Microsoft Surface Pro 8 review – one of the most powerful and useful tablets out there

Some good several years after Apple’s bizarre ad, where a child has asked the question “what is a computer”, we can comfortably say that this is possible. But not because of Apple. Quite interestingly, the reason for that is Microsoft, itself. The Surface Pro 8 is a tablet that doubles as a fairly powerful laptop. This feels weird to fathom, yet again, to see it in person.

Actually, there is nothing too different about the Surface Pro 8 – it looks like your ordinary tablet with one or two features that set it apart from the competition. One of these features is undoubtedly the kickstand. Another, however, is the use of x64 processors, in the form of Intel Tiger Lake chips.

This is enough for the laptop to take on some pretty expensive notebooks. Another major helper in this battle would be the 3:2 IPS display. It not only has a high resolution but sports a 120Hz refresh rate. Unfortunately, the keyboard and stylus have to be purchased separately (unless you find yourself a nice little bundle).

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System:


Specs Sheet

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 - Specs

  • LG LP129WT212166 (INT3480)
  • Color accuracy  3.7  1.3
  • up to 1000GB SSD
  • RAM
  • up to 32GB
  • OS
  • Windows 11 Home, Windows 11 Pro, Windows 10 Pro
  • Battery
  • 51.5Wh
  • Body material
  • Aluminum
  • Dimensions
  • 287 x 208 x 9.3 mm (11.30" x 8.19" x 0.37")
  • Weight
  • 0.89 kg (2 lbs)
  • Ports and connectivity
  • 2x USB Type-C
  • 4.0, Thunderbolt 4
  • Card reader
  • Ethernet LAN
  • Wi-Fi
  • 802.11ax
  • Bluetooth
  • 5.1
  • Audio jack
  • 3.5mm Combo Jack
  • Features
  • Web camera
  • 5MP Front-Facing + 10MP Rear-Facing
  • Microphone
  • Dual Far-Field Studio Microphones
  • Speakers
  • 2x 2W Stereo Speakers, Dolby Atmos
  • Optical drive
  • Security Lock slot

What’s in the box?

Inside the fancy packaging, you will find the mandatory paperwork, as well as a 65W charger with a proprietary magnetic connector, and a USB Type-A port.

Design and construction

Looking at the externals we see a significantly revised design, compared to the Surface Pro 7. The biggest difference is the inclusion of thin bezels all around the display, which let the device appear larger while having a smaller footprint. Microsoft has done a classic example of “trimming the bushes”.

Here, we can see that the sides are rounded towards the screen. Yet, they are built from the same aluminum slap. The kickstand is also metal and offers a wide range of motion. At the same time, it allows you to stop it at your desire, as it remains stable regardless of where you put it. By the way, the tablet weighs just under 900 grams and has a profile of 9.3mm.

The backside of the tablet features a 10MP camera, that can shoot either 1080p or 4K. Respectively, the 5MP front-facing shooter is capped at 1080p video capture. However, it sports an IR face recognition scanner, as well as an ambient brightness and color sensor.

Interestingly, most of the top edge (the one above the cameras), is made out of plastic. This is where the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth antennas are located. Of course, there are a couple of dedicated buttons. On the left, you will find the volume rocker, while the ride side houses the power button.


As with most tablets out there, the I/O selection is really scarce. You get two Thunderbolt 4 connectors, an audio jack, as well as a magnetic charging plug, and a keyboard cover dock. We tried plugging an external drive into the USB Type-A port of the charger, to see if it’s going to act as a passthrough. Unfortunately, it didn’t.

Display quality

Microsoft Surface Pro 8 has a 120Hz IPS panel, model number LP129WT212166 (INT3480). Its diagonal is 12.9-inch (32.8 cm), and the resolution is 2880 x 1920 pixels. The screen ratio is 3:2, and we are looking at a pixel density of – 268 ppi, and a pitch of 0.09 х 0.09 mm. The screen turns into Retina when viewed at distance equal to or greater than 33cm (13″) (from this distance one’s eye stops differentiating the separate pixels, and it is normal for looking at a laptop).

