Microsoft has launched a refreshed Surface Pro 7 Plus model — but it’s limiting the availability to schools and businesses. Despite the timing, the launch is not part of CES 2021, which kicked off today.
The new Surface Pro 7 Plus looks the same as last year’s Surface Pro 7 and gets several internal updates, including the latest 11th-generation Intel Tiger Lake processors and support for LTE, as well as a removable SSD. It is still only intended for Microsoft’s education and commercial customers to purchase, but pricing starts at $900.
The Surface Pro 7 Plus comes in a wide range of configurations, from lightweight to high-end. It starts with options for the Intel Core i3-1115G4 processor, hits the midrange with the Intel Core i5-1135G7 processor, and will top out with the Intel Core i7-1165G7 processor. Note that the entry-level model will come with 8GB of RAM and 128GB of solid-state drive storage. Higher-end models will push that up to 32GB of RAM and 1TB of solid-state drive storage.
Visually, nothing has changed between the Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 7 Plus. The lone addition is a swappable SSD, as seen on the Surface Pro X and the Surface Laptop 3. This means you’ll be able to remove the SSD from directly under the kickstand of the device. Microsoft also slightly improved the placing of components inside the device to go with that change.
There are still no Thunderbolt ports, but the company is including a larger battery, up from 46.5Wh to 50.4Wh. Internal parts including the Thermal Design Model (as well as the placement of the boards) were changed due to the swappable SSD, according to The Verge. Microsoft’s promising up to 15 hours of battery life, as well as fas- charging capabilities. Fifteen hours would be a modest improvement over the 10.5 hours on the original Surface Pro 7.
With the switch to 11th-generation Intel chips, the Core i5 and Core i7 models will also have Intel’s new Iris Xe graphics, which have shown improvements in light video editing and gaming. The Core i3 model, however, still ships with Intel UHD graphics.
For the first time since the Surface Pro 5, officially known as the Surface Pro, LTE connectivity will also return. The midrange Core i5 Surface Pro 7 Plus model will come with LTE options, powered by the Snapdragon X20 LTE modem. It won’t support 5G connectivity, and pricing will start at $1,150.