Yes. The Surface Pro 8 boldly strides forward with a bigger, greater resolution, faster screen, a revamped inking experience led by the optional Surface Slim Pen 2, and a set of Thunderbolt ports that supplement the tradition Surface Connect battery charger. It’s a significant reworking of the renowned Surface Pro tablet line, which’s adequate to get your attention.
Editor’s Note: Our initial evaluation kept in mind some striking variation in some standards, and efficiency in some criteria that appeared out of line with others. We informed Microsoft about these disparities prior to releasing our initial evaluation, and they used no description by press time. After our evaluation released, they asked us to upgrade our evaluation system once again and re-check our standards. Ball games enhanced, considerably in locations. We’ve upgraded our standard charts, the evaluation text, and our rating to show this Our initial evaluation need to be archived here
Our initial evaluation thought that some interaction in between the brand-new Surface Pro 8 hardware, the brand-new Windows 11 running system, and the firmware/drivers required to run the 2 triggered the irregular habits. We would extremely motivate users to guarantee that their Surface Pro 8 is upgraded through Windows Update prior to thoroughly utilizing this gadget.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 requirements
For now, there’s one essential modification in setup in between the Surface Pro 7 for Business and the most recent Surface Pro 8: The Surface Pro 8 does not have an affordable Core i3 alternative, and hence its base rate is $100 greater, at $1,099 The bright side is that all of the Surface Pro 8 choices Microsoft is offering ought to provide adequate computational power and memory for any purchaser. Our evaluation system likewise did not have cellular abilities, so we didn’t check those.
Microsoft continues to offer the Surface’s buddy keyboard and the pen individually, though there’s a specific keyboard/pen package that Microsoft will cost an extra $27999 The Surface Pro 8 has actually been developed with the brand-new Surface Slim Pen 2 in mind, nevertheless, and Microsoft states you’ll experience decreased e-ink latency/lag if you utilize it.
Display: 13- inch PixelSense Flow (2880 ×1920, 267 PPI)
Two years back, the Surface Pro X showcased the future of Microsoft’s Surface Pro tablet lineup. Today’s Surface Pro 8 has actually been revamped in its image, with a set of Thunderbolt ports and an incorporated charging cubby for the Surface Slim Pen 2. That can be a little disturbing for long-lasting Surface owners, as Microsoft has actually moved things around. The power button is now on the side of the tablet.
Though the Surface Pro 8 is now somewhat much heavier and chunkier than its predecessors, you’ll require to compare them side by side to see. Otherwise, the Surface Pro 8 looks the like it emerges from package. Ideally you’ve currently acquired the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard to take complete benefit.
Like other Surface Pro gadgets going back to the Surface Pro 3, the tablet reclines to almost horizontal. The Surface Pro’s Signature magnetic keyboard, however, grips it securely. If that matters to you, purchase a Surface Pro 8. Competing tablets do not invest enough in the magnetic connection, and a tablet on your lap currently runs the risk of turning in reverse over your knees.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
Microsoft ships the Surface Pro 8, as it ships the majority of its Surface gadgets, called to very little efficiency levels. You offer up a bit in terms of efficiency, this likewise suggests that the Surface Pro 8 seldom engages its cooling fan, and it just does so really silently when needed. (You can change the efficiency within the Windows 11 Settings menu, particularly System > Power & battery) Narrow grillwork runs along both sides of the tablet, offering cooling. Generally, Surface tablets get warm to hot along the upper rear panel, and the SP8 is no exception.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
With the Surface Pro 8, Microsoft is presenting a somewhat bigger 13- inch (2,880 x 1,920) multitouch “PixelSense Flow” screen that maintains the 3:2 screen ratio, versus the 12.3- inch (2736 ×1824) shows we’ve typically gotten as part of the Surface Pro lineup. Initially, Microsoft informed us that the PixelSense Flow display screen would dynamically move backward and forward in between the requirement 60 Hz revitalize rate and a brand-new 120 Hz revitalize rate, a function referred to as Dynamic Refresh Rate. Greater refresh rates are simpler on the eyes and would likewise enhance inking, as the pen’s ink would “stream” more efficiently onto the screen.
