Microsoft Floor Professional 8

MSRP $1,600.00

“The Floor Professional 8 is well one of the best Home windows 2-in-1 you should buy.”

Execs

  • Attractive, 120Hz display screen
  • Spectacular efficiency
  • Has two highly effective Thunderbolt 4 ports
  • SSD is well accessible
  • The Floor Slim Pen 2 is outstanding

Cons

  • Dearer
  • Nonetheless lacks cell apps

For the previous 6 years, each model of the Floor Professional has seemed practically an identical. And whereas Microsoft tends to take its time with its product modifications, the Floor Professional, particularly, has been lengthy overdue for an replace.

That’s precisely what the Floor Professional 8 is — and it couldn’t have arrived at a greater time. Preloaded with the model new Home windows 11, the Floor Professional 8 appears like a tool that has an opportunity of taking over the iPad Professional. The value enhance apart, the Floor Professional 8 is a near-perfect 2-in-1, which is lastly a class of product that’s beginning to dwell as much as its potential.

Design

The back of the Surface Pro 8.

Should you don’t have the Floor Professional 8 arrange subsequent to the earlier yr’s mannequin, you won’t acknowledge the distinction at first. It has the identical iconic kickstand, the identical total form, and connects to the Sort Cowl keyboard in the identical method.

Nonetheless, the Floor Professional 8 is barely bigger and heavier than the Floor Professional 7. It’s 0.04 inches thicker at 0.37 inches and 0.22 kilos heavier. That’s by no means an excellent factor relating to a pill that’s meant to be held one-handed.

However there are two reputable causes for the bigger dimensions. First, the Floor Professional 8 is made out of recycled aluminum as a substitute of magnesium. Microsoft says it is a extra sustainable methodology, in addition to offering the machine with a extra premium end. The Floor Professional was all the time a inflexible machine, however I’m positive the change to aluminum helps in that regard as nicely.

The second purpose for the bigger measurement? Properly, it has a considerably bigger display screen. The Floor Professional 8 now has a 13-inch display screen, up from 12.3 inches within the earlier mannequin. By trimming the bezels surrounding the display screen, Microsoft squeezes as a lot further display screen actual property into the machine with out rising the general dimensions too noticeably.

The keyboard tilted up on the Surface Pro 8.

Nonetheless, if you evaluate it to the iPad Professional, the additional girth makes the Floor Professional 8 tougher to deal with as a pill. I’m not saying it’s a chore to make use of the Floor Professional 8 as a pill — removed from it. However the 1.5-pound iPad Professional does really feel extra transportable as compared, and gained’t pressure your wrist as a lot whereas holding it one-handed.

The Sort Cowl, which remains to be bought individually, additionally has been up to date. The most important change is that the brand new Floor Slim Pen 2 suits brilliantly into the slot above the keyboard. It expenses right here, and might even be hidden away if you elevate the keyboard. It’s good to have a everlasting spot for the stylus to (hopefully) keep away from shedding it a lot.

Many of those modifications had been first made within the unique Floor Professional X, which launched again in 2018. I’m delighted to see these modifications come to the Floor Professional 8, although, modernizing the design and extra intently matching the scale of the 12-inch iPad Professional.

Ports

The two Thunderbolt 4 ports on the Surface Pro 8.

Microsoft doesn’t have one of the best historical past with ports, however the Floor Professional 8 is making amends. The Floor Professional 8 lastly options Thunderbolt 4, which is a primary for the Floor Professional line. Thunderbolt 4 means the quickest transfers, one of the best docking expertise, and the flexibility to hook up with high-powered exterior units. Thunderbolt 4 can even cost up and energy the machine.

The Floor Professional 8 consists of two of those ports, together with the Floor Dock magnetic connection, and a headphone jack.

Sadly, all these ports are positioned on the identical facet, which means you don’t have an influence connection on the left facet in any respect. Like all current Floor Execs, the Floor Professional 8 consists of fast entry to the storage. Underneath the kickstand, you’ll discover a small panel that may be accessed utilizing a SIM card eject pin. Accessing your storage doesn’t get a lot simpler than that.