Viewing angles are excellent. We offer images at 45° to evaluate image quality.

Also, a video with locked focus and exposure.

We measured a maximum brightness of 464 nits in the middle of the screen and 477 nits as an average for the whole area, with a maximum deviation of 11% (the following measurements are made with the sRGB Color profile and HDR turned off). The Correlated Color Temperature on a white screen is 6450K – almost matching the optimal for the sRGB standard of 6500K.
In the illustration below you can see how the main display performs from a uniformity perspective. In other words, the leakage of light from the light source.

Values of dE2000 over 4.0 should not occur, and this parameter is one of the first you should check if you intend to use the laptop for color-sensitive work. The contrast ratio is good – 1370:1.

To make sure we are on the same page, we would like to give you a little introduction to the sRGB color gamut and the Adobe RGB. To start, there’s the CIE 1976 Uniform Chromaticity Diagram that represents the visible specter of colors by the human eye, giving you a better perception of the color gamut coverage and the color accuracy.

Inside the black triangle, you will see the standard color gamut (sRGB) that is being used by millions of people on HDTV and on the web. As for the Adobe RGB, this is used in professional cameras, monitors, etc for printing. Basically, colors inside the black triangle are used by everyone and this is the essential part of the color quality and color accuracy of a mainstream notebook.

Still, we’ve included other color spaces like the famous DCI-P3 standard used by movie studios, as well as the digital UHD Rec.2020 standard. Rec.2020, however, is still a thing of the future and it’s difficult for today’s displays to cover that well. We’ve also included the so-called Michael Pointer gamut, or Pointer’s gamut, which represents the colors that naturally occur around us every day.

The yellow dotted line shows Microsoft Surface Pro 8’s color gamut coverage.

Its display covers 92% of the sRGB/ITU-R BT.709 (web/HDTV standard) in CIE1976.

Our “Design and Gaming” profile delivers optimal color temperature (6500K) at 140 cd/m2 luminance and sRGB gamma mode.

We tested the accuracy of the display with 24 commonly used colors like light and dark human skin, blue sky, green grass, orange, etc. You can check out the results at factory condition and also, with the “Design and Gaming” profile.

Below you can compare the scores of Microsoft Surface Pro 8 with the default settings – left, and with the “Gaming and Web design” profile – right.

The next figure shows how well the display is able to reproduce really dark parts of an image, which is essential when watching movies or playing games in low ambient light.

The left side of the image represents the display with stock settings, while the right one is with the “Gaming and Web Design” profile activated. On the horizontal axis, you will find the grayscale, and on the vertical axis – the luminance of the display. On the two graphs below you can easily check for yourself how your display handles the darkest nuances but keep in mind that this also depends on the settings of your current display, the calibration, the viewing angle, and the surrounding light conditions.

Response time (Gaming capabilities)

We test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “black-to-white” and “white-to-black” method from 10% to 90% and vice versa.

We recorded Fall Time + Rise Time = 26 ms.

After that, we test the reaction time of the pixels with the usual “Gray-to-Gray” method from 50% White to 80% White and vice versa between 10% and 90% of the amplitude.

PWM (Screen flickering)

Pulse-width modulation (PWM) is an easy way to control monitor brightness. When you lower the brightness, the light intensity of the backlight is not lowered, but instead turned off and on by the electronics with a frequency indistinguishable to the human eye. In these light impulses, the light/no-light time ratio varies, while brightness remains unchanged, which is harmful to your eyes. You can read more about that in our dedicated article on PWM.

Microsoft Surface Pro 8’s display doesn’t use PWM above 120 nits. Below this value, the flickers have a small amplitude and high frequency (30 kHz), which makes the screen comfortable for long periods of use in this aspect.

Blue light emissions

Installing our Health-Guard profile not only eliminates PWM but also reduces the harmful Blue Light emissions while keeping the colors of the screen perceptually accurate. If you’re not familiar with the Blue light, the TL;DR version is – emissions that negatively affect your eyes, skin, and your whole body. You can find more information about that in our dedicated article on Blue Light.

