The most popular 2-in-1 laptop just got a modest but welcome upgrade. The Surface Pro 7 now includes a USB-C port (finally) and a more powerful 10th Gen Intel CPU that promises up to twice the speed.
While not as sexy as the new Surface Pro X, the Surface Pro 7 looks like a solid follow-up to the Surface Pro 6 for those who prefer a more affordable 2-in-1 laptop. Could this device land our list of best laptops? Here's our hands-on impressions.
Surface Pro 7 price and release date
The Surface Pro 7 launches Oct. 22 with a starting price of $749. The device is available for pre-order now. Unfortunately, Microsoft still charges $129 for its Surface Pro Type Cover and $99 for the Surface Pen.
Microsoft is making several configurations available. The base model includes an Intel Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. If you step up to $899 you'll get a Core i5 chip along with 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD. You'll pay $1,199 for 256GB of storage.
If you prefer more RAM, the Core i5 model with 16GB costs $1,399, while a Core i7 Surface Pro 7 with 16GB of RAM and 256GB costs $1,499. At the top end of the spectrum is a 512GB config for $1,899 and a 1TB model for $2,299.
Note that the black color has limited configuration options; it starts at $1,199 for Core i5.
Surface Pro 7 Specs
Price: $749 (starting)
CPU: 10th-gen Intel Core i3, Core i5, Core i7
Graphics: Intel UHD or Iris Plus
Storage: 128GB/256GB/512GB/1TB SSD
Display: 12.3-inch 2736 x 1824
Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
Weight: 1.6 pounds
Surface Pro 7 design and ports
The Surface Pro 7 looks pretty much identical to the Surface Pro 6. And that's a bit of a bummer when you see the slimmer bezels on the Surface Pro X. Side by side, the Surface Pro 7 looks a bit dated.
On the plus side, Microsoft finally added a USB-C port, which means you can finally plug in all sorts of modern peripherals. Other ports include one USB-A, a Surface Connect port and a microSD reader in addition to a headphone jack.
The other notable design change is the addition of dual far-field mics, which means you should see better performance when you're making video calls or using Cortana.
The whole package weighs a light 1.7 pounds without keyboard, and you still get a slim and sturdy kickstand.
Surface Pro 7 display
The Surface Pro's 12.3-inch PixelSense display is the same as on the Surface Pro 6, but we're not complaining. It's bright and colorful and you get a sharp 2736 x 1824 pixels with 10 point multi-touch support.
Surface Pro 7 keyboard and touchpad
No changes here. The Surface Pro 7's optional keyboard cover continues to offer 1.3mm of key travel. I'm digging the new red color option, and the fabric has a nice soft touch to it. The touchpad is just as smooth as before.
Surface Pro 7 specs and performance
Microsoft says the quad-core, 10th Gen Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors in the Surface Pro 7 make it 2.3 times faster than previous generations.
You can take your pick between 4GB, 8GB and 16GB of RAM, and the SSD options include 128GB, 256GB, 512GB and 1TB.
When it comes to graphics, the Core i3 model offers an Intel UHD GPU, while the Core i5 and Core i7 models have more advanced Intel Iris Plus graphics.
Surface Pro 7 battery life and charging
Microsoft is targeting 10.5 hours of "typical device usage" from the Surface Pro 7's battery. We'll have to see how well this device holds up in our web surfing battery test.
Regardless, you should expect to juice up fast, as Microsoft is targeting getting to 80% of a charge within an hour with the included fast charger.
The Surface Pro 7 isn't the most exciting upgrade, but if the Surface Pro X's $999 starting price is too steep, this 2-in-1 should satisfy at $799. You get faster performance, dual far-field mics and a USB-C port in the same overall package.
I just wish Microsoft trimmed the bezels and offered the same pen garage as the Surface Pro X's keyboard.