Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

Surface Pro 8

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

We were expecting the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 to launch around October 2020, but it would appear the coronavirus pandemic may have shaken up Microsoft’s cadence for its Surface device releases.

But according to WindowsLatest’s sources that are familiar with Microsoft’s Surface development, the Surface Pro 8 is still coming, it’s just that we may have to wait for next Fall.

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  3. Microsoft was seemingly concentrating on the launch of the Xbox Series X last Fall, and the Surface Duo was the Surface device to steal the headlines last year. And combined with disruption to hardware supply chains caused by the coronavirus pandemic, it’s not a huge surprise that the Surface Pro 8 didn’t make its debut in 2020.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

However, we’d have expected it see it at the start of 2021 or perhaps sometime in the Spring. But instead, Microsoft came out with the business-focused Surface Pro 7+, basically a Surface Pro 7 but with the latest Intel Tiger Lake chips.

That refresh gave the Surface Pro 7 a reasonable boost in processor power and integrated graphics performance. But it was hardly a major upgrade, let alone a refresh of the Surface Pro design, which is getting a little long in the tooth.

With the Surface Pro 8, we’d expect to see some refinement in the design. We’d like to see the narrow bezels and sleek aesthetic of the Surface Pro X, but with space in the chassis to hold higher performance Intel processors.

If the Surface Pro 8 isn’t due for another eight months or so, then we can expect it to come with Intel’s next-generation Alder Lake laptop CPUs, which we’d expect to make their debut around September or October time. We’d also expect the Surface Pro 8 to come with boosted specs in terms of RAM and storage, potentially up to 32GB of RAM and 2TB of SSD space.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

Interestingly, WindowsLatest’s report noted that the Microsoft Surface Laptop 4, which is also seemingly delayed, will launch around April. We’d expect that to be a refreshed and hopefully a refined version of the Surface Laptop 3, likely with improved Intel and AMD laptops CPUs.

With Apple having raised the bar with the MacBook Air with M1 and the latest iPad Air, Microsoft will need to pull something special out of the bag with its next wave of Surface devices.

which promised amazing battery life and luxurious design. Frustratingly, poor performance and compatibility issues with the wide world of Windows 10 apps were a  major shortcoming.  

Hopefully, the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 can help the company make 2021 a better year than 2020. Here’s everything we know (and want to know) about the Surface Pro 8. 

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

Trying to figure out if you should expect the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 to be revealed soon? While precedent suggested we would see a Surface Pro 8 in 2020 — that didn’t happen. And now we’ve met the Surface Pro 7+, which seems to muddy the waters, as it has a lot of what we thought would happen with the Pro 8.

No matter when it comes, we will compare it against the Surface Pro 7, checking to see if its battery life issues are resolved. Our new Surface Laptop Go review shows that Microsoft is still fighting with endurance.

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Surface Pro 8 latest news and leaks (updated Jan. 6)

  • The Surface Pro 8 appears to be nearing its release, per an FCC approval.
  • After early leaks make no mention of an entry-level Core i3 model, European dealer listings include a Core i3 Surface Pro 8 with an upgraded 8GB of memory.
  • LTE fans are set to be disappointed, as a new leak claims only Core i5 variants will have 4G connectivity
  • We’ve seen spec leaks for the new Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop 4.
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Our Surface Go 2 review shows that Microsoft can still get reliable longevity out of its entry-level Surface, but our Surface Book 3 review didn’t give us more confidence. 

Hopefully, the Surface Pro 8 will take some lessons from each to land in our best laptops list.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date

Windows Central posits an H1 2021 release date is expected. The latest news we’ve seen suggests it’s coming very soon. as the FCC just approved its LTE, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi 6 capabilities.

Since the last Surface Pro was released in October 2019, it means Microsoft has gone over a year without refreshing the hardware — something it hasn’t done since 2016. But considering COVID has made a mess of the world, including manufacturing supply chains, it’s no surprise that the Surface Pro 8 has had to be pushed back a few months. Especially not since the exact same thing already happened to the Surface Neo, which is now due next year.

Supply chain issues, like those which have hit the 5G iPad Pro, could also muddy Microsoft’s schedule.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8 price

Thanks to years of relatively stable pricing, the Surface Pro 8 price is not that hard to predict, even without any leaks (unlike the Surface Book 3 pricing, which has leaked a lot).

Let’s start by examining the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 6. The former started at $749 for a Core i3 model, and the latter started at $799 with a Core i5 CPU. 

So let’s say the Surface Pro 8 likely starts at around $800. But we’re more likely to recommend a unit with a Core i5, 8GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD model, which has typically made the price jump to $1,199.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

Except we hope pressure from Apple changes that. The entry-level MacBook Air 2020 packs a 256GB SSD by default at $999, so maybe the Core i5 model we mention above could go down to $1,099 or even $999?

Of course, the Surface Pro 8’s price doesn’t stop there, as most will customize the tablet to become a laptop. That costs at least $129 (basic Type Cover) and upwards of $159 (Signature Type Cover).  Digital artists may throw an extra $99 for the Surface Pen. 

We expect all of the above pricing to stay where it was last year, even if we wish it could drop a little (the Surface Pro 7 pushed past the $2,000 mark when fully customized). Maybe Microsoft could provide lower pricing by giving an AMD option, but aside from that, or the above SSD price drop, the Surface Pro 8 is expected to be about as pricy as predecessors.

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Microsoft Surface Pro 8 design and features

Since the prototype alleging to be the Surface Pro 8 leaked on eBay, we were disappointed to hear that the tablet’s chassis will be the exact same one as the Surface Pro 7 — limiting the possible hardware upgrades to internal components. 

