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Surface Pro 8 review: Microsoft’s best Windows tablet gets big upgrade | Microsoft Surface

Microsoft’s category-defining Windows 11 tablet lastly gets the design and have upgrade Surface Pro followers have been clamouring for, however it comes with the sting of worth hike.

The Surface Pro 8 begins at £999 ($999/A$1,649), with out the important £160 ($160/A$260) keyboard, which is £100 extra for the tablet and £35 extra for the keyboard than final yr’s equal fashions.

It’s the most important upgrade since 2014: the design has been revamped to match the extra modern-looking Surface Pro X, with rounded corners, slimmer bezels and a swap from magnesium to aluminium for the physique. It’s 116g heavier and 0.8mm thicker than the final mannequin however appears and feels nice.

microsoft surface pro 8 review
The kickstand on the again is simply pretty much as good as earlier Surface units, in a position to maintain the tablet regular at a wide variety of angles. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

At 13in on the diagonal, the display is greater than the 12.3in of its predecessors. It’s nonetheless compact in contrast with a laptop computer, however the bigger display makes working with a number of home windows a bit simpler. The show helps a sooner refresh charge of as much as 120Hz too, which is frequent on smartphones, high-end tablets and located on Apple’s newest MacBook Pro.

Disappointingly the 120Hz display is a characteristic but to be absolutely realised. The Pro 8 is ready on a firmware replace due subsequent yr to allow variable refresh rates, which permits the display to mechanically modify its pace relying on the content material on show, saving battery for static photos whereas being tremendous easy for fast-paced animations. For now it’s set to 60Hz by default to save lots of battery life.

Specs

  • Display: 13in LCD 2880×1920 (267 PPI) 120Hz

  • Processor: Intel Core i5 or i7 (Eleventh technology)

  • RAM: 8, 16 or 32GB

  • Storage: 128, 256, 512GB or 1TB

  • Graphics: Intel Iris Xe

  • Working system: Windows 11 House

  • Digital camera: 10MP rear, 5MP entrance with Windows Hiya

  • Connectivity: Wifi 6, Bluetooth 5.1, 2x Thunderbolt 4/USB-4, headphones, Surface Join

  • Dimensions: 287 x 208x 9.3 mm

  • Weight: 891g (with out keyboard)

Quicker and quieter

microsoft surface pro 8 review
The tablet absolutely prices in simply over an hour and half, reaching 50% in 35 minutes utilizing the included Surface Join energy adaptor. It may possibly cost from the Thunderbolt ports too. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Pro 8 ships with new Eleventh-generation Intel Core i5 or i7 chips (as examined), that are 10%-15% sooner than earlier fashions in benchmarks and matched the efficiency of the Surface Laptop computer 4.

A cooling system upgrade retains the machine silent for more often than not, requiring the followers so much much less ceaselessly than earlier variations, which was a really welcome change.

Microsoft has lastly adopted Thunderbolt connectivity too, kitting out the Pro 8 with two USB/Thunderbolt 4 ports, which is a big, trendy upgrade for connecting to shows, high-speed drives and docks, in addition to charging. Nonetheless, the helpful microSD card slot and USB-A socket of earlier fashions have been eliminated.

Battery life stays similar to earlier fashions with solely about seven hours of labor between prices, which is lower than half the 16 hours of the market-leading MacBook Air.

Sustainability

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review
The Surface Pro 8 has a detachable SSD hidden beneath a flap on the again, which implies you’ll be able to upgrade the storage after buy, however Microsoft states it ought to solely be replaced by technicians. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Microsoft doesn’t present an anticipated lifespan for the Pro 8’s battery; these in comparable units sometimes keep no less than 80% of their unique capability for in extra of 500 full cost cycles. The tablet is usually repairable with an out-of-warranty service price of £424.02 and a battery alternative price of £280.44.

The tablet incorporates no recycled supplies, however Microsoft operates recycling schemes for outdated machines, publishes a company-wide sustainability report and a breakdown of each product’s environmental impact.

