Microsoft Surface Pro 7 vs. Surface Pro 6: Which should you buy?

Surface Pro 7
Surface Pro 7 (Image credit: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

Microsoft's Surface Pro 7 and Surface Pro 6 are certainly cut from the same cloth, and at first glance, you might mistake one for the other. However, the real changes (other than the USB-C port) come on the inside, with the Pro 7 sporting new 10th Gen Intel Core CPU options and LPDDR4x RAM for improved performance. Here's a breakdown of the exact specs you'll find in each model.

With Black Friday quickly approaching, we're expecting to see some discounts on these 2-in-1 devices. There are plenty of Pro 7 tablets and bundles available, often at a great price without a sale, so be sure you're actually getting a good deal. A tool like CamelCamelCamel can help you determine if you're seeing a deal or standard pricing. The Pro 6 is a bit of a different story, as stock is waning due to its age. Still, you might be able to find a great deal on a bundle or refurbished models as retailers attempt to get rid of old stock.

Microsoft Surface Pro 7 vs. Surface Pro 6 tech specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Pro 7Surface Pro 6
OSWindows 10Windows 10
Processor10th Gen Intel
Core i3-1005G1
Core i5-1035G4
Core i71065G7
Intel 8th Gen
Core i5-8250U
Core i7-8650U
RAM4GB, 8GB, 16GB LPDDR4x8GB, 16GB LPDDR3
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
Display size12.3 inches
Touch
12.3 inches
Touch
Display resolution2736x1824
267 PPI
2736x1824
267 PPI
Aspect ratio3:23:2
GraphicsIntel UHD (i3)
Intel Iris Plus (i5, i7)
Intel UHD Graphics 620
PortsUSB-C 3.1
USB-A
3.5mm audio
Surface Connect
microSD card reader
USB-A 3.0
Mini DisplayPort
Surface Connect
microSD card reader
3.5mm audio
LTENoNo
BiometricsIR cameraIR camera
BatteryUp to 10.5 hoursUp to 13.5 hours
45Wh
Dimensions11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
11.5 x 7.9 x 0.33 inches
(292mm x 201mm x 8.5mm)
WeightFrom 1.70 pounds (770g)From 1.70 pounds (770g)

Design and features

The Surface Pro 7 is a minor refresh over the last-gen Surface Pro 6, with most of the changes coming from the internal hardware. Still, the Pro 7 has made the jump from Mini DisplayPort for the much more versatile USB-C port. This should make it much easier to connect your newer accessories, and it can still be used for external displays. Alongside USB-C, the Pro 7 holds onto USB-A, 3.5mm audio, Surface Connect, and a microSD card reader.

If you're making the jump from an older Surface Pro model (from the Pro 3 and newer), older Type Covers should work with the Pro 7. This should save you a good chunk of money if you're upgrading. One new feature that we're excited about is Wi-Fi 6 connectivity in the Pro 6, which will offer wireless speeds far beyond what we've become accustomed to with Wi-Fi 5. Both the Pro 6 and Pro 7 are available in Platinum and Black colors.

Display and inking

Nothing has really changed when it comes to the display. With both the Pro 6 and Pro 7 you're looking at a 12.3-inch touch display with boxy 3:2 aspect ratio, 2736x1824 resolution, and 267 PPI. Both Pro models are compatible with the Surface Dial (opens in new tab) for off-screen interactions, and both offer an exceptional inking experience with the Surface Pen (opens in new tab). Expect 4,096 levels of pressure sensitivity and tilt support.

Performance and price

The Surface Pro 6 is available with 8th Gen Intel Core i5 and i7 "Kaby Lake R" CPUs. These are not the later 8th Gen "Whiskey Lake" CPUs, but they're nevertheless performers.

Geekbench 5 single-core scores for the Core i5-8250U hover around the 800 to 900 mark, while multi-core scores reach up to about 3,400. The Core i7-8550U again measures around the 900 single-core score, reaching up to about a 3,500 multi-core score. These CPUs can handle a relatively heavy workload, and they should be able to shred through any multitasking.

The Pro 7 has been refreshed with 10th Gen Intel Core "Ice Lake" CPUs with a 10nm architecture, and it's available with Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 versions. Compared with Geekbench 5 tests, the Core i7-1065G7 begins around the 1,200 to 1,300 mark for a single-core score, while multi-core scores reach, in many cases, well above 4,000.

The Pro 7 Core i5 model outperforms the Pro 6 Core i7 model, which is quite impressive. As for battery life, the Pro 7 will last about eight hours from a charge, whereas the Pro 6 hits closer to 10 hours. That's the tradeoff for better performance.

