In a declining tablet market, Apple dominates its head and shoulder competitors with its iPad Pro in particular. Nevertheless, some actors continue to fight armed with attractive models. We think for example of the Galaxy Tab S6 of Samsung (Android) or to Microsoft’s Surface Pro.
If all have in common their more professional positioning, the Surface Pro range is undoubtedly the one that comes closest to a laptop. This is good, it is Microsoft who really launched this hybrid format in 2012, no offense to Apple. Besides, on its official Microsoft site, it is presented in its “computers” section. We will therefore speak of “the” Surface and not “the” Surface.
Since 2012, the company has offered a new version of its hybrid computer every year. In 2019, the Surface Pro 7 was presented alongside the Surface Pro X (an “Xtraordinary” version according to the brand) and Surface Laptop 3 more like a more classic laptop. In between, the Surface Pro 7 successor to Surface Pro 6 who, let us remember, had received the praise of all the specialists. So much for the presentations.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Core i3, 4 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD) at the best price Base price: 919 €
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A resolutely high-end PC
The seventh wonder of Microsoft looks like two drops of water to the sixth. Truth be told, it’s hard to tell them apart when they’re side by side. The manufacturer uses the magnesium chassis (matt black on our test version), which is still just as elegant. Surface Pro 7 breathes high-endand happily competes with the Apple iPad Pro. Personally, I find it even much sexier.
On the back, Microsoft plays the minimalism card. The tiny camera (which can film in Full HD) is positioned in the top center, the brand logo (glossy) on the bottom. In the middle, you can barely make out the hinge to adjust the tilt of the PC (up to 160 °).
The front speakers deliver a powerful and balanced sound despite their small size. The dimensions (292 x 201 x 8.5 mm) reveal an extremely thin and light device (780 g). Perfect for mobility but restrictive for connectors.
Microsoft still integrates six ports : a 3.5 mm jack on the left border, a USB 3.1 Type-C, a Surface Connect (magnetic port to charge the machine), a USB 3.0 Type-A (what a good idea!) and a microSDXC on the right border and a port for the Surface Type Cover keyboard connector (on the lower border). Finally, the manufacturer limits the number of physical buttons to three: two for volume, one for power.
Always as attractive screen
The Surface Pro 7 sports a 12.3-inch IPS LCD screen with 3: 2 ratio combining ultra-mobility and comfort as well as a definition of 2736 x 1824 pixels. Microsoft is not participating in the race for finer borders, far from it. The screen-to-screen ratio of 77% looks pale in the face of competitors’ optimizations. So what ? In use, these slightly wide contours make it easier to hold in one hand.
If the size of the borders can be debated, the quality of the display will agree with everyone. Microsoft has accustomed us to perfectly balanced screens, that of the Surface Pro 7 is no exception. In addition to the good contrasts, there is excellent colorimetry and high brightness. The most fussy will criticize him for his appetite for reflections, but the brightness catches the blow. Let’s say I had a hard time working in direct sunlight, but this scenario does not happen every day (especially in the north of France).
Finally, note that the upper border of the screen camouflages a series of sensors allowing unlock the PC by facial recognition via Windows Hello. If the system proves effective in most situations, the backlights fail.
The keyboard: the example to follow
Our test model is accompanied by a Signature keyboard in alcantara (soft fabrics). Important clarification: Microsoft still does not provide this accessory (however essential) when purchasing the Surface Pro 7. You will therefore have to put your hand in the wallet and get out 180 euros to give it to yourself. The manufacturer also offers a more classic keyboard, billed 150 euros. Even if you spend a few extra dollars, I highly recommend the Signature model with resolutely high-end finishes, after buying the Surface Pro 7.
As on previous models, the keyboard attaches to Surface Pro 7 with a magnetic attachment that is as effective as it is practical. Indeed, the Signature can also play the role of screen protector. You can also turn it over 180 ° when you grab the tablet (standing for example) without fear of an unintentional knock. Microsoft had the great idea to deactivate the keyboard as soon as it contorts. Malin. When placed on a desk (or any flat surface), you have two options: either use the keyboard flat or slightly tilted. I personally preferred this much more comfortable position.