Microsoft’s Dynamic Refresh Rate function didn’t make it to the Surface Pro 8. Rather, Microsoft locked the refresh rate at 60 Hz, though you can by hand change it by means of the Settings menu ( System > Display > Advanced Display) to the greater 120 Hz setting. Doing so would indicate that your battery life would reduce, however we didn’t experience that. We’ll talk more about this throughout our efficiency tests, particularly the battery life area.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
With the Surface Pro 8, the Surface Pro line makes a significant shift to Thunderbolt, a boosted I/O ability that has actually existed on competing note pads and tablets for a long time. The Surface Pro 8 consists of a set of Thunderbolt ports on one side, and has actually gotten rid of the older USB Type-A port totally. (Unlike the Surface Pro X, Microsoft has actually fortunately consisted of an earphone jack, also.) This enables the Surface Pro 8 to link to a little however growing community of Thunderbolt docks, and charge from them too– supplied that they’re powered. That offers SP8 purchasers the alternative to either charge straight from the consisted of 65 W Surface battery charger, or take advantage of a Thunderbolt dock
The sacrifice? Microsoft has actually gotten rid of the microSD slot for this generation, an implied push for individuals to publish their images straight to the Microsoft OneDrive cloud. If you require a physical microSD port, you have a variety of fantastic USB-C dongles to pick from.
We didn’t hear any substantive qualitative distinctions in between the Surface Pro 8 and earlier Surface tablets, however the speakers are certainly louder: they’re now 2W speakers, versus the 1.6 W speakers utilized by the Surface Pro 7 . Like the earlier design, they likewise utilize Dolby Atmos, which is integrated in and not truly adjustable by the user beyond the regular audio settings. Our Surface Pro 7 evaluation kept in mind that the speakers sounded rather flatter and softer, and it appears that Microsoft has actually remedied this in the Surface Pro 8.
In basic, the audio is definitely amongst the much better choices for tablets, and sounds as excellent or much better than some laptop computers. You will not require earphones to take pleasure in music on the Surface Pro 8.
Typing experience and keyboard
Microsoft’s Surface Pro Signature Keyboard, offered independently, does not appear to be anything various than what Microsoft has actually used in combination with previous Surface Pro tablets. As kept in mind above, the magnetic hinge grips the keyboard firmly to the tablet, releasing you of the stress and anxiety of dealing with your lap. On a desktop, the Surface Pro 8’s keyboard feels comfy, in other words, with an acceptable quantity of essential travel and strength. You must have the ability to the usage the keyboard easily for a whole day with no extra pressure on your wrists or fingers.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
The touchpad likewise appears to have actually stayed the same. It’s in fact clickable for practically the whole of the trackpad, though you’ll need to apply an unreasonable quantity for force at the top of the trackpad for the clicks to sign up. A bit plasticky, the trackpad is comfy to utilize.
What’s brand-new for the Surface tablet line is that the Surface Pro 8’s brand-new Signature Keyboard consists of a pen cubby for the Slim Pen 2, which seems the future of Microsoft’s pens. As we kept in mind in our finest tablet roundup, not every tablet keyboard that includes these brand-new pens has a strong magnetic connection. The keyboard folds, too, holding the pen firmly while charging it. It’s an excellent style and totally gets rid of the threat of losing a pen while the Surface Pro 8 is kept inside your bag or knapsack.
Like the Surface Laptop Studio, inking is a top priority on the Surface Pro 8. The Surface Pro 8 utilizes the Microsoft Pen Protocol in combination with the Surface Slim Pen 2. While I’m not an expert illustrator, my impression is that utilizing Microsoft’s two-button Surface Slim Pen 2 is more precise on the Surface Pro 8, possibly in part since the screen provides more pixel density than the Surface Laptop Studio. Matching the Slim Pen 2 is a breeze, a lot that it appeared like the pen matched as quickly as I linked the keyboard. You can introduce apps by pushing a button, and “eliminate” simply by rubbing the top of the pen versus the screen.
The Slim Pen 2 likewise consists of haptic feedback, so that you’ll “feel” interactions with shapes on Microsoft Whiteboard. This might in reality be an assistive innovation dressed up as a brand-new customer function, however I would not purchase a Slim Pen 2 for this.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
Don’t mark down the rechargeable pen, either, or its cubby! The days of attempting to pursue a AAAA battery for your Surface Pen are over. (Microsoft states that earlier Surface Pens will still work, however that you will not see the exact same minimized latency as you will while utilizing the Surface Slim Pen 2.