Despite the speculation that the Surface Pro 8 could include wild features Microsoft had patented, including a kickstand adorned with solar panels, it doesn’t look like they’re coming this time round. Perhaps on the Surface Pro 9, or Surface Pro 10?

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 specs

Recent leaks indicate that the new Surface Pro 8 may arrive with Intel 11th Gen processors, up to 32GB RAM and Iris Xe integrated graphics. Optional LTE will also be on the table. Advertisement

Two separate leaks from WinFuture’s Roland Quandt also claim that the Surface Pro 8 will get LTE, but only on the Core i5 variants. Almost as a compromise, though, the Core i7 variants will get up to 1TB of storage and 32GB of RAM. The more recent of the two leaks also included the 8GB, Core i3-powered Surface Pro 8 for the first time.

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These are the configurations allegedly coming to Europe

It’s not clear, however, whether these will be the same options that are coming to the U.S. We’ll just have to wait and see what Microsoft has planned, but in the mean time we can safely assume that at the very least the majority of these will also be available on this side of the Atlantic.Advertisement

We’d hoped that Microsoft is seeing how the industry is trending to thinner bezels, and can find a way to give us a screen that’s larger than the 12.3-inch display in the current Surface Pro, without changing the chassis or making it bigger. Apparently that’s not to be, with the eBay leak revealing that it’s still the same 12.3-inch display in the same chassis as before.

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Next, let’s think about how much of a speed boost that the Surface Pro 8 will get. The Pro 7 features Intel’s 10th Gen Ice Lake (10nm) processors, which have since been replaced by the 11th-gen “Tiger Lake” CPUs.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 release date, design rumors, specs, price 2021

Since the Tiger Lake chips are already here, it makes sense for Microsoft to include them in the Surface Pro 8. After all, since the tablets could potentially launch early in 2021, there’s no reason not to use the latest and best chips you can get hold of. 

The question is whether Microsoft also allow for shoppers to pick an AMD processor instead. The company allowed that for the Surface Laptop 3, but that laptop disappointed with performance. Hopefully, the gains in the latest AMD chips will provide more performance to enjoy. The eBay prototype suggests Intel graphics are still coming, but a lot can change between now and launch. Prototypes are, after all, not final.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 changes we want

Shrunken bezels: This is less about what want, but more about where the industry is going. Look at the XPS 13’s InfinityEdge displays, and the smaller (but still there) bezels on the iPad Pro 2020. If the Surface Pro is still supposed to be an industry leader, it should look like a device released today, not like the model that came out last in 2015.

Stronger sound: As we mentioned above, the patent of an amplifier in the kickstand is certainly appealing. The Surface Pro 7’s sound output doesn’t impress anyone, and I really hope Microsoft can catch up on volume.

Hardware


All Surface Pro models feature 7th-generation Intel Kaby Lake Core processors – m3, i5, or i7 – which feature higher clock speeds over the Intel Skylake processors found in its predecessor. The new Kaby Lake chips also feature improved Speed Shift technology, allowing the processor to transition between CPU states quicker. For the first time, both the Core m3 and the Core i5 models are fanless.

RAM options are 4, 8, and 16 GB, and SSD options are 128, 256, and 512 GB and 1 TB. These are the same tiers that were available with Surface Pro 4. (Note, however, that not all RAM options are available with all SSD options.)

In addition, the new Surface Pro features an enhanced kickstand which now opens to 165 degrees, allowing the device to lay flatter – a mode that Microsoft calls Studio Mode. Alongside the 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi radio, Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy, there will now also be the option to purchase the Surface Pro with an LTE Advanced modem for cellular connectivity.

There is also a full-size USB 3.0 port, microSD card reader, headset jack, Mini DisplayPort, Cover port, and the SurfaceConnect port to connect a wall charger, Docking Station, or Surface Dock accessories.

Software

All Surface Pro models (except in mainland China and Japan) come with a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Pro and a Microsoft Office 365 30-day trial. Windows 10 comes pre-installed with Mail, Calendar, People, Xbox (app), Photos, Movies and TV, Groove, and Microsoft Edge. With Windows 10, a “Tablet mode” is available when the Type Cover is detached from the device. In this mode, all windows are opened full-screen and the interface becomes more touch-centric.

In mainland China, all Surface Pro models come with a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Home and a Microsoft Office 2016 Home & Student edition. Devices with Windows 10 Pro are only available for enterprise. In Japan, all Surface Pro models come with a 64-bit version of Windows 10 Pro and a Microsoft Office Home & Business 2016.

The device also has a Windows Hello-compatible camera. It combines the use of a regular and infrared camera to authenticate the user.

Will there be a Surface Pro 8?

Later this year (October-November), Microsoft is planning to announce consumer-focused Surface Pro 8 with improved hardware and design. The design of the device won’t be changed completely, but therell be some noticeable improvements

Will there be a new Surface Pro in 2020?

Rumors, however, say the tablet will launch in January 2021, so we could see the Surface Pro 8 revealed in the coming weeks. We’re also keeping an eye on the Surface Neo, a dual-screen device originally set to launch Holiday 2020. The Surface Neo is reportedly delayed until 2021.

Is Surface Pro worth buying?

Without it, the Surface Pro is really just a nice, and expensive, tablet. It also is a great keyboard for its kind. Despite its thinness, the Type Cover offers a surprisingly comfortable typing experience, with good key travel. There’s also backlighting, adjustable through several levels of brightness.

Surface Pro 8
Surface Pro 8

Is 8GB enough for Surface Pro?

For most people, the $899 Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage should be sufficient, providing you’re mostly using cloud storage options.

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