Microsoft’s line of Surface Pro 2-in-1 laptops is undoubtedly the most popular and well known of all the Surface PCs — after all, it is the original that started it all.
But Microsoft hasn’t given the Surface Pro a significant makeover since 2015’s Surface Pro 4 where it picked up Windows Hello, its 12.3-inch PixelSense display, improved pen, and more. And while Surface Pro 7+ is actually quite impressive, it’s also aimed at enterprise and not consumers.
All eyes are on Surface Pro 8, which is expected to align more closely with Surface Pro X. Back in 2018, rumors of a “heavily redesigned” Surface Pro were circulating for a mid-2019 release. However, that may have been Surface Pro X.
Instead, for Surface Pro 8, we are expecting modest changes — more than found on Surface Pro 5, 6, and 7, but not a complete reimagining of Microsoft’s flagship convertible PC either.
Here’s what we know and don’t know so far.
Surface Pro 8 release date and availability
Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central
Microsoft has not yet announced a Surface Pro 8, so there is no official date for shipping. However, Microsoft has teased October 6 in its Windows 11 announcement in June.
Historically, Microsoft holds Surface events in New York City in October, which is also the same timeframe for Windows 11 to be finalized. During these fall events, Microsoft reveals either new Surface devices or significant overhauls to existing product lines. In contrast, it tends to announce minor updates (CPU upgrades) and refreshes in the spring.
If Microsoft announces Surface Pro 8 in early October, it will likely begin shipping just a few weeks later. Not only does this make sense for the Windows 11 launch, but it aligns its release with the holiday season, which takes off in November through January.
Likewise, Microsoft will make Surface Pro 8 to all current markets, listed below, although even more may be added later:
- United States
- New Zealand
- United Kingdom
- The Czech Republic
However, we should note an ongoing global chip shortage that affects Microsoft quite substantially. As a result, we are very likely to see Surface Pro 8 only in select markets or small quantities until it can control processor availability to meet market demands. That may make it hard to get one in late 2021.
Surface Pro 8 what to expect
Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central
- New processors: Intel 11th Gen U-series
- New Surface Type Cover: Matches Surface Pro X, including Surface Slim Pen dock
- Similar, but refined hardware design, e.g. rounded display corners
- Larger display — instead of 12.3 inches something closer to 12.7 to 13 — but thinner bezels resulting in the same footprint, but more screen
- Removable SSD (following Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop designs)
- No more 4GB RAM model
Windows 11 also delivers some new hardware features that Microsoft could enable with Surface Pro 8, including:
- Dynamic Refresh Rate: This feature would enable a higher-refresh display like 90Hz, or 120Hz instead of standard 60Hz, but only when scrolling or using the pen, thereby saving battery life. It sounds like Apple’s ProMotion display technology.
Wake on touch: When Surface Pro 8 is in standby with the display off, users can turn on the device simply by tapping the screen similar to how smartphones work (the Pro 8 can then auto-login to Windows using Windows Hello).
New Haptic Surface Pen: Windows 11 also supports smart pens with haptic feedback, which lets the pen simulate writing with different materials like pencil or pen on different types of paper. Currently, there are no Surface pens that enable this, so a new pen with hardware support via Surface Pro 8 seems plausible.
Surface Pro 8 specs
Since Microsoft has not yet announced Surface Pro 8, we don’t know the actual specs, but assuming the overall concept is similar, here is what we can hope for:
|Category||Surface Pro 8|
|Operating system||Windows 11 (Home or Pro)|
|Display||12.7- to 13-inch PixelSense, 3:2 aspect ratio
|Processor||11th Gen Intel Core i3-1125G4
11th Gen Intel Core i5-1155G7
11th Gen Intel Core i7-1185G7 or i7-1195G7
|Graphics||Intel UHD Graphics (i3)
Intel Iris Xe Graphics (i5, i7)
|Memory||8GB, 16GB, or 32GB LPDDR4x|
|Storage||128GB to 1TB PCIe 3.0 SSD|
|Rear camera||8MP autofocus (1080p)|
|Front camera||5MP (1080p)|
Windows Hello face authentication camera
Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax
One Surface Connect+
Surface Keyboard connector
3.5mm headphone jack
|Battery||Up to 15 hours|
|Weight||i3, i5: 1.70 pounds (775g)
i7: 1.74 pounds (790g)
While that extra 100MHz may not make a big difference compared to Surface Pro 7+, the consumer version of Surface Pro 7 only ships with 10th Gen chips, making it a much better upgrade.
Surface Pro 8 price
Pricing for Surface Pro 8 is not expected to shift from current Surface Pro 7 pricing.
As always, these prices do not include the Surface Pen and Surface Type Cover. Those necessary accessories add between $100 and $230 extra to the cost.
Previously, Surface Pro 7 started at $749 for the Core i3 model to well over $2,000 for the Core i7 with maxed out RAM and 1TB of storage.
Similar pricing should apply to Surface Pro 8, except that we don’t think the entry-level version for $749 will have only 4GB of RAM but, instead, offer 8GB.
Surface Pro 8 what I want to see
Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central
We don’t yet know whether Microsoft pushed the boundaries again with Surface Pro 8, but since this sounds like a significant revision, we think it would be on this version.
Some of the newer technology we would like to see Microsoft embrace with Surface Pro 8:
- Thunderbolt 4: Microsoft has given various bogus answers over the years about why they do not use the industry standard, but patience is running out. It’s not a security concern; it’s a limitation in using Surface Connect.
- Anti-reflective display: Surface screens are notoriously reflective, showing lots of glares from overhead lights. It distracts and strains the user’s eyes and looks gross. Dell, HP, Lenovo, and especially Apple all add a layer to the display to defuse glare making a much better experience while retaining a glossy presentation with no degraded color gamut. Surface Pro needs this.
- HDR: Many high-end laptops now feature high-dynamic-range (HDR) displays that give deeper blacks and brighter whites for cinematic quality for video. Even Windows 10 and especially Windows 11 go out of the way to support HDR at the OS level. It’s time Microsoft supports it, too, in its hardware!
- Thinner bezels: We do expect this, but just hammering it home. Surface Pro 7’s bezels are way too thick for 2021, and don’t @ us with you need the bezels to hold the tablet. Even Surface Pro X has razor-thin bezels, as does Apple.
- HPD: Human presence detection (HPD) is the ability for the PC to use sensors to detect when a person (not anything else) is in front of it. We see it in laptops as a security feature so that the PC can auto-lock when you step away from the screen and unlock when you appear (it triggers Windows Hello). It’s a tech developed by Intel, and since we expect Intel processors in Surface Pro 8 …
- 4G and 5G: Microsoft has Surface Pro 7+ with LTE and Surface Pro X with LTE, but will they offer Surface Pro 8 with LTE (or even 5G)? We argued back in 2018 it should. But Microsoft may try to keep its always-connected Surface SKUs separate, which is a shame.
- Improved inking: Microsoft last innovated with Surface Pen way back in 2017 and since then, nothing except a slim version. This year, we expect a new haptic-enabled Surface Pen, but does it improve latency, accuracy, tilt, and finally fix the wobble when drawing slowly? Fingers crossed.
- Magnets to hold the Type Cover: This is a small, but simple thing as Microsoft needs to add a magnet to keep the Surface Type Cover from flopping open. It added a small one to Surface Pro X, so let’s hope it didn’t forget it with this device.
Surface Pro 8 latest news
As of the beginning of August 2021, there is no news, rumors, or confirmed information about Surface Pro 8 beyond what is published here.