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Surface Pro 7 Design Review

Overview

Surface Pro 7 was launched on 22 October 2019, whereas the Surface Pro X was launched on 2nd Oct 2019. This is the 7th version and the look has remained almost the same, except that this time USB-C is included.

The specifications of the set being reviewed is the Intel Core i7, 16GB Ram and 512GB SSD.

Weight

The weight of this is 1.7lbs (770 grams) excluding the keyboard. In comparison, the Apple IPad Pro 12.9″ weighs 1.41 lbs (631grams).

It may be slightly heavy to hold it with the hand say, for reading a book, or news for long hours. Even if you are fine with the weight, the heat from the i7 might be uncomfortable. If you need a lightweight, full feature notebook that sits on the desk while using 95% of the time, we feel that the Surface Pro 7 is fine.

If you do not plan to use it for heavy productivity work, but only as a handheld tablet (e.g. conducting surveys, interviews, sketching, etc), then IPad Pro should be a better choice, including the smaller 11″ version.

The weight of the Surface Pro 7 including the type cover (keyboard) weighs 2.34 lbs (1.062 kg). The type cover alone weighs 0.64lbs (292 grams). We will compare this to other ultralight notebook such as the ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425JA which weighs in at 1.17kg. For just 100 grams more, you get alot more including larger 14″ screen, 2 x USB-C, 1 x USB 3.2, HDMI port and Micro-SD reader. However, this does not have a touchscreen (oops!).

ASUS ZenBook 14 UX425JA (Asus.Com)

However the classic notebook can sit on the lap, whereas the Surface Pro 7 may have an issue with the rear stand stability on the thighs.

Expansion Ports

Surface Pro 7 only has 

Surface Pro 7 Expansion Ports
Surface Pro 7 Expansion Ports
  • One USB-C
  • One USB-A
  • One microSDXC
  • One Surface Connect+ (for power supply)
  • Surface Keyboard connector
  • 3.5mm headphone jack

Most of us should be familiar with the above ports, especially the USB-C port which is the most significant upgrade for the Surface Pro. This port can be expanded using a dock such as this by Mokin so that you can connect to HDMI, LAN and more USB connections. 

According to SurfaceTip, you can also use the USB-C to charge from a USD-C Power Delivery (PD) Charger. We still recommend to use approved chargers from Microsoft for safety reasons.

Size

The size is 292 x 201 x 8.5mm, which is much thicker than IPad Pro 12.9″ at 5.9mm only. However, this tablet carries the Intel CPU up to i7, so 8.5mm is understandable. We feel that the size should only matter if you need to fit it into a bag, or intend to use it as a handheld tablet most of the time.

While it is bigger than the king of tablets (IPad), the size is definitely smaller than most other clamshell notebook such as the Dell XPS which is slightly heavier and thicker and comes with touchscreen too.

Form Factor

The Surface Pro 7 requires space at the rear for its stand, which it is not an issue for traditional notebooks as they are supported at the hinge. 

Battery

According to laptopmag, the Surface Pro 7 lasts 7.5 hours when surfing the web continuously at 150 nits (normal range is 200 – 300 brightness for laptop and mobile devices. That is about 30mins less than the 8 hours specification, and lesser than IPad Pro, Dell XPS (Both >10 hours) and even the Surface Pro 6 (>9 hours). It could be due to the Intel 10th Gen CPU.

You may need to bring a PD compatible battery pack for power supply in case there is no wall socket nearby.

Surface Pro Pen

The Surface Pro Pen is magnetic and can be secured to the left side of the Surface Pro. In comparison, IPad Pro allows the Apple Pencil to be attached to the top. 

Compare Attachment Methods

If you are to decide which one to buy based on the pen/pencil position, which one would you choose?

We will select neither of the above, but prefer the design of the Surface Pro X which makes use of the Type Cover to store a thinner pen. So far this design is the best and method. 

Surface Pro X
Surface Pro X

It is also a shame that the latest and most expensive Magic Keyboard for the Apple IPad Pro do not have a space to safekeep the Apple Pencil. 

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