Surface Pro 8 review: A familiar companion for Windows 11

The Surface Pro 8 is Windows 11’s flagship launch-day companion device. Microsoft’s PC hardware armada has expanded in recent years to include affordable laptops, hybrids powered by ARM, and even a dual-screen phone. The Surface Pro has been the flagship ship of Microsoft’s Surface Pro.

The Surface line has always been a favorite of mine partly because it is rare to see a single company design both the operating system as well as the hardware. This allows for tighter fitting between the parts. Other Windows PCs, on the other hand, are always compromises between design, operating systems, and endless internal component options. Apple has gone one step further with designing the chip (the M1)), although Microsoft has done something similar with the SQ1, which was developed in partnership with Qualcomm.

The next Surface Pro has been a long time coming. In 2019, the Surface Pro 7 was released. We’ve seen new versions of the Surface ProX, surface, and Surface Notebook Go since then, but nothing has changed from the original, which is the best proof of concept to create a Windows-based tablet design.

Surface Pro 8 draws from the Pro X and the Surface Pro 7. The Surface Pro 7’s Intel CPU is still there, but the Pro X has a larger 13-inch display. It also features the slimmer Surface Pen stylus (now called the Slim Pen 2), which is now the Slim Pen 2.

Surface’s most important design achievement, the best-in-class clip-on keyboard, now has semihidden storage and a charging slot for its slim stylus. This was another Surface X feature. The slim version 2.0 pen can provide haptic feedback. It will buzz or jump in your hand while you are tapping or sketching.

A few weeks ago, at a Microsoft demo event, I felt the stylus buzz slightly when I selected different drawing tools in Sketchable. However, I did not feel any sensation while drawing on the screen. This final version of the hardware was running windows 11 asennus. I didn’t feel any haptic feedback until I discovered I needed to push the side button to turn the haptics on and off. After that, I was able to feel the brush selection in Sketchable. Although you can increase the level of haptic feedback in a menu it is still very subtle when fully turned on.

The Surface Pro 8 also features key improvements and modifications:

  • The display 13 inches can display at 120Hz but is not the default.
  • Thunderbolt USB C ports (2, but no USB-A).
  • Rear camera with 4K resolution

People have asked me the most frequent question: Can you charge it via the USB-C port. Yes, just like the Surface Go Laptop, Surface Pro X, and a few other recent models. Microsoft still includes its magnetic charging cable and power port. However, I have never liked it. It pops out too easily and sits at an awkward angle and defeats the purpose for most laptops, even MacBooks! A universal power solution.

The song is the same

Next, you know what I am going to discuss. This has been a feature of every Surface Pro review that I have written since the first generation. The Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,100 (AU$1,649) and goes up to $2,600. However, the keyboard cover is not included in the box. No matter how well-designed a Windows tablet is, it’s still difficult to use as a regular computer without the keyboard cover. I have seen almost every TV commercial, TV spot, or in-movie product placement for the Surface Pro that includes the keyboard cover.

You say that’s fine. But how much can it be? Microsoft currently has no options for the Surface Pro Signature Keyboard and Slim Pen 2. It is available in black, gray, or red for $280. The new pen can be purchased separately for $130. Your Surface Pro 7 keyboard will not work because the connection has changed.

The Surface Pro’s lowest-priced functional Surface Pro is $1,380. This is for a Core i5 CPU with 8GB RAM and a 128GB solid-state drive. The specs are quite low for the price. It’s not an exclusive Microsoft issue, as the price of a 12-inch 128GB iPad Pro is $1,450.

Kickstand your kicks

The kickstand at the rear is the second-best part of the Surface Pro, after the keyboard cover. Although it’s included in the package, don’t be surprised if someone hasn’t thought of making it an optional purchase.

It can be opened at almost any angle and stays straight where you place it. It’s not a laptop, but a two-in-1 hybrid. The OLED-screen version was the best part of the Nintendo Switch’s new OLED-screen model. It looks almost identical to the Surface Pro kickstand.

If you require it, performance

It is no secret that most people have more CPU horsepower than they need for their laptops. What are you doing? Email Social media? Shopping online? Online shopping doesn’t require an 11th-gen Intel Core i7. While art, photo, and video apps are a benefit, for most people I would choose more RAM and storage over a slightly better CPU.

We will soon have benchmarks and battery life testing, once we get more time with the system.

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