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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review: Best Windows tablet in the market in 2020 but it needs to evolve

Surface Pro has maintained its spot as the top Windows tablet and is likely the de facto recommendation for many. This has ensured that the product lineup commands constant interest and popularity. Here is our review of the latest Microsoft Surface Pro 7 tablet.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review (19)

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 4 5
BGR Rating :
4/5

Software giant Microsoft recently launched its latest Surface lineup of devices in the Indian market. These devices include the ARM-based Microsoft Surface Pro X, and the updated Pro 7 and Laptop 3. The products reached India about seven months after the international launch. Interested buyers can get their hands on the latest Surface line of products through all major offline and online retailers. Regardless of the delay, the devices can still hold their own in the crowded Windows-powered laptop and tablet segment. In fact, the in-house design and development ensure that Surface products offer the best Windows experience in the market. This best-in-class experience is uniform across multiple form-factors and price-segments in the market. Also Read - Microsoft launches Surface Pro X, Surface Pro 7, Surface Laptop 3: Check price in India

Beyond the experience, the Surface lineup also ensures that other laptop and tablet makers push the design innovation envelope further. This is because the Surface lineup is one of the most well-built hardware lineups since its introduction back in 2012. In fact, this lineup has pushed some hardware makers to innovate improve their existing designs while introducing new form-factors. The year 2020 marks the eighth year of the series and as the name suggests; Surface Pro 7 is the seventh generation. In all these years, the flagship Surface Pro still stands apart. Also Read - Microsoft Surface Pro 7 now available in India, prices start from Rs 70,990

Watch: Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review

Surface Pro has maintained its spot as the top Windows tablet and is likely the de facto recommendation for many. This has ensured that the product lineup commands constant interest and popularity. A couple of weeks after the launch, Microsoft shared a review unit for the Surface Pro 7 with us. Here is our review of the latest Surface Pro tablet. Also Read - Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 series, Surface Pro 7, and Surface Earbuds launched

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 price in India and specifications

As noted at the launch, the latest generation of Surface Pro tablet features the 10th-generation Intel chips. The company claims that the latest chip makes the tablet about 2.3-times faster than its predecessor. In addition, we also get the usual 12.3-inch PixelSense display along with USB Type-C, Surface Connect, and USB Type-A ports. Other technologies include fast charging, the included kickstand, Dolby Audio Premium, and more. The company also shared the multiple RAM, storage, and CPU options for the Surface Pro 7 along with the pricing. To recap the information, buyers can get the Pro 7 in four different RAM, storage, and processor combinations.

The base model with the Intel Core i3-1005G1 processor, 4GB RAM, and 128GB storage is priced at Rs 72,999. The second one features Core i5-1035G4 with 8GB RAM and 128GB storage for Rs 88,999. The third one gets Core i5-1035G4 with 8GB RAM and 256GB storage for Rs 116,999. Finally, the top-end model features core i7-1065G7 with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage for Rs 141,999. These models are available on Reliance Digital, Vijay Sales, Amazon India, Flipkart, and more places. Microsoft also sells multiple optional accessories along with the tablet including Signature Type Cover, Arc Mouse, and the Surface Pen.

 

Familiar design with the best-in-class built quality

The company continues with the familiar design that we have seen in the past. A sleek, formal-looking package along with the built-in kickstand. We get the usual Surface connect, USB Type-A, and USB Type-C ports on the right side. Moving to the top, we can see the Power button and volume rocker towards the left edge. Microsoft has also added the 3.5mm audio socket on the left with Surface Type Cover connectors at the bottom.

We get the integrated, adjustable, kickstand with a hidden micro-SD card slot along with the rear camera on the top. The front features the usual bezels along with Windows Hello face authentication camera, a 5-megapixel camera, and dual far-field studio mics.

Taking a closer look, we can also see what appears to be air vents on device edges at the backside. The company has limited the vents to the top, and the right and the left sides. However, the vents only last till the kick-stand hinge area on the sides. Overall, the device features a plain, functional design. But, after eight years and seven generations, I do feel like the company should revamp the design or make some noticeable changes.

Type Connector points

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review (19)

Air vents on the top side.

Surface Pro 7 performance

In one line, Surface Pro 7 offers impressive performance for the form-factor. Our unit featured the Intel Core i5-1035G4 processor with a Quad-core CPU and eight threads. It also came with 256GB storage, 8GB RAM, and Intel Iris Plus Graphics. The device zipped through the regular use which included web-browsing, watching videos on YouTube, Netflix, and Amazon Prime Video. We also did occasional photo-editing in Photoshop CC and Lightroom Classic.

For the form-factor, design, and portability, this amount of performance is impressive at best. It reminded me of the first time when I used the Surface Pro 3. The way the device performed when I pushed it with moderate to heavy-duty photo edition on Lightroom will stay with me for some time. While pushing the device, the device did get warm with about 82-degrees Celsius on the hottest core and 78-degrees Celsius on the GPU. However, it didn’t really throttle or get uncomfortably hot to use. I also conducted multiple synthetic benchmarks for people interested in hardcore numbers.

