Tablets are great for catching up with your social media, reading, and entertainment, but when it comes to working, you’re likely to still need a laptop at least. Rather than have two devices eat into your backpack space and bank account, Microsoft offers a hybrid solution that can double up as both. A lightweight tablet for enjoying media that’s also powerful enough to be a media creation tool in its own right (hence the ‘’Pro’’).
The latest iteration of the Surface Pro range, the Surface Pro 7, doesn’t make as many sweeping changes as we’d like to have seen, but it’s still a great tablet despite this. There are no huge new additions or headline features on the Surface Pro 7, which is especially disappointing when you consider that the previous model, the Surface Pro 6 didn’t exactly light the world on fire either.
With that said, it does just about everything you could expect from one of the best tablets (opens in new tab) thanks to its high resolution screen, powerful hardware, and sleek design.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review: Design
- 12.3” screen
- Premium materials
The Surface Pro 7 features a 12.3-inch display with a resolution of 2,736 x 1,824, which sits somewhere in the middle between QHD and full 4K. It weighs around 1.7 lbs without the keyboard cover, which puts it in the heavier end of the tablet species (the latest iPad Pro (opens in new tab) weighs just 1.03 lbs for comparison), but it’s still an impressively slim slate—only 0.33 inches thick.
The screen continues to be one of the highlights of the Surface range, even if it hasn’t had an update in years. Watching TV or movies on the Surface Pro 7 is an excellent experience thanks to its sharp, vibrant display. At the same time, it functions beautifully as a touchscreen too, with lightning fast responsiveness. The screen bezels are a little on the chunky side, which is disappointing when you compare it to the competition like the iPad Pro, but it does at least give you a clear area to grip the device.
The build quality of the Surface Pro 7 is noticeably premium. The metal body is encased in a smooth, shiny magnesium shell that gives off a silvery sheen. Discreet air vents allow it to handle a load on its higher-end internals while staying cool.
The slim hybrid is well-equipped for connections as befits a mobile workstation, with both a USB-C and USB-A port, though we’d really have expected to see Thunderbolt 3. Most of the Surface Pro 7’s rivals are packing this quick file transfer technology, so it’s a shame to see Microsoft’s flagship tablet lag behind.
The integrated stereo speakers come with Dolby Audio-enhanced sound. The Surface Pro 7 also has a built-in kickstand. There is a Surface branded stylus, called Surface Pen which works wonderfully but sadly it isn’t included as standard, so you’ll need to fork out some extra cash if you want to use the Surface Pro 7 for drawing.
Likewise, the keyboard cover is an optional extra but really essential if you want to make the most of the Surface Pro 7’s hybrid capabilities. Microsoft’s Type Cover for the Pro 7 features backlit, mechanical keys and a large trackpad to turn your tablet into a mini-laptop when the need arises.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review: Performance
- Several configurations
- Great at multitasking
Microsoft’s Surface Pro line is all about cramming solid PC-level specs into a portable package, and the Pro 7 is no slouch in this regard. Depending on your particular configuration, it is powered by an Intel Core i3, i5 or i7 chipset and comes with either 128GB, 256GB, 512GB, or 1TB SSD storage. You can also choose from either 4GB, 8GB, or 16GB of memory. On the connectivity front, you get WiFi and Bluetooth 5.0 on all models.
Graphics options are dictated by the CPU you choose - I3 processors come with Intel UHD graphics while the i5/i7 models come with Intel Iris Plus Graphics. Neither will make the Surface Pro 7 a gaming powerhouse, but it should be able to handle that fancy animation that plays when you win a game of solitaire.
There’s a front facing 5MP 1080p HD camera, which is fine for video calls and selfies. On the back you get a slightly more impressive 8MP camera, which is also 1080p. We’d recommend you stick to your smartphone (opens in new tab) if you want truly impressive snaps, but this isn’t bad for some quick family photos.
In terms of performance, the Surface Pro 7 lives up to its ambitions as a multi-tasker for professionals. It’s capable of handling multiple browser tabs and documents, streaming audio and holding a video conference all at once. It can even handle some moderate gaming, with users reporting that they could play Overwatch on lower settings with no issues, though graphically taxing games like the latest Call of Duty are a no go. The higher the spec configuration, of course, the more it can handle without any issue.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review: Battery Life
- Below expectations (and Microsoft's claims).
One standout criticism of the Surface Pro 7 from users and reviewers at the time of release was the battery life. This wasn’t disastrous, but only lackluster. Microsoft’s line is that the Surface Pro 7 could handle about 10.5 straight hours of light work without reaching for the charger.
This would be in line with the competition, like the iPad Pro but sadly it just doesn’t seem to be true. LaptopMag (opens in new tab) found that the Surface pro 7 only lasted 7 hours and 52 minutes in their battery test, which was well below what the iPad Pro managed.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review: Price/Value for money
- Prices start at $749.
- Type cover costs $159.
As Microsoft’s flagship tablet, the Surface Pro 7 is a premium proposition and is priced accordingly, starting at around $749 and climbing to an eye-watering $2,299 for the fully decked out version. Throw in the cost of the optional-but-not-really Type Cover cost $159 and this is one expensive tablet.
The current price point makes the Surface Pro 7 decent value for money and its comparable to other high end tablets on the market. But to get the most bang for your buck, you should consider whether you really need a hybrid when the best laptops (opens in new tab) can do almost everything that a tablet can better.
Should I buy Microsoft Surface Pro 7?
The Surface Pro 7 is the most powerful Surface tablet that the company has ever made, but it’s also disappointingly safe in its execution. If you have a Surface Pro 6, there is no reason to upgrade and we’d recommend waiting to see what the next revision brings. All we got here was some performance upgrades and a USB C port.
With that said, if you’re looking for a high-end tablet and you’d prefer a Windows machine over an Apple device, then this is an excellent choice.