Surface Pro 8 review: A familiar companion for Windows 11

Surface Pro 8 review: A familiar companion for Windows 11
If Windows 11 has a flagship launch day buddy gadget, it’s the Surface Pro 8. The Surface Pro has actually constantly been the lead ship in Microsoft’s PC hardware armada, which has actually grown recently to consist of spending plan laptop computers, ARM-powered hybrids and even a dual-screen phone.

I’ve constantly liked the Surface line, partially since it’s an uncommon case of a single business developing both the os and hardware, much as Apple does. That enables a tighter fit in between the parts, whereas other Windows PCs are constantly a compromise in between style, running system and unlimited internal part alternatives. Apple’s taken this one action even more and developed the chip now too (the M1), although Microsoft has actually done something comparable, with the SQ1, integrated in collaboration with Qualcomm.


  • Bigger, much better screen
  • New haptic slim stylus
  • Can charge through USB-C

Don’t Like

  • All-important keyboard still isn’t consisted of in package
  • No 5G choices, 4G just for service consumers
  • Fan can get loud

We’ve been waiting a while for the next Surface Pro. The Surface Pro 7, er, emerged in2019 Ever since we’ve gotten brand-new variations of the Surface Pro X, Surface Go and Surface Laptop Go, however absolutely nothing from the initial line, which has actually ended up being the go-to evidence of idea for how to make a Windows-based tablet style work.

The Surface Pro 8 pulls from both the previous Surface Pro and the enthusiastic Pro X. It keeps the Intel CPU from the Surface Pro 7, however injects the bigger 13- inch screen from the Pro X, in addition to that design’s slimmer Surface Pen stylus, now called the Slim Pen 2.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The Surface’s biggest style win, its best-in-class clip-on keyboard now gets a semihidden storage and charging slot for the slim stylus, which was another Surface X function. The brand-new variation 2.0 slim pen includes the capability for haptic feedback, threatening to buzz and dive in your hand while tapping or sketching.

In a Microsoft demonstration occasion a number of weeks back, I felt the stylus buzz a bit when choosing various illustration tools in Sketchable, although I didn’t feel anything while in fact making use of the screen. In this last variation of the hardware, with a last variation of Windows 11, I wasn’t able to get any haptic feedback initially, till I understood I needed to push the side button on the stylus to turn the haptics on and off. After that I might once again feel brush choice in Sketchable, however that’s about it up until now. You can crank the level of haptic feedback up in a menu, however it was still quite subtle when maxed out.

Read more: Surface Pro 8 vs. Surface Pro 7: Microsoft’s brand-new 2-in-1 is larger, much better

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Other essential enhancements and modifications to the Surface Pro 8 consist of:

  • The 13- inch display screen can show at 120 Hz, however it’s not the default
  • Two Thunderbolt USB-C ports (however say goodbye to USB-A)
  • A 4K-capable rear video camera

The most typical concern I’ve obtained from individuals has been: Can you charge it through the USB-C port? The response is yes, similar to the Surface Go Laptop, Surface Pro X and a couple of other more recent designs. Microsoft still includes its exclusive magnetic battery charger cable television and power port, however I’ve never ever been a fan– it pops out too quickly, sits at an uncomfortable angle, and beats the function of a lot of laptop computers (even MacBooks!) utilizing a universal power service.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

The tune stays the exact same

You understand what I’m going to speak about next. It’s remained in each and every single Surface Pro evaluation I’ve composed, going all the method back to the very first generation. It stays a criminal offense that the Surface Pro 8, which begins at $1,100(₤999, AU$ 1,649) and goes all the method approximately $2,600, still does not consist of the keyboard cover in package. A Windows tablet by itself, no matter how well developed, is still a discomfort to utilize as a routine PC without it, and almost every promotion shot, television advertisement or in-movie item positioning I’ve ever seen for the Surface Pro consists of the keyboard cover.

That’s great, you state; just how much could it potentially be? The only existing alternative on Microsoft’s site today is the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen 2, in black, gray or red, for … $280 You can get the brand-new pen alone for $130 And no, your old Surface Pro 7 keyboard will not work as the connection has actually moved.

That makes the most inexpensive practical Surface Pro $1,380 Which’s for a system with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128 GB solid-state drive. Truthfully, paltry specifications for the cost. A 12- inch 128 GB iPad Pro with an Apple Pencil and Magic Keyboard has to do with $1,450, so it’s not a Microsoft-only problem.

Dan Ackerman/CNET

Get your kickstand kicks

The second-best part of the Surface Pro beside the keyboard cover, is the kickstand in the back. It’s consisted of, thankfully– however do not believe that somebody, someplace hasn’t considered how to make it a sold-separately additional.

It opens to almost any angle, remains stiffly where you put it, and is typically fantastic for whatever other than in fact putting it on your lap. Hey, it’s a two-in-one hybrid, not a laptop computer. When I just recently got to examine out the brand-new OLED-screen variation of the Nintendo Switch, the part I was most pleased by was the brand-new kickstand on the portable video gaming console, which looks like a direct knockoff of the Surface Pro kickstand.

Cinebench R23(multicore)

Microsoft Surface Pro 8
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