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Better battery, LTE and a removable SSD in Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7+

As the faithful await new hardware in 2021, Microsoft has quietly updated its Surface Pro 7 with a removable SSD and beefier battery life.

Aimed squarely at biz customers, Microsoft claims the update boosts the Pro 7’s comparatively weedy battery life to 15 hours, an increase of 4.5 hours according to the Windows giant. The device also features LTE Advanced connectivity (on the fanless Core i5 variant) and works with both eSIM and nano SIM.

The Pro 7+ has borrowed from the Surface Pro X with a thinner screen, making more space internally for a bigger battery (in this case a 50.4 watt hour unit.) As well as fanless i3 and i5-based units, Microsoft insists that the thermal design should avoid the hairdryer tendencies of the i7 fan with the cooling blades spinning up for “the most intensive workloads.”

Also of great interest to the corporate world will be the removable SSD that can be switched out on-site, and those SSDs “will be available to commercial customers through authorized resellers beginning with US distribution.”

Microsoft had already introduced easily swapped SSDs in other Surface models, but the company’s largesse ends at the storage. We can’t imagine the battery being equally as modular, although “increased repairability” is trumpeted thanks to the “improved modular Touch Display Module design.”

The basic Surface Pro 7 chassis hasn’t been tinkered with, and Microsoft claims the “Surface Pro 7+ has the same dimensions and ports at Surface Pro 7.” The RAM has, however, been boosted. Up to 32 gigabytes can now be specified. Maximum storage matches that of the current top end fondleslab at 1 terabyte. Intel’s 11th generation “Tiger Lake” processors also feature.

The range starts at £909 for a comparatively weedy i3 with 8GB RAM and a 128GB SSD up to £2,759 for a fully loaded i7 with 32 GB RAM and 1 TB SSD. The signature keyboard is, of course, extra.

While update is a welcome one, the original Pro 7 was getting a little long in the tooth and there is no word when the Pro 8 will arrive, there are some curious omissions. The Qualcomm Snapdragon X20 LTE modem doesn’t handle 5G and one can’t help but wish that things might have been slimmed down a little to match the more svelte Surface Pro X.

One also cannot but help but wonder where this leaves the Surface Pro X. The increase in battery life and removable SSD negates some of the benefits of the Arm-based device and, while the Pro X has a X24 LTE modem, it is difficult to see why a business would opt for it.

The updated hardware will be available this week to business and educational customers. ®

source: The Register