Microsoft just revealed the Surface Pro 7+ laptop, which isn't exactly the Surface Pro 8 we were hoping for — but it does offer some of what we expected. For starters, it's got 11th-Gen Intel Tiger Lake processors. Also, it's got removable storage, which has been seen in other Surface devices.
It seems that Microsoft has fixed the battery-life issue, as its claims are stronger than they were for the Surface Pro 7. So will it have a chance at making our best laptops list? Let's see how this Surface, which is meant for the education and enterprise worlds, looks on paper.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ price and release date
Starting at $899.99, the Surface Pro 7+ — which The Verge (opens in new tab) says is coming out on January 15 — may not be sold directly by Microsoft. The one catch about the Surface Pro 7+ being targeted at the business and education worlds is that you'll need to "contact a Microsoft authorized reseller," according to Microsoft's (opens in new tab) own product page. That could change when the Surface Pro 7+ comes out.
That $899 price is attached to a configuration with an 11th-Gen Intel Core i3 CPU, 8GB RAM and 128GB of SSD storage. Three other configurations are listed: $1,149 bumps you to a Core i5 CPU and LTE connectivity; $1,649 doubles the i5 model's memory and storage to 16GB and 256GB; and the $2,799 model has a Core i7 processor, 32GB of RAM and a 1TB SSD. No Type Cover keyboard is included in any configuration.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ specs
|Display||12.3-inch 2736 x 1824-pixel PixelSense panel||12.3-inch 2736 x 1824-pixel PixelSense panel||12.3-inch 2736 x 1824-pixel PixelSense panel|
|Processor||Intel Core i3-1115G4 (Core i5-1135G7 + LTE upgrade for $250 more)||Intel Core i5-1135G7||Intel Core i7-1165G7|
|Memory||8GB LPDDR4x RAM||16GB LPDDR4x RAM||32GB LPDDR4x RAM|
|Storage||128GB SSD||256GB SSD||1TB SSD|
|Graphics||Intel UHD||Intel Iris Xe||Intel Iris Xe|
|Dimensions||11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches||11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches||11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3 inches|
|Weight||1.7 pounds (1.8 pounds for LTE)||1.8 pounds||1.7 pounds|
|Ports||1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port, MicroSDXC card reader||1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port, MicroSDXC card reader||1x USB-C, 1x USB-A, 3.5mm headphone jack, 1x Surface Connect port, Surface Type Cover port, MicroSDXC card reader|
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ design
With one interesting exception, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ looks exactly like the Pro 7. It has the same 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3-inch chassis, the same aluminum look and the same chunky bezels.
But because it starts at 1.7 pounds and goes to 1.8 pounds — a tad heavier than the 1.6-pound Pro 7 — there's reason to be optimistic about Microsoft giving it better battery life than the Pro 7, which we'll get to below.
The other noteworthy thing about the Surface Pro 7+ is that it's borrowed one of the cooler features from the Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3: you can remove the primary storage drive and replace it with another one.
Hidden on the back right corner of the tablet is a removable door for the 2.5-inch SSD. Windows Central (opens in new tab) says it can be opened with a SIM tool, and you can unscrew its Torx T3 screw swap out the drive for security reasons or upgrades.
Microsoft's product page doesn't agree, with a footnote explaining "Hard drive is not user removable. Hard drive is only removable by skilled technician following Microsoft provided instructions."
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ battery life
One of the biggest issues with the Surface Pro 7 was its short battery life, which lasted only 7 hours and 52 minutes on our web-surfing based test. That was notably shorter than the "up to 10.5 hours" that Microsoft claimed.
The Surface Pro 7+ looks to fix this, as Microsoft is now boasting "up to 15 hours" of life, nearly 50% more endurance than its Pro 7 claim.
How is that being accomplished? While Microsoft doesn't note the battery size for the Surface Pro 7+ on its own site, The Verge (opens in new tab) notes that Microsoft has upgraded the battery's capacity from 46.5Wh to 50.4Wh. This was possible, Microsoft told the outlet, because it had rearranged the internal components.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ outlook
The Surface Pro 7+ may have an aging look, but otherwise it sounds like what the Surface Pro 8 should be. That is annoying, because everyone — not just business and education buyers — should be able to get this notebook if they so choose. I doubt the average consumer wants to "contact a Microsoft authorized reseller," and nor should they have to.
We hope to test out the Surface Pro 7+ soon and see if it's as good as Microsoft claims it is. If so, then that raises our hopes for the Surface Pro 8.