With 2021 now well and truly underway, we’re anticipating not only the official announcement of the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 within the coming weeks, but also the confirmation of all the leaks and rumors swirling around about it. Due to an FCC certificate filing on January 4, some specifications and finalized design have been confirmed, and an early 2021 release is suspected for this new line of 2-in-1 machines.
We don’t exactly know what to expect from this new generation but if an eBay listing of an alleged Surface Pro 8 is to be believed, we should see better specs but a largely unchanged design. The tablet on the eBay listing looks very much like the Surface Pro 7. Still, there have been some previously leaked patents that are encouraging, giving us hope that the Pro 8 will introduce some changes to its design. Especially considering that while Microsoft has extended its product lines to serve just about every need from content creators to casual users, the Surface Pro series has been a core product in their Surface product lines since 2013.
Microsoft’s never one to rest on its laurels and has kept busy keeping its Pro series current by releasing a new model almost every year since its introduction. This past year, it not only released the Surface Pro 7, but also the ARM processor-equipped Surface Pro X, so 2021 shouldn’t be any different. The Surface Pro 8 could still tout some fresh design features when it rolls out, whenever that will be.
In the meantime, we’re here to keep you updated on everything you need to know about the device before it hits the streets. Keep this page bookmarked, as we will update it as soon as any new information comes our way.
Cut to the chase
- What is it? Microsoft Surface Pro 8
- When is it out? Hopefully early 2021
- What will it cost? Presumably starting at between $799 and $999 for just the device
Surface Pro 8 release date
There have been no announcements or rumors regarding the release date for the Microsoft Surface Pro 8. Considering how recently the Pro 7 and Pro X were released, we may not know for some time. Typically, the Pro series has been refreshed once a year. And, while it hasn’t been consistent, more often than not, Surface devices are released in October, but that’s come and gone.
The big question regarding the Surface Pro 8 release date has to do with Microsoft’s other products that the computer world is expecting, namely the Surface Duo and the Surface Neo. It’s possible that Microsoft does what it did last year when they released the Pro 7 in October of 2019 and the Pro X the following month.
It’s also possible that Microsoft will want to give their new dual-screen devices more room to catch on. At this point though, the safe bet on the Microsoft Pro 8 is an early 2021 release date.
Surface Pro 8 price
If Pro series’ history is anything to go by, we have a pretty good idea of what to expect in regards to price. The entry level price for a newly-released Surface Pro has generally started between $799 (about £610, AU$1170) and $999 (about £760, AU$1470) with a maxed-out machine usually peaking at $2299 (about £1760, AU$3370).
No rumors have been circulating about price just yet, but it’s likely that the Surface Pro 8 will follow a similar pricing scheme. Unless there are huge design overhauls (think Apple’s Touch Bar), the entry models should come in between that $799-999 range with upgrades in RAM and storage making similar incremental price increases as previous models.
Where we might see a more significant price increase are in the type covers. The cheapest type cover that works with the 7 goes for $129.99 (£99, AU$191) with the signature model going for $159.99 (£122, AU$235). While basic type covers for the Pro 8 with the same functionality as these will most likely go for similar prices, Microsoft does have some aces up its sleeve.
There are two patents that have the computer world abuzz – the solar-powered type cover and the external speaker-equipped type cover. We don’t know if either concept will make it to production. However, if they do, expect to see a price hike for the new features.
Surface Pro 8 specs
New Surface Pro devices have typically taken incremental steps into the future every time there’s been a release. The Pro 7, for example, improved on the Pro 6 by replacing the 8th gen Intel chips with the just released 10th generation chips, upgrading the Wi-Fi to Wi-Fi 6 and including a USB-C port. Its storage, RAM and display – among other specifications – have not changed.
An FCC certification has also revealed that the device will use built-in LTE (Long Term Evolution) connectivity, Bluetooth 5, and offer Wi-Fi 6 courtesy of Intel’s Wi-Fi 6 AX201 adapter. All of these hardware features should result in a better optimized wireless performance when compared to previous Surface Pro models.
So what can we expect moving forward then? While an 1824p 12.3-inch display doesn’t really need a higher resolution, and bigger storage and RAM options are probably not necessary for anyone looking at a Surface device (these aren’t really geared toward heavy gaming or video editing), we might see a newer chip in the Pro 8.
That’s all dependent on whether Intel’s 11th-generation chips, codenamed “Tiger Lake,” are ready by the time the Pro 8 is. And the current speculation is late 2020 at the earliest for those chips. The good news is, a mysterious eBay listing shows a Surface Pro 8 with an Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor, 32GB of RAM and 1TB of SSD storage inside.
Another leak has affirmed that 32GB of RAM and 1TB of storage top spec, along with a new minimum of 8GB of RAM with the Intel Core i3 model – doubling the 4GB RAM low end of the Surface 7 Pro.
The inclusion of the USB-C was necessary to stay up-to-date with today’s peripherals, and we hope that Microsoft will take another step further and include a Thunderbolt 3 port in lieu of USB-C.
We also hope to regain some of the battery life that the Pro 7 lost compared to the Pro 6. At the moment, there’s not much news on what to expect with respect to battery life so we’ll have to wait and see what Microsoft does.
Surface Pro 8 features
In keeping with its incremental refinements, the Microsoft Surface Pro has not changed much visually. It’s still a tablet with a detachable type cover that doubles as a physical keyboard. The bezels of the device have remained the same – in fact, all aspects of the display between the Pro 6 and 7 are identical. Will Microsoft keep with the times and go with more slender bezels? We don’t know, but we can only hope that there is at least some improvement there.
In fact, we really don’t know much about what features will change on the device from previous generations. Will Microsoft co-opt the removable SSD they introduced with the Pro X for the Pro 8? It would be a welcome addition, though only time will tell.
Where we do have an idea of Microsoft making design improvements are in the two patents that have been filed for their type covers. One of them may be a creative solution to extending the Pro’s battery life – a solar panel-equipped type cover. The patent describes a type cover loaded with four outward facing solar panels that might even be able to draw energy from artificial light sources.
The other patent, which should be exciting for any previous Surface owner, is a type cover equipped with an external speaker. The type cover described in the patent could be used with either an open or closed configuration. And, when used in the kickstand position, it would face outward, away from the device, in an expandable enclosure using the kickstand as a resonance box. This would help amplify the sound without having to resort to a bigger or heavier speaker. If Microsoft is able to pull this off, it would be a massive improvement over the small speakers that Pro series users are currently limited to.
Of course, these two patents may not make production by the time the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is released, so we won’t know if we’ll see solar-powered or speaker-equipped type covers until closer to launch.
Rest assured, however, that we will update this article anytime new information concerning the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 comes our way leading up to the device’s release. Be sure to keep this page bookmarked so you’re up-to-date on all things Surface Pro 8.