The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s high-end 2-in-1 PC. It was refreshed every year between 2013 and 2019, but it’s been all change since then.
Firstly, we saw no new Surface Pro in 2020, presumably due to the coronavirus pandemic. That doesn’t mean Microsoft has stopped releasing new hardware though – the second-gen Surface Go and Surface Pro X, third-gen Surface Book and new Surface Laptop Go launched in the same year.
These devices were joined by the Surface Pro 7+ in January 2021, but it was designed for business and education customers. The additions of 11th-gen Intel processors and LTE connectivity were welcome, but it’s significantly more expensive than the Pro 7.
The Surface Laptop 4 then launched in April 2021, before Microsoft debuted Windows 11 at a dedicated event in June. All the recently-released Surface hardware will be eligible for a free upgrade to the new OS, but the Pro 8 could be among the first to ship running Windows 11 out of the box. Here’s everything we know at this stage.
Surface Pro 8 release date
Microsoft ditched the annual Surface Pro hardware refresh in 2020, although it’s not clear how much this decision was impacted by the pandemic. The company announced the Surface Pro X and new Surface Laptop Go in its place, before the business-focused Surface Pro 7+ arrived in January 2021.
We’re still expecting the Surface Pro 8 to arrive before 2021 is out. Mayank Parmar at Windows Latest suggests October or November as a likely release window. This could potentially coincide with the release of Windows 11, with the new OS also expected in October 2021.
Surface Pro 8 price
We can use a combination of Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 7+ pricing to give an estimate of how much the Surface Pro 8 will cost.
The regular model started at £799/US$749 when it launched in October 2019, although the maximum configuration set you back £2249/US$2299/AU$3749. The Pro 7+ starts at US$899 (approx. £660), while adding LTE will set you back at least US$1,149 (approx. £850).
We’d expect the Pro 8 to also support 4G, so that last figure is a good guide of how much you’re likely to pay. However, it could rise significantly if Microsoft adopts 5G as well. As always, this price doesn’t include the Type Cover keyboard case, which can cost as much as £124.99/US$129.99.
MSPoweruser is suggesting that the baseline model will jump to around US$1,000, while an eBay listing claiming to be an i7 Surface Pro 8 sold for US$1,300 after one bid, although these may both have turned out to be in reference to the Pro 7+.
What are we expecting from the Surface Pro 8?
Despite only being a few months away from an expected launch, news regarding the Surface Pro 8 is relatively thin on the ground. We’re expecting a more modern design and slimmer bezels, but there are no concrete rumours to reflect that.
Assuming it doesn’t launch before October, it’s almost certain the Pro 8 will come running Windows 11 out of the box. Microsoft hasn’t revealed a specific release date for its new operating system, but hinted at October during the launch event. Most Windows 10 devices will be eligible for a free upgrade to Windows 11, but it would make sense for the Pro 8 to be one of the first devices to run it out of the box.
The tablet experience in Windows 11 looks to be much more intuitive, which will hopefully make the Pro 8 a great device to use with and without the keyboard attached.
A Microsoft Developer blog post also confirmed that a dynamic refresh rate (DRR) feature is coming to Windows 11. This allows the OS to automatically switch between refresh rates according to what you’re doing, allowing you to experience smooth visuals without a big hit to battery life.
No Surface hardware supports high refresh rates currently, so it would make sense to include a 120Hz panel on the Pro 8. We’re also expecting Tiger Lake chips at a minimum, although the device may be one of the early adopters of Intel’s new Alder Lake CPUs.
According to WinFuture, LTE will be coming to the Surface Pro 8, although it’ll be limited to the i5 model. Here are all the rumoured configurations:
Core i3 8GB RAM/128GB storage
Core i5 8GB/128GB (option for LTE)
Core i5 8GB/256GB (option for LTE)
Core i5 16GB/256GB (option for LTE)
Core i7 16GB/256GB
Core i7 16GB/512GB
Core i7 16GB/1TB
Core i7 32GB/1TB
It’s also possible that we’ll see an ARM-based Surface Pro 8. It’s been included in both generations of the Surface Pro X – the SQ1 processor was designed by Microsoft in collaboration with Qualcomm, and the recent SQ2 built on those foundations.
Elsewhere, a couple of patents have been spotted for tech which we’re hoping could make its way into Surface Pro accessories. Shortly after the release of the Surface Pro 7, a Microsoft patent was published with the title ‘EXPANDABLE ENCLOSURE FOR ELECTRONIC DEVICE RESONANCE BOX’.
From the included diagram above, it looks like Microsoft is planning for a dedicated speaker system to be attached to future iterations of the Type Cover accessory. Should this be available with the Surface Pro 8, it could deliver serious improvements to the audio experience.
Further rumours on the Surface Pro 8 come courtesy of Windows Latest. In January 2020, they reported on another patent that suggests Microsoft may include solar panels on the very same Type Cover, which may offer an alternative method of charging the Surface Pro 8. While it’s unlikely both would be included, it shows Microsoft is thinking outside the box when it comes to upgrades.
Surface Pro 8 wish list
Following the release of the Surface Pro 7+ in January 2021, we’re still holding out hope that the Pro 8 will bring a long-awaited redesign. Dutch website LetsGoDigital helped create a 3D concept video for the Surface Pro 8, which embodies many of the things we’d love to see come to the device:
Should any of these ideas come to fruition, it would be an exciting step forward for the Surface Pro line. A stealthy black look, significant slimming of bezels and move to USB-C for charging would all be extremely well received. Here’s more detail on what we’d like to see:
USB-C for charging
– Although Microsoft finally embraced USB-C on the Surface Pro 7 and 7+, it still stuck with the proprietary Surface Connect port for charging. It feels like a logical next step to use the port for charging.
Thunderbolt USB-C – Following on from the above point, we hope the USB-C port will get Thunderbolt 4 support, which enables much faster data transfer.
Slimmer bezels – The Surface Pro 7 and 7+ have significantly slimmer bezels than the Go 2, but we feel Microsoft could go further here. The Surface Pro X has shown us what is possible here, and there could still be plenty of room for a front-facing camera.
Better webcam – Talking of cameras, Microsoft has stuck an 8Mp sensor in the last three generations of Surface Pro. It’s far from the worst webcam around, but with so many people currently relying on video calls, further improvements would be welcome here.
Bigger battery – While the Surface Pro 7’s battery life wasn’t a dealbreaker, it often struggled to make it through a full 8-hour day. While the Pro 7+ improves on paper, strong battery life should be a priority in the next Surface Pro.
New size options – The Surface Pro line has maintained a 12.3in screen since the release of the Surface Pro 4 in 2015, and never opted for more than one size. A display closer to 13in would provide a direct iPad Pro rival, while it would also provide scope to introduce a smaller-sized alternative.
5G support – This is probably a long shot, especially if the Pro 8 does arrive before the end of 2021, but we’d love to see 5G come to the device. With the business-focused Pro 7+ supporting 4G connectivity, it would be the logical next step
Considering other options in the Surface lineup? Check out our in-depth buying guide.
Looking to buy a Surface product right now? Check out our guide to the best Surface deals.