

Ports

Sound (Power output)

GPU

RAM

Connectivity

Colours

Brandish Technology

Screen Technology

Touch Screen

Convertible?

Microsoft Surface Pro 8

£1499

$1099

11th Gen Intel Cadre i5-1135G7 or 11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7

Microsoft

13 inches

128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB

5.0MP

IP68

16 00

287 x 208 10 nine.3 MM

891 G

B09CP34GZV

Windows xi

2022

2880 x 1920

Yep

120 Hz

2 x USB-C with USB 4.0/Thunderbolt 4, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1 × Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port

16GB, 8GB

WiFi, Bluetooth

LCD

IPS

Yep

Yes

Dell XPS 13 OLED

£1348.99

$1549.99

Intel Core i5-1135G7

Dell

xiii.4 inches

256GB, 512GB, 1TB, 2TB

720p

52 Whr

295.7 10 198.7 ten 14.8 MM

1.27 KG

B0999HQCSB

Windows Domicile

2022

thirteen/08/2021

3456 x 2160

Yes

sixty Hz

2x Thunderbolt 4, 1x headphone jack and microSD card slot

4 W

Intel Iris Xe

16GB, 8GB, 32GB

Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.1

Platinum silver

OLED

IPS

Yes

No

Jargon buster

Thunderbolt

Thunderbolt is a port engineering science that enables faster data transfer speeds than standard USB-C ports, while also allowing for multiple other functions such as outputting images to external monitors, power delivery and connecting to an Ethernet network.

USB-C

The modern USB connector you’ll notice on nigh Android phones, new laptops, cameras and games consoles. It’s reversible and used for charging along with data-transfer.

Refresh Rate

The number of times the screen refreshes itself per 2d.

Nits

The effulgence level of a display. 300 nits is regarded as the minimum target for high-finish screens.

Source: https://www.trustedreviews.com/reviews/microsoft-surface-pro-8

Posted by: Sadiyev.com