Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: The Best Windows Tablet


Microsoft has been making Windows tablets for nearly a decade, however it hasn’t at all times been simple crusing for the corporate. 2012’s first-gen software, recognized merely as ‘Surface’, ran stripped-back tool referred to as Windows RT and didn’t end up well liked by maximum shoppers.

However, it wasn’t lengthy sooner than the Surface Pro line established Microsoft because the default Windows 2-in-1 maker. That stays the case to this present day, regardless of larger pageant from the likes of Dell, Lenovo and Huawei.

But after six years of iterative updates, Microsoft has in spite of everything presented wholesale adjustments with the Surface Pro 8. There are smaller bezels, a bigger 120Hz show, higher battery existence and an upgraded rear digicam. That’s sooner than you get to the commonplace processor improve.

But is that sufficient to justify the upper asking value? Or is it time to noticeably believe the rising selection of choices? Here’s my complete overview.

Design & Build

  • Larger show inside near-identical frame
  • Impressive video calling options
  • No USB-A ports

The design of the Surface Pro 8 moves a stability between being immediately acquainted but additionally a real improve. Its magnesium alloy building seems to be and feels as top class as ever, even though you might be restricted to the similar two color choices – Platinum (silver) or Graphite (black).

A matte end provides a lot of grip with none visual fingerprint smudges. It additionally way the Pro 8 is at ease to make use of as a tablet case-free, despite the fact that at 891g you’ll need to prop it up right through prolonged utilization.

That’s the place the integrated kickstand is available in. It extends around the complete width of the again of the software, enabling positions from absolutely vertical to simply relatively raised off the desk. There aren’t any adjustments right here in comparison to the Pro 7, however a difficult steel hinge makes it really feel impressively tough and durable.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

Below it you’ll in finding some reputable branding and get entry to to the detachable SSD, despite the fact that the latter is best to be had on 128- and 256GB fashions. But Microsoft has caught with a minimalist aesthetic right here – the one different function of be aware at the again of the software is a unmarried 10Mp rear digicam.

It’s a noticeable improve over the 8Mp sensor on the previous couple of generations of Surface Pro, however you continue to shouldn’t use it often for images. Aside from the unwieldy nature of the software, stills from the Pro 8 are nonetheless slightly hit-and-miss.

Good lighting fixtures prerequisites can yield some great pictures, however publicity is a common drawback and dynamic vary incessantly missing. It’s helpful for file scanning and reference, however most definitely no longer a lot more.

The 5Mp front-facing lens is of equivalent high quality, however that makes it an excellent choice for video calls. It’s in a position to 1080p photos, one thing many integrated laptop computer webcams nonetheless can’t fit. This is a key energy of many Surface computer systems, particularly when paired with twin studio microphones.

Next to it, you’ll discover a separate infrared lens, which means the Pro 8 helps Windows Hello face release. This is simple to arrange and works extraordinarily smartly, with an additional scan really useful if you happen to put on glasses. It’s your best choice for biometric unlocking, with out a fingerprint scanner at the software itself or both of the appropriate keyboard covers.

The key design improve you’ll most definitely understand is way slimmer bezels, which permits for a bigger 13in show inside virtually the similar footprint. That makes it really feel nearer to a laptop computer than ever sooner than, despite the fact that the tablet itself is considerably lighter.

It’s most commonly trade as standard at the facets of the software, the place you’ll in finding the ability button, quantity rocker, 3.5mm headphone jack and docking station for keyboard covers.

Microsoft has caught with the proprietary Surface Connect as the principle charging way, despite the fact that you’ll use both of the USB-C ports as a substitute. These fortify Thunderbolt 4 for quick knowledge switch, however the USB-A port has been ditched. If you’re anything else like me, that suggests connecting an adapter or hub frequently – it seems like an useless exchange.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

Accessories

  • Excellent, laptop-like keyboard
  • Slim Pen 2 is superb
  • Both are dear further equipment

Disappointingly, Microsoft nonetheless sells the entire Surface Pro 8 equipment one by one, regardless of the keyboard being a required acquire for most of the people.

