Review Surface Pro 8 – The Microsoft Tax

seven years ago i had the surface pro 3. i used it for a lot of coding and taking notes in class when i was in university and i absolutely loved the experience the stylus and the touch interface with windows was a completely new direction for microsoft and they kept moving forward with the pro series every year they’ve been refining the design and updating the specs to keep up with modern hardware seven years later we have this the surface pro 8 and i’m really excited to look at the improvements and talk about my experience using it for a few weeks you see microsoft is targeting this device for people who want to feel more connected with their content so that would include artists professionals who mostly do basic productivity tasks and most importantly students they value things like battery life portability display and to some extent performance so can the surface pro 8 deliver those checkpoints well let’s start things off with the price the base model starts at eleven hundred dollars which gets you 11 gen core i5 cpu 8 gigabytes of ram and a 128 gigabyte ssd seriously microsoft 120 gigabytes like is that a joke you know what’s even worse spending an extra 100 to get a 256 gigabyte model guys that to me is just not acceptable for the hard earned money that you’re spending i have the model with the i7 1185 g7 cpu and twice the memory and it costs 1600 you can obviously spec it out with 32 gigabytes of ram and a terabyte ssd for a whopping 2 400 so things are not looking that great from a value standpoint especially since you don’t get the stylus or even the type cover those two accessories will set you back an extra 280 so you are gonna be paying quite the penny for this whole setup if you’re really interested in it but you know what it’s got a lot to offer despite its price tag let’s start with the design the whole chassis is made of anodized aluminum and it comes in this beautiful matte black finish and i personally love it the edges are more rounded compared to the squared setup on the surface pro 7.

This certainly complements the handling when you’re carrying this thing every day build quality is fantastic and the kickstand is robust plus it can go nearly 180 degrees so it’s a little bit more flexible compared to the surface pro 7. now before i talk about how portable it is um let’s hear a quick word from today’s video sponsor put everything on display you say the tower 100 mini by thermaltake grants you a three-way view of your components with that mini vending machine look that is surely unique for an itx enclosure you’ve got atx power supply support large cpu tower heatsinks triple slot gpus with no riser necessary and all the ventilated panels are properly dust proof the motherboard i o is facing up for easy access and the two included fans ensure proper airflow out of the box this tower 100 mini is for those who like to explore check it out below so it’s pretty clear that the surface pro 8 isn’t your traditional thin and light laptop it’s essentially a windows based tablet that can pretty much run desktop class applications but how does that translate into portability well as you can see considering the specs packed under the hood it is pretty impressive guys the zen height is only 0.37 inches or 9.4 millimeters and if you add the type cover it only adds an extra 0.2 inches so that makes it thinner than some of the other laptops that you’re seeing over here it only weighs around two pounds which is ideal for anybody who doesn’t want to carry a thick and heavy laptop i had no issues fitting this thing inside my messenger bag so from a portability standpoint this thing exceeded my expectations the included 65 watt power adapter is pretty compact and i’m glad that they’ve still kept the usb type-a charging port if you want to charge other devices like your smartphone although i did wish if it supported fast charge the power connector is still the same proprietary magnetic pin that you know simply snaps onto the device it has an led light just to indicate that it’s charging but it doesn’t change color when it’s fully charged i am a little bit worried about the longevity of this connector because it’s mostly made out of plastic but i guess time will tell now i did try my oneplus 65 watt usb c charger and it worked but i did get a notification saying that it’s charging slowly and that it recommends using the stock power supply now the biggest upgrade to the surface pro 8 is the larger display uh you’re now getting a 13.3 inch screen with a 16 by 10 aspect ratio versus 12.3 inches on the surface pro 7.

