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Microsoft Floor Professional Eight for Enterprise evaluate: A love letter

Throughout the previous few years right here on ZDNet, I’ve written about how I spend numerous time engaged on my iPad Professional. It is my ultimate work machine for writing, triaging my inbox, and bouncing between Slack or Discord. 

However despite the fact that the iPad has been a staple in my workflow during the last 10 years, I am beginning to develop bored with utilizing overpowered {hardware} with software program that is but to dwell as much as its potential. I am hoping subsequent month’s iPadOS 16 announcement will add, at a minimal, actual exterior monitor assist and higher accent assist. 

For the previous few months I have been attempting out totally different gadgets, primarily Home windows laptops, in a bid to search out one thing to switch my iPad Professional. The Floor Laptop computer Studio is quick, highly effective, and a pleasure to make use of, nevertheless it lacks LTE and is cumbersome in comparison with the iPad Professional. I’ve used a Floor Professional X on and off since its launch, and the shape issue is right, however the lack of full assist for Microsoft’s gradual transition to ARM by third-party apps leads to gradual efficiency. 


  • Portability
  • LTE connectivity
  • Battery life
  • Value

Do not Like

  • Random efficiency hiccups
  • It is heavy as a devoted pill

As a part of my journey, I have been testing a Floor Professional Eight with LTE. Although you will not discover it listed on Microsoft’s predominant Floor retailer, the corporate does certainly make an LTE model of the Floor Professional 8. So as to discover it, nevertheless, you may want to have a look at the enterprise model of the Microsoft Retailer. In reality, it is even referred to as the Floor Professional Eight for Enterprise. You may order the Enterprise mannequin from one of many retailers Microsoft lists on this web page, together with Verizon Wi-fi, or straight from Microsoft Enterprise. 

A brand new-look Floor… type of

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

When Microsoft introduced the Floor Professional Eight in Sept. 2021, it revealed a totally new design for the Floor Professional lineup. Effectively, it wasn’t fully new; it is really the identical total design of the Floor Professional X. Inserting the Professional X subsequent to the Professional 8, the one noticeable distinction that I can see straight away is that the Professional Eight is thicker than the Professional X. In any other case, they give the impression of being similar. 

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The Professional 8’s PixelSense show has as much as a 120Hz refresh charge, responds to the touch, and can be utilized with a Floor Pen. 

The built-in kickstand has the standard Floor-like capability to change the viewing angle of the Professional 8’s show, together with laying it practically flat on a desk — a place that is ultimate for drawing or writing with the Slim Pen 2.

On the precise aspect of the Professional 8’s housing are a Floor Join port and two Thunderbolt four ports for connecting exterior shows, onerous drives, or utilizing any USB-C accent. Simply above the one two ports on the Professional Eight is the facility button. The left aspect of the housing has a 3.5mm headphone jack and the amount up/down buttons.

Above the show, you may discover a 5-megapixel digicam together with all the {hardware} vital for facial recognition to make use of Home windows Hi there for unlocking the Professional Eight or signing into apps. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

While you open the kickstand, you may discover a small door within the backside left nook of the Professional 8’s housing. You will want to make use of a SIM card instrument or a paper clip to press into the small gap to eject the quilt. Beneath it’s the Professional 8’s SSD storage — which you’ll be able to swap out and substitute your self — together with the SIM card slot. 

You do not have to make use of a bodily SIM card because of the Professional 8’s assist for an eSIM, however since I usually swap between the Professional X and iPad Professional, I already had a devoted SIM card with a data-only plan tied to it. 

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Included within the field is the Professional Eight and a charger that makes use of the Floor Join port. Should you do not feel like carrying the included charger, you need to use both USB-C/Thunderbolt four port to cost the pill. 

What you will not discover within the field is any type of stylus or a keyboard. As an alternative, you may want to purchase them individually. Should you’re a longtime Floor person, I’ve some dangerous information: the earlier Floor keyboards will not work on the Professional 8. 

You will have three totally different choices to outfit your new pill with a keyboard, changing it to a 2-in-1. You may choose up the $179 Floor Professional Signature Keyboard, the $199 Floor Professional Signature Keyboard with Fingerprint Reader (presently on sale for $169), or get the $279 combo equipment of a Floor Professional Signature Keyboard with Slim Pen 2. 

I already had the combo equipment, so that is what I have been utilizing throughout my testing. 

No matter which keyboard you choose up, all of them have a slot for a Floor Slim Pen 2 above the keyboard. When it is folded up, the pen rests towards the Professional 8’s backside bezel. It wirelessly fees the pen, so it is always prepared to be used. 

General, I like the design of the Professional 8. I’ve really discovered myself utilizing it as a pill greater than I do the iPad Professional just because the kickstand is constructed into the housing. There is not one other cowl or case I’ve to handle. It is implausible. 

However can it substitute an iPad Professional?

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Contained in the Floor Professional Eight I have been testing is an 11th Technology Intel Core i7 processor, 16GB of reminiscence, and a 256GB SSD. It was working Home windows 11 Professional out of the field. 

