Given last year we only got a minor refresh to the Surface Pro with the Surface Pro 7 Plus, I'm hoping that Microsoft will push things further with what we’re expecting will be called the Surface Pro 8. While the hybrid laptop-come-tablet is a very good device, its design is perhaps getting a little long in the tooth. So I'm hoping for more than a refresh, as well as some new specs and features.
- The best Windows laptops
- How to install Windows 11 — a step-by-step guide
- Plus: How to watch the Microsoft Surface event 2021
With that in mind, I’ve come up with five things I’d like to see from the Microsoft Surface Pro 8. Let me know if you agree or what you’d like to see from the next Microsoft tablet.
Surface Pro 8 needs a new design
The most obvious change I want for the Surface Pro 8 is a redesign. While the design has been refined since the first Surface Pro in 2013, it’s remained largely the same.
While there’s only so much you can do with a tablet’s look, I’d like to see Microsoft work to trim down the bezels of the Surface Pro’s display. Yes, I know you need somewhere to rest your fingers when holding a Surface Pro as a tablet. But I feel a combination of slimmer bezels and smart touch detection would remove the need for a chunky screen surround that looks rather dated.
And while the flat edges of the Surface Pro make for an attractive device, they aren't always the nicest to hold. So a more rounded design, as seen with the Surface Pro X, would be appreciated; as would some form of built-in storage compartment for the Surface Pen.
A few more ports wouldn't go amiss, say an extra USB-C port or a full-size SD card reader hidden behind the kickstand. Speaking of which, the kickstand is very good, so that’s the one thing I hope Microsoft doesn't mess with.
Upgraded display for Surface Pro 8
While I’d like to see the Surface Pro 8 sport slimmer screen bezels and thus a larger display, say 13 inches, I’d also like to see some tweaks to the panel it'll use. The current Surface Pro's PixelSense touchscreen display is great, full of color and contrast, but it can overdo things a bit. And more brightness would be good too.
So I’d like to see a refreshed PixelSense display with a more color-accurate panel and boosted brightness, ideally 500 nits of brightness or above. And a faster refresh rate wouldn't go amiss, as well as a higher touch-sampling rate to make the screen feel more responsive when used as a tablet.
Surface Pro 8: AMD chips and no more 4GB of RAM
Intel Tiger Lake chips offer pretty solid laptop-grade processor power, but some of AMD’s mobile Ryzen CPUs are really impressive. So I’d like to see them put to use in the Surface Pro 8. After all, Microsoft has worked with AMD before to bring custom Ryzen chips to the Surface Laptop, so there's no reason Team Red shouldn't get a look in for the Surface Pros.
I’d also like to see an integrated RDNA 2 GPU thrown into the mix, given the Valve Steam Deck uses one, which would give the Surface Pro 8 some gaming grunt. I like to run some older and casual games on my Surface Pro 5, but I'd love to see future Surface Pros handle more demanding titles.
One thing I’d like to see Microsoft kill off for good is a 4GB option for the Surface Pro 8. In the Surface Pro 7 or older models, I find that amount of RAM simply doesn't seem to be enough, especially when you’ve got a lot of Chrome tabs open. It would also be good if that RAM was upgradable, following in the footsteps of the upgradable storage the Surface Pro 7 Plus has.
Surface Pro 8: It's time for a new Type Cover
There’s a lot to like about the Surface Pro’s Type Cover. Despite its small stature it offers a surprisingly tactile typing experience. But I’d like to see Microsoft make a few tweaks.
Ideally, a little more key travel, say 1.5mm would be ideal. But more importantly I’d like to see a larger trackpad, as the current one can feel rather cramped. More vertical and horizontal space would be lovely.
A brighter backlight for the keys would also be appreciated. And while I doubt it would be to everyone's taste, the option of a metal Type cover would be good to inject a bit of rigidity into it for people who really like to pound away at the keys. It could be made out of the same magnesium alloy as the Surface Pro tablet and topped with a fabric layer to protect the display and make for a more comfortable keyboard deck.
An audio boost for Surface Pro 8
Finally, I'd really like the Surface Pro 8 to come with stronger speakers. The recent Surface Pros don’t sound bad at all, but compared to the likes of the iPad Pro 2021, they don’t cut the mustard.
Laptop speakers are never going to wow, but they have been getting better and better, with the likes of the MacBook Pro leading the pack. So we’d like to see Microsoft find a way to get more sound out of the next Surface Pro. The company found a way to put a speaker system under the keyboard of the Surface Laptop 4, so there’s no reason the engineers at Redmond couldn’t come up with some clever speaker system for the Surface Pro. A boost in audio would make watching movies on what we hope will be an even better display that much more pleasurable.
And those are five of the upgrades I’d like to see the Microsoft Surface Pro 8 sport. I feel they're pretty realistic asks. But time will tell; hopefully we’ll see the next Surface Pro make its debut in a matter of weeks.