Microsoft has done a real work of goldsmith. The Signature is one of the best keyboards I have ever used. On this hybrid format, it literally outperforms the competition. The race is perfect, flexible and solid at the same time. I used this keyboard during my long hours of writing, always with the same pleasure (I actually wrote this test with the Surface Pro 7). The icing on the cake, the backlight on three levels will accompany you in dark environments (during the writing of your novel for example).
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Core i5, 8 GB RAM, 128 GB SSD) at the best price Base price: 1,069 €
The trackpad has nothing to envy the keyboard. Microsoft has managed to find enough space to offer a comfortable surface in such a small format. The resistance of the click is sufficient but not too much, the scrolling of the pages fast but not too much, the navigation with two fingers easy but… ah if too much. In summary we have nothing wrong with this Signature keyboard except that Microsoft doesn’t provide it with the Surface Pro 7.
Performance: what it takes
Our test model has a 10th generation Intel Core i7-1065G7 processor, 16 GB of LPDDR4x RAM and 256 GB of storage. The graphics part is managed by an iGP Iris Plus G4 card. Price of this high-end configuration: 1415 euros. At this price, we can expect good performance. Mission accomplished, the Surface Pro 7 does not disappoint.
I used the hybrid PC as my main machine for a fortnight for my job as a journalist. My use is mainly based on writing, the web (many tabs open simultaneously), photo editing, email management, social networks and occasionally video editing.
In all situations, the Surface Pro 7 responded. Silent, it has shown its limits on video editing (logical) and gaming. In the first case, forget about 4K (still logical) and limit yourself to small edits. For gaming (if we can use that term), the Surface Pro 7 is clearly not the adviser. No wonder there either: as its name and format indicate, the Surface Pro 7 is aimed at professionals on the move. Taking this fact into account, it is therefore very efficient (in this configuration).
Autonomy: it’s clean
Designed for mobility (did I say it before?), the Surface Pro 7 promises 10:30 of autonomy. A score that I was able to verify for versatile use. Movie and series fans will see battery life drop to just over 8 hours, which is more than adequate, with the best in the industry remaining Apple’s Macbook Pro. Keep in mind that you can leave early in the morning for a day’s work by forgetting your charger.
I emphasize the very good management of Always-on Display mode which keeps the screen on until the user presses the on / off button himself. I saw a loss of around 5 to 8% in one full night. Excellent.
Microsoft provides a charger compatible with fast charging (Surface Connect). Again, the Surface Pro 7 does not disappoint since two hours are enough to recharge it to 100%.
My opinion on Microsoft’s Surface Pro 7
The Surface Pro 7 stands out as the worthy successor to the already successful Pro 6. The hybrid PC with Microsoft sauce is revealed at the same time elegant, efficient and enduring for professional use. These qualities are all the more interesting since the Surface Pro 7 perfectly fulfills its role as a mobile machine. The most muscular configurations will even allow you to go beyond current uses and indulge in some photo editing and small montages.
In reality, I don’t really see what we could blame Microsoft’s hybrid PC for. Oh yes ! Microsoft describes it as a PC but, by not providing a keyboard, sells it like a tablet. This essential accessory (not to say compulsory) will cost you between 150 and 180 euros, which increases the initial invoice from 919 euros (for the basic model) to 929 euros or 959 euros (depending on the keyboard model chosen). Add a Surface Pen at 110 euros and you will cross the symbolic bar of 1000 euros.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7 (Core i7, 16 GB RAM, 256 GB SSD) at the best price Base price: 1 669 €
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
Value for money
9.0 / 10
- Definitely upscale design
- Balanced and bright screen
- Good performance
- Excellent autonomy
We like less
- Keyboard sold separately