Microsoft unveils a hugely upgraded Surface Pro 8 and a very familiar Go 3 and Wi-Fi-only Pro X
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While the Surface Duo 2 with 5G and vastly upgraded specs over its underwhelming predecessor was undoubtedly the highlight of Microsoft's big product launch event earlier today, the Surface Pro 8 and Surface Go 3 are certainly worthy of a little attention from fans of portable gadgets as well.
There's also the Surface Pro X, which is not technically getting an entirely new version this year after its commercial debut back in 2019, expanding however to a wider target audience by making LTE connectivity optional. Without further ado, let's dig right into these three refreshed detachable tablet computers.
The "most significant leap forward" since the Surface Pro 3
Now that's a bold claim from Microsoft, and while the company is known for occasionally exaggerating its strengths and overhyping even the most banal performance improvements, the Surface Pro 8 unquestionably fits that hyperbolic description.
Surface Pro 7, which was obviously no slouch either.Powered by 11th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 processors, this bad boy is "more than twice as fast" as 2019's
That's merely the beginning of a long list of impressive upgrades, which also includes two Thunderbolt 4 ports, up from zero on the Pro 8's predecessor, a battery life of no less than 16 hours in "typical" device usage, up from only 10.5 hours a couple of years ago, and perhaps most eye-catchingly, 120Hz display refresh rate technology.
The PixelSense screen, mind you, is also larger than on previous Surface Pro generations, at 13 whole inches, while sporting razor-thin bezels that help the new jumbo-sized Windows 11 tablet actually reduce the overall height of its predecessor.
With Dolby Vision and Adaptive Color Technology, said display should provide a pretty much unparallelled content viewing experience, especially when you consider the enhanced 2W stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos support as well.
Even the rear-facing camera is upgraded, from 8 to 10 megapixels and from 1080p to 4K video recording capabilities, further contributing to what looks like possibly the best tablet money can buy in 2021... if you're primarily after a portable workhorse.
Surface Slim Pen 2
All things considered, the Surface Pro 8 is not particularly expensive either, starting at $1099.99 by itself while supporting a hot new $129.99 Surface Slim Pen 2 with zero pressure force and ultra-low latency among many other productivity-enhancing accessories.
An affordable new iPad alternative with plenty of raw speed
If the Surface Pro 8 is clearly designed to go after Apple's most advanced iPad Pro version yet, the Surface Go 3 feels like a Windows 11-powered mix between a "regular" iPad and a higher-end iPad Air.
Also read our iPad 2021 full review.
Basically, the 10.5-inch mid-ranger is aimed at rivaling both those "iDevices", starting at a very reasonable $399.99 price with a fairly modest Intel Pentium 6500Y processor inside and going all the way up to $629.99 for a Core i3 configuration packing a zippy 128GB SSD and 8GB RAM.
Apart from the new chips, said to deliver up to a 60 percent increase in overall performance, the Surface Go 3 doesn't look all that different from the Surface Go 2, either inside or out. The general appearance is essentially unchanged, as are the product dimensions, ports, cameras, and speakers.
Interestingly, while the Surface Go 3 also weighs the same as 2020's 10.5-inch model, the battery life is somehow (lightly) upgraded, from 10 to up to 11 hours on a single charge. There's also optional LTE Advanced support this time around, but you'll have to wait a little longer for that specific variant to become available.
Four Wi-Fi-only Surface Pro X configurations
That's it. That's the story of the latest Surface Pro X "upgrade." For as little as $899.99, you can now pre-order the "always connected" 13-incher in a... not-always-connected variant with a Microsoft-developed SQ1 processor, 128GB SSD, and 8GB RAM on deck.
For 200 bucks more, you can get the same somewhat outdated silicon in combination with a 256 gig solid-state drive, while the SQ2-powered Wi-Fi-only Surface Pro X will set you back $1,299.99 and $1,499.99 with 16GB RAM and your choice of a 256 or 512GB SSD.
Just like the Surface Pro 8 and Go 3, the "new" Surface Pro X is scheduled to kick off its "general availability" on October 5. Until then, you'll have to spend a small fortune if you do prefer an always connected Pro X, as the two most affordable such options are out of stock and unlikely to ever come back.