Laptop Mag Verdict
Microsoft's Surface Pro 7+ improves upon the consumer model with faster performance and a few usability features, but this business tablet has some drawbacks.
Bright, vivid display
Faster CPU and graphics performance
Battery life could be better
Thick display bezels
Accessories sold separately
No Thunderbolt ports or 5G
Why you can trust Laptop Mag Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.
CPU: Intel Core i5-1135G7
GPU: Iris Xe
Display: 12.3 inches, 2736 x 1824-pixel
Size: 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3
Weight: 1.8 pounds
The Surface Pro 7+ (starting at $912; reviewed at $1,486) isn't the tablet hybrid I was expecting, or even one I was eager to see. However, it does improve upon the Surface Pro 7 in a few meaningful ways. Built for and sold exclusively to business users, the Pro 7+ adds a swappable SSD, 4G LTE (on some models), and some improved thermals (our Core i5 unit is fanless).
But the real reasons to buy the Surface Pro 7+, apart from it running Windows 10 Pro, are for the 11th Gen Intel CPUs, which deliver significant performance gains over the original, and the extended battery life. It makes those upgrades while maintaining the bright and vivid display, capable cameras and excellent accessories.
Unfortunately, the Surface Pro 7+ suffers from many of the same issues we flagged with the consumer model; the design is weighed down by chunky bezels and the aforementioned accessories (Type Cover keyboard and Surface Pen) cost extra. Also, the battery life, while improved, remains below average.
Surface Pro 7+ price and configurations
Pricing varies depending on the retailer, but the cheapest model starts at around $912 and comes with an Intel Core i3-1115G4 CPU, 8GB of RAM and a 128GB SSD.
If you want 4G LTE connectivity, you need a Core i5 model. Our review unit, equipped with a Core i5-11357 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 256GB SSD goes for $1,486. Opting for only 8GB of RAM lowers the price to $1,288.
The top models cost an arm and a leg, also, the Core i7 model has a fan while the others do not. You will need to spend $1,936 for a Core i7-1165G7 CPU, 16GB of RAM and a 512GB SSD.
Surface Pro 7+ design
The only noteworthy design change made to the Surface Pro 7+ is a small rectangular door hiding under the kickstand.
Here, you can easily remove and replace the included M.2 SSD using only a SIM card eject tool. Just place the tip of the needle into the tiny hole and the small door will pop out. You can then replace the SSD in case you're running low on storage or your IT department can switch one out for another or make repairs if needed.
The Surface Pro 7+ is, for better or worse, otherwise unchanged from the Surface Pro 7. The detachable tablet has a stylish pearlescent silver magnesium alloy chassis with clean lines and an attractive chrome Microsoft logo on the rear.
It has a boxy shape with right-angled corners and a slim gap between the body and back panel for ventilation. On the top, are volume and power buttons and on the bottom is a magnetic six-pin connector for attaching the keyboard accessory (sold separately).
On the bottom of the back panel is the kickstand, what Microsoft considers the Pro 7+'s coup de maître. I, however, have mixed feelings about the flap. Starting with the good, the kickstand extends a generous 165 degrees, allowing you to adjust the tablet however you need to get the perfect viewing angle. You can set the tablet so it stands perfectly straight or lean it back into drawing mode. I found the hinge was durable enough to withstand pressure from my palm as I drew on the screen.
Where the kickstand fails as a concept is when using the Surface Pro 7+ on anything but a flat surface. Because the point of contact on the bottom of the kickstand is so small, the Pro 7 doesn't feel stable on soft or uneven surfaces. Using the tablet on your thighs while sitting is fine, using it on your stomach while laying down is a nightmare.
The other problem with the design is those unsightly bezels surrounding the display. Those thick black bars need to be taken to the barber and given a trim. Microsoft already released a tablet that looks exactly like our dream numbered Surface Pro in the Surface Pro X, so let's hope the Surface Pro 8 gets the same treatment.
Weighing in at 1.8 pounds with an 11.5 x 7.9 x 0.3-inch chassis, the Surface Pro 7+ is about the same size as the original version (1.7 pounds, 0.3 inches) and the Lenovo ThinkPad X12 Detachable (1.7 pounds, 0.3 inches). As expected, the MacBook Air (2.8 pounds, 0.6 inches) is heavier and larger. The Surface Pro X (1.7 pounds, 0.3 inches), however, is smaller and slightly thinner.
Surface Pro 7+ security and durability
As a tablet meant for business, the Surface Pro 7+ should come with all the security and durability reassurances needed by professionals. While it delivers on the basics, there are a few things missing.
Above the display is an IR webcam for facial recognition login via Windows Hello. It's a secure biometric authentication method that makes logging into your system a breeze. There is no fingerprint sensor on the Surface Pro 7+ itself, though Microsoft sells a Surface Pro Type Cover with a built-in fingerprint scanner.
