Surface Pro 8 Long-Term Review: Finally, A Real Upgrade

The Microsoft Floor Professional 8 is attractive, recent, and at last an actual replace to the stale-looking Floor Professional line. And as normal, you will pay closely for that.

Key Options

  • Haptic suggestions capability
  • Glossy design

  • Model: Microsoft
  • Storage: 256GB
  • CPU: Intel i5
  • Reminiscence: 8GB
  • Working System: Home windows 11
  • Battery: 10 hours
  • Ports: 2 x USB-C, Floor Join
  • Digicam: 10MP (Rear), 5MP (Entrance)
  • Show (Dimension, Decision): 13 inches, 2880×1920
  • Weight: 981g (With out keyboard)

  • Up to date, elegant design
  • Rechargeable pen with nice storage answer
  • Nice Floor Slim Pen 2 connectivity

  • Keyboard and stylus aren’t included
  • Marginally heavier

Purchase This Product

For the previous few years, it was beginning to look as if Microsoft had run out of concepts on easy methods to really enhance the Floor Professional line, past tinkering round with the inside. My 2015 Floor Professional 4 seemed functionally an identical to the 2019 Floor Professional 7, full with ultra-thick bezels across the display. Although we have been all excited when the Floor Professional X got here out three years in the past, its flashy new design hid a deadly flaw: operating on an ARM processor reasonably than Intel made it battle to take care of frequent functions.

Within the Floor Professional 8, Microsoft has lastly mixed one of the best of each worlds. The attention-catching Professional X design has been mixed with an Intel processor (i5, in my case, though i7 can also be an possibility). Numerous different inside configurations can be found, however O opted for 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage.


This quantity of RAM for common functions is totally tremendous. My main makes use of are internet looking with many tabs, phrase processing, and different office-based duties, with the odd software comparable to Sign Desktop or Zoom thrown in.

Though many will urge 16GB on the grounds of “future-proofing”, I spent round 5 years utilizing a Floor Professional 4 with simply 4GB. It too was able to dealing with all the standard duties with out subject. Except you commonly run intensive functions, you are unlikely to wish the upgraded RAM.


This overview will embody the Floor Slim Pen 2 and Signature Keyboard as effectively. A field for simply the Floor Professional 8 itself would include nothing however a charger and the naked pill, which is virtually ineffective with out at the least the keyboard. The truth that Microsoft does not bundle the keyboard in—and has even, extremely, stopped bundling within the pen—might be one of many greatest downsides to the package deal.

Surface Pro 8 upright on desk

Look and Design

The design is the largest change to the Floor Professional 8. Nearly instantly, you possibly can inform that the display’s edges are extra rounded than earlier iterations of the laptop computer, making it simpler on the hand once you’re holding it in pill type. Bezels are a lot, a lot slimmer. They’re nonetheless fairly chunky on the prime and backside of the display, however the latter at the least is hid when the keyboard is connected. (Extra on the keyboard and pen later). In reality, the slimmer bezels permit for a bigger display, which, at 13 inches, is sort of an inch larger than the earlier mannequin, whereas preserving the machine footprints nearly an identical.

One draw back, nevertheless, is that the Professional 8 is noticeably thicker and heavier than older variations, together with its closest ancestor, the Floor Professional X. The physique is now made out of shiny, slippery aluminum as a substitute of matte magnesium alloy. This reportedly makes it simpler for the paint to connect to black variations of the Professional 8, because the black paint scratched off comparatively simply on the Professional 7. Sadly, it makes for a weighty gloss.

Associated: Surface Pro X (2020) Review: Almost There, Microsoft

Essential elements of the design have stayed the identical. You continue to have the snap-out kickstand within the again which helps it steadiness on a flat floor. It performs poorly on non-flat surfaces—”functionality” is close to zero, and really uncomfortable—however on a desk, the keyboard does not bounce an excessive amount of. More often than not, you possibly can overlook it is bouncing in any respect except you particularly search for it.

The keyboard can also be nonetheless connected through magnetic snaps on the backside of the pill. It is easy to take away and substitute, taking the machine from laptop computer to pill and again once more. Utilizing this extensively as a pill could be troublesome, because of the weight, however you possibly can relaxation it in your lap or a desk when making handwritten notes.


Efficiency and Ports

The laptop computer comes with Home windows 11 put in. Set-up is simple and intuitive; the whole lot seems to be sharp and clear on the 2880 x 1920 display. One massive change is that eradicating the keyboard now not places the machine into an annoying “Pill Mode”. As an alternative, issues turn out to be subtly calibrated for the pill type issue, comparable to wider-spaced icons on the taskbar.