However, the corporate is no less than bundling the newest Signature Keyboard with its new Slim Pen 2. There’s even a integrated garage location for the stylus above the keyboard, which fees it on the similar time. I favor this to a pen that magnetically attaches to the highest of the software, particularly as this new design assists in keeping it out of the way in which if you happen to simply need to kind.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

But the Slim Pen 2 is slightly other to many earlier Surface styluses. It adopts a flatter design that I discovered extra herbal for writing, along a bodily button that can be utilized for speedy get entry to to express equipment. A unmarried click on will open Microsoft’s Whiteboard app, the place you’ll additionally use the tip of the pen like a virtual rubber. Double-clicking allows you to edit a screenshot, despite the fact that each may also be customised inside Settings.

Pairing by way of Bluetooth is automated, whilst I realized no enter prolong all over my checking out time. Palm rejection is superb too, despite the fact that I will’t check Microsoft’s declare that it helps 4096 ranges of force sensitivity.

The length of the Surface Pro 8 way there’s now a lot of room for a full-size keyboard. The Signature Keyboard gives an achieved typing revel in, similar to what you’ll in finding at the Surface Laptop 4. Both are covered in a soft-touch Alcantara cloth, whilst backlit keys are a big merit over some opponents.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

A slightly huge trackpad could also be extra usable now, supporting Windows 11’s complete vary of gestures. However, I’d nonetheless counsel connecting a Bluetooth mouse right through longer classes.

Screen & Speakers

  • 13in LCD show
  • 120Hz refresh price, however no longer but adaptive
  • Great audio system

The Surface Pro 7’s show was once rarely a weak spot, however Microsoft has made upgrading it a concern. As I alluded to previous, the display screen length has larger from 12.3in to 13in, however it maintains a three:2 facet ratio. That way there is a new 2880×1920 answer, despite the fact that this ‘PixelSense Flow’ show remains to be LCD and no longer OLED.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

However, the killer function here’s a 120Hz refresh price. Alongside the Surface Laptop Studio, it’s the primary Microsoft laptop to exceed 60Hz, despite the fact that you’ll need to manually exchange it in Settings. It gives a silky mushy, responsive revel in which is arguably much more spectacular right here than on smartphones.

Microsoft marketed a Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) function on the Windows 11 release in 2021, which might permit the Surface Pro 8 and decided on different gadgets to mechanically regulate refresh price relying at the scenario. This will have to assist preserve battery existence, however it’s nonetheless no longer to be had on the time of writing in March 2022.

The Pro 8 continues with twin 2W stereo audio system, which output by way of huge grilles on all sides of the software. They ship wealthy, punchy audio that you just wouldn’t essentially be expecting from a tool this length.

There’s a good point of bass and it does not turn into distorted at top volumes, whilst Dolby Atmos fortify allows room-filling sound. Audiophiles will nonetheless wish to attach headphones or exterior audio system, however it’s a very good revel in for informal customers.

Specs & Performance

  • Eleventh-gen Intel processors & built-in GPUs
  • Excellent efficiency around the board
  • Removable SSD on less expensive fashions

Microsoft has upgraded the internals on each and every iteration of the Surface Pro, and that’s no other right here. The Pro 8 is powered by way of Intel’s Eleventh-gen processors – the software was once launched sooner than Intel introduced its newest CPUs in January 2022.

You have a call right here between the Core i5-1135G7 and Core i7-1185G7, despite the fact that I will best remark at the latter. Alongside Iris Xe built-in graphics and 16GB of RAM in this mid-spec style, efficiency is predictably very good.

The Pro 8 excels throughout the entire maximum not unusual productiveness duties, from internet surfing and checking electronic mail to video calls and multitasking. Throughout my time with the software, there was once no stuttering, hesitations or app crashes, even with a couple of methods open concurrently. However, in those eventualities you are going to understand the again of the software really feel heat to touch.

More difficult use circumstances comparable to video modifying and light-weight gaming also are inside achieve, however that’s whilst you’ll additionally understand the lovers kicking in. This doesn’t get in particular loud, however it may be distracting now and then.

Still, this cast efficiency is mirrored within the benchmarks underneath. It ranks as one of the succesful 2-in-1s you’ll purchase:

All configurations of the Pro 8 have SSD garage, despite the fact that the entry-level style is restricted to only 128GB. However, this and 256GB variants have a detachable SSD, which means they may be able to simply be swapped out when as regards to capability. That’s no longer a function you’ll in finding if choosing 512GB or 1TB of garage.

