Surface Pro 8 Hands-on Review + Updates to the Surface 2-in-1 Lineup
Published Sep 22 2021 09:50 AM 5,686 Views
Bronze Contributor


00:58 — Performance updates and specs

02:04 — Exterior design and tour

03:29 — Inking experience with tactile feedback and haptics

04:12 — Camera and audio optimizations

05:51 — Internals, connectivity, battery and thermals

07:43 — Updates to Surface Go, Surface Pro X and Surface Pro 7+


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Video Transcript:


-When we launched the first Surface Pro in 2012, we created a new category of devices, something that was original by design. The ultimate 2-in-1 created with, and for Windows 11, Surface Pro 8 brings hardware and software together beautifully, leaving nothing between you and what you want to create. It’s still the versatile form factor that you know and love. You can use it as a laptop with the optional Surface Pro keyboard, taking advantage of the full friction hinge to find your ideal angle. Take the keyboard off and with Windows 11, it is a powerful, intuitive tablet. And of course, Surface Pro 8 turns into the ultimate workstation setup when docked and connected to multiple displays.


-And for the first time since Surface Pro 2 to Pro 3, we’ve completely redesigned the Surface Pro 8 from inside and out for truly the next level of performance and productivity. The modern rounded chassis not only looks great, it feels great to hold and compliments the fluid UI design of Windows 11. Our slim bezel design expands real estate by 11% with the most advanced display ever in the Surface Pro line. When combined with the new Slim Pen 2’s advanced tactile signals feedback, you get the best inking experience yet. More on both of these items in just a moment. The new optional Surface Pro keyboard for Surface Pro 8 now includes pen storage and wireless charging so you’ll never misplace the pen and it will always be ready when you need it. Surface Pro 8 also comes with two super fast USB-C Thunderbolt 4 ports to make it easier to customize your home or work setup. With them, you can connect fast external storage, multiple monitors, or even external GPUs, just to name a few options.


-Additionally, Surface Pro 8 is our most powerful Surface Pro ever with the latest 11th Gen Intel Core Processors. Let’s take a quick tour. One of the first things you’ll notice about the new Surface Pro 8 is that it is now designed using more eco-friendly recycled aluminum as opposed to magnesium in our prior generations. With two classic anodized colors to choose from, Platinum or New Graphite, Pro 8 looks and feels different. Starting on the back of the device and under the kickstand, there is a removable Solid State Drive with options of up to one terabyte of storage, enabling you to retain and protect your sensitive information. For LTE models you’ll find a Nano SIM slot there too. Still on the back end up top is the rear facing auto-focus camera, which now supports 4K resolution.


-As we move to the front of the device, you can’t help but notice the new and improved screen. The larger 13 inch PixelSense Flow Touch display delivers a stunning image at 2880 by 1920 resolution with 267 PPI at 3:2 aspect ratio. Surface Pro 8’s display is the first display in the Surface portfolio featuring our new ambient color sensor that adapts your screen content dynamically through different ambient light sources, as well as lighting intensity from 450 all the way down to two nits. The new 13 inch PixelSense flow touch display is also the first in the pro-line that supports Dolby Vision to ensure more accurate color rendering and detail.


-As good as the display is to use and view content on, it is even more amazing to ink on. Now supporting refresh rates all the way up to 120 Hertz, ink latency is seemingly undetectable, especially with the new rechargeable Surface Slim Pen 2, which is our most intuitive pen yet. The pen has an improved sharper tip that is more accurate and feels great on the display. Speaking of feeling great, the new Slim Pen 2 leverages the tactile signal supported by Windows 11 and our next gen custom Silicon, Microsoft G6 to enhance the natural feel and interactions of the pen through an added haptic motor. This is tuned to mirror the feedback you feel when you use pen on paper. You really have to experience it for yourself.


-Going back to our device tour, on the top of the bezel, you’ll find our updated camera array. The first is an IRR camera for Windows Hello face authentication which has been improved substantially in terms of speed and accuracy. Benefiting from our AI platform, Windows Hello dynamically adapts to changes in your appearance, such as glasses or changes in facial hair, as is often my case. Now the second imaging sensor is our 5 megapixel, front facing RGB camera with large 1.4 micron pixels for great low-light performance capable of 1080p, full HD video, and now tuned to make you look great in a wider range of challenging light conditions.


