Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 8 has a bigger 120Hz screen, Thunderbolt 4, and more
It may have taken several years, but a major evolution of the Surface Pro family has finally arrived. Today, Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 8, and it’s the biggest upgrade to the Surface Pro line since the Surface Pro 3. Not only does it bring better performance, but it’s got a new, larger display and smaller bezels. Of course, this is also one of the showcase devices for Windows 11, with another major one being the Surface Laptop Studio.
That display is a notable upgrade, going from 12.3 inches to a full 13, with an accompanying increase in resolution to 2880 x 1920. That’s similar to the Surface Pro X, but the refresh rate isn’t. The Surface Pro 8 now supports up to a 120Hz refresh rate, which is why Microsoft calls this display PixelSense Flow. A higher refresh rate means everything on the screen will look smoother, and you might already be familiar with that if you have a modern smartphone. On PCs, this is usually reserved for gaming, so it’s a change of pace to see it on a thin and light tablet. Microsoft says the display is also 12.5% brighter than before.
The larger display isn’t all that the Surface Pro 8 takes from the Pro X. The new Surface Pro Signature Keyboard now includes a garage for the Surface Slim Pen, which debuted alongside the Pro X. Microsoft also debuted the Surface Slim Pen 2 today, now with haptic feedback and a finer tip for extra precision. That means the Surface Slim Pen is now the default pen for the flagship Surface devices, and now you don’t have to worry about knocking the pen loose when you put the tablet in a bag, for example. You can still use the classic Surface Pen, though.
Another big improvement in the Surface Pro 8 is the long-awaited addition of Thunderbolt support. After refusing to support Thunderbolt for years, the Surface Pro 8 finally has two USB Type-C ports with Thunderbolt 4, so you can use the wide range of Thunderbolt docks available out there. If you prefer Surface Connect, that port is still available, too.
Something else that’s important in this day and age is a good webcam, and Microsoft says it has improved low-light video performance for the Surface Pro 8. The Surface Pro line has been one of the few devices to include Full HD webcams for years now, and the one in the Pro 8 is now even better.
Of course, the internals have also been updated, and it’s now more in line with the Surface Pro 7+. The Surface Pro 8 can be configured with Intel Tiger Lake processors up to a Core i7-1185G7, and Microsoft touts over 40% higher sustained CPU performance, plus 74% faster graphics thanks to the Intel Iris Xe integrated GPU. You can still get up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage, which is removable now. Despite the increased performance, Microsoft touts up to 16 hours of battery life, a major increase over the Surface Pro 7’s 10.5 hours.
There’s a caveat to that, however, and that’s because of LTE. The Surface Pro 8 will also come in LTE variants, sporting a Snapdragon X20 modem. If you choose to add LTE, you can only get up to 256GB of storage, though, so you have to weigh your priorities.
The Surface Pro 8 comes bearing a much higher price tag than its direct predecessor, starting at $1,099. With the larger and faster display, a Core i5 CPU in the base model, the end of the tier with 4GB of RAM, and Thunderbolt support, there are some factors contributing to this price increase, but that’s still a major jump from the $749 starting price of its predecessor. The Surface Pro 8 is available for pre-order today.