If you’re looking for Windows hardware, Microsoft’s Surface brand offers a growing lineup of devices, including 2-in-1 hybrids. The latest iteration is the Microsoft Surface Pro 8, a redesigned tablet/computer with a large 13-inch display. It builds upon the success of the Microsoft Surface Pro 7, a unit that brought longed-for upgrades like a USB-C port. If you’re after a sleeker computer, however, it’s hard to argue against the slim form of the Microsoft Surface Pro X.
But which of these three deliver in terms of performance? And what other features do they hold that may make you choose one over the other? We’ve gone through these Surface Pro devices and laid bare their particulars to help you decide.
Microsoft Surface Pro 8 vs 7 vs X Comparison Chart
Microsoft’s Surface Pro devices follow more or less the same design template with some differences in their display, construction, and ports.
The Surface Pro series reigns supreme when it comes to 2-in-1 devices. While bending, convertible laptops offer better work functionality, they lack the versatility and portability of Microsoft’s devices. It’s this detachable form that has won the tablet PC hybrid its cult following, despite hardware limitations.
Appearance-wise, the Surface Pro 8, 7, and X resemble other tablets. You can only do much with the tablet blueprint anyway. However, the Surface Pro X is arguably the sleekest among the three. At just 0.28 inches thick, it’s one of the slimmest hybrids on the market.
If you want a more professional-looking unit, the Surface Pro 8 is your best bet. The Pro 8 moves away from the Surface Pro 7’s unibody magnesium exterior to an anodized aluminum casing. It’s a noteworthy alteration that signals Microsoft’s shift towards environmentally conscious design.
The Pro 8 also takes inspiration from the Pro X, ditching the large side bezels that make the Pro 7 look dated. And while the Pro 8 has a larger footprint than the Pro 7, it feels slimmer.
With its new chassis, the latest Surface Pro iteration has a bit more heft. It’s still portable, but you’ll notice the extra weight if you’re coming from the Pro 7 or Pro X. As for colors, the Pro 8 has also ditched the matte black variant. Replacing it is a graphite model, which is arguably more attractive and less of a fingerprint magnet.
Display and Ports
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8, 7, and X all have PixelSense displays. However, the Surface Pro 8 follows the Pro X in offering a larger 13-inch screen compared to 12.3 inches of the Pro 7. As a result, you get a bump in resolution on the Surface Pro 8 and Pro X, although the pixel density remains the same as the Surface Pro 7 at 267 PPI. All three are adaptive color displays, too.
What has changed is the screen refresh rate. The Surface Pro 7 and Pro X are still at 60Hz. While hardly outdated, they aren’t as immersive as the 120Hz on the Pro 8. If you want fluid screen motion, you’ll have to invest in the latest model.
As for ports, the three 2-in-1s have different layouts with their respective pros and cons. On the Surface Pro 7, you’ll find a USB-C and USB-A port. You also get a 3.5mm headphone jack and a MicroSDXC card reader. The Surface Pro 8 retains the jack but features two USB-C ports instead. It also ditches the card reader.
Meanwhile, the slim form of the Surface Pro X means you lose the 3.5mm headphone jack. You’ll have to get a Bluetooth speaker or wireless earbuds for it. However, you still have two USB-C ports. Plus, it comes with a nano-SIM slot if you want to use your data plan.
Like most Surface Pro devices, the Pro 8, Pro 7, and Pro X have a Surface Connect port and another port for the optional Surface keyboards.
Camera and Accessories
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 and Pro X have better cameras than the Pro 7. However, when it comes to accessories, all three devices are tied.
Like most tablets, you get front and rear-facing cameras on these Surface devices. Comparing the Surface Pro 8 vs X, you see similar specs — a 5MP camera for selfies and video calls and a 10MP rear camera that can record 4K videos. You also get a 5MP front camera on the Surface Pro 7 but will settle for an 8MP rear-facing module that maxes out at 1080p full HD video.
Audio-wise, all three tablets are equipped with dual far-field Studio Mics. Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7 and Pro X also come with 2W and 1.6W stereo speakers, respectively. Both have Dolby Audio support, too. On the Surface Pro 8, you have a similar speaker array as the Pro 7 but with Dolby Sound instead.
