The new Surface Pro 7 is a little more than “another year, another iterative Surface Pro update.” In an event brimming with hot new reveals, the Surface Pro 7 added some much-needed tweaks to its familiar formula and little else—and that’s a good thing. Microsoft sold enterprise customers on the Surface Pro’s reliability and wide array of supporting hardware (such as the Surface Dock and various Type Cover keyboards), so the physical dimensions of this tablet-but-really-a-laptop can’t be rejiggered too vigorously.
Most notably, the Surface Pro 7 finally jumps on board the USB-C bandwagon, with the versatile modern connection replacing the tablet’s older mini-DisplayPort alongside the device’s USB-A and Surface Connect ports. It’s still a fairly limited port selection, but one that finally unlocks a world of accessories. Microsoft spent a big chunk of the presentation showing off a versatile workflow that tapped into the Surface Pen, a Type Cover, and various Microsoft programs that support the supplementary hardware—including Excel now. (Huzzah!)
Yeah, the focus here is definitely on business.
The Surface Pro 7 also includes a new studio microphone configuration. Microsoft says that they’ve been “placed perfectly and tuned for what’s coming from your mouth” rather than picking up ambient noise. The tablet also supports fast charging now, capable of filling your battery up to 80 percent in an hour.
Curiously, Microsoft didn’t detail any under-the-hood upgrades for the Surface Pro 7 during the actual event. A fact sheet disseminated after it ended reveals that Microsoft’s tablet is receiving the same upgrade to Intel 10th-gen Core “Ice Lake” chips as its cousin, the Surface Laptop (which is also getting a custom AMD Ryzen configuration).
Intel’s previous 8th-gen Core processors gave the older Surface Pro 6 a huge upgrade in processing power, and Ice Lake’s powerful Iris Pro graphics could do the same for the visual performance of Microsoft’s slate. Check out our Ice Lake performance preview for more details, but here’s the bottom line: Ice Lake’s integrated graphics are “a generational performance uplift over UHD graphics and might just be the surprise killer feature of the CPU.” These chips should be a great addition to the Surface Pro 7, and drive the stunning 12.3-inch PixelSense display like a champ.
Look for those potent Iris Pro graphics in the Core i5 and Core i7 versions of the Surface Pro 7. The entry-level Core i3 chip sticks to more humble UHD integrated graphics.
Brad Chacos spends his days digging through desktop PCs and tweeting too much. He specializes in graphics cards and gaming, but covers everything from security to Windows tips and all manner of PC hardware.