Microsoft has announced a new Surface Pro. The business focused Surface Pro 7 Plus updates the specifications of the 2-in-1 ultraportable tablet, introduces new connectivity options, and offers an upgrade route that minimizes extra costs.
The targeting of the new Pro is clear from the branding, this is the “Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Plus For Business.” A closer look at the key decisions in the device bring that into focus. Let’s highlight three of them.
The Surface Pro 7 Plus updates the specification across the board. You have Intel’s 11th generation Core processor (with i3, i5, and i7 offerings), you have a longer lasting battery (with Microsoft quoting up to 15 hours on wi-fi), and configurations up to 32GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage.
There’s one item in the mix that is going to be very much welcomed by enterprise, the removable SSD. Following the lead of the Surface Pro X, there is easy access to the SSD from the outside of the Pro 7 Plus. For the vast majority of operations, this won’t be a concern, but if a device is carrying sensitive data and needs to go for repair, then the SSD can be popped out and the security concerns are much reduced.
A removable SSD should make it easier to ‘swap out’ any critical hardware for repair while maintaining the software and settings in the SSD in situ.
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Then there’s the design of the Surface Pro 7 Plus. It is exactly the same as the Surface Pro 7. The reasoning behind this is simple; enterprise partners who have made significant investments with the Pro 7 will also have invested in various cases, peripherals, fixtures, and fittings. Many of these will be customised for the environment the ultraportable is expected to operate in.
By keeping the existing dimensions the Pro 7 Plus can be used as a direct ‘one for one’ replacement without incurring any additional costs in the peripherals.
The other side of this is that the fashionable designs being sported by the competition, and the new design language that can be found in the likes of the Surface Pro X, are not on show here. Those looking for cutting edge design in their ultraportable as well as cutting edge specs are going to skip over the Pro 7 Plus.
The choices behind the Pro 7 Plus are a clear indicator of a design focused on the enterprise space.
Finally there is the inclusion of a 4G LTE modem. This will be the first Intel powered Surface Pro to feature built-in cellular connectivity since 2017’s Surface Pro (arguably the Surface Pro 5 if you are counting). While the ARM-powered Surface Pro X offers this feature, the Pro 7 Plus is about offering continuity to enterprise partners but with added functionality. Retaining the same design, but adding an extra layer of mobility will be a strong draw for those looking to upgrade.
There is of course a fourth thing that is worth noting.
In the run up to the announcement today there has been a lot of discussion over a ‘Surface Pro 8’. The finer details of these appearances on store listings, benchmark sites, and regulatory filings all line up with what is on offer with the Surface Pro 7 Plus.
The appearance of a Surface Pro 8 will have to wait a little bit longer.