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So this basically results in thinner bezels and obviously you get more screen real estate to view your content and the quality of this display is really good as you can see it covers 100 srgb 80 adobe rgb and 83 dcip3 so it’s great for photo editing and some designing work and on top of that it comes with a 120 hertz refresh rate that makes the whole navigation experience a lot smoother compared to 60 hertz now keep in mind that out of the box it does come set to 60 hertz so you’ll have to go in manually and change that to 120 now this was done to preserve battery life but i set it to 120 right away and the results were surprising more on that in a bit as for brightness levels my sample topped out at 460 nits so that’s plenty enough to view content outdoors let’s also not forget that this is a tablet so the touch experience was normal i mean there’s nothing really more to describe other than the fact that it works the responsiveness is good and if you want precise control over the content that you’re working with you have the surface slim pen too yes it is an additional investment but it actually goes hand in hand with the tablet guides for instance if you click the top button over here it quickly opens microsoft’s whiteboard which instantly lets you jot down notes or just anything that you want to do and if you want to quickly erase them simply just use it as an eraser and it’s pressure sensitive so if you want to erase a tiny portion a gentle tap would do the trick but if you want to erase everything just quickly apply a little bit of pressure and you’re good to go i mean how cool is that not to mention microsoft has deeply integrated their office ecosystem with the pen and a lot of third-party applications like adobe have already rolled out support for ink so you can really take your drawing skills to a whole new level with this setup personally i don’t draw a lot but i think this device is calling me to take action on that so who knows maybe i’ll get on that very soon i want to

quickly talk about the port setup on this device it’s very limited as you can see you only get two usb type-c thunderbolt 4 ports a headphone jack and a volume marker and that’s pretty much it i would have liked to see a full-size usb type a port but given the thin form factor of this device compromises had to be made so i’m okay with that that being said you’ve got thunderbolt so if you want to use an external dock to pair it up with a display keyboard and a bunch of other peripherals there is that option i’ll be it quite an expensive one of course upgradeability is also very limited on the surface pro 8 you only have quick access to the m.

2 2230 nvme ssd the speeds are not that bad i’ve seen faster ones before but for this form factor it’s passable this is what the webcam looks like the quality is good it’s a 1080p sensor so it’s slightly larger compared to some of the other windows laptops out there what’s really cool is because of the larger sensor windows hello works really well so i had no issues logging into this pc it’s pretty accurate and the other thing i want to pay attention to is the microphone quality because it sounds immaculate it almost sounds as if i’m talking to a studio microphone which is just awesome so for meetings and all that kind of stuff this is a great option guys the speakers are surprisingly good on the surface pro 8.

They are front facing and the trebles sound nicely detailed with a little bit of bass it’s honestly perfect for watching videos and just listening to some music all right there’s one more accessory that i need to cover and quite an important one too it’s this surface pro signature keyboard yes you’ll have to pay a little bit more for it but if you want to use the surface pro 8 as a laptop this is the only option you have aside from using a bluetooth setup which might not be as ideal or appealing as this one over here so for starters it basically just snaps on to the proprietary type port on the bottom of the device and right away you can see that there is a little compartment to store the slim pin too which also snaps to the keyboard and it wirelessly charges the pen pretty cool now if you want to angle the keyboard for a slightly better typing experience you can simply lift the keyboard and it just snaps onto the bottom bezel the keyboard layout is pretty standard with the keys being adequately spaced and sized including the arrow functions and the keys are really good there’s good amount of travel distance and feedback honestly it felt very similar to my xps 13 oled which as many of you may know has one of the best keyboards on the market it’s also backlit with three brightness adjustments i had no issues viewing it at night the trackpad is great it uses a glass surface so navigation is really smooth and responsive in fact i would actually go on record and say that it is better than my xps 13.