Before diving in these numbers, it is worth noting that they are not impressive in comparable laptops. If you are looking at a heavy-duty machine for your productivity, creative or gaming needs, this is not it. That being said, it scored 815 points in Cinebench R20, 387 in Cinebench R15, 3,088 in PCMark 10 benchmark. In addition, PCMark 10 Express displayed 3,681 marks. Surface Pro 7 scored 591 in the single-core test and 1922 in the multi-core test in Geekbench 5.2 Pro. Though the numbers may look underwhelming, for the form-factor and casual use, the tablet is more than enough.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 HWInfo, R15 benchmark Screenshot

Gaming?

Considering that you are spending a healthy amount of money, it is likely that you may want things beyond productivity. For the select few, we even tested the gaming capabilities of the Surface Pro 7. First, let’s get done with the benchmarks before talking about real-world gaming. It scored 3,840 in the 3DMark Night Raid benchmark and 8,318 in the OpenCL test in Geekbench 5.2 Pro. Moving beyond this, the lack of a dedicated GPU limits its capabilities.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review Gaming Screenshot

Borderlands 2 on Surface Pro 7.

We got about 38-43 FPS while playing Borderlands 2 and anything modern like Gears Tactics refused to launch. This means that you can manage to run old, super casual games at passable framerates. However, if you try to run anything serious and modern then you will be disappointed.

Display, webcam, speakers, and more

The 12.3-inch PixelSense display with 2,736 x 1,824 and 3:2 aspect ratio is one of the primary features of the device. We get a high-resolution LCD display with glossy finish and 396nits of peak brightness. The company has also removed the mini-DisplayPort on the tablet in favor of a USB Type-C port. This ensures that the user can hook multiple monitors with the tablet at any given time.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review (15)

We also get a system-wide sRBG mode for color-accurate work. For context, it covers about 102 percent of the sRBG color gamut. This makes it ideal for light content creation. Users can flip between the sRBG and the enhanced (regular) mode in the Settings app. Talking about the brightness, it is still not bright for comfortable use under direct sunlight. However, for anything normal including content consumption, the display is one of the best out there.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Webcam sample

My face is as unimpressed as the image quality.

Next, the webcam on the Surface Pro 7 is borderline decent in ideal lighting conditions. However, like most tablets, and laptops, it is disappointing, and we wish for better front cameras. The rear camera is better but only slightly. It is useful to capture that white-board or document but nothing out of the ordinary. The speakers on the device are decent but you are better off buying a dedicated Bluetooth speaker for better audio quality.

Surface Pro 7 Type Cover Keyboard and trackpad

To clarify, the Surface Pro 7 does not come with any keyboard out of the box. All you get is a virtual, software-based keyboard to use it in the pinch. Beyond the virtual solution, one must purchase the Type Cover keyboard that doubles up as a screen cover. This does not come bundled with the device and users need to shell extra for the Type Cover and the Surface Pen. Surface Pro 7 Signature Type Cover is priced at Rs 15,728 with the Pen at about Rs 9,459. Beyond this, the Surface Arc Mouse will set you back by Rs 7,399.

However, if you are interested in Surface Pro, we are sure that you can pony up for these extra accessories. Considering that you are ready to pay the premium, here is how the Type Cover performs. Before we talk about the typing and trackpad experience, the best part about the Type Cover is the back-lit keys. Microsoft has opted for a scissor-switch membrane with a comparatively smaller key size in the new Type Cover keyboard.

It provides a pleasant typing experience along with a decent amount of key-travel, stability, and top-of-the-line typing experience. The Type Cover also includes a built-in trackpad which is decent at best. It gets the job done along with support for gestures, but the company can improve the stability in future iterations.

Battery backup

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Review (15)

The device offered about 7-8 hours of battery life on mixed-use. This includes the usual web browsing, writing, and text editing along with light image editing on the side. Heavy and intensive workloads like processing RAW photos will push the battery life down to 3.5-4 hours. Overall, battery life is decent with no significant improvements over the last generation. While charging the device, it took about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get the device from 0 to 100 percent.

Verdict: Should you buy the Microsoft Surface Pro 7?

Microsoft has struck with the tried and tested while upgrading the core elements of the Surface Pro 7. Surface Pro has achieved maturity in terms of hardware and software experience. Buyers will get the latest hardware with decent to impressive performance in different departments. One does need to pay the premium with a slightly higher cost for the form-factor along with costly accessories. If you are fine with the price and know what you want, then you don’t be disappointed.

We can’t really find any other competitor in terms of the refined experience and the powerful hardware in this tablet segment. However, we do feel like Microsoft should look at a design overhaul after seven generations. We would also like to see AMD Ryzen 4000 series-based options for the Surface Pro series in the future.

Editors Note: Our review unit featured the Intel Core i5-1035G4 processor with a Quad-core CPU with 16GB RAM and 256GB storage. However, as mentioned above, the 16GB RAM option is only available with the Intel Core i7-1065G7 model in India right now.

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  • Published Date: July 9, 2020 9:00 AM IST
  • Updated Date: October 22, 2020 4:39 PM IST



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