The New Surface Pro 8 Looks Like an iPad Killer

Bigger, better display

Key Takeaways

  • I can’t wait to try out the new Microsoft Surface Pro 8. 
  • The 13-inch PixelSense Flow Display is larger than the 12.3-inch display found on most Surface Pro devices.
  • At $1,099.99, the Pro 8 is priced competitively.
Someone setting up a Surface Pro 8 for use.

Microsoft

The new Microsoft Surface Pro 8 makes me want to reach for my wallet. 

The latest entry to the Surface Pro lineup looks like a worthy competitor to my 12.9-inch M1 iPad Pro as the best productivity tablet on the market. Microsoft claims the new Surface Pro has 43% more computing power and 75% faster graphic power than the Surface Pro 7. It also has a 13-inch, 120Hz display with thinner bezels than previous Surface generations. 

While I love my iPad Pro, the Surface Pro 8 promises a full Windows experience without the sluggish performance of previous Microsoft tablets. I own and use the Surface Pro 7, but have never been impressed with its multi-tasking abilities and lackluster screen. 

"The Pro 8’s display runs at a refresh rate of 120Hz, which should make for smoother scrolling and better-looking videos."

Better Display

The most appealing upgrade to the Pro 8 is its top-notch display specs. The Surface Pro models are meant to be workhorses, but the display always has made them too small for me to consider them a true laptop replacement.

The Pro 8 changes the display game. The 13-inch PixelSense Flow Display is larger than the 12.3-inch display found on most Surface Pro devices. Microsoft says the new display is 12.5% brighter and with 11% higher resolution than previous models. The screen also supports Dolby Vision and Adaptive Color Technology, which should make movies look more natural. 

Best of all, the Pro 8's display runs at a refresh rate of 120Hz, which should make for smoother scrolling and better-looking videos. The screen runs at the more standard 60Hz by default but will boost to 120Hz for touch or stylus tasks. It's similar technology to Apple's ProMotion display which also changes refresh rates. 

If you already own the keyboard cover from the Pro 7 as I do, keep in mind that it won't fit the Pro 8, and you'll have to buy a new one. But I'm happy to say that the new keyboard cover for the Pro 8 has a place to hold and charge the new Surface Slim Pen 2. The Pro 7 lacks a spot to contain a pen which means I am constantly losing mine. 

The Surface Pro's pricing is a little deceptive because it's barely worth purchasing without the pen and keyboard cover to get the full experience. The keyboard costs $180, the pen is $130, and bundled together, they're $280. 

Of course, the Pro 8 retains the kickstand built into the body that's a hallmark of the Surface Pro lineup. It's hard to overstate how useful I've found the kickstand is, turning the Pro from a tablet into a laptop with a quick swivel. However, one big flaw of the kickstand design is that it's hard to use while typing on your lap. 

Beautiful on the Inside

The Pro 8 isn’t all about good looks. Microsoft has updated the internals with a choice between an 11th Gen quad-core Intel Core i5 and Core i7 processors. The lowest-end model includes  8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage, with options that jump up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage. In addition, the Pro 8 has two USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports and a proprietary Surface Connect port for charging.

The boost in performance is a welcome development since the Surface Pro 7 has always lagged enough to make it an irritant when trying to get work done. Even simple web browsing and word processing can get bogged down on the Pro 7, but I have high hopes that the Pro 8 will change all that. 

The Surface Pro 8 with detachable keyboard, mouse, and pen.

Microsoft

For Windows fans seeking a machine that’s useful for both and play, the Pro 8 looks like it will fit the bill. At $1,099.99, the Pro 8 is priced competitively, and I can’t wait to try it out.

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