Something bizarre has occurred over the previous 12 months: I’ve form of fallen in love with the Surface Pro. After debating its “lapability,” its lack of USB-C ports, and its staid design, I’ve used the Surface Pro 6 on and off as a common laptop computer for almost 12 months now. I’ve been making an attempt to consider why I’ve picked the Surface Pro over the various different laptops I’ve additionally been testing, and it comes all the way down to a distinctive mixture of {hardware}. It’s small and lightweight sufficient to slide into a number of luggage when I journey, and I can rework it into totally different modes so I can work on trains, planes, and all over the place else. These are all issues Surface Pro house owners have identified for years, it simply took me a little longer to find them myself.

So when I picked up the Surface Pro 7 final week for this evaluate, it felt very acquainted. I referred to as the Surface Pro 6 a acquainted wager final 12 months, and this time across the Pro 7 is an equally acquainted wager. You may now place 4 12 months’s price of Surface Pro units subsequent to one another, they usually’d all look similar. This is yet one more minor refresh for the Surface Pro line, and the design I actually need on this {hardware} (slimmer show bezels, rounded edges, and built-in LTE) is coming subsequent month with the Qualcomm-powered Surface Pro X.

Thankfully, Microsoft has lastly added USB-C this time round and the efficiency and basic usability has improved as you’d count on with the most recent technology processors and {hardware}. I simply wish the Surface Pro 7 looked like a Surface Pro X with an Intel chip inside.

The new Surface Pro 7 begins at $749 this 12 months, which is $150 lower than final 12 months’s base mannequin. Microsoft dropped the Intel Core i3 mannequin final 12 months, and bumped the RAM as much as a affordable 8GB. Sadly, this 12 months we’re again to the Core i3 base mannequin with 4GB of RAM and 128GB of storage. I’ve been testing a Core i5 mannequin with 8GB of RAM and 256GB of storage ($1,199), and it’s laborious to suggest a Core i3 mannequin with simply 4GB of RAM. For most individuals, the $899 Core i5 with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of storage ought to be ample, offering you’re principally utilizing cloud storage choices. You’ll have to step as much as the $1,199 mannequin I’ve been testing for a black variant — the bottom variations are solely out there in silver.

Like at all times with the Surface Pro, the keyboard isn’t bundled so that you’ll additionally have to spend no less than $129.99 on a Surface Type Cover. Without it you’re simply getting a pill, and it’s undoubtedly not the first approach you’ll use the Surface Pro 7. Microsoft additionally sells covers with Alcantara material for $159.99, and there are a few new colour choices this 12 months. I’ve been testing the Poppy Red Type Cover, which appears like a fall mixture of purple and orange. Combined with the Type Cover, the life like entry value is $878.99 for the Core i3 mannequin. You may buy an elective Surface Pen for $99.99. All instructed, the rig I’ve been testing tallies as much as two pennies shy of $1,360.

Much like the Surface Pro 6, the {hardware} stays very related on the surface. The large new addition on the Surface Pro 7 is USB-C. It’s been a very long time coming, however sadly it doesn’t embrace Thunderbolt Three so it’s restricted to USB 3.1 speeds (10Gbps). I’m upset Microsoft nonetheless hasn’t made the change to Thunderbolt 3, because the dream of utilizing this as a single machine and hooking it as much as an exterior GPU and monitor simply isn’t right here but. The USB-C port does allow you to hook up an exterior monitor instantly, or you’ll be able to plug into one of many USB-C docks which have flooded the market to get extra ports. Naturally, you may as well use this to cost the Surface Pro 7 with the identical USB-C charger you employ in your Android telephone, or to connect equipment. Microsoft nonetheless consists of its common Surface Connect magnetic charging port, too so all older chargers and equipment will work simply positive.

With a lot of the {hardware} unchanged from the surface, it’s actually the internals of the Surface Pro 7 which have modified as soon as once more this 12 months. Microsoft has positioned Intel’s 10th Gen processors contained in the Pro 7, and you may choose between a Core i3, Core i5, or Core i7 variant. I’ve been utilizing the Surface Pro 6 with an eighth Gen Core i7 over the previous 12 months, and I’ve been impressed with its efficiency. It’s equally spectacular right here, and the Surface Pro 7 stays silent even throughout occasions when I pushed it with some video enhancing.

