Microsoft today updated the Surface Pro product line with the updated Surface Pro 7 Plus model, which is only suitable for businesses and schools. Although the external design and screen are the same as the Surface Pro 7, Microsoft has overhauled the internals of the device to make way for Intel’s latest 11th-generation processors, larger batteries, removable SSDs and LTE connectivity.
This marks the first return of LTE to the Surface Pro mainline since 2015, but unfortunately, because Microsoft uses Qualcomm’s old Snapdragon X20 LTE modem in the Surface Pro 7 Plus, there is no 5G connection.
Starting with Intel Core i3 (1115G4) to Intel Core i7 (1165G7), various models will be available. Only the Intel Core i5 (1135G7) model will have optional LTE, starting at $1,149, while the basic Core i3 model comes with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage at a price of $899. The top Core i7 option ($2,799) can also be configured with up to 32GB of RAM and up to 1TB of SSD storage.
Microsoft now promises that the battery life of the Surface Pro 7 Plus will reach 15 hours, while the company claims that its original Surface Pro 7 is 10.5 hours. This part of the improvement in battery life will be attributed to Intel’s 11th-generation chips, but to a large extent it will be attributed to the reduction of battery capacity from 46.5Wh to 50.4Wh.
The Surface Pro 7 Plus is also equipped with the same 12.3-inch (2736 x 1824) PixelSense display as the original Surface Pro 7, with a single USB-C port, USB-A port, 3.5 mm headphone jack and Surface connection port. Wi-Fi-only models will include MicroSDXC card readers, while LTE models will be replaced with nano SIMs. This does mean that the Surface Pro 7 Plus still has no Thunderbolt connection.
In general, the internal changes of the Surface Pro 7 Plus are also greater. “We have made considerable internal changes,” Robin Seiler, vice president of Microsoft Device Program Management, explained in an interview. edge. “In fact, we need to flip the internal structure to put the SSD here, so when we did, we also updated the TDM (Thermal Design Model) to create more space for the larger battery size.”
Removable SSDs work the same way as on Surface Pro X or Surface Laptop 3, allowing companies to swap drives for repairability.
So, why can a thinner display frame be used without a major redesign? Microsoft said that this is mainly to maintain consistency, because companies want to standardize on the Surface Pro configuration and form factor. Seiler said: “When you look at the Surface Pro X with thinner bezels, the port positions are driven by these bezels for considerable changes.” “Shrinking the bezels does require significant changes to the shape and compatibility with the previous ones. [models]. “
At a time when the home Internet connection may not be able to meet the needs of the family, this focus on businesses and LTE connections also explains why Microsoft did not choose the Surface Pro 8 name, but instead allowed consumers to use the device. “This is just an extension of the business-centric product line,” Seiler explained. “For us, this is an extension of Pro 7, which is very important for all customers who have standardized on this.”
However, it is disappointing that it is not possible to directly provide consumers with updated models that use Intel’s latest processors and LTE connections. Microsoft won’t say whether this situation will change soon, but it does feel like the company is trying to draw a line between the corporate-oriented Surface Pro and the consumer-oriented Surface Go and Surface Pro X.
Microsoft plans to deliver the Surface Pro 7 Plus to customers in the United States from January 15th, and it will also be available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United Kingdom and many European countries.