Microsoft announces Surface Pro 7+ for Business: 4G LTE, 32GB of RAM, and 11th Gen Intel

Surface Pro 7plus
Surface Pro 7plus (Image credit: Microsoft)

What you need to know

  • Surface Pro 7+ is for enterprise and education markets.
  • Surface Pro 7+ features 4G LTE options, 32GB of RAM, removable SSD, and Intel 11th Gen processors.
  • Shipping starts later this week.
  • We could see Surface Pro 8 for consumers later this fall.

A lot has changed in the world in the last year, especially with how we work. As a result, Microsoft is shaking things up a bit with its "classic" Surface Pro laptop. Instead of introducing a Surface Pro 8 for consumers, it is refreshing Surface Pro 7 with a new "plus" edition for enterprise and education markets.

So, what is different about Surface Pro 7+ for Business, and can regular consumers buy one? Here is what is new for Surface Pro 7+ for Business and how it differs from Surface Pro 7 for Consumers.

Surface Pro 7+ What's different

Surface Pro 7plus Ssd

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The most exciting changes for Surface Pro 7+ start with the SSD. Following the designs of Surface Pro X and Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft is introducing a removable SSD design for Surface Pro 7+.

Just like Surface Pro X, users can pop off the rear door using a SIM tool and with a single Torx T3 screw swap out the drive for security reasons or upgrades.

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What's new Surface Pro 7+
CPU | Intel 11th Gen
GPU | Xe Graphics
RAM | Up to 32GB
SSD | Removable; Up to 1TB
Connectivity | 4G LTE
Markets | Commercial, EDU
Availability | This week

We recently did a how-to on swapping the SSD in Surface Pro X, detailing the procedure.

Next is the introduction of Intel 11th Gen processors. Intel's latest CPUs bring up to a 30 percent boost in processor performance and nearly 80 percent in GPU thanks to the new Iris Xe graphics. Microsoft claims that Surface Pro 7+ is now "2.1 times faster" than before.

Options for Core i3, Core i5 (both without fans), and Core i7 will be available.

Besides improved performance, Intel 11th Gen also brings significantly better battery life. Microsoft is now claiming Surface Pro+ can achieve up to 15 hours of battery life, and it can recharge up to 80 percent in just under an hour. The older Surface Pro 7 based on Intel 10th Gen was only rated up to 10.5 hours of battery life for comparison.

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CategorySurface Pro 7+
Operating systemWindows 10 Pro
Display12.3-inch PixelSense, 3:2 aspect ratio, 2736x1824 (267 PPI)
Processor11th Gen Intel Core i3-1115G4 (Wi-Fi)11th Gen Intel Core i5-1135G7 (Wi-Fi or LTE)11th Gen Intel Core i7-1165G7 (Wi-Fi)
GraphicsIntel UHD Graphics (i3)Intel Iris Xe Graphics (i5, i7)
Memory8GB or 16GB LPDDR4x (Wi-Fi or LTE)32GB LPDDR4x (Wi-Fi)
Storage128GB SSD or 256GB SSD (Wi-Fi or LTE)512GB SSD or 1TB SSD (Wi-Fi)
Rear camera8MP autofocus (1080p)
Front camera5MP (1080p)
SecurityTPM 2.0Windows Hello face authentication camera
ConnectivityBluetooth 5.0Wi-Fi 6 802.11ax4G Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem (optional)
PortsOne USB-COne USB-AOne microSDXCOne Surface Connect+Surface Keyboard connector3.5mm headphone jack
BatteryUp to 15 hours (Wi-Fi)Up to 13.5 hours (LTE Advanced)
Size11.5" x 7.9" x 0.33" (292 mm x 201 mm x 8.5 mm)
Weighti3, i5: 1.70 lb (775 g)i7: 1.74 lb (790 g)
PricingStarts at $899
AvailabilityMid-January 2021

Another significant shift is for the first time, you can order Surface Pro with 32GB of RAM. That version won't be cheap as it is only available with a Core i7 and 1TB of internal storage, bringing the price to $2,800.

The other change is the option for 4G LTE. Microsoft's last Surface Pro with LTE was announced in 2017 (but didn't ship until early 2018). That model is only available in platinum with a Core i5, 8 or 16GB of RAM, and up to 256GB of storage.

Battery life is rated at 13.5 hours for the LTE model versus 15 hours for Wi-Fi only.

Additional security has also been added to Surface Pro 7+ to protect against "common and sophisticated malware." Microsoft goes into detail in a separate blog post on the new abilities.

When combined with a removable SSD, Intel 11th Gen Core i5, and the Snapdragon X20 LTE Modem Surface Pro 7+ should be a killer convertible tablet. Other than those changes, nothing else is different with Surface Pro 7+ compared to Surface Pro 7.

Surface Pro 7+ Why only businesses?

Surface Pro 7plus

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

The obvious question is why Microsoft is doing a mid-cycle refresh to Surface Pro 7. The answer is evident when you consider how much enterprise and schooling have shifted due to the pandemic.

