Microsoft plans to launch its newest Surface Pro 8 tablet tomorrow. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the new Surface Pro 8 will ship with the largest hardware design and specification changes since the Surface Pro 3 launched more than seven years ago. The Surface Pro 8 looks like the Surface Pro redesign I’ve been waiting for a long time.
Microsoft plans to bring most of the sleek design elements of the Surface Pro X to the Surface Pro 8. The tablet itself is getting more rounded at the edges, and a new Surface keyboard will accommodate a new slim Surface Pen inside like the Pro X does. While it won’t completely get rid of the display bezels on the top and bottom of the Surface Pro 8, they will be much smaller and almost borderless on the sides. However, the Surface Pro 8 will still be a bit thicker than the Pro X.
The Surface Pro X design. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
I also expect Microsoft to replace the Surface Pro 8 display with a 120Hz panel that takes advantage of Windows 11’s new dynamic refresh rate feature. The dynamic refresh rate is similar to how Apple’s ProMotion displays work with high refresh rates, so the display can fluctuate between different refresh rates depending on the task at hand. Microsoft uses this new Surface Pro 8 display primarily to increase the ink performance on the device and to make scrolling through web pages and certain apps much smoother.
Thanks to this new display and an updated Surface Pen, the ink improvements on the Surface Pro 8 will be significant. The same slim stylus design as the Pro X will be available on the Pro 8, and Microsoft is making some solid improvements here. The new Surface Pen supports haptic feedback so you get the subtle sensations while drawing, and the tip has been improved for better pressure sensitivity.
The Surface Pro 8 will include a slim Surface Pen like the Pro X. Photo by Amelia Holowaty Krales / The Verge
Microsoft is also switching to Thunderbolt on the Surface Pro 8, doing away with the USB-A port and switching to two USB-C ports that support high-speed data transfers. Again, this is similar to the Surface Pro X, which also comes with two USB-C ports.
When I reviewed the Surface Pro 7 two years ago, I said, “I wish this looked like a Surface Pro X,” and the Pro 8 has the most Pro X enhancements. Microsoft is sticking with Intel’s 11th Gen chips inside, which means the big differences between a regular Surface Pro and the Surface Pro X are due to battery life and performance.
If the Surface Pro 8 has solid battery life, this could be the best Intel-powered Surface Pro ever. After years of refining the design of the Surface Pro 3, the Surface Pro 8 is getting a makeover in time for Windows 11 with its updated user interface.
The Verge will cover all Microsoft Surface news tomorrow. We’re expecting the Surface Pro 8, a new Surface Book design, Surface Pro X updates, a Surface Go 3, and the Surface Duo 2. The Microsoft event kicks off on September 22nd at 11:00 AM ET and we’ll be covering them all News live.