As I write this, it’s just over a week since Microsoft officially announced the Surface Pro 7+. I say announced – it continued the company’s pandemic-era theme of low profile product launches, and there’s no indication on the Surface website that there’s been a successor to 2019’s Surface Pro 7.
Where you will find it is the Surface for Business page, as the Pro 7+ is exclusively available to business and education customers. In order to buy one, you’ll have to prove that it’ll be used for one of these two purposes. While that can stretch to include the self-employed it still means the device will rarely get into the hands of consumers.
As a publication specifically targeted towards that group of people, there was little we could do with the news. Would anybody be interested in learning about a reasonably affordable device that’s almost impossible for most of them to buy? The only angle we covered on launch day was what the Pro 7+ might mean for Microsoft’s next consumer-focused 2-in-1, which we assume will be called the Surface Pro 8.
On the face of it, the limited release of the Surface Pro 7+ is a disappointment for many who have waited longer than ever for a new Surface Pro. There are relatively few new features, but these changes genuinely seem like they’d have a big effect on the user experience.
Among the most high-profile upgrades is 4G LTE connectivity, allowing the Surface Pro to be a true portable productivity device for the first time if you get the i5 model. It’s not 5G, but that technology’s relatively limited coverage makes it far from a necessity, especially in this form factor.
The same can be said of a new design, which is eagerly anticipated among consumers but in no way a priority for business and education customers. There’s also the impressive removable SSD, but Microsoft has done this with business-focused hardware before without bringing it to the consumer markets.
That just leaves Intel’s 11th-gen processors and the option for 32GB of RAM, but neither of those upgrades are perhaps enough to justify a widespread release by Microsoft.
As you can see, there’s a clear logic behind why the Surface Pro 7+ is available to only specific people, but it doesn’t stop me from wishing it was also available to consumers. The ‘+’ branding allows Microsoft to get away with a more iterative upgrade, and I genuinely feel like a lot of people would benefit from the new features on offer.
If you work in education or rely on Surface for business purposes, you’re in luck. The Surface Pro 7+ is available via the Microsoft website, with prices starting at £909/US$899 for the Wi-Fi model or £1,129/US$1,149 if you’d like to add LTE.
For everyone else, let’s hope this means the Surface Pro 8 isn’t too far away. If you like the flexibility of the Surface range but don’t want to wait for a new Pro, check out our round-up of the best 2-in-1 laptops.