The LTE choices vary in value from $1,349 for an Intel Core i5, 8GB of reminiscence, and 128GB of storage as much as the construct I examined, which usually retails for $1,849 however is presently on sale for $1,599. Once more, these costs do not embrace a keyboard. 

The remainder of the specs embrace Wi-Fi 6 assist, Bluetooth 5.1, and as much as 14 hours of battery life, down from 16 hours for the Wi-Fi solely mannequin. 

One of many first issues I did after organising the Professional Eight was to allow the 120Hz refresh charge, bumping it up from the usual 60Hz. I have been capable of discover a distinction whereas scrolling or performing some informal gaming, however total, I am undecided it is fully wanted on the Professional 8. Sure, it helps, nevertheless it additionally comes at a price of battery life. 

I’ve but to get anyplace close to the 14-hour estimate, even when solely utilizing the Professional Eight on Wi-Fi. Nevertheless, the Professional 8’s battery has lasted so long as my iPad Professional’s battery, which is often an 8-hour workday, give or take an hour. 

One factor that stunned me after utilizing the Professional X and iPad Professional and switching to the Professional Eight is the actual fact the Professional Eight nonetheless has a fan in it. I am guessing the Professional Eight is a lot thicker than the Professional X as a way to make room for a cooling system. The fan is not terribly loud, nevertheless it does run so much, particularly when I’ve the Professional Eight linked to an exterior monitor. 

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

Talking of which, I had the Professional Eight linked to a monitor for almost all of my testing. Because of the addition of Thunderbolt four assist, I used to be ready to make use of any of the Thunderbolt four ports I’ve available — together with Belkin’s Professional Thunderbolt four Dock, which has sufficient ports for my use. 

The flexibility to attach a pill to an exterior show and have it really work the way it’s presupposed to is a big enhance for my productiveness. I used to be capable of have apps like Slack and iCloud e mail open on the Professional 8’s display screen, whereas writing in iA Author on the bigger exterior monitor with a number of Edge tabs open. 

When engaged on my iPad Professional linked to a monitor, no matter’s on the iPad’s display screen is mirrored on the bigger show. There are some apps that use Apple’s rudimentary API for exterior shows, nevertheless it’s not nice. 

Additionally, I’ve numerous workarounds for finishing sure duties on the iPad. For example, as a way to publish content material on ZDNet, I usually must remotely entry my MacBook Professional and use Chrome as a way to add photographs to a narrative, in any other case the content material administration system errors out. To be honest, that is a Safari subject that additionally exists on the Mac. Nevertheless, I can use the true model of Chrome on a Mac and never a skinned model of the WebKit rendering engine that Apple forces builders to make use of on the iPhone and iPad. Which means Edge, Chrome, Courageous, and the like are basically all simply skinned variations of Safari. 

I understand that the Professional Eight is working a full-fledged working system in Home windows 11, whereas the iPad Professional is working a mobile-first working system in iPadOS, however the gadgets are comparatively the identical dimension and goal the identical sort of person. Even the costs are shut sufficient that the comparability is warranted. 

The whole price of the Floor Professional Eight with LTE, together with the Signature Keyboard Cowl with Slim Pen is $2,128. The iPad Professional with 5G, 16GB of reminiscence, 1TB of storage, Appel’s Magic Keyboard with trackpad and an Apple Pencil is $2,449. 

There are nonetheless many issues the iPad Professional does higher

Jason Cipriani/ZDNet

I admit, up till this level I have been writing what quantities to a love letter to the Floor Professional 8. However that is as a result of it really deserves it. It is a implausible 2-in-1 system that I’ve completely loved utilizing, however there are some areas the place the iPad Professional is only a higher system for me. 

I desire to make use of Apple’s Mail app together with my iCloud+ private area versus both Thunderbird or the iCloud web site for accessing my e mail. I additionally love writing on the iPad as a result of there are far fewer distractions with a single app open and visual. I have to experiment extra with utilizing Home windows apps in full display screen and Focus help to recreate an identical expertise on Home windows. It is also a greater pill because of an interface that is designed for touch-first. 

One other factor I like about my iPad Professional is that its efficiency is dependable and constant. When utilizing the Professional Eight with a number of apps open, there can be a slight delay or pause earlier than an app would seem after being minimized at instances. It wasn’t particular to anybody app; I ceaselessly skilled it with Thunderbird, Discord, and Slack. 

Backside line

After just a few weeks of my iPad Professional sitting on a shelf, I’ve gone again to utilizing it as my predominant system. However I am already lacking a few of the options and issues I may do on the Floor Professional Eight that I am unable to on the iPad Professional — like hook up a webcam to dwell stream an occasion over LTE (one thing I really did just lately for relations that could not attend a funeral).

So, iPad or Floor Professional 8? For me, it’s going to come all the way down to what iPadOS 16 does or would not add to the iPad. However for everybody else, for those who’re on the fence about whether or not to go together with the Floor Professional Eight or an iPad Professional, I will say this: you possibly can’t go mistaken with both system. They’re each implausible in their very own proper.

On the finish of the day, nevertheless, you are getting a full pc within the Floor Professional Eight and, presently, 80% of 1 within the iPad Professional.

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