Microsoft has announced its first refresh to the Surface Pro line of devices in two years. The new Surface Pro 8 is an update to the 2019 variants and takes cues from the ARM-powered Surface Pro X. The company has finally refreshed the design, choosing a more modern aesthetic, while also adding some important features.
For instance, the Surface Pro 8 has LTE connectivity, but only for Microsoft’s enterprise customers. Which is an interesting choice, given that SIM-based connectivity is often seen as a consumer feature. Devices like Apple’s iPads have had LTE connectivity for a couple of years now.
Further, the new Surface Pro 8 is the first laptop-to-tablet device that is based on the Intel Evo standard announced by the chipmaker in March. The standard is designed to enhance user experience, and requires laptops to wake up from sleep mode in less than a second, support WiFi 6 connectivity and more. It’s another feature that will push enterprise customers to use the newest connectivity, security and hardware standards.
The Evo standard also requires laptops to use Thunderbolt 4 connectivity. The Surface Pro 8 has two USB Type-C ports that support this Thunderbolt 4. While the Surface connector is still present, Thunderbolt 4 means the same cable can be used for connecting external devices to the Surface Pro 8, charging the device and transferring data.
Speaking of hardware, the Surface Pro 8 has a base variant with 8GB of RAM and 128 storage, something many expected the company to upgrade this time. It also runs on the 11th generation Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, another prerequisite of the Evo standard. Customers will be able to ramp up to 1TB of storage and up to 32GB of RAM.
Microsoft has also revamped the TypeCover keyboard for the Surface Pro 8, which is still sold separately. The new keyboard has a carbon fiber core, which makes the keyboard stiffer and less prone to wobble when you’re typing. A feature being carried over from the Pro X is that the Surface Slim Pen 2 can now be housed inside the keyboard itself, instead of sticking magnetically to the tablet.
The Surface Pro 8 starts at $1,099 in the US and the company hasn’t announced availability and launch details in India yet.