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The Floor Professional Eight with a bigger display is getting the most important redesign because the Floor Professional 3

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  • Microsoft

  • The Type Cover has a loading / storage space for the Surface Slim Pen 2, just like the Surface Pro X. The Surface Pro 8 and X now share the same accessory ecosystem.

    Microsoft

  • The Slim Pen 2 slides out of its slot in the keyboard housing.

  • In profile. Notice the two Thunderbolt 4 ports, the headphone jack, and the continued existence of the Surface Connect port.

    Microsoft

  • The Surface Pro 8 will have user-swappable SSDs, though you’re limited to short M.2 2230 drives.

    Microsoft

Microsoft officially announced the Surface Pro 8 and the rumors were pretty on the money. The new tablet features a larger screen with a refresh rate of 120 Hz, updated internal hardware, user-replaceable SSDs and a pair of Thunderbolt 4 ports that replace the USB-C and USB-A ports on the previous model. It’s the most significant (and also: only) redesign the tablet has received since the Surface Pro 3 in 2014. The Surface Pro 8 is available for pre-order starting today, and a version with a Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 128GB of storage costs $ 1,100 (plus the cost of a keyboard cover and the Surface Slim Pen 2 for $ 130 if you wish one or both). The first pre-orders will begin shipping on October 5th, the day Windows 11 launches.

The Surface Pro 8 takes over most of the design optimizations that Microsoft first tried out in 2019 for the Surface Pro X. In fact, the two tablets now share some of the same important physical specifications, including the 13-inch display size and resolution of 2880 × 1920, and the exact same height and width. As with most of the laptops that have hit the market in the past few years, the increase in screen size is due to shrinking the display bezels rather than changing the size of the device dramatically. The Surface Pro 8’s screen supports a refresh rate of up to 120 Hz for smoother scrolling, but the tablet is configured to use the more typical 60 Hz refresh rate.

The Surface Pro 8 is about a tenth of an inch (or 2mm) thicker than the Pro X to make room for additional cooling, but the identical height and width means the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Pro X use the same keyboard cover . now renamed Surface Pro Signature Keyboard. Likewise, the keyboard covers that worked with all Surface versions from Surface Pro 3 from 2014 to Surface Pro 7 will not be compatible with Surface Pro 8.

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Because the same keyboard is used, the Surface Pro 8’s keyboard cover can now be used to pair and wirelessly charge the Surface Slim Pen or the new Surface Slim Pen 2, which supports the same 4,096 levels of pressure as the old one, but the pen moves the button from the narrow side to the flat side and adds a haptic vibration motor to recreate the “feel you get with pen on paper”. This haptic feedback feature only works on the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop Studio as it relies on their “custom Microsoft G6 processor”. Current Surface Pen models should continue to work with Surface Pro 8, just as the Surface Slim Pen 2 will work with Surface devices from Surface Pro 3.

Internally, Microsoft has refreshed the Surface Pro 8 with standard laptop hardware for 2021 – 11th generation Intel Core i5-1135G7 and i7-1185G7 processors with Intel Iris Xe GPUs and 8 GB, 16 GB or 32 GB of RAM. Both will significantly increase CPU and GPU performance compared to the 10th generation CPUs of the Surface Pro 7. But while Microsoft has built AMD Ryzen processors into some of its other Surface devices, the Surface Pro 8 is only available with Intel chips.

There will be corporate versions of the Surface Pro 8 that include a Core i3 option and Core i5 and i7 processors with vPro support, but most people won’t be able to buy those versions – that’s a change from the Surface Pro 7, which uses a Core i3 in its entry-level consumer configuration. The commercial version of the Surface can also be configured with Windows 10 instead of Windows 11, which suggests that manual downgrades are possible for people who really want to.

The Surface Pro 8 also takes on another neat feature of the Surface Pro X (and the business-only Surface Pro 7+ from earlier this year): user-swappable SSDs, accessible by opening a small access flap on the back of the tablet. However, there are limits to this function. The Surface SSD slots use the standard M.2 interface, but only offer space for a short M.2 2230 drive (i.e. 30 mm long) and not for the more typical 2280 (80 mm long). Microsoft also recommends using only Microsoft branded SSDs so you don’t risk any performance degradation, although this doesn’t seem to be a mandatory requirement. So you can’t put an old, standard M.2 SSD in the Surface, but you at least have recourse if you buy a version with 128GB or 256GB of storage and want more in a year or two.

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