Surface Pro 7 Plus vs. Pro 7: What's the difference?

The Surface Pro 7 Plus is a mid-generation refresh that adds Intel's 11th Gen Intel Core processors with Intel Iris Xe graphics, 4G LTE connectivity, removable or upgradeable SSD, configurations with up to 32GB of RAM, better battery life, and the same stellar design you love. This is a "business" laptop intended for the Enterprise and Education sectors, but anyone can buy one by shopping straight from Microsoft or other select resellers.

Both the Surface Pro 7 Plus and the Surface Pro 7 have been succeeded by the Surface Pro 8. It features a significant redesign with a larger screen, new ports, and faster performance hardware. You can see a full list of differences in our Surface Pro 8 vs. Pro 7 comparison.

Getting back to the previous generation, let's take a look at what sets the Surface Pro 7 Plus and the Surface Pro 7 apart and why you might want to buy one or the other.

Surface Pro 7 Plus vs. Surface Pro 7 tech specs

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Header Cell - Column 0 Surface Pro 7 PlusSurface Pro 7
OSWindows 10 ProWindows 10 Home
Processor11th Gen IntelCore i3-1115G4Core i5-1135G7Core i7-1165G710th Gen IntelCore i3-1005G1Core i5-1035G4Core i7-1065G7
Storage128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD128GB, 256GB, 512GB, 1TB SSD
Display12.3 inches2736x18243:2 aspect ratioTouch12.3 inches2736x18243:2 aspect ratioTouch
GraphicsIntegratedIntel UHD (i3)Intel Iris Xe (i5, i7)IntegratedIntel UHD (i3)Intel Iris Plus (i5, i7)
PortsUSB-C 3.1USB-A3.5mm audioSurface ConnectmicroSD card readerNano-SIMUSB-C 3.1USB-A3.5mm audioSurface ConnectmicroSD card reader
LTESnapdragon X20 4G LTEN/A
BiometricsIR cameraIR camera
BatteryUp to 15 hours (Wi-Fi)Up to 13.5 hours (LTE)Up to 10.5 hours
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)

What's new with the Surface Pro 7 Plus?

(Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

A mid-generation laptop refresh isn't out of the ordinary, and instead of a full Surface Pro 8 release, Microsoft has gone with a Surface Pro 7 Plus for Enterprise and Education markets. Worry not, because even regular consumers can buy the new Pro 7 Plus. So what's new, and why did Microsoft go this way? Executive Editor Daniel Rubino points this out in his Surface Pro 7 Plus announcement:

"Interestingly, Microsoft didn't see the need to bring Surface Pro 7 Plus to the consumer market, even though that seems like it would have been a logical strategy. But in doing so, some customers who buy Surface Pro 7 Plus 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 Plus for Business gets around that issue."

It seems Microsoft wanted to get the new Intel processors (CPU) into the Pro lineup, as well as add LTE for those who need it without going with a more in-depth redesign.

Compared to the Pro 7 with its 10th Gen Core i3, Core i5, and Core i7 CPUs, the Pro 7 Plus with 11th Gen chips should be considerably faster. Intel itself claims up to a 30% increase in processing power and an 80% increase in graphics power thanks to integrated Intel Iris Xe. Do note that the Core i3 models are still using Intel UHD graphics; if you'd like the extra graphics performance, you'll have to stick with 11th Gen Core i5 or Core i7 models. Up to 32GB of LPDDR4x is now configurable, up from 16GB in the Pro 7.

On top of a nice performance bump, the efficiency of the newer CPUs should extend battery life. Whereas Microsoft claims about 10.5 hours of life from the Pro 7 (realistically about 8 hours as tested in our Surface Pro 7 review), the Pro 7 Plus is pegged at about 15 hours for Wi-Fi models. That number will differ, but it's still a large boost from the previous generation.

The Surface Pro 7 Plus received a giant firmware update with a focus on improving Intel Xe graphics performance, audio performance, Bluetooth stability, battery, and more.

(Image credit: Source: Windows Central)

Like the Surface Pro X, the Pro 7 Plus now has a small door on the back of its chassis for easy access to the solid-state drive (SSD). Whether you're looking to access it for security or for an easy upgrade, it's a welcome addition to a laptop that has traditionally been difficult (read: impossible) to upgrade after purchase.

For anyone who is always on the move, the addition of a Snapdragon X20 LTE modem is no doubt exciting. This allows for constant connectivity whether or not you're within Wi-Fi range, though expect the battery to take a slight hit when using a data connection. The 4G LTE feature is available on Core i5 models only.

Overall, this is mostly an internal redesign, and those waiting for things like slimmer bezels, new ports (like Thunderbolt 4), and 5G connectivity will have to wait for future models. And rest assured, your old Surface Pen and Type Cover will work with the Pro 7 Plus. You can always add one of the best keyboards for Microsoft Surface if you don't want the Type Cover experience.

Surface Pro 7 Plus pricing and where to buy

(Image credit: Source: Daniel Rubino / Windows Central)

The Surface Pro 7 Plus is available for anyone to buy from the Business side of the Microsoft Store. There you can configure models as you see fit and check out as you would on the consumer side of the store. Prices start at about $900 and climb from there with plenty of configurations available.

If you're not keen on buying straight from Microsoft, you can also check out several local resellers who may or may not have stock and the configuration you're looking for. Our best place to buy the Surface Pro 7 Plus guide can help.

Surface Pro 7 Plus brings 11th Gen Intel CPUs, LTE connectivity, and more

The big differences between these two devices are on the inside, with new 11th Gen Intel Core CPUs, 4G LTE modem, up to 32GB RAM, and removable SSD coming to the Pro 7 Plus. Battery life gets better, you can stay connected everywhere, and you can upgrade storage after purchase. If neither of these is what you're looking for, be sure to check out our collection of best Windows laptop options for more great devices.

Cale Hunt

Cale Hunt brings to Windows Central more than eight years of experience writing about laptops, PCs, accessories, games, and beyond. If it runs Windows or in some way complements the hardware, there’s a good chance he knows about it, has written about it, or is already busy testing it.