Is Surface Pro 8 good for gaming?
Some Pro 8 models can handle lightweight or cloud-based gaming
The refreshed Surface Pro 8 is here, complete with 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, larger display, upgraded inking experience, new ports, and better cameras. Compared to the Surface Pro 7, the Pro 8 is a big upgrade. But those new features don't exactly mean the Pro 8 is suddenly a monster PC that can handle anything. Like previous generations, the Pro lineup is focused more on professionals who want a slim 2-in-1 design that can keep up with other modern Ultrabooks.
Was the Surface Pro 7 good for gaming? No, not really; at least compared to the best gaming laptops on the market today. The same holds true for the Pro 8. Integrated Iris Xe graphics in the Core i5 and Core i7 Pro 8 models are a solid step up from Intel UHD and Iris Plus graphics available in the Pro 7, but you're still not going to get performance at the level of something discrete, like an NVIDIA RTX 3060. And the Core i3 Pro 8 model is significantly weaker with its Intel UHD graphics.
The Pro 8 will do well with light indie games, many of which can be found through Xbox Game Pass for PC. It will also handle older titles without as high of system requirements. The Pro 8's biggest issue will likely be keeping itself cool while under prolonged load, so maxing out the chips with modern AAA titles won't do it any favors.
With Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Cloud Gaming program (aka xCloud) also now getting streaming through the PC Xbox app, it's easier than ever to stream games to your PC without having to tax its internal hardware. xCloud isn't the only player in the streaming game, with PlayStation Now making a strong case for itself.
The Pro 8 and its Wi-Fi 6 capabilities shouldn't have issues handling the network load, at least as long as it's paired up with a solid router. Check out our list of the best Wi-Fi 6 routers if you need an upgrade. And with 5G support expected in 2022, you'll be able to stream games to your Pro 8 in even more places.
Those of you who want a true gaming experience will still want to check out one of the best gaming laptops available today. These laptops have specially designed cooling systems to keep a more powerful CPU and dedicated GPU cool under prolonged load. They also generally offer more ports, a keyboard geared for gamers, and a screen to make your favorite titles look as good as possible.
Something like the HP OMEN 15 will be much better geared toward delivering a high-end gaming experience, and it's even in the same price range as the Pro 8.
The Surface Pro 8 finally adopts the modern design that Microsoft first introduced with Surface Pro X, now with two USB-C ports that are Thunderbolt 4 enabled, an upgraded 13-inch display with a high-refresh rate of 120Hz, and support for the Surface Pro X-style Type Covers with the Slim Pen charging cradle.
Unreal gaming value
The combination of near-perfect 4K display, high-end performance hardware, mature design, and good audio makes the HP OMEN 15 an easy buy for anyone who wants to maximize their spending. The keyboard could be better and it's not the thinnest or lightest gaming laptop out there, but these downsides are easy to justify in the face of all the refreshed OMEN lineup does right.
Cale Hunt is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. He focuses mainly on laptop reviews, news, and accessory coverage. He's been reviewing laptops and accessories full time since 2016, with hundreds of reviews published for Windows Central. He is an avid PC gamer and multi-platform user, and spends most of his time either tinkering with or writing about tech.
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