The Floor Slim Pen 2 and Sort Cowl

The unique Floor Pen was spherical and heavy, create to simulate the sensation of utilizing an actual pen. However the Floor Slim Pen, first launched with the Floor Professional X, is a implausible different. The flat design suits properly in your hand, and the lighter really feel makes it much less intimidating. The truth that it has a spot to be saved away is icing on the cake.

However the Floor Slim Pen 2 brings one vital replace to the combination: Haptic suggestions. It’s the type of factor you must really feel your self to grasp, however the slightest little bit of haptic suggestions is constructed into the pen to simulate the sensation of writing on paper. Glide the pen throughout the glass flippantly, and also you gained’t discover it. However push just a little tougher, and also you’ll really feel the feeling of synthetic friction.

The Type Cover and Surface Slim Pen 2 attached to the Surface Pro 8.

It’s extraordinarily delicate, however it provides the slightest little bit of realism to writing and illustrating. Greater than that, it’s a superb concept that’s nicely executed.

The brand new Sort Cowl appears to be like and feels an identical to the earlier mannequin, besides with a charging slot for the Floor Slim Pen 2. The keyboard and touchpad stay unchanged, which is an efficient factor. The complete-sized keyboard is snug and tactile, that includes the usual Floor keyboard format.

The touchpad, in the meantime, feels exact and easy. I all the time want it was just a little larger, however contemplating it is a keyboard attachment, it’s surprisingly good.

Show

The display of the Surface Pro 8.

The show on the Floor Professional 8 isn’t simply larger, it’s additionally quicker. The 13-inch panel now comes with a 120Hz refresh charge, although it ships with 60Hz enabled. However belief me, as soon as you employ the 120Hz display screen, you gained’t wish to return. Whereas the Floor Professional 8 isn’t a gaming machine, the quicker display screen is a high quality of life enchancment throughout the board. Animations are smoother, scrolling feels extra fluid, and it even reduces latency when inking with the Floor Pen. All the brand new animations in Home windows 11 look buttery easy. It’s what the machine wants to remain aggressive with the iPad Professional, however I hope that extra Home windows units observe go well with.

The display screen additionally has a barely increased decision at 2880 x 1920. It’s nonetheless 3:2 although, and remains to be 267 pixels per inch. The Floor Professional units have all the time had sharp screens, and this one isn’t any totally different.

The Floor Professional 8’s display screen can also be brighter than the earlier mannequin with a max of 409 nits. Within the new “Vivid” shade mode, the machine sports activities higher shade saturation with 99% sRGB and 79% AdobeRGB. That’s not fairly nearly as good because the Floor Laptop computer Studio, however it’s appropriate for the kind of machine the Floor Professional 8 is supposed to be.

Throughout the board, the show appears like crucial enchancment on the Floor Professional 8 — and since it’s a pill, that’s a giant deal.

Home windows 11 and software program

The Start Menu pulled up on the Surface Pro 8.

The Floor Professional all the time had one main hang-up: Home windows 10. The dearth of optimization for contact made the Floor Professional (and all Home windows tablets).

Home windows 11 goes a great distance towards fixing that. For the primary time, the Floor Professional 8 appears like a viable pill by itself. Whereas practically everybody ought to nonetheless purchase the Sort Cowl to go together with it, I discover myself ready to make use of it solely as a pill and benefit from the expertise. The small, gesture-based keyboard is nice for one-finger typing, whereas grabbing and dragging home windows is much simpler.

It’s nonetheless not an working system designed at the start for contact, like iPadOS, however Home windows 11 has gone a great distance towards no less than bettering the pill expertise.

The one lacking characteristic is Android apps, which nonetheless haven’t proven up. That leaves a gap within the app ecosystem for cell apps, which is one thing the iPad Professional excels at. Even then, the inclusion of Android apps could not magically repair the app scenario for Home windows tablets. Till then, the iPad Professional will all the time be the higher pill, even when the Floor Professional 8 has made some vital strides.