On the inside of the Surface Pro 7+ is a TPM 2.0 security chip, which ensures all data coming and going from the tablet is encrypted. Interestingly, the Surface Pro 7+ does not have Intel vPro compatible chips for enhanced security and remote manageability.
It may not have passed any military-grade durability tests but the Surface Pro 7+ feels sturdy nonetheless — the fit and finish are top-notch and I didn't hear any creaking as I applied light pressure to the chassis.
Surface Pro 7+ ports
For a tablet, the Surface Pro 7+ has a decent assortment of ports.
Look to the left edge and you'll spot a lone 3.5mm headphone jack. There is also a SIM card slot for 4G LTE connectivity just above the SD card door under the kickstand.
Surface Pro 7+ display
The 12.3-inch, 2736 x 1824-pixel display on the Surface Pro 7+ is excellent. The panel is vivid, bright and the 3:2 aspect ratio is ideal for work. It's because of this screen that the Surface Pro 7+ should be considered by content creators, like photo or video editors, as well as those who run simulations or edit spreadsheets.
What struck me first when watching a trailer for Nobody, was how I could see even the most minute details, like each grain in Bob Odenkirk's salt-and-pepper beard. The panel was vivid enough to catch the brown shade in his modestly tanned face and the scene of cash catching fire covered the screen in fiery orange.
Covering 75.5% of the DCI-P3 color gamut, the Pro 7+ is more vivid than the Surface Pro 7 (68.7%) and the Surface Pro X (72.7%). The panel on the Microsoft isn't as colorful as the one on the MacBook Air (80.9%) or the average laptop (85.5%), but it edges out the ThinkPad X12 Detachable (74.9%).
The Surface Pro 7+'s display reached a maximum average of 358 nits of brightness, making it visible outdoors under sunlight. However, the Surface Pro 7 (395 nits), MacBook Air (366 nits), Surface Pro X (420 nits), ThinkPad X12 Detachable (376 nits) and average premium laptop (392 nits) all outshone the Surface Pro 7+.
Surface Pro 7+ keyboard and touchpad
Effortlessly springing my digits from one letter to the next, the keys on the detachable Type Cover keyboard are wonderfully comfortable to type on. They're so good, I can type faster and more accurately on this accessory than I can on most other laptop keyboards and even some mechanical gaming keyboards.
What makes this such a good keyboard is a combination of good spacing, bouncy keys, and a relatively low actuation force that still provides a pleasant click with every letter or number you press. The keyboard is also backlit and there are no notably undersized keys apart from the left Tab. I also like the soft-touch palm rest, which gave respite to my overworked wrists.
Before I go too overboard with praise, the keys might be slightly small for those with larger hands and the non-rigid construction means it works best on a sturdy surface.
I typed at 124 words per minute with an accurate rate of 98% on the 10fastfingers.com typing test, a result that is among the best I've ever achieved and well above my typical 109-wpm average.
The 4 x 2.1-inch touchpad is on the smaller side so those with pudgy fingers will need to make precise movements. Everyone else will appreciate the satin-like finish and excellent responsiveness of the surface and its Precision drivers. Windows 10 gestures, like three-finger swiping to one side to switch programs, were a cinch to execute.
Surface Pro 7+ audio
The pair of front-firing speakers flanking the Surface Pro 7+'s display produce good sound quality capable of filling a medium-sized room. I was caught off guard by the power behind these speakers as I listened to Rhye's "Open," a slow ballad with smooth male vocals guided by simple percussion. The vocals were detailed throughout and never distorted, even at the maximum volume level.
Switching to Glass Animals' "Space Ghost Coast to Coast" revealed the weak bass I was anticipating from the tablet, although there was the softest of thuds to keep this funky track feeling dynamic.
Surface Pro 7+ performance
Armed with an 11th Gen (Tiger Lake) Intel CPU, the Surface Pro 7+ has a performance advantage over its consumer-focused predecessor.
I had no problems running my demanding workload on the former model, and I haven't run into any issues with the new one. Configured with a Core i5-1135G7 CPU and 16GB of RAM, the Pro 7+ powering up 20 Google Chrome tabs, a few Edge windows, a handful of 1080p YouTube videos, and a Champions League match on Paramount+ without batting an eye. I didn't experience any stuttering or lag, indicating that the Pro 7+ is ready for all but the most demanding workloads.
Scoring a 4,825 on the Geekbench 5.3 overall performance test, the Surface Pro 7+ topped the Surface Pro X (3,077, Microsoft SQ2), the ThinkPad X12 Detachable (4,778, Core i5-1130G7) and the Surface Pro 7 (4,443). The MacBook Air demolished these competitors, at 7,575, but the Pro 7+ did beat the premium laptop average (4,160).