Geekbench 5

Geekbench 5.0 (CPU) (Higher is better)

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DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Surface Pro 7i5-1035G41,1914,441
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U1,1133,519
Surface Pro 6i5-8250U9043,440
Surface Laptop 3Ryzen 57692,720
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390i7-1065G71,2093,571
Dell XPS 15 7590i9-9980HK1,1767,624

Geekbench 4

Geekbench 4.0 (CPU) (higher is better)

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DeviceCPUSingle coreMulti core
Surface Pro 7i5-1035G45,24517,350
Surface Pro 6i7-8650U5,03713,864
Surface Pro 6i5-8250U4,28714,031
Surface Pro 5i5-7300U4,3028,482
Surface Pro 5i7-7660U4,5139,346
Surface Pro 4i5-6300U3,3196,950
Surface Laptop 3 15Ryzen-53,98512,079
Surface Laptop 2i5-8250U4,20313,233
Surface Laptopi5-7200U3,7257,523
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390i7-1065G75,45919,097
Razer Blade Stealthi7-8565U5,13916,339
Dell Latitude 7400 2-in-1i7-8665U5,46915,800
HP Spectre x360 13ti7-8565U5,05614,767
Lenovo Yoga C930i7-8550U4,78715,028

PCMark

PCMark 10

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DeviceScore
Surface Pro 7 i53,992
Surface Pro 6 i73,644
Surface Pro 6 i53,501
Surface Laptop 3 154,006
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 73904,427
Dell XPS 15 75905,521
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 73904,427
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-13,764
HP Pavilion x360 143,558
Lenovo ThinkBook 13s3,468

GPU

Geekbench 5.0 OpenCL (higher is better)

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DeviceGPUCompute score
Surface Pro 7Iris Plus7,613
Surface Pro 6Intel UHD 6205,396
Surface Laptop 3 15Vega 911,334
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 7390Iris Plus10,406
Dell Inspiron 13 7390 2-in-1Intel HD5,632
Dell Precision 3541NVIDIA Quadro P62012,469

SSD

CrystalDiskMark (Higher is better)

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DeviceReadWrite
Surface Pro 72,040 MB/s809 MB/s
Surface Pro 61,632 MB/s814 MB/s
Surface Pro 5847MB/s801 MB/s
Surface Laptop 32,028 MB/s806 MB/s
Surface Laptop 21,509 MB/s811 MB/s
Surface Laptop486 MB/s244 MB/s
Surface Book1,018 MB/s967 MB/s
Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 73902,400 MB/s1,228 MB/s
Huawei MateBook X Pro (new)3,416 MB/s2,779 MB/s
HP Spectre x360 13t3,085 MB/s1,182 MB/s
LG gram 14 2-in-1558.1 MB/s523.1 MB/s

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As for gaming, 10th Gen Core i5 and Core i7 Intel CPUs feature Iris Plus Graphics, which will provide a better experience than what the 8th Gen CPUs have to offer. Neither device has a dedicated GPU option, so if you want to game on a Pro, spending the extra money is no doubt worth it.

As expected, you're going to pay more for the newer Pro 7. Configurations with a Core i3 CPU, 4GB of RAM, and 128GB SSD start at $750 (opens in new tab), while a model with Core i5 CPU, 8GB of RAM, and 256GB SSD costs closer to about $1,200 (opens in new tab). Maxing things out with the Pro 7, including a Core i7 CPU, 16GB of RAM, and 1TB SSD costs about $2,300 (opens in new tab).

As for the Pro 6, prices are all over the place due to third-party retailers mostly taking over remaining stock. Your best bet is to find a bundle with Type Cover, Surface Pen, and more for around the same price you'd pay for a new standalone tablet. There are also plenty of refurbished options available that will save you quite a bit of money compared to a new Pro 7.

Go with the Surface Pro 7 for better performance, connectivity

The Surface Pro 7 hasn't seen a substantial physical change since the last generation, but inside is where it counts. 10th Gen Intel Core "Ice Lake" CPUs outperform the 8th Gen "Kaby Lake R" CPUs in the Pro 6, and the newer 2-in-1 also sports faster LPDDR4x RAM. You will pay more for the Pro 7, but for better performance and a USB-C port, it's the right choice. And if neither of these laptops is quite what you're looking for, check out our collection of the overall best Windows laptop options on the market today.

The Surface Pro 6 is still a solid buy

The release of a new generation always makes an older device pale, but the Surface Pro 6 is still a reliable option for anyone who wants to save some money and still get an awesome device. The touch display is the same resolution and offers the same brilliant picture, and the overall design is essentially the same. You won't get a USB-C port or 10th Gen Intel CPU performance, but for many people, that's OK.