Review Roundup: Microsoft Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop Studio, and Surface Go 3
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8. (Photo: Microsoft)The reviews are in on Microsoft’s latest Surface devices, and they’re glowing—well, mostly. The release of the Surface Pro 8, Surface Laptop Studio, and Surface Go accompanies that of Windows 11, which is basically fine.
Surface Pro 8
The fanciest of Microsoft’s newest devices, the Surface Pro 8 features a bump in screen size and a more modern design. Our colleagues Matthew Buzzi and John Burek at PCMag point out that the tablet’s updated 11th Generation Core i7 and Windows 11 pair nicely to make it a reasonable laptop replacement (if you’re willing to splurge on the keyboard attachment, which is sold separately). They also mention that while the device itself is actually a tad bit heftier than its predecessor, its extra thermal space allows it to perform better than the Dell Latitude 7320 2-in-1—a 2021 PCMag favorite—Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable, and the Surface Go 3, another of Microsoft’s new offerings. Plus, by getting rid of the display bezels, Microsoft was able to create a tablet that’s instantly appealing to the eye, so its technically bigger size shouldn’t deter most people from making the leap.
Digital Trends calls the Surface Pro 8 a “worthy opponent” of the iPad Pro; both boast a bright 120Hz refresh rate display, and both are best paired with their respective brand’s pressure-sensitive Bluetooth stylus. Their review mentions how the Surface Pro 8 is finally helping to recover Microsoft’s port-paltry reputation by offering two Thunderbolt 4 ports, a headphone jack, and a Surface Dock magnetic connection. Overall, Digital Trends found that the Surface Pro line was living up to its potential. Its price, starting at $1,600, isn’t exactly entry-level, but neither is its main competitor.
Surface Laptop Studio
The all-new Surface Laptop Studio also starts at $1,600. So why’d Microsoft make two tablets at the same price point? The Surface Laptop Studio is a hinged device with a built-in keyboard, giving it a similar vibe to the Macbook Pro, as noted by Tom’s Guide. Using a bit of muscle, the Surface Laptop Studio can be flipped and folded around to be enjoyed as a tilted tablet screen or kept as-is to be used as a laptop. The base device offers 11th Gen Intel Core i5 CPU, a 256GB NVMe SSD, and 16GB of RAM, while a pricey upgrade can get you up to Intel Core i7 CPU, Nvidia GeForce RTX 3050 Ti GPU, 32GB of RAM, and a 2TB SSD (with two other models in between).
The folks at Tom’s Guide mention the most expensive model (as well as the one below it) makes for an effective gaming laptop, though the device is generally best used with the Surface Slim Pen 2 stylus, which can be stashed away under the front lip when used in laptop mode. Its touchscreen display is bright enough to be used in direct sunlight and can reach a 120Hz refresh rate much like the Surface Pro 8, and its crisp, clear speakers offer “surprisingly good bass,” making it a solid piece of hardware fit for work or play.
Surface Go 3
The Surface Go 3 is where the honeymoon phase meets its end. While the device features “elegant hardware,” a responsive touchscreen, and great mobility, its practicality isn’t quite what one would expect, says Engadget. Because Windows—yes, even the latest version—still doesn’t offer an impressive tablet experience, the keyboard attachment is a must. This bumps up the realistic price point from $400 to $600. In addition, the base unit only contains 4GB of RAM, 64GB of eMMC storage, and an Intel Pentium 6500Y processor, prompting just about anyone who wants their tablet to last to push for an upgrade. By the time you walk out the door, Engadget points out, you might as well have purchased a regular laptop with better specs.
CNN describes the Surface Go 3’s performance as “sluggish,” saying its lag is essentially the trade-off for an (at first) exciting price point. After using the tablet for nearly a week, the news outlet concluded that it was best suited for users who’d only need the device for web browsing and “light work tasks.” When compared with the similarly-priced iPad or iPad Mini, the Surface Go 3 isn’t exactly up to snuff, and its display bezels leave the unit’s design in the dust. If you’re looking forward to taking advantage of Windows 11’s new multitasking features, however, look in another direction.