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Bigger screen and great performance come at a price

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Microsoft’s Surface Pro laptop-tablet hybrids (MSFT) are among the best on the market. They combine excellent performance and portability with hardware specially designed by Microsoft for Windows. And with the release of Windows 11 upon us, Microsoft is rolling out its latest Surface, the Surface Pro 8.

Starting at $ 1,099 and an additional $ 179 for a Signature Surface Pro keyboard – Microsoft still doesn’t include a keyboard with the Surface Pro – the Pro 8 sports a redesigned look with much smaller bezels and a larger 13-inch display .

But the Surface Pro 8 enters a market flooded with high-end 2-in-1 laptops, including the formidable Dell XPS 13 2-in-1. And then there’s the iPad Pro and Apple’s MacBook Air (AAPL), both competitors of the Pro 8. And while Microsoft has made a wonderful device, its price isn’t exactly a bargain.

A new look and better functionality

Microsoft’s Surface Pro line retained the same look for a while. So it’s good to see that the Pro 8 gets a 13-inch PixelSense display that’s larger than the 12.3-inch panel found on the Surface Pro 7. The bezels on the Pro 8 are about as small as they can get, this which makes the hybrid more like a modern PC.

Of course, the signature Surface kickstand is still at the back and still lets you tilt the 2-in-1 as you wish, allowing you to lay the Pro 8 almost flat for drawing and writing with the Surface. Slim Pen 2 optional. later.

The Surface Pro 8 gets a redesign with a bigger screen and smaller bezels. (Image: Microsoft)

Behind the kickstand is the Surface Pro 8’s removable SSD, although Microsoft says you’ll need to take it to a certified technician to remove it. Which makes it, well, not really easy to remove.

This time around, Microsoft added two USB C ports with Thunderbolt compatibility, which means you can connect your Surface Pro 8 to an external document, monitor, or even a desktop graphics card for serious gaming or video editing. . There’s still a Surface connection port for charging, although you can also charge via a USB C charger.

Power and performance

Inside, the Surface Pro 8 gets an 11 generation Intel (INTC) Core i5 or Core i7 processor. Core i5 versions come with 8 GB of RAM and between 128 GB and 512 GB of storage. There is also an option to get 16GB of RAM, but you will only be able to get 256GB of storage with this.

Upgrade to the Core i7 option and you can get 16GB of RAM and between 256GB and 1TB of storage. You can also break the bank and get a Core i7 with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage.

My review unit came with a Core i7, 16GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage, and I didn’t experience any slowdown. That said, it’s not a machine that can run high-end games or do major video editing on its own. To do this, you would need an external graphics card. Still, if you want to browse the web, watch movies, and play light games, the Surface Pro 8 is an easy sell.

Although it starts at $ 1,099, the Surface Pro 8 doesn't include a keyboard.  It will still cost you $ 179.  (Image: Microsoft)

Although it starts at $ 1,099, the Surface Pro 8 doesn’t include a keyboard. It will still cost you $ 179. (Image: Microsoft)

The Surface Pro Signature keyboard is the same keyboard style as the Microsoft Surface Pro X, which includes an indentation for the Surface Slim Pen 2. The keys are easy to type with good depth – although I would like the touchpad to be a little bit taller.

Microsoft claims the Pro 8 can get up to 16 hours of battery life. It looks like a stretch, but you can definitely get through the day with it. The Surface Pro 8 lasted my own working day, which involved browsing the web, a few quick video chats, and writing this review.

The competition

Overall, the Surface Pro 8 is a top-notch 2-in-1. The deficit? His price. With a starting point of $ 1,099, the Pro 8 is already priced higher. But that $ 1,099 doesn’t take into account the fact that the Pro 8 doesn’t include a keyboard. Add a Signature Surface Pro keyboard for $ 179 and you’ve got a true starting price of $ 1,278.

That makes the Surface Pro 8 slightly more expensive than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, which gets an Intel Core i5 processor, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage for $ 1,169. Apple’s MacBook Air, meanwhile, starts at $ 999 and gets that company’s custom M1 chip, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB of storage.

Then there’s the 12.9-inch iPad Pro, which includes Apple’s M1 chip and 128GB of storage for $ 1,099. Add a magic keyboard for $ 349, and you shell out $ 1,448 for setup. And while the iPad Pro is easily Apple’s most powerful tablet, and iPadOS and macOS may soon be sharing apps, the Pro isn’t quite ready to function as a true laptop replacement just yet. .

Should you get it?

I’ve been a fan of the Surface Pro line for years, and the Surface Pro 8 is no different.

Yes, it’s absolutely ridiculous that Microsoft doesn’t include a keyboard and says the price is $ 1,099, when you have to deposit an additional $ 179 on the Surface Pro Signature keyboard.

Still, the pros outweigh the cons here. The touchscreen is fantastic, the responsiveness is top-notch, the ports are finally what you’d expect from a high-end laptop, and it’s as portable as it gets. The price is still hard to swallow considering that you can get this XPS 13 2-in-1 with more storage for less than the Surface Pro 8. But if you’re looking for a powerful laptop-tablet hybrid and portable, the Surface Pro 8 is hard to pass up.

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Do you have any advice? Email Daniel Howley at [email protected] via encrypted mail to [email protected], and follow him on Twitter at @DanielHowley.



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