Story image

Hands-on review: Microsoft Surface Pro 7

28 Nov 2019

Like the Surface Laptop 3 that we recently reviewed, the new Surface Pro 7 continues Microsoft’s recent trend of being only a minor step up from its predecessor. Despite it being an impressive bit of kit, not much has changed from the Surface Pro 6, at least on the outside.

First impressions

As expected, the Surface Pro 7 comes packed inside a neatly designed box, and is accompanied only by a power cable.

For the purposes of the interview, Microsoft also supplied me with the ‘Signature Type Cover’ which I would consider an essential for most people who would buy the device.

Setting up the Surface Pro 7 is an easy, step-by-step process, including the set up of the Windows Hello facial recognition software.

Looks

As mentioned, aesthetically, not much has changed from the Surface Pro 6 - it shares exactly the same dimensions and weight.

Available in either black or platinum colours, pricing starts at $1,119.20 before you choose whether or not to add a bit of colour, functionality and cost to your device with the range of accessories.

Around the device, there’s the welcomed addition of a USB-C port, although with the absence of Thunderbolt 3. You also have the charge port, 1x USB-A, a wake/sleep button and a volume slider. Oh, and you’ll be pleased to see that Microsoft retained the 3.5mm headphone jack (something you don’t get on the Surface Pro X).

The stand at the back of the Surface Pro 7 is nice and hidden, and is adjustable. Connecting the aforementioned Signature Type Cover is nice and simple thanks to the magnetic design, and I was pleased to learn that Microsoft’s Pen can also attracts to the side of the screen. A nice touch.

One of the criticisms of the previous generation was the size of the bezels around the screen, which haven’t reduced at all on the new model - the screen size remains 12.3 inches. Due to the lack of the design changes, the device actually looks rather dated compared to some of its rivals.

Performance

The Surface Pro 7 that we tested contained the Intel’s i7 Processor with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage, which would set you back over $2,200 without any of the mentioned accessories. All in all, it’s around the same price as a similarly specced iPad Pro.

With the keyboard cover it is, more or less, a fully functioning laptop with more than enough power for the average user.

The Surface Pro 7’s battery life is actually worse than its predecessor, but it’s still good enough to run for a day with ‘average use’.

Although it will appeal to few, the microphone has been upgraded and now features dual far-field technology.

Of course, being a hybrid device, the Surface Pro 7 retains the touchscreen capabilities and overall it is a joy to use. It’s a great two-in-one device targeted towards professionals, and most people would find the performance adequate.

Considering the price, there are certainly cheaper options on the market but the performance in the Surface Pro 7 is much better than that of the Surface Pro 6.

Verdict

I thoroughly enjoyed using the Surface Pro 7 - it’s a great hybrid device but comes with a premium price tag.

For professionals, it has great appeal, although I suspect many users would only buy with the optional accessories, which aren’t exactly cheap either.

It’s a shame that the Surface Pro 7 didn’t display more development from its predecessor, but I’m intrigued to see whether Microsoft’s research into dual-screen technology is showcased next year’s model.