Cameras and audio system

The Floor Professional has all the time had an amazing video conferencing expertise, due to its nice webcam and wonderful audio system. Tablets are inclined to have significantly better webcams than laptops, and that is still right here. The 5-megapixel front-facing digicam produces sharp photographs and easy video. Microsoft says it’s performed some tuning optimizations to maintain your face in focus.

However total, the digicam does a implausible job of balancing pores and skin tones and never blowing out your background. Your colleagues will thanks for switching from a laptop computer digicam to the Floor Professional 8. Severely, it already occurred to me.

Although you in all probability gained’t ever use it, the Floor Professional 8 additionally features a 10-megapixel digicam on the again, which may shoot 4K video. However once more, please don’t.

The Floor Professional 8 pairs these cameras with a implausible set of audio system. Once more, tablets are inclined to excel in audio in comparison with laptops, and the Floor Professional 8 continues to show that development. They’re the identical two-watt audio system as in previous fashions, however now they’re bodily bigger. I wasn’t in a position to do a side-by-side comparability, however I can say that watching movies and listening to music on the Floor Professional 8 is definitely pleasurable. That’s not one thing I can say of just about any laptop computer that isn’t a MacBook Professional.

Microsoft additionally highlighted its “volume-dependent EQ” characteristic, which ensures that even at decrease volumes, the audio nonetheless has loads of bass. There’s a readability and fullness to the audio that I want laptops may recreate. However hey, that’s simply one other good thing about going with a 2-in-1.

Efficiency

Regardless of the title, the Floor Professional 8 isn’t a real “professional” machine. It doesn’t have a discrete GPU, and the quad-core Intel processor is run-of-the-mill. My configuration got here with a Core i7-1185G7, which is identical chip you’ll in all types of 13-inch laptops and tablets. Nonetheless, Microsoft managed to make some significant modifications that lead to improved efficiency.

The Floor Professional 8 has new thermals, a system that Microsoft calls “lively cooling.” Utilizing carbon composite warmth spreaders and followers, the Floor Professional 8 stays a reasonably quiet but highly effective 2-in-1. The fanless configurations are gone, although, which means all variations of the Floor Professional 8 have this similar cooling system.

The end result? Properly, multi-core efficiency and built-in Intel Iris Xe graphics efficiency had been each highlights, with the Floor Professional 8 main the pack amongst different convertible 2-in-1s and 13-inch laptops.

This led to stable real-world efficiency in an software like Handbrake, the place, once more, the Floor Professional 8 is among the many quickest in its measurement. Calling it probably the most highly effective Home windows pill or 2-in-1 feels correct.

Geekbench 5
(single/multi)
Cinebench R23 (single/multi) Handbrake (seconds) PCMark 10 3DMark Time Spy
Floor Professional 8(Core i7-1185G7) 1296 / 5041 1287 / 5431 185 4169 1828
ThinkPad X12 Removable (Core i5-1130G7) 1352 / 4796 1125 / 3663 188 4443 926
Dell Latitude 7320 Removable (Core i7-1180G7) 1532 / 5031 1246 / 3339 247 4410 1443
Dell XPS 13 (Core i7-1185G7) 1549 / 5431 1449 / 4267 204 3859 1589
MSI Summit E13 Flip Evo (Core i7-1185G7) 1352 / 4891 1360 / 4392 203 4872 1751

That being stated, don’t count on to get pleasure from 4K video enhancing on the Floor Professional 8. The dearth of discrete graphics is a matter there. That’s the place the extra highly effective Floor Laptop computer Studio comes into play. It’s additionally the place the ability of the M1 shines on the iPad Professional. The graphics efficiency blows the Floor Professional 8’s minuscule built-in graphics out of the water.

This is applicable to gaming simply as a lot as content material creation. Whereas the Floor Professional 8’s discrete graphics are extra admirable for what they’re, it’s not in a position to play many fashionable video games at excessive sufficient body charges.