Buy our profiles

Since our profiles are tailored for each individual display model, this article and its respective profile package are meant for Microsoft Surface Pro 8 configurations with 12.9″ LP129WT212166 (INT3480).

*Should you have problems with downloading the purchased file, try using a different browser to open the link you’ll receive via e-mail. If the download target is a .php file instead of an archive, change the file extension to .zip or contact us at [email protected]

Read more about the profiles HERE.

In addition to receiving efficient and health-friendly profiles, by buying LaptopMedia's products you also support the development of our labs, where we test devices in order to produce the most objective reviews possible.

Office Work

Office Work should be used mostly by users who spend most of the time looking at pieces of text, tables or just surfing. This profile aims to deliver better distinctness and clarity by keeping a flat gamma curve (2.20), native color temperature and perceptually accurate colors.

Design and Gaming

This profile is aimed at designers who work with colors professionally, and for games and movies as well. Design and Gaming takes display panels to their limits, making them as accurate as possible in the sRGB IEC61966-2-1 standard for Web and HDTV, at white point D65.


Health-Guard eliminates the harmful Pulse-Width Modulation (PWM) and reduces the negative Blue Light which affects our eyes and body. Since it’s custom tailored for every panel, it manages to keep the colors perceptually accurate. Health-Guard simulates paper so the pressure on the eyes is greatly reduced.

Get all 3 profiles with 33% discount


Microsoft Surface Pro 8’s stereo speakers produce a sound of very good quality. Its low, mid, and high tones are clear of deviations, and the maximum volume is pretty high.


All drivers and utilities for this notebook can be downloaded automatically through Windows.


Now, we conduct the battery tests with the Windows Better performance setting turned on, screen brightness adjusted to 120 nits and all other programs turned off except for the one we are testing the notebook with. This device’s 51.5Wh battery lasted us for 8 hours and 49 minutes of Web browsing, or 7 hours and 56 minutes of video playback.

In order to simulate real-life conditions, we used our own script for automatic web browsing through over 70 websites.

CPU options

This laptop can be purchased with the Core i5-1135G7 or the Core i7-1185G7.

GPU options

Of course, the only option for graphics is the integrated solution inside of the CPU you get it with. It will be the Iris Xe Graphics G7, with either 80 or 96EUs.

Gaming tests


CS:GO HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Medium (Check settings) HD 1080p, MAX (Check settings)
Average FPS 157 fps 108 fps 64 fps

DOTA 2 HD 1080p, Low (Check settings) HD 1080p, Normal (Check settings) HD 1080p, High (Check settings)
Average FPS 130 fps 86 fps 64 fps

Temperatures and comfort

Max CPU load

In this test we use 100% on the CPU cores, monitoring their frequencies and chip temperature. The first column shows a computer’s reaction to a short load (2-10 seconds), the second column simulates a serious task (between 15 and 30 seconds), and the third column is a good indicator of how good the laptop is for long loads such as video rendering.

Average core frequency (base frequency + X); CPU temp.

