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Microsoft Surface Pro 8 for Business Review: Love Letter


Over the last few years, here at ZDNet, I’ve written about how to spend a lot of time working on the iPad Pro. This is an ideal working machine for writing, triaging inboxes, and bouncing between Slack or Discord.

But while the iPad has been a staple of my workflow for the past decade, I’m starting to get tired of using powerful hardware with software that hasn’t reached its full potential yet. We hope that next month’s announcement of iPad OS 16 will add at least support for real external monitors and better accessory support.

Over the last few months, I’ve been experimenting with different devices, mostly Windows laptops, to find an alternative to the iPad Pro.The Surface Laptop Studio It’s fast, powerful and easy to use, but it doesn’t have LTE and is bulkier than the iPad Pro.I used Surface Pro X It’s been repeated many times since its release, and while the form factor is ideal, it will suffer performance if it doesn’t fully support the slow migration of Microsoft to ARM by third-party apps.

Like

  • Portability
  • LTE connection
  • Battery life
  • price

dislike

  • Temporary interruption of random performance
  • It is heavy as a dedicated tablet

As part of my journey, I’ve been testing Surface Pro 8 with LTE. Even though it’s not listed in Microsoft’s main Surface store, the company is actually creating an LTE version of the Surface Pro 8. However, to find it, Microsoft store business version.. In fact, it’s also known as Surface Pro 8 for Business. You can order your business model from one of the retailers listed by Microsoft. This pageinclude Verizon wirelessOr directly Microsoft business..

Surface with a new look … a kind

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Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

When Microsoft announced the Surface Pro 8 in September 2021, a whole new design for the Surface Pro lineup was revealed. Well, it wasn’t completely new. In fact, the overall design of the Surface Pro X is the same. Placing ProX next to Pro8, the only immediate difference is that Pro8 is thicker than ProX. Other than that, it looks the same.

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The Pro 8 PixelSense display has a refresh rate of up to 120Hz, is touch responsive, and can be used with a surface pen.

The built-in kickstand has a traditional surface-like feature that changes the viewing angle of the Pro 8 display. This includes placing it almost flat on the table. this is, Slim pen 2..

On the right side of the Pro 8’s housing, there’s a Surface Connect port and two Thunderbolt 4 ports for connecting external displays, hard drives, and using USB-C accessories. Just above the two ports on the Pro 8 is the power button. On the left side of the housing is a 3.5mm headphone jack and a volume up / down button.

Above the display is a 5-megapixel camera and all the hardware needed for facial recognition, and you can use Windows Hello to unlock Pro 8 and sign in to the app.

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Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

When you open the kickstand, you’ll find a small door in the lower left corner of the Pro8 housing. You need to use a SIM card tool or a paper clip to push it into a small hole and remove the cover. Below that is the Pro 8 SSD storage (which you can replace and replace yourself) along with the SIM card slot.

You don’t need to use a physical SIM card because Pro 8 supports eSIM, but because you switch between Pro X and iPad Pro frequently, you already have a dedicated SIM card with a data-only plan associated with it. rice field. ..

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The box contains a charger that uses the Pro 8 and Surface Connect ports. If you don’t want to carry the included charger with you, you can use one of the USB-C / Thunderbolt 4 ports to charge your tablet.

There is no stylus or keyboard of any kind in the box. Instead, you need to buy them individually. If you’ve been using the Surface for many years, the bad news is. Older Surface keyboards don’t work with Pro 8.

There are three different options to equip your new tablet with a keyboard and convert it to 2-in-1.You can pick up $ 179 Surface Pro Signature Keyboard, $ 199 Surface Pro Signature Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader Get a $ 279 combo kit (currently for $ 169) Surface Pro Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen 2..

I already had a combo kit, so that’s what I was using during my testing.

Regardless of which keyboard you use, all keyboards have a slot for the Surface Slim Pen 2 above the keyboard. When folded, the pen leans against the bottom bezel of the Pro 8. It charges the pen wirelessly so you can use it anytime.

Overall, I love the Pro 8 design. I noticed that I’m using it as a tablet rather than an iPad Pro just because the kickstand is built into the housing. There is no other cover or case that I have to manage. amazing.

But can it replace the iPad Pro?

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Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

Inside the Surface Pro 8 I’ve tested is an 11th generation Intel Core i7 processor, 16 GB of memory, and a 256 GB SSD. I was running Windows 11 Pro out of the box.

