Is Surface Pro 8 Good for Engineering Students?

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 8 tablet was a major update to the Surface Pro 7. Launched in 2021, it came with a new and more powerful processor, refreshed Windows 11, a larger screen, and better pen input. Still, many users think it works much better as a laptop rather than a tablet, so they would advise getting a keyboard, too, to go with it.

Overall, it has proven to be a worthy competitor to the iPad, especially for those who are used to using or who prefer Windows. But how good is it for students studying engineering? Is it good enough to help engineering students tackle their complex tasks successfully? Let’s find out.

Engineering Student

Running critical software

One of the biggest advantages of owning a Surface Pro 8 for engineering students is that it has a powerful processor. It is capable of running the most crucial types of software that are essential to completing their studies. Students taking electrical engineering classes are particularly fond of the device, as they find it a great tool for their 2-D projects. 

It is better to go for a version with high memory (e.g., 8GB RAM) to get the best out of your laptop. You can also run AutoCAD, which is another critical program for those working on 2-D and 3-D projects. Some students opt for a larger screen for maximum visual performance.

Good as a laptop, good as a tablet

Surface Pro 8 can be used as both a laptop and a tablet. As a portable device, it is really comfortable to use. It does not take up much space, so you can carry it with you, keeping it handy. This is extremely important for engineering students who need to use it as their primary computer in class as well as at home. 

As noted, you can use the device to run all necessary software and programs, such as MATLAB. Just be aware of the risk of draining your battery too soon. To avoid the risk, you can use the laptop only when you are on the go while switching to a desktop computer.

Practical in class

Most engineering students owning a Surface Pro 8 fund it as an indispensable tool while in class. Many print all pre-lecture notes to the course and then use the pen to annotate the notes during the lecture. Others use the keyboard to split the screen. This helps them follow tutorial worksheets in Word while using preferred software, such as Visual Studio or AutoCAD.

The device is perfectly designed to read lab manuals while taking quick notes and copying relevant sketches into a Word file. Surface Pro 8 with dGPU is definitely a great option for this task, as it replaces the need to use paper, saves manual work, and makes the entire workflow quicker and more efficient.

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The Surface Pro 8 comes with a 13-inch PixelSense touchscreen display. It boasts a 2880 x 1920 pixel resolution, as well as a 120Hz refresh rate. Dolby Vision and Adaptive Color technology are important features too. 

The screen manages to achieve 104 percent of the sRGB color gamut and 72 percent of the DCI-P3 color gamut. This is a great result. You are able to see all the small details in your design. This is extremely important for engineering students, for whom details matter a lot.


The device comes in handy with two Thunderbolt 4 USB-C ports. It also has a Surface Connect port. Volume buttons and a headphone jack are located conveniently on the left side. Engineering students can also connect the device to external monitors as well as hard drives. This is really useful when you need to take a break and play a game or decompress a bit.


The device has speakers placed behind the top bezel. The audio quality is above average; the company could have done a better job with it. You have definitely used better speakers with better audio quality, but for the purposes of your engineering class, they should be doing just fine. 

It is recommended to keep the volume below 70 percent or so for the best performance. After all, you are not getting this device to just listen to music. For your learning purposes, the audio quality is perfectly acceptable.

Battery life

The battery lasts for nearly 16 hours, which is not too bad. This is according to manufacturer specifications. Some students report that, when used intensively, it can be flat within 10 hours. 

Try to avoid gaming or running multiple applications at a time, especially if you don’t need them. 16 hours seems to be a tall order, but you can manage to get 12 hours or so out of your device.

Final Considerations

The Surface Pro 8 is a great device used by millions of students across the world. It comes with lots of great features and capabilities. Engineering students have found it really comfortable to use as both a tablet and a traditional laptop. While its audio features are not super impressive, and its battery life is less than specified by the manufacturer, the Surface Pro 8 is still a powerful device that helps engineering students work on their classes and projects effectively.


Joanne Elliot is an experienced writer, tech nerd, and student coach. She loves reviewing every new laptop model and providing summaries of its pros and cons to college students. Joanne has a proven track record in assessing the benefits of new technologies, hardware, and software to students’ learning goals, which is why her reviews attract a lot of attention in the student community. 

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