By way of efficiency, I’ve no complaints. Since I bought it in October, the Professional 8 expertise total has been quick and clean. The readability of Home windows 11 enhances the machine’s modern design very effectively. Battery life as normal falls far beneath Microsoft’s claims, however you may get about 7 hours of strong use earlier than it’s essential begin reaching for the charger. It additionally fees again up swiftly.

The best-hand facet boasts two USB-C ports with Thunderbolt 4 above the proprietary charging Floor Join port. The left has a 3.5mm headphone jack. No one makes use of their laptop computer for taking pictures, however ought to it’s essential rapidly scan a doc, there is a 10MP rear digicam and a 5MP entrance digicam. That is sufficient to make you look good and clear in your Zoom calls.

surface pro 8 ssd card showing

As for upgrading, you possibly can improve the SSD storage, however undoubtedly not the RAM, which is soldered on.


You may get two completely different variations of the keyboard: a easy Floor Professional Keyboard (which was referred to as the Sort Cowl), and the Floor Professional Signature Keyboard. The essential model nonetheless supplies backlit keys, a superb touchpad, and a very good typing expertise, but it surely comes with no further frills. That is the one to purchase in the event you aren’t focused on getting the Slim Pen as effectively. Typing is comparatively loud and clicky, however I really discover the crisp sound of the keys very satisfying.

The actual pleasure may be discovered from the Signature model. It is fabricated from Alcantara, an artificial suede billed by Microsoft as “luxurious”—although it simply feels a bit bizarre and rubbery to me. A variety of shade choices can be found, though keep in mind that issues look darker in actual life than they do on the Microsoft retailer. My “ice blue” possibility, for instance, really seems to be nearer to darkish grey.

surface keyboard stain - grey on blue

Typing is somewhat quieter on the Signature Keyboard. Extra importantly, this model incorporates a built-in charging port for the rechargeable Floor Slim Pen. It is situated within the fold of fabric simply subsequent to the magnetic pill attachment, so it is hidden in each day use. It is a a lot better storage answer than in earlier Floor Execs, the place the pen magnetically connected to the facet of the laptop computer and always threatened to slide off throughout journey.

Beware, although, that Alcantara materials is notoriously susceptible to staining. After a mere few months, my very own keyboard has developed an inexplicable and ugly darkish patch on the backside, regardless of the actual fact I’ve by no means spilled or dropped something on it.

To get significant use out of the Floor Professional 8, you do want to purchase a keyboard, however you possibly can take or depart the pen: it now not comes bundled with the pill because it used to, which is unlucky by way of worth for cash however good in the event you do not want one. The newest pen providing from Microsoft is the Floor Slim Pen 2 (which solely is available in black).

It may possibly initially take some getting used to. Because the title suggests, it is oddly flat, which is likely to be sudden in the event you’re used to the basic cylindrical shapes of earlier Floor Pens. This lets it match simply into the keyboard charging port, but it surely additionally means prolonged writing can get mildly uncomfortable. My main use nevertheless is for highlighting PDFs, with occasional note-taking, and it excels at that. There isn’t any lag, it might sense completely different stress values, quite a few apps assist inking—what’s to not like?

keyboard and slim pen of surface pro next to each other

Probably the most attention-grabbing characteristic in regards to the Slim Pen 2 is its capability for tactile suggestions, which suggests it vibrates in your hand once you write. Usually, writing on glass screens feels horrible due to the graceful floor. The tactile suggestions actually does not come wherever near imitating paper, but it surely does enhance the writing expertise tremendously. Proper now this characteristic is barely appropriate with the Floor Professional 8 and Floor Laptop computer Studio.

Ought to You Purchase the Floor Professional 8?

In the event you’re on the lookout for the highest-quality Home windows laptop computer on the market, you possibly can’t do a lot better than this. In contrast to the Professional X, whose subpar efficiency made it troublesome to advocate, the Professional 8 has glorious performance wrapped in a trendy shell.

After all, you will additionally pay a premium for that mixture: there will probably be a number of different laptops that are, in uncooked phrases, higher worth for cash. However no different machine can imitate the benefit with which the Floor Professional switches between self-contained pill and a full-bodied laptop computer.

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Surface Pro 8 Long-Term Review: Finally, A Real Upgrade

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