LTE options range from the Intel Core i5’s $ 1,349, 8 GB of memory, 128 GB of storage to tested builds, typically priced at $ 1,849, but are now priced at $ 1,599. It is. Again, these prices do not include the keyboard.

The remaining specifications include Wi-Fi 6 support, Bluetooth 5.1, and up to 14 hours of battery life, which is reduced from 16 hours for Wi-Fi only models.

After setting up Pro 8, one of the first things I did was to enable a refresh rate of 120Hz and raise it from the standard 60Hz. I was able to notice the difference while scrolling and playing casual games, but overall, I’m not sure if it’s completely needed for Pro 8. Yes, it helps, but it also comes at the expense of battery life.

Even if you’re only using Pro8 with Wi-Fi, it’s still not close to the 14-hour quote. However, the Pro 8 battery lasts as long as my iPad Pro battery (usually 8 hours a day) takes an hour or an hour.

One of the things that surprised me after switching to the Pro8 using the ProX and iPad Pro is that the Pro8 still has a fan. I think the Pro 8 is much thicker than the Pro X to make room for the cooling system. The fan volume isn’t that loud, but it works pretty loud, especially if you have a Pro 8 connected to an external monitor.

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Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

By the way, I connected the Pro 8 to my monitor for most of the tests. Thanks to the added support for Thunderbolt 4, I was able to use one of the Thunderbolt 4 ports I had. Belkin Pro Thunderbolt 4 DockThis has enough ports for my use.

Being able to connect your tablet to an external display and get it to work as expected will greatly increase your productivity. I was able to open apps such as Slack and iCloud Mail on the Pro8 screen and write with iA Writer on a large external monitor with multiple Edge tabs open.

When working with an iPad Pro connected to a monitor, everything on the iPad screen is mirrored to a large display. There are some apps that use Apple’s basic API on an external display, but that’s not great.

Also, there are many workarounds for completing certain tasks on the iPad. For example, to publish content on ZDNet, you need to remotely access your MacBook Pro and use Chrome to add images to your story. Otherwise, you will get an error in your content management system. To be fair, this is a Safari issue that also exists on the Mac. However, while you can use the true version of Chrome on your Mac, you can’t use the skin version of the WebKit rendering engine that Apple forces developers to use on the iPhone and iPad. So Edge, Chrome, Brave, etc. are basically all Safari skin versions.

Pro8 recognizes that Windows 11 is running a full-fledged operating system, while iPad Pro is running a mobile-first operating system on the iPad OS, but the devices are relatively the same size and the same. Intended for type users. Even the price is close enough to guarantee a comparison.

The combined cost of the Surface Pro 8 with LTE and the signature keyboard cover with a slim pen is $ 2,128. The iPad Pro with 5G, 16GB of memory, 1TB of storage, Appel’s Magic Keyboard with trackpad and Apple Pencil costs $ 2,449.

There are still many advantages to the iPad Pro

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Jason Cipriani / ZDNet

Indeed, up to this point, I’ve written the equivalent of a love letter to the Surface Pro 8. But it really deserves it. It’s a great 2-in-1 device that I fully enjoyed using, but there are some areas where the iPad Pro is just the right device for me.

I prefer to use Apple’s email app with iCloud + personal domain instead of Thunderbird or iCloud websites to access email.Me too Love Writing on an iPad is much less distracting to open and view a single app. You’ll need to experiment further with the Windows app in full screen and use Focus Assist to recreate a similar experience on Windows. It’s also a better tablet thanks to the interface designed for TouchFirst.

Another thing I like about the iPad Pro is that its performance is reliable and consistent. If you use Pro 8 with multiple apps open, there may be a slight delay or pause before the apps appear after the apps are minimized. This wasn’t specific to a particular app. Frequent experience with Thunderbird, Discord and Slack.

Conclusion

After a few weeks of putting the iPad Pro on the shelf, I started using it as my main device. However, some of the features and features that Surface Pro 8 can do that iPad Pro can’t do are already missing. For example, connect a webcam and livestream an event via LTE (a family member who couldn’t attend the funeral that they actually did recently).

So iPad or Surface Pro 8? For me, it comes down to what iPad OS 16 adds to and does not add to the iPad. But for everyone else, if you’re wondering whether to use the Surface Pro 8 or the iPad Pro, say: There is no mistake on either device. Both are great in themselves.

But after all, the Surface Pro 8 has a full computer, and the iPad Pro now has 80% of it.



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