I by hand changed the display screen revitalize rate to 120 Hz to see the enhanced inking advantages, something that Microsoft had actually initially promised that it would do dynamically. In any case, I didn’t see any line offsets, where ink streams from a various area from where the pen touches, even with the pen at an angle. There is still a little bit of ink latency as you move about the page, however, to me, it wasn’t substantial. It likewise appears that the pen jitter– where the pen’s lines ripple backward and forward– is less than the Surface Laptop Studio or previous Surface Pro tablets. While we didn’t compare the inking capability to a devoted Wacom tablet, it’s reasonable to state that the Slim Pen 2 provides an excellent inking experience.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
As the business behind the Teams videoconferencing software application, Microsoft fundamentally comprehends that individuals require to look great on video camera throughout conferences or simply talking with pals. The Surface Pro 8’s user-facing cam still shoots simply 1080 p video, Microsoft has actually included ambient color and lighting sensing units, too. The latter sensing unit does a much better task of highlighting your image utilizing the appropriate direct exposure, while the color sensing unit will instantly change the color of your screen to make up for the ambient light.
Unfortunately, if the color sensing unit’s task is to reveal the web cam’s topic in the very best light, it requires some work as the image listed below suggests.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
Microsoft likewise improved its rear-facing video camera, too, including a 10 Mpixel video camera sensing unit, up from 8MP. We’re not the sort that takes pictures with a tablet, however the included resolution definitely can’t injure.
We were hoping that the Windows Hello 2.0 function that Microsoft divulged to us would be made it possible for on these devices. Windows Hello 2.0 apparently can translate your face even with a beard, glasses, or an N95 mask on. We checked the latter and … no dice. Windows could not establish a brand-new face profile with a mask on, and could not acknowledge me with one on, either.
Our initial screening revealed remarkably irregular habits when running our basic suite of standards, which we’ve kept in mind in the intro. After publication, Microsoft asked for that we re-run our criteria to verify the abnormalities. We once again upgraded the Surface Pro 8 to the current Microsoft chauffeurs and re-ran the criteria. This time, we got constant outcomes.
Microsoft likewise asked for that we include efficiency criteria for the Surface Pro 8 at its optimum efficiency settings. Microsoft usually ships its evaluation systems with efficiency called down to a minimum to get rid of fan sound. The competitors normally utilizes either “well balanced” settings or dials them approximately optimum, too. We’ve included these modified Surface Pro 8 numbers with previous evaluations, so we did so once again. In the charts listed below, the optimum efficiency settings are detailed in black.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the retests led to substantial distinctions in the Cinebench standard; our extended efficiency test, Handbrake; and, to a lower degree, in PCMark10 Our tests of 3D graphics efficiency stayed the same. Battery life increased somewhat.
From a functionality perspective, the Surface Pro 8 carries out well. Our 4K streaming test video rendered dropped simply 8 frames out of 10,000 or two, which indicates that video will stream jitter totally free even at high resolutions. With the very same GPU as the Surface Pro 7 , you ought to anticipate equivalent gameplay if you select to go that path– intend on playing video games at 1080 p settings on High. This is a service and inking tablet, however.
We utilize the PCMark test to determine how the tablet will fare under basic computing work. The test determines videoconferencing, data processing, some light video gaming, CAD work, application start-up, and more. Here, the Surface Pro 8 carries out as much as expectations, with increased gen-over-gen efficiency.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
The Cinebench R15 benchmark procedures manufactured CPU efficiency, with the ramification that efficiency will scale on the CPU-dependent applications that we can’t particularly test. In our very first batch of outcomes, efficiency was all over the map– some outcomes were 50 percent of the others. After our re-run, the benchmark ratings differed by simply a couple of percent. We’ve balanced them together to produce a composite rating.
