Microsoft is planning to launch its latest Surface Pro 8 tablet tomorrow. Sources familiar with Microsoft’s plans tell The Verge that the new Surface Pro 8 will ship with the biggest hardware design and specification changes since the Surface Pro 3 launch more than seven years ago. The Surface Pro 8 looks like the Surface Pro redesign I’ve long waited for.
Microsoft is planning to bring most of the sleek design elements of the Surface Pro X to the Surface Pro 8. The tablet itself will be more rounded at the edges, and a new Surface keyboard will house a new slim Surface Pen inside just like the Pro X does. While the display bezels at the top and bottom of the Surface Pro 8 won’t be fully eliminated, they will be a lot smaller and nearly edge-to-edge on the sides. The Surface Pro 8 will still be slightly thicker than the Pro X, though.
I’m also expecting Microsoft to replace the Surface Pro 8 display with a 120Hz panel that will make use of Windows 11’s new Dynamic Refresh Rate feature. Dynamic Refresh Rate is similar to how Apple’s high refresh-rate ProMotion displays operate, allowing the display to fluctuate between different refresh rates depending on tasks. Microsoft is primarily using this new Surface Pro 8 display to boost inking performance on the device, and make scrolling in web pages and certain apps a lot smoother.
Inking improvements on the Surface Pro 8 will be significant thanks to this new display, and an updated Surface Pen. The same slim stylus design found on the Pro X will be available on the Pro 8, and Microsoft is making some solid improvements here. The new Surface Pen will support haptic feedback so you get the subtle sensations from drawing, and the tip has been improved for better pressure sensitivity.
Microsoft is also moving to Thunderbolt on the Surface Pro 8, ditching the USB-A port and moving to two USB-C ports that will support high-speed data transfers. Again, this is similar to the Surface Pro X which also ships with dual 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 delivers on most of the Pro X improvements. 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 will be down to battery life and performance.
If the Surface Pro 8 can deliver 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 set for a design overhaul just in time for Windows 11 with its refreshed UI.
The Verge will be covering all of Microsoft’s 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. Microsoft’s event kicks off at 11AM ET on September 22nd, and we’ll be covering all the news live.