French blog FrAndroid reported on Friday that Microsoft will announce the Surface 7, a brand new tablet that will sell alongside the Surface Pro 7. Based on the report, the Surface 7 will be an ultramobile version of the Pro 7. While the Pro 7 is expected to retain the chunky bezels and Surface Connect input of its predecessor, the Surface 7 is said to have slimmer display bezels, a USB-C input and a magnet that raises its detachable keyboard.
Narrow display bezels are at the top of our Surface Pro 7 wishlist, so we're happy to hear that Microsoft will at least offer one tablet with a revamped design, even though FrAndroid claims that only the Surface 7's side bezels will be trimmed down while the top and bottom will accommodate an IR camera and magnetic keyboard. According to FrAndroid's unnamed sources, the Surface 7 will also have built-in LTE for connecting to the internet when you're on the go.
Perhaps the most interesting element of the new tablet is what's under the hood. Multiple rumors have linked Microsoft's upcoming Surface products with ARM-based processors, and the Surface 7 could be the first experiment with a Qualcomm CPU. ARM processors typically enable longer battery life and more portability over their Intel competitors but tend to do so at the expense of performance. That said, there is a lot of hype surrounding Qualcomm's new Snapdragon 8cx, the chip expected to power the Surface 7 and the one in Samsung's flagship Galaxy Book S
Unfortunately, if you were hoping for a markedly improved Surface Pro, you might have to wait a bit longer. The Surface Pro 7 isn't expected to receive the same design improvements as the Surface 7, although the Pro 7 is rumored to get a USB-C port while keeping its USB-A and Surface Connect inputs.
There are still many unanswered questions about how Microsoft will position the Surface 7. Based on its name and that it will use ARM-based processors, the Surface 7 should be a step down from the Surface Pro 7 and a direct competitor to Apple's new iPad. However, we'd be surprised if Microsoft launched a new mid-tier tablet with a modern design without also giving its flagship model a facelift. We also wonder what plans Microsoft has for the Surface Go if the Surface 7 ends up being less expensive than the Surface Pro 7.
The Surface 7 sounds like it could be the highlight of Microsoft's Oct. 2 Surface event, but we're still excited to learn more about the Surface Laptop 3, Surface Go 2 and Surface Book 3 --- some, if not all of which, are expected to make an appearance.