The Surface Pro 8, 7, and X convert into a decent laptop with an optional keyboard that doubles as a cover. While you can do the same with an iPad, Apple’s tablet interface isn’t as full-featured as the Windows on the Surface devices.
If you like writing or drawing, Microsoft recommends getting its Surface Pen for the 2-in-1s. Plus, it’s well-integrated into Windows. Similar to Samsung’s S-Pen, the Surface Pen is packed with functionality — from taking screenshots to bringing up notes pages.
The stylus is expensive, but if you’re not interested in Microsoft’s official offerings, third-party styli are available.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8, and even the older Surface Pro 7, perform better than the Surface Pro X, which runs on an efficient ARM-based chip with limited software compatibility.
When the Surface Pro 7 was released in 2019, it came with either a 10th Gen dual-core i3 or quad-core i5/i7 Intel processor. You could also choose from 4G, 8GB, or 16GB of RAM, with the 8GB competing well with the likes of the iPad.
On the Surface Pro 8, there’s a jump to 11th generation i5 and i7 quad-core processors. This change delivers small but noticeable improvements in speed and performance. You’ll have no issues here going through Windows 11.
Next to each other, the Surface Pro 8 and Pro 7 run Windows apps with ease. Even photo and video editing programs are handled well. But the absence of a dedicated GPU means demanding tasks — from gaming to video rendering — can be more of a chore.
With the Surface Pro X, Microsoft ditches Intel and uses its own ARM-based chip. Now, you get the Microsoft SQ1 or SQ2 processor, designed in partnership with Qualcomm. Both options are efficient, requiring no active cooling. You also get solid memory and storage configurations, starting at 8GB for RAM and 128GB for the SSD.
But while the move gives the Pro X extended battery life and allowances for a slim design, it has limited support for third-party software drivers. Several include those needed to run certain apps and use peripherals. Staples like Adobe Photoshop, for instance, are not compatible. You can use emulation, but the results are sluggish.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 and Pro X have the slight edge over the Surface Pro 7 in battery life.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 doesn’t disappoint when it comes to battery life, with 16 hours of runtime. Of course, this is based on typical usage. If you’re using the tablet for work, expect it to last over 9 hours. You can always extend these numbers with a Microsoft Surface Pro 8 docking station like the Surface Dock 2.
On the other hand, the Surface Pro 7 promises 10.5 hours of battery life but comes down to just 7 hours based on actual usage. Meanwhile, the Surface Pro X is marketed to deliver 15 hours of battery life, thanks to its new chip. In reality, it only averages between 9 to 10 hours of use.
While the Pro X’s battery life is still better than the Pro 7, it does minimize the competitive value it’s supposed to offer. Unless the tablet’s slim form factor is more important than usage time, the Pro 7 becomes a reasonable alternative to the Pro X.
The Microsoft Surface Pro 8 is the best 2-in-1 to get, as it combines the capabilities of the Surface Pro 7 with the efficiency and battery life of the Surface Pro X.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8, Pro 7, and Pro X are well-engineered tablets, capable of becoming serviceable laptops with an optional keyboard. But if you’re choosing among the three and money isn’t an issue, the Surface Pro 8 is the way to go. With a redesigned chassis, longer battery life, and noticeable performance improvements, it’s the best detachable 2-in-1 you can buy today.
If you’re prioritizing aesthetics, then the Surface Pro X may be more appealing. Its slim design makes for a stylish and eye-catching device. It also comes with Microsoft’s custom-designed ARM-based chips that, at least on paper, are quite the workhorse.
But in reality, these processors fall short due to the limited software compatibility. Unless you’re willing to work within these limitations, you’re better off with the Surface Pro 8 or the Surface Pro 7 if you’re on a budget.
The Microsoft Pro 8 has a larger 13″ display compared to the 12.3″ screen of the Surface Pro 7. It also comes with an upgraded processor and a redesigned aluminum chassis.
Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 has a one-year limited hardware warranty.
The Microsoft Surface Pro X comes with an accelerometer, gyroscope, magneto meter, and ambient light sensor.
Yes. However, the Surface Pro 7’s Microsoft 365 is only a 30-day trial.