Windows 11

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review
The Windows Hiya face recognition is tremendous fast at logging you in. The 5MP internet cam is likely one of the best for video calls, however has a comparatively low angle for extra up-nose photographs than you may like. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Pro 8 runs the brand new Windows 11, which is identical because the Go 3 tablet, however is way snappier due to the sooner chips. Windows 11 is a greater match for a tablet, with a extra touch-friendly interface and considerably improved touchscreen keyboard.

Windows 11 remains to be slightly tough across the edges however is bettering quickly. These transitioning from Windows 10 will discover it principally works the identical with just a few design modifications such because the central Begin menu.

Signature keyboard and Slim Pen 2

(*8*)Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review
The Slim Pen 2 is likely one of the very best styluses obtainable: exact, with very low latency and an ideal really feel. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The Pro 8 tablet is barely half the equation. It helps Microsoft’s up to date Signature removable keyboard, which is stiffer and flexes much less whenever you sort than its predecessor. The keys and trackpad are nonetheless nice.

The brand new Slim Pen 2 stylus has a small vibrating motor in it, which prompts whenever you drag the it throughout the display to supply the feeling of pen-on-paper. It gained’t miraculously provide you with creative expertise, however it actually provides to the expertise of drawing or writing on glass. Some apps could make the pen really feel like it’s clicking, too, whenever you activate sure features or menus.

The Slim Pen 2’s haptics solely work in apps that assist it, equivalent to Microsoft’s Phrase, Journal, Whiteboard and PowerPoint, Adobe Fresco and a small handful of others up to now.

Observations

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review
Pull the keyboard away from the tablet to disclose the hidden magnetic charging and storage tray for the Slim Pen 2, which is a really neat resolution to the issue of the place to place a stylus when not in use. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian
  • The audio system are first rate and might get fairly loud, however lack bass.

  • The display may be very reflective, which might make utilizing it outside in direct mild a problem.

Worth

The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 begins at £999 ($999/A$1,649) with an Intel Core i5, 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage and is offered in varied completely different reminiscence and storage mixtures. Variations with the Core i7 chip begin at £1,499 ($1,599/A$2,399).

The Signature keyboard prices £159.99 ($159.99/A$259.95) by itself or £259.99 ($279.99/A$429.95) with the Slim Pen 2.

For comparability, the Surface Laptop computer 4 begins at £799, the Surface Go 2 prices £369, the Samsung Galaxy Ebook Pro 360 prices £1,199, the Apple iPad Pro 12.9in prices £999, the MacBook Air prices £999 and the MacBook Pro prices £1,899.

Verdict

The Surface Pro 8 is Microsoft’s best tablet PC but, lastly including some much-needed trendy upgrades to an already profitable formulation.

The extra rounded, sleeker design feels nice. The bigger, higher display with smaller bezels helps productiveness. It has the most recent Intel chips, runs a lot quieter and eventually has Thunderbolt connectivity for docks, drives, shows and way more.

Battery life is nearly adequate for a day of labor, however miles behind market leaders. The 120Hz show can be an ideal characteristic as soon as it’s absolutely realised with an replace. The elimination of the microSD card slot is barely disappointing, however the modular SSD may be very welcome. The true beginning value of £1,160 with keyboard is barely greater than the equal customary laptop computer.

If you would like a compact and adaptable Windows 11 machine that may flip from a stable laptop computer alternative to a inventive tablet immediately, the Surface Pro 8 is unrivalled.

Professionals: nice display, good efficiency, Thunderbolt4/USB-4, wonderful keyboard (important further buy), wonderful kickstand, Windows Hiya, stable construct, nice stylus (non-obligatory buy), detachable SSD.

Cons: pretty costly, keyboard ought to be included, no USB-A port, no microSD card slot, ready for an replace to allow the variable refresh charge of the display.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review
The Surface Pro 8 is offered in graphite black or platinum silver and feels extraordinarily stable, able to journey with you. {Photograph}: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

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