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.
According to Windows Central's Zac Bowden, the Surface Pro 8 will be released at some point next year.
Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop 4, and Surface Studio 3 are not coming this fall. I'm told they've been pushed back to 2021. This fall is new Surface Pro X, Surface 'Sparti', and accessories.— Zac Bowden (@zacbowden) September 16, 2020
An October 2021 launch would therefore be the most likely, although Microsoft may choose to release it earlier in the year. Nothing has been confirmed at this stage.
Surface Pro 8 price
Our best guess on the Surface Pro 8 pricing again comes from how much the Surface Pro 7 cost at launch.
That device started at £799/US$749/AU$1249, although the maximum configuration set you back £2249/US$2299/AU$3749. A similar pricing structure looks likely, although that could rise if there are significant upgrades.
MSPoweruser is suggesting that the baseline model will cost 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 we can't verify whether this product was genuine or how accurate that selling price is. That price also includes 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 2736x1824. 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.
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.
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.