I’ve additionally seen that on the spot on appears to lastly be working with the Surface Pro 7. I’ve heard guarantees of having the ability to cease working and immediately resume hours later prior to now however I’ve discovered that almost all Surface Pro fashions merely go into a deep hibernation after simply a few hours of not getting used. Even the fast resume on the Surface Pro 6 wasn’t at all times snappy as you’d have to attend for the Windows Hello digicam to get up often. The Surface Pro 7 feels totally different and way more responsive. Every time I’ve left it for a few hours, it immediately wakes and Windows Hello logs me in earlier than I’ve even received the kickstand absolutely in place.

On the Surface Pro 6 you must faucet the ability button to get it to get up, however on the Pro 7 it simply resumes immediately if you fold open the keyboard. This is a nice usability enchancment, but it surely additionally means Microsoft has tweaked the best way this gadget goes into hibernation. On final 12 months’s Surface Pro 6 it will maintain in a standby state for six hours, permitting you to immediately resume. With the Surface Pro 7, it can maintain in standby for a huge 72 hours.

The most evident tradeoff for this fixed fast resume characteristic is battery life. I left the Surface Pro 7 with 86 p.c battery life at 11AM sooner or later, and resumed utilizing it 9 hours later at 8PM to search out it had 80 p.c battery left. That’s lower than one p.c per hour, and undoubtedly well worth the small drain tradeoff for fast wake. The Surface Pro 7 additionally has a fast cost characteristic, permitting you to get to 80 p.c battery life in an hour. I discovered it takes roughly an hour and 40 minutes to get to full cost from nothing in any respect.

Speaking of battery life, I haven’t seen any main enhancements this technology. On common I’d get round 7 to eight hours of battery life utilizing a mixture of apps like Chrome, Word, Discord, Twitter, Spotify, and extra. If I watched extra internet video, or graphically intensive apps / internet pages then this may drop to round 6 hours.

That’s virtually the identical as my expertise with final 12 months’s Surface Pro 6. I’ve been utilizing that gadget often, and it’s principally sufficient to cowl you for a day of labor however you’ll at all times want the charger with you simply in case. I’m hoping the Surface Pro X will provide the power to not have to hold round a charger as a lot, and right here’s hoping that Microsoft improves the primary Pro {hardware} subsequent time round.

I wrote final 12 months that the Surface Pro deserves a greater refresh, and it nonetheless does. I nonetheless love this {hardware}, and having the ability to squeeze into a tight prepare seat and work utilizing full desktop apps remains to be a large promoting level for me. But the Surface Pro X has left me feeling extra excited, and it makes the Surface Pro 7 really feel much more dated. I need to see a Surface Pro eight with slimmer bezels, a rounded chassis, built-in LTE, and detachable SSDs, all with the ability and legacy app compatibility that Intel’s processors present.

The Surface Pro 7 remains to be greatest at school, and it’s undoubtedly the 2-in-1 to beat, however there’s extra that Microsoft may do right here. I do surprise if Microsoft has been ready on Intel to get its act collectively on 10nm and past, and maybe opted for the Surface Pro X design with Qualcomm as a substitute. Either approach, the usability of the Surface Pro 7 has actually improved with fast resume and USB-C this 12 months, however issues like the intelligent Surface Slim Pen that slots into the Type Cover on the Surface Pro X simply aren’t right here. It’s all too acquainted.

The Surface Pro X appears like it’s now making an attempt to set the stage when it comes to uncooked {hardware} for opponents to catch as much as, and we’ll now have to see if the Pro X may even come near matching the efficiency of the Surface Pro 7. That’s extremely unlikely, which can go away the Surface Pro 7 needing to catch as much as the design of the Surface Pro X subsequent 12 months.

For now, the Surface Pro 7 nonetheless presents the whole lot you’d count on from a Surface Pro, however in a {hardware} package deal that’s in want of a little consideration. I love the flexibility of the Surface Pro 7 {hardware}, however the Surface Pro X represents the way forward for this 2-in-1. I simply wish the long run was right here now.

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