MICROSOFT SURFACE PRO 8 REVIEW: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS
This is the best Surface Pro we’ve seen in years
Microsoft has been selling Surface Pro models with basically the same design since at least 2015. In 2019, it somewhat rectified that by releasing two flagship models. There was the Surface Pro 7 — a powerful, practical machine with a four-year-old design — and the Surface Pro X — a ufabet modern-looking, thin device with a slow ARM chip that wasn’t compatible with all kinds of popular apps.
Neither of these devices was really what I’d consider an ideal machine — they both had serious drawbacks. “I wish this looked like the Surface Pro X,” lamented Tom Warren in his otherwise positive review of the Surface Pro 7. Across the internet, reviewers begged Microsoft to find a way to put the Pro 7’s chips in the Pro X’s chassis.
And now, two years later, that’s exactly what Microsoft did. The $1,099.99-and-up Surface Pro 8 is the best of both worlds — it takes the best parts of the Pro 7 and the best parts of the Pro X, and puts them in one really excellent device.
The first thing you’ll notice about the Pro 8 is its screen. The device has a 2880 x 1920 13-inch touch display, which is almost an inch bigger than that of the Pro 7. The side bezels are visibly smaller than the Pro 7’s. The top one is still chunky — which makes sense, since you need something to hold if you’re using this as a tablet — but the keyboard deck covers the bottom one when the Pro 8 is in laptop mode.
The other new thing about this display is that it has a 120Hz refresh rate, which is unusual to see outside of the gaming sphere. The extra frames make a huge difference in day-to-day use — the cursor is nicer to look at as you drag it around the screen, there’s less lag when you’re writing with the stylus, and scrolling is just so much smoother. It makes for a better Windows experience, regardless of the app you’re using.
But I do wish this device supported Dynamic Refresh Rate, which is supposed to be part of Windows 11 — that feature automatically swaps a device between 120Hz and 60Hz depending on the app you’re using, in order to save battery. Microsoft hasn’t told us if or when that’s coming yet, so for the moment you’re stuck ducking into Advanced Display Settings if you want to bump the refresh rate up or down. (I just left mine on 120Hz and took the battery life hit.)
What does get automatically adjusted is the color profile. With the Adaptive Color feature, the Pro 8 automatically adjusts the look of your screen based on the environment around you. This feature was subtle enough that I didn’t really notice it in action while I was working — but you do see the difference when you toggle it on and off, which you can do in brightness settings. It definitely made the screen easier on my eyes, especially at night.