It might be hard to remember, what with desktop, laptop, and phone options now, but the Surface lineup started as a humble 2-in-1 tablet category. But Microsoft hasn’t forgotten, as it unveiled new Surface Pro 8, Pro X, and Go 3 tablets this morning.
Note: Be sure to check out all the products revealed at today’s Surface event, including the Surface Duo 2 Android phone, and the insane Surface Laptop Studio. Microsoft also announced some cool new accessories that are genuinely worth taking a look at.
Surface Pro 8: Goodbye USB-A, Hello Thunderbolt
You’d be forgiven for not seeing the difference in the new Surface Pro 8 at first glance. Microsoft hit gold with the Surface Pro designed when it introduced the Pro 3, and it’s stuck with that general format ever since. You could consider that a good thing for backward accessory compatibilities like docks and the like.
But take a closer look at the Surface Pro 8, and you will see a few notable differences. Like the complete lack of USB-A ports. In the beginning, USB-A ports were one of the significant features that made Microsoft’s Pro tablet … well, Pro. Thanks to the ports, you could connect hard drives, docks, cameras, and more to the tablet, and they would all work thanks to Windows.
But the new Surface Pro 8 ditches the USB-A port in favor of two USB-C ports. But these aren’t just any old USB-C port; they’re Thunderbolt ports. That means they can handle high-speed data transfer and monitors. It’s a change that’s been a long time coming and a bit surprising considering Microsoft called Thunderbolt technology insecure not that long ago.
Microsoft says that the new Surface Pro 8 is over two times faster than its predecessor, thanks to new 11th Gen processors in i5 and i7 configurations. You can choose models that house anywhere from 8 GBs up to 32 GBs of RAM. Storage comes in choices from 128 GBs to 1TB SSDs. Even more impressively, those SSD drives are user-replaceable with a simple door you open to get to it.
The display also sees an upgrade with 120 Hz support, which should make for some smooth scrolling. Microsoft even managed to shrink the bezels and gently round the corners of the tablet along the way. And thanks to those smaller bezels, Microsoft managed to fit a slightly larger display in, now at 13 inches as opposed to the 12.3 inch screens of the past.
The Surface Pro 8 also works with the new Surface Slim Pen 2 and it offers an optional keyboard that can house and charge it, similar to the Pro X. You can pre-order the Surface Pro 8 starting today, and the price starts at $1,099.99. Units ship October 5th.
Surface Pro X: Now More Affordable
The Surface Pro X is an interesting device. It serves as a spiritual successor to the Surface RT, a device that failed traction, but it shouldn’t be confused for that tablet. It’s far more premium than the Surface RT and was the first to debut features now making their way to the Pro 8, like a user-removable hard drive and dual USB-C ports.
But for an ARM-based device, it’s pretty expensive. That’s in part due to the cellular radios. The latest Surface Pro X seeks to address that sticking point. The new model, which complements the existing lineup, is Wi-Fi only and more affordable. That’s the only fundamental change, and like the LTE model, it comes in multiple RAM (8 or 16 GB) and storage (128 GB, 256 GB, and 512 GB) configurations.
The new Wi-Fi-only models are on pre-order today, starting at $899.99. Units ship October 5th.
The Surface Go 3 Gets a Little Faster
Speaking of curiosities, the Surface Go 3 serves as an interesting entry-level point to the Surface tablet lineup. It’s smaller, lighter, and less powerful. That less powerful part is sometimes its downfall, as Windows prefers a processor that can keep up.
The new Surface Go 3 updates the processors to newer Pentium options and a new Intel i3 option. That last one outperforms the previous m3 configuration and should add pep to the Surface Go 3. The tablet maintains its size and port selection, along with the keyboard options.
You can pre-order the Surface Go 3 today and the price starts at $399.99. Units ship October 5th, the same day as Windows 11. Keep in mind that while the Core i3 chip is a big upgrade, it adds a lot of the Surface Go 3’s starting price.