Intel Core i7-1185G7 (15W TDP) 0:02 – 0:10 sec 0:15 – 0:30 sec 10:00 – 15:00 min
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 3.82 GHz @ 97°C @ 60W 3.42 GHz @ 85°C @ 45W 2.84 GHz @ 76°C @ 28W
ASUS ExpertBook B9 (B9400) 3.51 GHz @ 96°C @ 41W 3.09 GHz @ 96°C @ 31W 3.05 GHz @ 93°C @ 28W
Dell Latitude 13 7320 3.65 GHz @ 98°C @ 48W 3.35 GHz @ 98°C @ 39W 2.63 GHz @ 79°C @ 23W
Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon 9th Gen 3.53 GHz @ 96°C @ 44W 3.23 GHz @ 96°C @ 36W 2.78 GHz @ 91°C @ 26W
Lenovo ThinkPad P14s Gen 2 3.67 GHz @ 100°C @ 48W 3.36 GHz @ 100°C @ 39W 2.54 GHz @ 74°C @ 20W
Fujitsu LifeBook U9311X 3.08 GHz @ 98°C @ 35W 2.75 GHz @ 97°C @ 27W 2.26 GHz @ 82°C @ 18W
MSI Summit E15 (A11x) 3.32 GHz @ 94°C @ 38W 3.19 GHz @ 95°C @ 36W 3.05 GHz @ 95°C @ 33W
Dell Latitude 14 7420 3.66 GHz @ 98°C @ 47W 3.04 GHz @ 97°C @ 30W 2.17 GHz @ 76°C @ 16W
MSI Prestige 14 (A11Sx) 3.80 GHz @ 94°C @ 53W 3.48 GHz @ 95°C @ 42W 3.22 GHz @ 91°C @ 35W
Lenovo Yoga 9i (14) 3.08 GHz @ 92°C @ 42W 3.14 GHz @ 96°C @ 34W 2.28 GHz @ 76°C @ 19W

Wow… We definitely didn’t expect a 13-inch tablet to outperform larger laptops with arguably twice more space for cooling. It not only manages to maintain the 28W power target, but the CPU is not too hot either.

Comfort during full load

The main reason for that is the fan inside. Despite the high clocks, it is really quiet. On the other hand, the entire device heats up to more than 40°C after a bit over 15 minutes of stress testing.


There is a lot to talk about here. To start the summary, we would like to address the battery life. Microsoft states that its device can last up to 16 hours of “typical use”. You should always take the manufacturer’s claims with a pinch of salt. However, the salt you need to prepare for this claim would be enough to cure a whole jar of anchovies. We only got about 9 hours of Web browsing or 8 hours of video playback on a single charge.

Not that this is a bad result, considering the high resolution of the display, but it is nearly half the suggested score from Microsoft. The manufacturer also states that there is a removable SSD option, which is probably true. However, taking the tablet apart is a nightmare.

Arguably the most important aspect of this device is its touchscreen IPS display. It has a high resolution, comfortable viewing angles, and a good contrast ratio. It covers 92% of the sRGB color gamut with the appropriate preinstalled color profile, and its backlight is comfortable when PWM is concerned. Our Gaming and Web design profile makes the color reproduction accurate enough for professional use. Also, we find the 120Hz refresh rate to really improve the user experience, while the 3:2 aspect ratio makes it more comfortable for designers.

In addition to that, we found that the machine is being properly cooled, and has no issues maintaining a 28W TDP target, while the temperature is significantly lower than some competitors in the laptop world.

Of course, this leads to a great performance. But it’s not only the computational one that is impressive. The use of quad-channel LPDDR4x RAM helps the integrated GPU flourish.

Unfortunately, you have to deal with some inherent limitations of the tablet. First and foremost, it only has two Thunderbolt 4 connectors and an Audio jack. Everything else is proprietory. Then, there is the lack of a dedicated keyboard. Keep in mind that this is by far not a budget offering, and omitting the external keyboard from the packaging is a huge blow. Thankfully, Windows 11 offers a great integration of the on-screen keyboard.

Ultimately, if you want to take advantage of this device, you have to prepare a lot of money. After that, you need to prepare even more, so you can equip it with the essential keyboard cover and stylus, which will set you back at least $250 more. Other than that, using this machine-made us really happy, while its performance left us genuinely surprised.

You can check the prices and configurations in our Specs System:


  • Quad-channel LPDDR4x memory
  • Sustains 28W under load
  • Great speakers
  • Decent battery life
  • Covers 91% of sRGB
  • Accurate color representation with our Gaming and Web design profile
  • Doesn’t use aggressive PWM to adjust screen brightness
  • Work-friendly 3:2 aspect ratio and a touchscreen usability
  • Very quiet


  • No SD card reader
  • Memory is soldered
  • Premium price tag
  • Basically unupgradable

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