The Surface Pro 8 is the best new Surface in years. It features an updated design and faster hardware than ever before.
The Surface Pro 8 brings the biggest change to the Surface Pro lineup in years. In addition, the device enjoys improved performance. It’s still very recognizable as part of Microsoft’s line of Windows tablets but feels like a new generation. The Surface Pro 8 is all ready for the Windows 11 operating system.
Microsoft has completely modernized the outdated design of its tablets with thinner, rounded edges and the fastest hardware ever found in a Windows tablet. The ports have also changed. While we regret the lack of some legacy ports, Microsoft has finally moved with the times, including Thunderbolt 4 ports.
While this is the best Surface Pro in years, it’s also the most expensive. This time the suggested retail price starts at 1,179 euros. That is a lot more expensive than the Surface Pro 7, which was available at launch for 899 euros.
The price hike brings much-needed improvements, but it makes the tablet more difficult to market, especially considering that the Surface Pro 8 still doesn’t come with the Type Cover in the box. In any case, it is the first time that Microsoft has been a real competitor to the iPad Pro since Apple’s tablet got its major makeover.
Surface Pro 8 review (2022)
- battery life
- Webcam & Microphone
The Surface Pro series has stagnated in terms of design in recent years. Both the Surface Pro 6 and Surface Pro 7 were just specification updates to the Surface Pro from 2017. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, because four years ago the Surface Pro was still a fairly new device. But now the Surface Pro 8 has finally gotten its much-needed major redesign.
The easiest change to notice is the new graphite color, which looks amazingly good. While it seems like Microsoft has focused on lighter shades for its devices in recent years, the darker colors in this year’s lineup are looking strong.
The case has been refined, with more rounded edges, which are a lot more comfortable to hold for a long time, compared to the flat edges with sharper corners.
The screen bezels are smaller than ever, making the Surface Pro 8 look like a brand new device, rather than a holdover from the early 2010s. This makes the screen appear much larger and the device looks more premium. That’s nice since the device is also more expensive than ever.
11 Percent Bigger
The smaller bezels also provide an 11 percent larger screen. The Surface Pro 8 now has a 13-inch PixelSense display with a resolution of 2,880 x 1,920 pixels. That’s right in the middle of 1,440p and 4K, but the 13-inch screen is absolutely beautiful.
What makes the display even better is that in addition to the larger size, it also has a refresh rate of 120Hz. This is definitely not a gaming device, but once you’ve used a high refresh screen, you won’t want to go back.
The screen is configured at 60Hz by default. This is mainly to save battery life, but you can enable 120Hz at any time via the display settings.
The Surface Pro 8’s display reaches 103 percent of the sRGB spectrum and has a peak brightness of 467 nits. Everything we’ve watched on this device, such as the colorful Netflix hit Squid Game, looks unbelievably good.
This is very important for a device like the Surface Pro 8, as this range is especially popular with creatives who need great color accuracy for their work. It’s also a bonus that movies and series also look great.
The sound quality isn’t quite as good as what the Surface Pro 8 offers visually, but it’s far from bad. The highs sound perfectly clear, but the bass line is regularly a bit lost in the background. You’re probably better off with headphones.
Normally, Microsoft pairs the launch of a new Surface Pro with a new line of Surface accessories, such as a new pen and Type Cover. This time, however, Microsoft is sticking to the same Type of Cover that was launched with the Surface Pro X. However, the Type Cover is still not included with the device, but you have to purchase it separately.
Microsoft has finally changed the ports. For years, the company refused to use Thunderbolt due to security concerns. Microsoft has taken the plunge anyway because the Surface Pro 8 has full support for Thunderbolt 4. This means that a new world of accessories and peripherals is finally opening up for the Surface Pro 8, including external graphics cards.
The Surface Pro 4 has two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and a Surface Connect port. However, the device does say goodbye to the USB 3.0 Type-A port that the Surface Pro 7 had.
Microsoft apparently put a lot of effort into redesigning the inside of the Surface Pro 8. This allows the company to configure the processor with a higher TDP than previous versions of the device, boosting it to 23W instead of the 15W of the Surface Pro 7 processor.
It offers no difference from day to night, but due to the faster Tiger Lake processor, the performance improvement is twice as large, according to Microsoft. That’s a pretty bold claim, especially considering the Surface Pro 8 falls a bit short on this. That doesn’t mean the device isn’t faster. In fact, in Cinebench R15, the Surface Pro 8 is almost 50 percent faster than the Surface Pro 7, which is a pretty unbelievable increase. The difference isn’t that big in Geekbench 4, but it’s still noticeably faster.
Surface Pro 8 vs Laptop Studio
What’s even more impressive, though, is how the Surface Pro 8 stacks up against its big brother, the Surface Laptop Studio. The tablet is only 12 percent slower than Microsoft’s “creative workstation” in Cinebench and only 5 percent slower in Geekbench. All this despite the Surface Pro 8 is half the thickness of the Laptop Studio and almost half the weight.
The Surface Pro 8 can’t compete when it comes to graphics as it uses the integrated Xe graphics instead of the dedicated Nvidia RTX A2000. However, if all you need is strong CPU performance, there’s virtually no reason to pick the Surface Laptop Studio over the Surface Go 8.
One of the biggest draws in the Surface Pro 7 was its battery life, which lasted a paltry 3 hours and 12 minutes in the PC Mark 8 battery test. We’ve since moved up to PC Mark 10, but the Surface Pro 8 knows the score. to be surpassed by a decent 8 hours and 15 minutes. So it’s a device that you can use all day without needing a charger.
This is probably largely due to Microsoft’s decision to stick with the Intel Evo program and limit the default display refresh rate to 60Hz. Given the portability of the Surface Pro 8, it’s nice to know that the battery won’t run out in a few hours. So you don’t always have to have the charger to hand.
The numbers are a little less impressive in our movie test, where the Surface Pro 8 only lasts for 6 hours and 32 minutes. You can still binge a lot of episodes on Netflix.
Webcam and |Microphone
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ve probably realized that video calls are more important than ever these days. Having a laptop or tablet with a decent webcam is a godsend. Fortunately, the Surface Pro 8 has one of the best webcams we’ve ever used on a mobile device.
In all of the video calls we’ve had with the device, both for work and chats with friends and loved ones, we’ve experienced no distortion of any kind, nor have we had any issues with focus. The front camera is also compatible with Windows Hello, so you can log in with it.
Since the Surface Pro 8 is a tablet, the device also has a camera on the back. The results are fine. It’s not as good as your phone’s camera, but good enough if you want to take a quick photo of a pet and don’t have your phone to hand.
The microphone is also fantastic. Our voice comes across as crisp and clear without distortion. The device also does a great job of filtering out background noise, so you don’t even need to use headphones during video calls.
Is the Surface Pro 8 for you?
Now that Windows 11 is here, a ton of new devices will come out with the new operating system. None of these devices will provide such a pure experience as this model. It’s the way Microsoft’s operating system is meant to be. There are many 2-in-1 laptops out there, but this is really the best version of a Windows tablet that can turn into a laptop, especially when you combine the device with the Type Cover.
The Type Cover and Surface Pen are essential to the Surface Pro 8 experience, but they cost hundreds of dollars more, on top of the tablet’s already high price. So you have to take this into account when purchasing. And while the Type Cover is extremely comfortable to type on, the Surface Pro 8 isn’t the most suitable device to use on your lap.