Battery life

The Surface Pro 8's battery life status.

Microsoft says that due to having a bigger battery, the Floor Professional 8 can now last as long as 16 hours on a single cost. That’s fairly a declare. It topped out at 10 hours and 48 minutes in our lightest battery life take a look at, which loops a neighborhood 1080p video clip till the system dies. There are many laptops and tablets that last more in that take a look at, although it’s in step with the ThinkPad X12 Removable and Dell Latitude 7320 Removable.

I additionally examined the Floor Professional 8 in internet searching, biking by means of a sequence of heavy web sites till the battery dies. Right here, the Floor Professional 8 lasted 8 and a half hours. In case your workflow includes a number of purposes, tabs, and media streaming, nonetheless, you may count on the battery to dip by an hour or two, relying in your duties. Which means the Floor Professional 8 probably gained’t final by means of the whole thing of a workday with no recharge.

It additionally doesn’t have the unbelievable standby longevity just like the iPad Professional.

Nonetheless, the Floor Professional 8 is an enchancment over the earlier configuration by a few hours. It’s an space I’d wish to see enchancment in, however it’s not an enormous hang-up for me.

Configurations and value

The Floor Professional 8 isn’t only a main change to the design of the road — it additionally alters the pricing scheme. The Floor Professional 7 began at $750 for a Core i3 base configuration. This wasn’t probably the most highly effective choice, however it was an inexpensive method to get a premium piece of {hardware}.

The Core i3 mannequin is gone, and the Core i5 mannequin now begins at $1,100. That’s $200 dearer than within the earlier technology, and matches the 12.9-inch iPad Professional to a beat. Sadly, like with the iPad Professional, this base mannequin nonetheless consists of simply 128GB of storage.

Microsoft tends to be among the many most costly producers relating to including storage and RAM. With the Floor Professional 8, Microsoft precisely matches the iPad Professional’s storage choices in value, charging $100 to improve to 256GB or $300 to bump it to 512GB.

The Surface Pro 8 with the Type Cover closed on top.

From there, issues get wildly costly and pointless. I can’t consider a purpose why you’d purchase the $2,600 mannequin with 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage — the Floor Professional 8 is simply not the kind of machine for that sort of configuration. The $1,600 mannequin I reviewed feels overpriced for the quantity of storage you get, however the $1,200 or $1,400 configurations each seem to be good choices, relying in your wants.

And, in fact, the Floor Professional 8 doesn’t come bundled with both the Sort Cowl or Floor Slim Pen 2. Including on these two equipment will value you an additional $410.

Our take

The Floor Professional 8 is well one of the best Floor Professional ever made. Its display screen is larger, quicker, and brighter, its efficiency is stronger than ever, and even the battery life has been improved. That alone will persuade Floor followers to improve.

However it’s Home windows 11 that actually makes the Floor Professional 8 a compelling 2-in-1 — in a method that it by no means was earlier than. It’s all these modifications put collectively that may lastly convert skeptics of the shape issue to offer it a shot.

Are there any alternate options?

The iPad Professional is the chief rival, and it’s exhausting to beat. The Floor Professional 8 has an higher hand with the ability to run regular x86 professional purposes, however the iPad Professional is a way more in depth pill app ecosystem.

The ThinkPad X12 Removable makes use of an analogous type issue at a less expensive value. Should you actually wish to go low cost, the brand new Floor Go 3 is the true finances choice.

How lengthy will it final?

The Floor Professional 8 ought to final you no less than 4 or 5 years. Its construct high quality is outstanding, whereas the options and elements are all top-notch. Being a Home windows 11 product (and particularly a Floor PC) ensures that you just’ll get well timed updates nicely into the long run. The power to simply swap out extra storage is the cherry on high.

Do you have to purchase it?

Sure. It’s probably the most significant replace to the Floor Professional in a very long time, and it lastly appears like a worthy opponent of the iPad Professional.

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