Instead of waiting for a Surface Pro 8, Microsoft revamped Surface Pro 7 for its business partners and customers who have been asking for these changes. Microsoft tells us, "we have had differentiated consumer and commercial SKUs for several years to allow us to best meet the needs of each customer," and that prioritizing "Surface Pro 7+ for commercial and education customers is an extension of this strategy."

In a blog post on the announcement, Microsoft added more about the need for Surface Pro 7+:

Across industries, the shift to remote and hybrid productivity was a tipping point to redefine the future of how we work, collaborate, and learn outside physical office spaces or classrooms. We have seen a significant increase in the reliance on technology to keep organizations connected. In the past year, Surface usage within enterprise organizations nearly doubled, driven by strong growth in the use of collaboration and productivity apps to maintain business continuity.

Microsoft is also getting in on being more environmentally conscious by reducing the overall weight of the packaging for Surface Pro 7+, which is now "23% lighter than the previous generation and is made from 99% natural fiber-based material, of which 64% is post-consumer recycled content."

Here are a few more questions you may have:

Will Surface Pro 7 continue to be sold?

For consumers, Surface Pro 7 is the one that will continue to be available. It is not being discontinued. But for enterprise (commercial) and EDU markets Surface Pro 7+ does replace Surface Pro 7.

Can consumers (regular people) buy Surface Pro 7+?

Yes. Surface Pro 7+ "can be purchased by business customers - including freelancers - through a Surface Commercial Authorized Device Reseller or via the Microsoft Store Business Desk."

That means you probably cannot one through Best Buy but will be able to order it through Microsoft and other channels similar to getting the Intel version of Surface Book 3 (15-inch).

Why no 5G?

Microsoft is notoriously shy about introducing new features, and according to the, 5G is not something their business customers have been asking for just yet. Microsoft will do 5G when they think it is ready for more mainstream customers but now is not that time.

What about Thunderbolt 4?

Unfortunately, there is no Thunderbolt 4 with Surface Pro 7+. Maybe we'll see it with Surface Pro 8.

Does the LTE version support eSIM?

Yes. Both eSIM and a removable nano SIM are supported. As usual, Surface Pro 7+ is SIM unlocked and supports the following global LTE Bands: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 7, 8, 12, 13, 14, 19, 20, 25, 26, 28, 29, 30, 38, 39, 40, 41, 66.

Surface Pro 7+ pricing, models, and availability

Surface Pro 7plus

Source: Microsoft (Image credit: Source: Microsoft)

With the inclusion of LTE, up to 32GB of RAM, and both black and platinum colorways, there are quite a few configuration options for Surface Pro 7+. Here are all of them broken by category.

Surface Pro 7+ Wi-Fi Commercial

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11th Gen Intel Core i3, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB, Platinum$899
11th Gen Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB, Platinum$999
11th Gen Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB, Platinum/Black$1,299
11th Gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB, Platinum/Black$1,599
11th Gen Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB, Platinum$1,999
11th Gen Intel Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 1 TB, Platinum$2,399
11th Gen Intel Core i7, 32 GB RAM, 1 TB, Platinum$2,799

Surface Pro 7+ LTE Commercial

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11th Gen Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB, LTE, Platinum$1,149
11th Gen Intel Core i5, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB, LTE, Platinum$1,649

Surface Pro 7+ Wi-Fi Education

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11th Gen Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB, Platinum$899
11th Gen Intel Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 256 GB, Platinum$1,199

Pricing starts at $899 for the Core i3 with 8GB and 128GB of storage (platinum) and peaks at $2,800 for Core i7, 32GB, and 1TB of storage (platinum). Education models are $100 cheaper, only come in platinum, and do not have an LTE option.

You won't have to wait long to order one either. Business and education customers in select markets across Asia, Europe, and North America can order Surface Pro 7+ through their local resellers today, with shipping beginning at the end of this week.

Surface Pro 7+: Quick analysis

The good news is Microsoft is not calling this Surface Pro 8. That leaves room for that device to come out perhaps, later this year and with it more significant changes.

Interestingly, Microsoft didn't see the need to bring Surface Pro 7+ to the consumer market, even though that seems like it would have been an logical strategy. But in doing so, some customers who buy Surface Pro 7+ may feel burned if Surface Pro 8 comes out late in the fall and with it an expected updated design. The positioning of Surface Pro 7+ for Business gets around that issue.

The enterprise (and EDU) markets care less about thinner bezels or the latest in consumer delights. That makes Surface Pro 7+ with its removable SSD, LTE option, and latest Intel processors an easy sell. And we can't fault Microsoft in wanting to meet the demands of this market considering the big role PCs now play at work.

Finally, it's worth mentioning that Surface Hub 2S 85-inch, as expected, is starting to ship this month too. Customers interested in Surface Hub 2S 85-inch can connect with an authorized Surface Hub reseller for more info.

Need more on Surface? See our "Expectations, predictions, and what we want to see for Surface in 2021" list on what we know.

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.