Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Best Laptop You Should Buy!
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review. The Surface Pro 8 may be obsolete: the Microsoft Surface Live event takes place on October 12, and all prevailing leaks point to us getting our first look at the much-anticipated Surface Pro 9. Still, you can read our original review of the current-generation model right here – we adored it when it was released in 2021, and we still do.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Design & Build
- Greater display within a nearly identical body
- Excellent video calling capabilities
- There are no USB-A ports.
The Surface Pro 8’s design achieves a delicate balance between being easily recognizable and a genuine upgrade. It’s magnesium alloy construction looks as well as feels as premium as ever, even if color options are limited to Platinum (silver) or Graphite (black).
A matte finish adds grip without leaving any visible fingerprint smudges. It also means that the Pro 8 is comfy to use as a tablet case-free, though at 891g, you’ll need to prop it up for extended periods of use.
And that is where the built-in kickstand plays a role. It spans the entire width of the device’s back, allowing for positions ranging from completely vertical to only first and off the table.
There are no differences between this and the Pro 7, but a tough metal hinge gives it an impressively robust and sturdy feel. Below it, you’ll find some official branding as well as access to the removable SSD, which is only available in 128GB and 256GB models.
It’s a noticeable improvement over the 8Mp sensor on previous generations of Surface Pro, but you shouldn’t use it for photography on a regular basis. Aside from the device’s unwieldy nature, stills from the Pro 8 still are hit-or-miss.
Although nice lighting conditions can produce some nice shots, exposure is frequently an issue and dynamic range is frequently lacking. It’s good for document scanning as well as reference, but not much else.
The 5Mp front-facing lens is of comparable quality, but it is ideal for video calls. It can record 1080p video, which many built-in laptop webcams still can’t match. This is a significant advantage of many Surface computers, particularly when used with dual studio microphones.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Accessories
- Slim Pen 2 has an excellent, laptop-like keyboard.
- Both are costly additional accessories.
- Despite the fact that the keyboard is a required purchase for the majority of people, Microsoft continues to sell all Surface Pro 8 accessories separately.
However, the latest Signature Keyboard is being bundled with the new Slim Pen 2. Above the keyboard, there’s even a built-in storage facility for the stylus, which also charges it. This is preferable to a pen that magnetic fields attach to the top of the device, particularly since the new design keeps it out of the way when typing.
However, the Slim Pen 2 is unlike many earlier Surface styluses. It has a flatter design that I discovered is more natural for writing, as well as a physical button for rapid access to specific tools. With a single click, you can launch Microsoft’s Whiteboard application, where you can also utilize the pen’s tip as a digital rubber. Double-clicking allows you to edit a screenshot, but both can be customized in Settings.
Because of the larger size of the Surface Pro 8, there is now enough space for a full-size keyboard. The Signature Keyboard provides a competent typing experience comparable to that of the Surface Laptop 4. Both are covered in a soft-touch Alcantara fabric, and the backlit keys give them a significant advantage over competitors.
A fairly big trackpad is also more useful now that it supports the full range of gestures available in Windows 11. However, for longer sessions, I would still recommend using a Bluetooth mouse.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Screen & Speakers
- 13-inch LCD screen
- The refresh rate is 120Hz, but it is not yet adaptive.
- Outstanding speakers
The Surface Pro 7’s screen was hardly a flaw, but Microsoft has prioritized its improvement. As previously stated, the screen size has been increased from 12.3 to 13 while maintaining a 3:2 aspect ratio. This means a new 28801920 resolution, though the ‘PixelSense Flow display is still LCD rather than OLED.
The standout feature here, however, is the 120Hz refresh rate. It is, along with the Surface Laptop Studio, the first Microsoft computer to surpass 60Hz, though you must change it manually in Settings. It provides a silky smooth, consistent experience that is arguably even better here than on smartphones.
At the launch of Windows 11 in 2021, Microsoft advertised a Dynamic Refresh Rate (DRR) feature that would allow the Surface Pro 8 and chosen other devices to constantly adjust the refresh rate depending on the situation. This should help preserve battery life, but it is still not available as of March 2022.
The Pro 8 retains dual 2W stereo speakers that output through huge grilles on either of the device’s sides. They produce rich, punchy audio which you wouldn’t expect from a device of this size.
The bass is adequate and does not become contorted at high volumes, and Dolby Atmos support allows for room-filling sound. Audiophiles will still have to connect headphones as well as external speakers, but for casual users, it’s an excellent experience.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Specs & Performance
- Intel 11th-generation processors and integrated GPUs
- Overall, outstanding performance.
- Removable SSD on less expensive models
Microsoft has improved the internals of the Surface Pro with each iteration, and this is no exception. The Pro 8 is operated by Intel’s 11th-generation processors; the device was set to release before Intel’s latest CPUs were announced in January 2022.
You can choose between the Core i5-1135G7 and the Core i7-1185G7, but I can only reply on the latter. Performance on this mid-range model is excellent, thanks to Iris Xe integrated graphics but also 16GB of RAM.
The Pro 8 excels at all of the most popular productivity tasks, such as web browsing and email checking, as well as video calls as well as multitasking. Even with multiple programs open at the same time, there were no stuttering, hesitation, or app crashes during my time with the device. However, in these cases, the back of the device will feel warm to the touch.
More demanding use cases, such as video editing but also light gaming, are also possible, but you’ll notice the fans kick in at that point. This isn’t particularly loud, but it can be annoying at times.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Software
- Windows 11 software is used.
- It still does not appear to be optimized for touch input.
The Surface Pro 8 debuted around the same time as Windows 11, making it one of the initial devices to ship with Microsoft’s operating system pre-installed. It’s also one of the first to accept new updates, but Surface devices aren’t given priority over other Windows manufacturers.
Since its release, Microsoft has addressed many of the issues with Windows 11, but it still has a very distinct look and feel from Windows 10. There’s also no tablet mode, so touch input remains an afterthought when particularly in comparison to cursor-based navigation.
It’s still usable, but you’ll need to be patient and adjust to the quirks of Windows 11 if you haven’t used it before. However, recent developments indicate that Microsoft is prioritizing touch input, so it may feel much more optimized in a few months.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Review: Battery Life & Charging
- Battery capacity estimated at 50.2Wh
- Long-lasting battery life
- 65W charging via the included adapter
As is customary, Microsoft does not specify the battery capacity of the Pro 8, but SurfaceTip makes a claim it is a 50.2Wh cell. That’s supposedly slightly less than the Surface Pro 7+, but a significant improvement over the Pro 7’s 43.2Wh battery.
Microsoft claims it will provide ‘up to 16 hours of pretty standard device usage,’ but does not elaborate. In our 720p video loop test, it came up just short, clocking in at 12 hours and 39 minutes.
With that in mind, you have to be very confident that the Surface Pro 8 can compete with the best laptops on the market right now. If this isn’t going to be your primary productivity device, it’s worth looking into less expensive options.
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