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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review

We expected a bit more in advancements from the seventh Surface Pro tablet. USB-C is nice, but for a device at this price, its should be Thunderbolt 3. Plus, the display bezels are awfully thick for a tablet in 2019. The Surface Pro 7 isn’t big enough of a leap over the Pro 6 for us to recommend it to either upgraders or folks just getting into Microsoft’s tablet.

Good
Vastly improved performance
USB-C finally
Now with Wi-Fi 6

Bad
Overall loss in battery life
USB-C isn’t Thunderbolt 3
Few, if any, other design changes
Screen bezels are thick for 2019

The new Surface Pro 7 will release on October 22, though it’s been available for pre-order since its debut. Starting at $749 / $799 / AU$1,249 as with previous versions, it comes without the Type Cover ($129, £149) and Surface Pen ($99, £99) included. That means, this price is par for the course.

That base configuration gets you an Intel Core i3 processor (CPU) 4GB of memory (RAM) and a 128GB solid-state drive (SSD), with the latter points upgradeable to as much as 16GB and 1TB capacity, respectively. Here’s how those upgrades break down:

Intel Core i3 (4GB, 128GB) – $749/£799
Intel Core i5 (8GB, 128GB) – $899/£899
Intel Core i5 (8GB, 256GB) – $1,199/£1,169
Intel Core i5 (16GB, 128GB) – $1,399/£1,399
Intel Core i7 (16GB, 256GB) – $1,499/£1,449
Intel Core i7 (16GB, 512GB) – $1,899/£1,849
Intel Core i7 (16GB, 1TB) – $2,299/£2,249

This pricing, again, is inherited from previous versions, but it’s still not a great deal when you’re spending upwards of 1,000 bucks or quid to get the full experience with the accessories that are still sold separately.

Spec Sheet of Test

CPU: 1.1GHz Intel Core i5-1035G4 (quad-core, 6MB cache, up to 3.7GHz boost)
Graphics: Intel Iris Plus Graphics
RAM: 8GB DDR4x
Screen: 12.3-inch, 2,736 x 1,824 PixelSense display (Contrast ratio: 1,500:1, 100% sRGB color, 10-point multi-touch, 3:2 aspect ratio)
Storage: 256GB SSD
Ports: 1 x USB 3.0, 1 x USB-C 3.1, microSDXC card reader (UHS-I), headphone/mic jack
Connectivity: 802.11ax Wi-Fi 6 (2 x 2 MIMO), Bluetooth 5
Cameras: 8MP rear-facing, auto-focus camera (1080p HD); 5MP front-facing, 1080p HD camera
Weight: 1.7 pounds (771g)
Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches (292 x 201 x 8.5mm; W x D x H)

The Surface Pro 7 is the first of its kind using one of Intel’s new 10-nanometer (nm) processors (CPUs) across all specifications, and the numbers certainly show that.

With that in mind, expect a device that’s much faster at processing both everyday tasks and more commonplace ones, not to mention stronger graphics potential now with Intel Iris Plus graphics over an Intel UHD graphics processor (GPU).

The latter should contribute to stronger media streaming, especially at higher resolutions, as well as a slightly expanded gaming profile.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 7 is the company’s most powerful Surface tablet to date. However, that boost in power appears to come at a cost to battery life – at least for the time being.

If you’re willing to wait for those battery life improvements to come, and you don’t necessarily need all day staying power, then by all means jump in on the most technologically advanced Surface ever. But, know that those technological gains aren’t exactly massive, and come at the expense of other aspects of performance, specifically battery.

We honestly would have expected a bit more advancements from the seventh Surface Pro tablet. USB-C is nice, but for a device at this price should be Thunderbolt 3, and the display bezels are awfully thick for a tablet in 2019. It appears that Microsoft has saved all of this year’s advancements for its Pro X, which is a shame for anyone looking to pay the same price as last year. In short, the Surface Pro 7 isn’t far enough of a leap over the Pro 6 for us to recommend it to either upgraders or if your just getting into Microsoft’s tablet.

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