-Let me show you a couple of examples. On the left you can see a video with optimizations and on the right we have one without tuning optimizations from our engineering tests. You can see that our subject is in a challenging backlight situation. On the left as our engineer Ranga, partially covers his face taking a drink or turns away from the camera, notice the focus, exposure, and white balance. They remain unchanged with our camera optimizations. Also skin tones and details in the foreground are more accurately captured. And you can clearly see the benefits of the new optimizations in action versus the same scenes captured on the right without them.


-Add in the dual studio mics and the new stereo speakers with adaptive equalization as volume drops, bass and treble are boosted, optimized to deliver the best sound across the volume range. Dolby Atmos then creates a 360 degrees spatial audio experience. Surface Pro 8 sounds great for video conferencing with Microsoft Teams and watching your favorite videos with family and friends. Moving to the inside of the Surface Pro 8, you’ll find even more updates. Designed for the latest 11th Intel Core Processors with options for Core i3, i5, and i7, Surface Pro 8’s new design now supports up to 23 watt TDP, a first for the pro-line that delivers the most performance in Surface Pro to date. And another first for the Surface Pro line, the Core i5 and i7 models are designed on the Intel eval platform.


-Moving on to connectivity, Surface Pro 8 connects to your wireless networks via wifi 6 and your peripherals using Bluetooth 5.1. In addition to models with Core i5 processors, for the first time you now have the option to get built in LTE advanced in commercial models with the Intel Core i7 or Core i3 processors. These also support eSIM, giving you versatile connectivity no matter where you are with increased support for the breadth of mobile carriers globally.


-Moving on to power. Surface Pro 8’s battery capacity has been increased to 50.4 watt hours to deliver the highest all day battery life of any Surface Pro. To help keep the system cool while unleashing all of this performance, we have our new carbon composite thermal dissipation system. Compared to previous generations, this is our most advanced active cooling solution yet in a Surface Pro. It utilizes a vapor chamber, three heat pipes, and three graphite heat spreaders. We did extensive testing to tune the parameters for how and when the fan speed ramps up based on your workload to deliver the lowest acoustic sound profile possible. There’s even improved perimeter venting that enables focused air flow to move efficiently in and out of the device.


-All of these improvements working together ensures that the Surface Pro 8 delivers 46% faster compute and 75% boost to graphics processing, compared to Surface Pro 7. There’s clearly much, much more to Surface Pro 8 than I’m able to cover in this brief tour. Let me move on however to share updates across the rest of the Surface Pro and Surface Go lines. The lightest and most portable device in our 2-in-1 portfolio, Surface Go 3 has been updated to support Windows 11 and comes with more powerful, 10th Gen Intel Core i3 and Pentium processors. And now works with device firmware configuration interface or DFCI controls like the rest of our Surface 2-in-1s. Our ARM-based Surface Pro X, which inspired many of the design elements of Surface Pro 8 is now available at our best price point yet, and with a new wifi only option with Windows 11. It now also supports 64 bit ambulation built in and it’s exciting to see more app developers bring ARM optimized versions of their apps to Surface Pro X including Adobe Photoshop, Shaper 3D, and our productivity apps like Office and Teams. And for those of you who love the classic design of Surface Pro, we have the Surface Pro 7+, also with 11th Gen Intel processors running Windows 11, and it continues compatibility for existing accessories, including the Surface Pro Type Cover.


-So that was a quick tour of the Surface Pro 8 as well as Core updates to the rest of the surface 2-in-1 line. Everything you love about the 2-in-1 family just got a little better. It’s been almost a decade since we brought out the category defining Surface Pro that combines performance in a highly mobile, portable, and adaptable form factor. And we hope you enjoy the next level of performance and productivity with the Surface Pro 8. For availability and additional details, check out Subscribe to Mechanics if you haven’t already and thank you for watching.

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‎Sep 22 2021 09:50 AM
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