Microsoft Surface Pro 8 Release Date, Pricing and Spec News
The Surface Pro is Microsoft’s high-end 2-in-1 PC. It was refreshed every year between 2013 and 2019, but that’s highly unlikely to continue this year.
Due in part to the coronavirus pandemic, the Surface Pro 8 now isn’t expected until 2021. Whether Microsoft continues with its October release or unveils the device earlier in the year remains to be seen, but we already have an idea what the design and specs might be like. Here’s everything you need to know.
Surface Pro 8 release date
Microsoft released two new Surface devices in October 2020, but neither was a new Surface Pro. The company instead chose to refresh the Surface Pro X and release a new budget device in the form of the Surface Laptop Go. This was potentially in response to the coronavirus pandemic, with Microsoft acknowledging earlier in the year that the Surface line had been adversely affected.
Ahead of the release of those devices, Windows Central’s Zac Bowden suggested the Surface Pro 8 would arrive in 2021. A more specific release date wasn’t known at that time, but the regular October slot seemed most likely.
However, a subsequent article from the same author suggests the device could be released alongside the Surface Laptop 4 as soon as January 2021. That would be earlier than we’ve ever seen Surface products in a calendar year, and may allow Microsoft to get back on track with its annal update cycle.
Surface Pro 8 price
With the eagerly anticipated redesign of the Surface Pro line not thought to be arriving until 2022 at the earliest, we’re expecting the Pro 8’s pricing to be much the same as its predecessor.
That device started at £799/US$749/AU$1249, although the maximum configuration set you back £2249/US$2299/AU$3749.
MSPoweruser is suggesting that the baseline model will jump to around US$1,000, although that can’t be verified at this stage. An eBay listing claiming to be an i7 Surface Pro 8 sold for US$1,300 after one bid, but that gives little indication as to what the RRP might be. That price also included a new dark blue Type Cover, but it’s likely Microsoft will continue to sell this and other accessories separately.
What are we expecting from the Surface Pro 8?
The big leak so far comes from an eBay listing claiming to be an engineering model of the Surface Pro 8. The device appears to have sold for US$1,300 with a single bid. While it’s impossible to verify whether this is actually the Surface Pro 8, it does shed some light on the device’s potential design.
The device looks remarkably similar to the Surface Pro 7, meaning it’s looking unlikely we’ll get the Surface Pro X-style redesign many are hoping for. It looks set to remain a 12.3in touchscreen at a resolution of 2736×1824. However, it looks like we could get a brand new dark blue Type Cover.
Seller ‘zzaj300n‘ also the model sold comes with Intel’s 11th-gen Core i7-1165G7 processor, alongside 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. While this would likely be a high-end configuration, it’s interesting to note that the Surface Pro 7 maxed out at 16GB RAM. Alongside the new processors, the Pro 8 is also widely expected to come with Intel’s latest Iris Xe graphics.
In a now-deleted Reddit post, the same leaker revealed more details on the Surface Pro 8’s features, but there are few surprises here. It would be more newsworthy if the device came without Bluetooth or Wi-Fi 6 support. Windows Latest also managed to snag the pictures that came alongside the post, and it now looks like the design will remain largely unchanged.
It’s also possible that – as we’ve seen on both generations of the Surface Pro X – that an ARM-based Surface Pro 8 could exist. The SQ1 processor was its own design in collaboration with Qualcomm, and the recent SQ2 built on those foundations.
The same Windows Central article that mentioned the January 2021 release date reported on images of what looks to be be the Surface Pro 8 (right) and Surface Laptop 4 (left) passing through certification.
서피스 2021 신제품
서피스 랩탑 4 (가칭)
– 모델명: 1950
– 파생모델: 1951, 1952, 1953, 1958, 1959, 1978, 1979
서피스 프로 8 (가칭)
– 모델명: 1960
– 파생모델: 1961 (LTE)
; 제조국: 중국
; 제조사: Maintek Computer (Suzhou) Co Ltd pic.twitter.com/9A99BoNvsF
— cozyplanes (@cozyplanes)
November 27, 2020
Few details can be gleaned from these images, but this process only takes place in the run-up to release, so it would appear that both devices are on their way soon.
The other key detail in the article above is that there may be an LTE version of the Surface Pro 8. If true, it will be the first time cellular connectivity comes to the Pro line since it launched.
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, 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.
Besides slimmer bezels and perhaps USB-C for charging, there’s no real need for wholesale changes. People clearly like the form factor, as it strikes a good balance between screen size and usability. Plus, other screen sizes are already catered for by the Surface Pro X and Surface Duo, while the Surface Neo will plug another gap when it arrives. Nonetheless, as and when more rumours crop up for the Surface Pro 8 we’ll be sure to add them here.
Surface Pro 8 wish list
In August 2020, Dutch website LetsGoDigital helped create a 3D concept video for the Surface Pro 8. It embodies many of the things we’d love to see come to the device, even if they’re looking unlikely:
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, 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 might 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. Delivering upgrades that help it catch up to the competition in this regard should be a priority.
- 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.
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.