Software

  • Runs Windows 11
  • Still does not really feel optimised for contact enter

The Surface Pro 8 introduced round the similar time as Windows 11, making it one of the crucial first gadgets operating Microsoft’s OS out of the field. It’s additionally one of the crucial first in line for brand spanking new updates, however Surface gadgets don’t get preferential remedy over different Windows producers.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

Microsoft has ironed out most of the problems with Windows 11 since release, however it nonetheless has an overly other feel and look to Windows 10. There’s additionally no tablet mode, which means contact enter nonetheless seems like an afterthought in comparison to cursor-based navigation.

It’s undoubtedly nonetheless usable, however you’ll wish to be affected person and get used to Windows 11’s quirks if you happen to haven’t used it sooner than. However, contemporary trends counsel Microsoft is making contact enter a concern, so it will really feel a lot more optimised in a couple of months’ time.

Even in its present state, I wouldn’t counsel reinstalling Windows 10.

Battery Life & Charging

  • Estimated 50.2Wh battery
  • Solid, all-day battery existence
  • 65W charging by way of in-box adapter

As standard, Microsoft doesn’t quote a selected battery capability for the Pro 8, however SurfaceTip claims it’s a 50.2Wh mobile. That’s supposedly relatively not up to the Surface Pro 7+, however a noticeable build up at the 43.2Wh battery within the Pro 7.

Microsoft says it’ll get you ‘as much as 16 hours of conventional software utilization’, however doesn’t specify what that comes to. It fell relatively wanting that declare in our 720p video loop take a look at, with a time of 12 hours and 39 mins.

This best serves as a measure of screen-on time, particularly with the brightness set to a slightly low 120 nits. Refresh price was once set to the usual 60Hz, whilst battery saving mode was once disabled.

Changing any of these items will impact battery existence, however a complete running day on a unmarried price is definitely inside achieve. That’s in peril if you happen to keep at 120Hz, however the upcoming Dynamic Refresh Rate function will have to permit for the most productive of each worlds.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review

When the battery does run out, a 65W adapter incorporated within the field gets you up and operating once more slightly briefly. I recorded 18% in quarter-hour and 36% in part an hour. After 90 mins, it had reached 95%.

Price

With no Core i3 style and several other key upgrades, a value build up at the Surface Pro 8 was once at all times most probably. It now begins at £999/US$1,099.99, however may also be dialled the entire approach as much as £2,459/$2,599.99.

The mid-spec style I examined will set you again £1,499/US$1,599.99, however all configurations are often discounted. Learn extra in our separate Surface Pro 8 offers article.

Remember, that’s only for the tablet itself. Adding the brand new Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen 2 will set you again any other £259.99/US$279.99. If you don’t have a Bluetooth mouse already, the brand new Ocean Plastic Mouse is an additional £24.99/US$24.99.

Adding those extras makes the whole Surface Pro 8 package deal very dear. For most of the people, higher worth for cash may also be discovered in other places in our tablet, laptop computer and 2-in-1 charts.

Verdict

The Surface Pro 8 is the software many of us were ready years for. Microsoft has in spite of everything up to date its design, with a bigger show and slimmer bezels bringing it nearer to a standard laptop computer than ever sooner than.

While no longer OLED, the beautiful display screen is now a buttery-smooth 120Hz, whilst efficiency from Eleventh-gen Intel chips is superb. Other highlights come with an excellent video calling revel in, cast battery existence and ambitious audio system.

The new Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2 are very good equipment for the Pro 8, however they’re additionally symptomatic of its primary factor. In addition to the next beginning value, Microsoft expects you to pay loads of kilos/greenbacks further for the total revel in.

With that during thoughts, it’s a must to be extraordinarily assured that the Surface Pro 8 can rival the most productive laptops to be had at this time. If it’s no longer going to be your number one productiveness software, it’s price taking into account extra reasonably priced choices.

Specs

Microsoft Surface Pro 8: Specs

  • 13in 2880×1920 LCD show, 120Hz refresh price (adaptive)
  • Intel Core i5-1135G7/i7-1185G7 processor
  • Intel Iris Xe graphics
  • 8/16/32GB RAM
  • 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD garage
  • Windows 11 Home
  • 10Mp rear digicam
  • 5Mp front-facing digicam with Windows Hello
  • Front-facing stereo audio system with Dolby Atmos
  • Bluetooth 5.1
  • Up to 16h battery existence (quoted)
  • 891g (tablet best)



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