Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Announced, 120Hz and Thunderbolt Support
At long last: Microsoft has opted for a thorough redesign of the Surface Pro 8 and, needless to say, it’s quite a looker! Heck, this is arguably the most jaw-dropping visual update this peculiar 2-in-1 has ever gotten, and if it ends up performing even remotely as well as it looks, it could very well generate a ton of buzz and revenue for this venerable tech giant.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 not only features a bigger display (13”), but a 120Hz refresh rate as well. The footprint of the device, however, hasn’t changed. In short, it is a stunningly beautiful device, one whose bezels and overall design heavily resemble the Surface Pro X. And, well, we can confidently say that Microsoft has really knocked it out of the park with this one — both in terms of its design and the hardware it has chosen to pack inside!
It’s the Internals That Matter
Packed within its enclosure is Intel’s 11th generation series of processors along with built-in Thunderbolt 4 support — a first for any Surface device, and a long-standing omission that has finally been fixed. Losing out on its only USB-A port is definitely a blow, but it’ll no doubt be lessened with basically any USB-C dongle. That’s just the world we now live in.
Moreover, the Surface Pro 8 features two such ports, although we don’t know whether it’ll have two separate TB controllers on-board (akin to Apple’s MacBook’s) or just a single controller that will share its bandwidth across both ports. In any case, the addition of Thunderbolt 4 support will finally make this 2-in-1 hybrid as feature rich as most of its competitors. Moreover, you’ll be able to connect an external graphics card and even game a bit on the side as well — should you so desire. It won’t come cheap, though, but you probably already knew as much. Even if you were to find a GPU for a reasonable price, you’ll still have to splurge upwards of $250 on an enclosure, so whether it’s truly worth it is up for debate.
Last but certainly not least, you’ll be able to replace its SSD drive — this addition has been a long time coming (it’s quite overdue, in fact), but at least Microsoft heard our cries (eventually). Unfortunately, it’s the same format as in the Surface Pro X (2230), so pricing and availability will still be an issue. Regardless, you’ll at least have the option to expand your storage with relative ease.
Last but certainly not least, Microsoft has decided to update its keyboard type cover — the design of which is pretty much a carbon copy of the one that was introduced last year for the Surface Pro X. Speaking of carbon, Microsoft has opted to use a carbon fiber core for the type cover which should make it a lot stiffer without adding any weight to the whole package.
The Surface Slim Pen 2 will also make its transition to the Pro line-up and, as expected, it’ll be housed in that nifty little fold underneath the tablet. A wholly convenient design, and an addition we’re glad to see. As you’ve probably gathered by this point, there are many similarities between the new Surface Pro 8 and the first Surface Pro X and, well, we’re definitely not complaining for the fact! Seeing how both devices now feature the same overall design and footprint, it’s quite natural for them to share the exact same accessories as well. Microsoft has made small tweaks and updates here and there (mostly quality-of-life stuff), but as a whole you’d be hard-pressed to notice any kind of difference at first (or second) glance.
The base model (11th Gen Core i5 with four cores and eight threads, 8GB RAM, 128GB storage) starts at $1,099 — and that’s without the pen ($129.99) and keyboard. If you need even more power for whatever reason, you’ll be able to spec it out with a Core i7, 32GB of RAM, and a whopping 1TB of storage. Enterprise customers will also be able to buy an LTE variant as well.
The Surface Pro 8 is already available for preorder, but it’s worth mentioning that no shipping date has yet been disclosed.