Cinebench determines the efficiency of all of the CPU cores and threads interacting in performance, which is shown here. The SP8’s single-core outcome was 188, which is likewise exceptional.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
Cinebench R23, an advanced variation of the standard, uses a method to inspect whether thermal concerns might be at play: run a single test, then loop the test over and over for 10 minutes and compare the outcomes. Our ratings were similar– 2,895 versus 2,867– which led me to question that the Surface Pro 8 has any thermal concerns where the CPU is worried.
We initially saw more abnormalities in the Handbrake test, which utilizes a totally free tool to transcode video into a format formatted for an Android tablet. It’s a real-world application, though less so in a world where Netflix motion pictures can be conserved to a laptop computer. We determine the time Handbrake requires to finish the job as a method to identify both the efficiency of the tablet in addition to its capability to keep one’s cool over an extended period of time. In our retesting, nevertheless, those abnormalities vanished, and we report what we think about to be the tablet’s real efficiency in our chart listed below.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
In graphics, however, the Surface Pro 8 provided constant outcomes. Here, we utilized the 3DMark Time Spy test, and the Iris Xe GPU carried out outstandingly.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
Finally, we checked battery life. Battery life is ending up being progressively more tough to test, as more laptop computer producers include sensing units that identify the ambient brightness of the screen and change the output appropriately. (Smartphones do this frequently.) The wrinkles that the Surface Pro 8 contributes to this are threefold. Microsoft and Windows will change the “material” of video being repeated, to maintain battery life; changing the screen revitalize rate will impact battery life, too. Our Surface Pro 8 evaluation system chose after a couple of days to carry out “wise charging,” a brand-new function that avoids the battery from being charged previous 80 percent. We were alerted by Microsoft that the Surface app can be utilized to turn this function off if you ‘d like your battery to credit its optimal capacity.
All this suggests that there are merely a lot of variables to provide you with an extensive photo of for how long the Surface Pro 8’s battery will last. We normally diminish a laptop computer battery by looping a 4K video over and over till it ends, and we did that here. We re-ran rundown tests where we disabled the lighting sensing unit (though not the material modification) to offer a repeatable though worst-case circumstance. (We did not test with efficiency set to optimum.)
At 9 hours 23 minutes you need to get a complete workday’s usage out of the Surface Pro 8. Calling up the refresh rate to 120 Hz didn’t appear to in fact decrease the battery life at all, as the tablet ended after 628 minutes.
Mark Hachman/ IDG
Turning off both the lighting and material change abilities on the Surface Pro 8 provided a dreadful battery life of 375 minutes, or 6 hours 15 minutes. That’s at a 60 Hz revitalize rate, too. That’s not the default setup, nevertheless, and you would require to change the tablet’s settings within the Settings menu to accomplish that rating. (This outcome was likewise part of our initial set of screening outcomes, too.)
With our 2nd run of screening, we now feel comfy in mentioning that the Surface Pro 8 provides efficiency that surpasses its competitors, or at least matches it.
All of this provides a concern: How well do we understand the Surface Pro 8? From a hardware point of view, rather well: We can definitely see the worth of the bigger, remarkable screen, and the tablet’s audio sounds excellent, too. Sure, the web cam appears to require a little work, however that’s a fine-tune it ought to have the ability to execute rapidly.
Thankfully, after our retesting with brand-new updates we now understand a lot more about how the Surface Pro 8 carries out, too, and we’re entrusted a lot more favorable impression. Basically, your tablet options come down to the outstanding Dell Latitude 7320 Detachable and the excellent Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable Gen 1 tablet, too. A crucial distinction here is rate: our Lenovo evaluation tablet is priced at $1,331, while the Dell costs $2,189 Our Surface Pro 8 evaluation system costs $1,599 Yes, paying $1,500 for a tablet is still a lot to ask, however the Surface Pro 8 just provides a lot more than its present competitors.
We’re not delighted with how quickly Microsoft pressed this tablet into our hands, and our preliminary unfavorable response is still warranted. That was then. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 now provides leading-edge efficiency at a competitive cost, plus a superior screen and inking experience. We believe that the Surface Pro 8 is just the very best Windows tablet on the marketplace today.
Note: When you buy something after clicking links in our short articles, we might make a little commission. Read our affiliate link policy for more information.
As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark concentrates on Microsoft news and chip innovation, to name a few beats. He has actually previously composed for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.