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The primary left and right buttons are tactile and really satisfying to press and i have no complaints with functionality except for the fact that it’s too small i mean look i’m so used to larger trackpads on windows laptops so switching to this was a bit of a challenge but maybe i just need to give myself some time to get used to this now this cover is made out of alcantara which looks great when you unbox it and this red color really pops fun fact mike is obsessed with that word but i’m really worried about the longevity of this material now don’t get me wrong it’s super soft and comfortable to type with but let’s face it if you get grease and all sorts of stain on it over time it will show signs of wearing and while there are ways to clean it it’s nowhere close to using a simple cleaning solution and a microfiber cloth so keep that in mind before you pull the trigger you can go for the regular type cover that’s made out of plastic but unfortunately it doesn’t come with the built-in compartment to store the slim pin last but not least we got to talk about performance now i have the sample with the core i5 model specifically the 1185g7 with four cores and a threads and this processor with the i7 1185 g7 top out at 25 watts or under the surface pro ends up hovering between 27 watts and 29 watts and it doesn’t move from that point either with that kind of juice clock speeds never ever went below 4 gigahertz during an all-core workload and that’s actually a new record for my tests most of the other devices that i looked at ended up way way below that now you might think that leads to higher cpu temperatures but it actually doesn’t i think a lot of that is because of the pro 8’s airflow that goes in a more natural upwards direction since all the components are

placed vertically instead of horizontally like every other laptop and no the heat isn’t completely transferred to the outside either at least not all that much it never got uncomfortably hot to the touch and all the heat is exhausted out the top away from your hands and the keyboard there were some hot spots towards the center but luckily those are comfortably away from your hands when you’re holding it in tablet mode now don’t think that this thing acts like a typical tablet either since it does have a fan and when it’s under stress it does become somewhat audible you can hear it but it never gets loud enough to be annoying so how does this all translate to real world applications well you have an i7 1185 g7 running at the highest wattage i’ve seen so far which means this is the fastest intel based ultra portable i’ve seen in multi-core workloads the only laptops that can beat it consistently are rocking the ryzen cpus with double the number of processing threads i mean the 5800u and 5700u are absolute beasts in some benchmarks but they’re also pretty hard to find these days there’s some clear wins over those two especially when it comes to gpu accelerator apps like premiere where the xc graphics really helps things along the surface pro 8 jumps out to a lead in lightly through our workloads as well and that makes it a pretty good ultra portable device for professionals it’s just an awesome all-round device guys but you have to pay for that privilege too and if you want to do some light gaming it actually puts down some impressive results i mean it is one of the fastest laptops i’ve tested in this category sometimes by a long shot i mean microsoft did pump over 25 watts into the cpu and the xe gpu and of course that leads to a lot better performance than some of the alternatives it also looks like

intel’s even fixed a bunch of compatibility and frame rate problems we’ve experienced since instead of crashing in apps like rainbow six all of the laptops now power through windows without any issues that’s good news but i’m still wondering why it took this long to get that addressed battery life on this device blew my mind guys this is one of those areas where microsoft really puts some effort into and it really shows its i7 1185 g7 goes into an ultra low hybrid power state when doing simple tasks like web browsing and that allows it to get some of the best battery life i’ve seen from an intel based thin and light device it’s even better than many laptops with bigger batteries and the same size displays but once you go out of that lower power mode and start loading up the pro 8 the battery life goes down to a more normal result of under three hours a lot of that’s because the processor writes between two extremes you’ve got the ultra low power mode during lighter workloads and a lot higher power than expected during more demanding tasks so does the new surface pro 8 deliver these checkpoints that i mentioned at the beginning of this video absolutely it’s extremely portable you don’t need a super sized bag to carry this thing around and honestly it just feels like carrying a notebook because it’s really thin the stylus experience is really cool and microsoft values designers and just anyone looking to take advantage of this accessory the app support is great and if you’re a student i think you’re really going to love taking notes in class with the pro 8.

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The battery life is superb the display is fantastic and with the 120 refresh rate and finally the performance coming out of this tiny thing is incredible i would actually pick this over my xbox 13. the only downside is the price and the specs that you get for it i mean 120 gigabytes as base storage is unusable with windows and you have to spend more money to experience this whole thing which includes the slim pen and the type cover because if you just buy the tablet it’s just incomplete i really hope microsoft can bundle some of these accessories with the surface pro series in the future but as it stands this whole thing is too pricey guys so on that note thank you so much watching i hope you’re able to take away everything that you needed to know about the microsoft surface pro 8. let me know what you think honestly i am excited to use this thing here in the studio for just casual stuff because god that battery life is so good anyways that’s it from me guys i’ll talk to you guys in the next one .

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