On our real-world test, the Surface Pro 7+ needed 23 minutes and 41 seconds to convert a 4K video to 1080p resolution using the Handbrake app. That is a full 10 minutes faster than the Surface Pro 7 (32:47) but a hair slower than the X12 Detachable (22:56). The MacBook Air (9:15) demolished this test, beating the 16:48 category average.
The 256GB SSD housed within our Surface Pro 7+ unit is sluggish compared with other products in this price range. The storage drive took 1 minute and 17 seconds to convert a 25GB file, equating to a 348.3 megabytes per second transfer rate. That is quicker than the Surface Pro X (267.2 MBps) but behind the ThinkPad X12 Detachable (408.39) and the average (600.8 MBps).
Surface Pro 7+ graphics
With integrated Iris Xe graphics, the Pro 7+ will be fine for basic 3D modeling or to run older games. But as we found in our testing, the tablet isn't meant for running graphics-demanding apps.
We tried to run Sid Meier's Civilization VI: Gathering Storm at 1080p resolution but the Pro 7+ reached a laggy 15 frames per second. Upping the resolution to the native 2736 x 1824 resolution dropped the game down to 12 fps, well below our 30-fps threshold. The Surface Pro 7+ did better than the ThinkPad X12 Detachable (12 fps) on the 1080p test, but got nowhere near the laptop average (28 fps).
On the 3DMark Fire Strike synthetic benchmark, the Pro 7+ hit 3,215, falling short of the ThinkPad X12 Detachable (3,706) and the 4,701 average.
Surface Pro 7+ battery life
When I look back at the Surface Pro 7, my biggest takeaway is that the next model needs to have better endurance. The Surface Pro 7+ does, but battery life still remains a thorn in the side of these tablets.
The Surface Pro 7+ lasted for 8 hours and 49 minutes on the Laptop Mag Battery Test, which involves continuous web surfing over Wi-Fi at 150 nits. The Surface Pro 7 powered down after 7:30 while the MacBook Air endured for an amazing 14:41. The Surface Pro 7+ didn't reach the premium laptop average (10:05) or our 9-hour preference.
Surface Pro 7+ webcam
The 5-megapixel front-facing camera on the Surface Pro 7+ is definitely among the better webcams you'll find on a laptop or tablet. A selfie I snapped in my dimly lit office was sharp and had excellent color accuracy to the point where you could see my rosy complexion and the subtle blond color in my hair.
There was some visual noise, as expected, but the selfie I snapped was good enough that, for the first time in a while, I don't need to recommend visiting our best webcams page.
On the back of the Surface Pro 7+ is an 8-megapixel camera that takes decent photos. You're better off using your smartphone, not just for better image quality, but so people don't judge you as you hold up a 12.3-inch slate to snapshots.
Surface Pro 7+ software and warranty
There isn't much to say, the Surface Pro 7+ runs on Windows 10 Pro and comes with only a handful of first-party apps you won't find on other laptops. One of those is the Microsoft Whiteboard, a cloud-based collaboration tool where you can draw with team members.
I was surprised to find an app called "Surface," which shows the details of your tablet and has tabs for accessories and Pen settings and SIM & Data options. Additionally, a Surface Diagnostic Toolkit app runs a test to see if anything is going wrong with your tablet.
The Surface Pro 7+ is a fine tablet that addresses some of the problems we had with the consumer model. Its 11th Gen Intel chips deliver faster speeds and much better graphics performance, and the tablet lasts about an hour longer on a charge than before. Those enhancements join a bright, vivid display, excellent keyboard accessory, and good cameras.
New to the Surface Pro 7+ is the swappable SSD, 4G LTE support and Windows 10 Pro OS — all useful additions for business users.
I wish I could stop here, but there are problems the Surface Pro 7+ doesn't fix, like the chunky bezels around the display, the slow SSD, and the lack of Thunderbolt ports. And while the battery life is improved this time around, it still lags behind competitors. I'd still recommend the Surface Pro 7+ if I could look past the price. As it stands, the Surface Pro 7+ is much pricier than the Surface Pro 7, which can be found at a steep discount. Does it add enough value to justify the price hike? That's up for you or your IT admin to decide. I'd personally go with the older model if I had to choose between them — or wait for the Surface Pro 8 if I didn't.
Phillip Tracy is the assistant managing editor at Laptop Mag where he reviews laptops, phones and other gadgets while covering the latest industry news. After graduating with a journalism degree from the University of Texas at Austin, Phillip became a tech reporter at the Daily Dot. There, he wrote reviews for a range of gadgets and covered everything from social media trends to cybersecurity. Prior to that, he wrote for RCR Wireless News covering 5G and IoT. When he's not tinkering with devices, you can find Phillip playing video games, reading, traveling or watching soccer.