Skip to main content

Surface Pro 8 review roundup: Building on a decade of 2-in-1s

Surface Pro 8 Hero Profile
Surface Pro 8 Hero Profile (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft's Surface Pro 8 launched today. As is the case with many major product launches, reviews for the device came out the same day the Surface Pro 8 became available for purchase. It's been almost 10 years since Microsoft's Surface Pro came out, so the company has had time to refine its design. That's reflected in its reviews, which are largely positive.

Our executive editor Daniel Rubino gave the device a 4.5 out of 5 in our Surface Pro 8 review:

Bottom line: Surface Pro 8 finally hits its full potential with the all-new redesign for 2021. With Thunderbolt 4, optional LTE, 120Hz display, new haptic Slim Pen, 11th Gen Intel, and a new graphite colorway this is a worthwhile upgrade.

The Verge's review discussed how the Surface Pro 8 marries the design of the Surface Pro X with the power of the Surface Pro lineup. As a result, people don't need to compromise looks for power or vice versa:

In the past few years, I can't tell you how many people I've talked to who weren't sure whether to buy the Pro 7 or the Pro X. They needed the Pro 7's processor for their workload, but they much preferred the way the Pro X looked.And it was hard for me to recommend either device to those people, or to the general public. They both came with serious compromises. But the Pro 8 doesn't. It combines a modern design with modern specs. It's the computer those people have been waiting for. It's the first Surface Pro I can really see myself buying as a primary driver.

XDA's review of the Surface Pro 8 also likened the design of the device to the Surface Pro X:

The Surface Pro 8 is a fresh take on an aging product lineup. It strips away legacy ports, big bezels, and old silicon for powerful features like Thunderbolt 4 and a beautiful, 120Hz display. It keeps the stellar webcam, a must when working from home, and adds the best of the Surface Pro X to the Intel model.

In its review of the Surface Pro 8, Tom's Guide highlighted how good Windows 11 feels on Microsoft's latest flagship 2-in-1:

As the latest in Microsoft's 2-in-1 lineup, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 feels like a next-gen device. Its exceptional display quality makes watching videos a delight. The powerful CPU ensures you won't experience significant slowdown when browsing the web, video chatting, or performing other everyday tasks. Windows 11 also feels like it was tailor-made for the device.

PCMag called the device the "most meaningful update to the product in years" in its review:

While the Surface Pro 8 doesn't revolutionize the Pro line to its core, it does deliver the most meaningful update to the product in years. The new design is more aesthetically pleasing, along with the more concrete, practical advantage of a larger display. All-around performance is solid, at least in our Core i7 configuration, especially when you consider thermal challenges in a build this size.

Experts appear to be impressed by the Surface Pro 8. Many brought up its high price, but the device still earned high marks from those in the industry.

Sean Endicott
Sean Endicott

Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

7 Comments
  • Feels like they've hit the peak with this form factor. Question in my mind is what's next. What could they do to upgrade this device beyond faster chips, etc...
    Maybe in a 14-15" form factor?
  • In theory they COULD still do quite a bit. They could offer a keyboard closer to the third-party ones that provide a more laptop-like, rigid solution (some people simply don't care for the feel of the Type Cover's lightweight deck). They could offer AMD, though that wouldn't be so much a radical change as potentially giving better power and/or efficiency. The ARM solution by AMD, if rumors are true, could bring SPX closer to competition with Apple's M1. Theu could, as you suggested, go up in screen size (either with thinned bezels or a larger footprint). They could realign Pro and Go as a single product stack of different sizes that don't feel as greatly differed in their potency. I think you're mostly right, though. They're pretty close to maximizing the potential of Surface Pro. Barring something that fundamentally changes the product, it'll be mostly about refinement and smaller tweaks (5G antenna?).
  • Thank you for thoughtful reply. Agree with you, those feel like the most likely improvement options in short term.
  • I haven't seen this mentioned anywhere yet, but with the introduction of thunderbolt, could this have the potential for gaming with an egpu? Or would the CPU and thermals hold it back? Edit: just saw Rubino's review and he did mention adding an egpu to it.
  • I was at the Ignite Conference in New Orleans when they had the fire sale of the original Surface Pro and Surface RT - so yeah, I'd definitely say they've come a loooooong way lol Can't wait to get my hands on an SLS early next year; in the meantime, I'll have to patiently wait for my Surface Duo 2 to be delivered later this month... As for "Many brought up its high price"; um, it's not a Netbook. Considering what you're getting, there's not much room for complaint. Everyone would always like lower prices, that's an argument that will never go away. Sometimes it's worth it, sometimes it's not (<cough, Apple Monitor Pro Stand, cough>).
  • If you look at the price, I think it is actually lower than the Pro 7 was. Difference is they dropped the bargain basement, 'starts at', i3 models. If you look at the Pro 7 i5 pricing, the Pro 8 is comparable. Keyboard and pen are higher, but also 'improved'. The keyboard is new so you can't just recycle a Pro 7 or earlier. The old pens do work, though they don't fit into the nice cradle.
  • The screen of this device is rather bad, it only cover 78% Adobe RGB and 81% DCI-P3. That's barely good enough for web, and and not good enough for photographers and videographers. I hope in the next iteration they will upgrade the screen to something else similar to the one on the iPad Pro for example.