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

The Microsoft Floor Professional 8 is beautiful, recent, and eventually an actual replace to the stale-looking Floor Professional line. And as traditional, you will pay closely for that.

Key Options

  • Haptic suggestions capability
  • Smooth design
Specs

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

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

  • 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 find out how to truly enhance the Floor Professional line, past tinkering round with the inside. My 2015 Floor Professional 4 regarded functionally equivalent 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: working on an ARM processor moderately than Intel made it battle to take care of widespread purposes.


Within the Floor Professional 8, Microsoft has lastly mixed the very 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). Quite a few different inner configurations can be found, however O opted for 8GB of RAM and 256GB storage.


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This quantity of RAM for common functions is totally wonderful. My main makes use of are net looking with many tabs, phrase processing, and different office-based duties, with the odd software akin 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 difficulty. Until you repeatedly run intensive purposes, you are unlikely to want the upgraded RAM.

MAKEUSEOF VIDEO OF THE DAY

This evaluate will embody the Floor Slim Pen 2 and Signature Keyboard as nicely. 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 no less than the keyboard. The truth that Microsoft would not bundle the keyboard in—and has even, extremely, stopped bundling within the pen—might be one of many largest 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. Virtually instantly, you’ll be able to 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 kind. Bezels are a lot, a lot slimmer. They’re nonetheless fairly chunky on the high and backside of the display, however the latter no less than 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 greater than the earlier mannequin, whereas conserving the machine footprints virtually equivalent.


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 produced from 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: Floor Professional X (2020) Overview: Virtually There, Microsoft

Essential components 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 would not bounce an excessive amount of. More often than not, you’ll be able to overlook it is bouncing in any respect until you particularly search for it.


The keyboard can also be nonetheless connected through magnetic snaps on the backside of the pill. It is simple 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, as a result of weight, however you’ll be able to relaxation it in your lap or a desk when making handwritten notes.


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Efficiency and Ports

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

By way of efficiency, I’ve no complaints. Since I obtained it in October, the Professional 8 expertise general has been quick and easy. The readability of Home windows 11 enhances the machine’s modern design very nicely. Battery life as traditional falls far under Microsoft’s claims, however you may get about 7 hours of strong use earlier than that you must begin reaching for the charger. It additionally expenses again up swiftly.

The fitting-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 person makes use of their laptop computer for taking pictures, however ought to that you must 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’ll be able to improve the SSD storage, however undoubtedly not the RAM, which is soldered on.

Equipment

You may get two totally different variations of the keyboard: a easy Floor Professional Keyboard (which was known as the Sort Cowl), and the Floor Professional Signature Keyboard. The fundamental model nonetheless offers backlit keys, an excellent touchpad, and a very good typing expertise, nevertheless it comes with no further frills. That is the one to purchase when you aren’t involved in getting the Slim Pen as nicely. Typing is comparatively loud and clicky, however I truly discover the crisp sound of the keys very satisfying.


The true pleasure might be discovered from the Signature model. It is made 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, truly seems nearer to darkish grey.


surface keyboard stain - grey on blue

Typing is slightly quieter on the Signature Keyboard. Extra importantly, this model encompasses 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 continually threatened to slide off throughout journey.

Beware, although, that Alcantara materials is notoriously vulnerable 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 very 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’ll be able to take or go away the pen: it not comes bundled with the pill because it used to, which is unlucky when it comes to worth for cash however good when you do not want one. The newest pen providing from Microsoft is the Floor Slim Pen 2 (which solely is available in black).

It might probably initially take some getting used to. Because the title suggests, it is oddly flat, which could be surprising when you’re used to the traditional cylindrical shapes of earlier Floor Pens. This lets it match simply into the keyboard charging port, nevertheless it 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 is no lag, it could possibly sense totally different strain values, quite a few apps assist inking—what’s to not like?


keyboard and slim pen of surface pro next to each other

Essentially the most fascinating characteristic concerning 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 would not come anyplace near imitating paper, nevertheless it does enhance the writing expertise tremendously. Proper now this characteristic is simply suitable with the Floor Professional 8 and Floor Laptop computer Studio.

Ought to You Purchase the Floor Professional 8?

In case you’re in search of the highest-quality Home windows laptop computer on the market, you’ll be able to’t do a lot better than this. In contrast to the Professional X, whose subpar efficiency made it troublesome to suggest, the Professional 8 has wonderful performance wrapped in a trendy shell.

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

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