The Surface Pro 8 is going to be packed with features unlike any other Surface Pro released to date. Sike! It will look the same. It will generally operate the same. The leaked model on eBay shows the same 12.3” screen, kickstand, and the same detachable keyboard option. There’s only one thing that could and should get better in the Surface Pro 8 versus the Surface Pro 7. The battery life. It is a major complaint about the Surface Pro 7 that it lost almost three hours of battery life against its predecessors. How will they increase the battery life?
Explanation of Computing Mechanics
Here is a brief explanation of the correlation of heat, energy, and performance in regards to computing. When referring to walls, they are barriers, limitations, or maximums. More power equals more performance for the most part until processors reach a heat wall. Drawing less power creates less heat and elongates battery life at the expense of a performance wall. Intel likely tries to balance these aspects for the device and optimal usage of that device. For more information about the future of computing, check out this blog on the power wall.
Surface Pro 8 and Intel
The Surface Pro 8 11th Generation Intel processors are smaller and more energy-efficient by redesigning the layout of the transistors and internals. The H-series processors: e.g., Intel Core i7-11370H, were purportedly designed for mobile gaming devices and max out at 35 watts. This is 10W lower than their other flagship high-end gaming processors. Intel says the chipset will benefit largely due to its newest integrated graphics card, the Iris Xe. The Iris Xe falls below basically every current dedicated graphics card, but stands tall to other integrated graphics cards in its category.
Integrated vs Dedicated Graphics
The downside of integrated graphics is shared system memory and a reduced number of execution cores. This makes them unsuitable for peak gaming performance. In contrast to integrated graphics cards, dedicated graphics cards are bulky, draw a ton of power, and generally get quite hot; usually featuring cooling fans. Dedicated graphics cards such as the GeForce GTX 1080 are not ideal for mobile gaming, depending on the form factor of the device. Mobile devices carrying these kinds of graphics cards are bulky and heavy, such as Asus’s ROG (Republic of Gamers) Strix series laptops. Contrarily, Surfaces are thin tablets with limited ventilation, limited space, and, because mobility relies on battery power, limited power. To read more about lithium batteries and how they work, please read our latest battery blog.
Surface Pro 8 Specifications and Rumors
Specifications for the Surface Pro 8 will be available in the following combinations: Core i3, i5, i7, and 8 gigabytes, 16 gigabytes, or 32 gigabytes RAM and ranging from 128 gigabytes to 1 terabyte of solid-state storage. The top-end model of the Surface Pro 8 will have the highest option in each specification and the only model available with 32GB of RAM. There’s some talk about LTE capabilities in the Surface Pro 8 for select variations, which will be crucial for gamers and professionals who take advantage of the mobility of the Surface product line. Rumors exist of modifications to the kickstand: a solar panel in the kickstand for wireless battery charging or an amplifier, subwoofer, or mid-range additional speaker in the kickstand to increase sound capabilities. While all of those things sound cool, it is likely not going into the Surface Pro 8. If this rumor holds then we will see it in future models of the Surface Pro series in the next few years.
What to Expect with Surface Pro 8
Since the inception of the Surface, it has been the device that balances productivity with entertainment. The focus around the H-Series 11th Generation Tiger Lake processors and chipsets show an increase in focus toward gaming and entertainment. Surface Pro series will remain extremely viable for the busy professional. They are niche for digital artists and other professions making use of the Surface Pen. In fact, the Surface Pen can detect 256 levels of pressure allowing for artistic techniques such as shading. Professionals will enjoy the detachable Surface Type Cover which has been a mainstay for every iteration of the Surface Pro.
Aside from the rumors of the kickstand, and the potential for a battery that might last the majority of an active day, the Surface Pro 8 is just a chipset and processor upgrade from the Surface Pro 7. The resolution will be the same, the form factor will be the same. It will be everything you expect with no major surprises or feature additions. Sometimes these small revisions and upgrades are just too small to validate upgrading from the Surface Pro 7 to the Surface Pro 8.
To be more direct, a quick search on Microsoft’s website reveals zero information on the Surface Pro 8. Estimated to release in early 2021 (before May). Smart release dates would revolve around tax returns or stimulus checks. Any article from Microsoft would garner attention and build some excitement. Additionally, the fact that there is no informational or marketing material from Microsoft gives credence that the Surface Pro 8 is just more of the same and maybe what the Surface Pro 7/7+ should have been.