Here’s an interesting update to the Surface line: a mid-cycle refresh for the Surface Pro. The new Surface Pro 7+ improves on last year’s update with new Intel 11th-gen processors, but the surprising bit is that it includes a removable SSD and options for LTE wireless. Now the other shoe drops: you probably won’t be able to order one for yourself.
The Surface Pro 7+ is being offered to enterprise and education customers. Admittedly, they’ll certainly be interested in that LTE option, arguably much more so than your average buyer (especially given the COVID pandemic). The Pro 7+ also has configurations up to 32GB of RAM, double the highest option for the Pro 7, though sadly isn’t not user-accessible. Oddly, the 32GB option is only available on Wi-Fi models, as are the upper tiers of pre-configured storage, 512GB or 1TB.
But why would you pay for that much storage from Microsoft anyway, if you can swap out a much cheaper drive on your own? Like the similar feature on the ARM-powered Surface Pro X, you can get at the SSD underneath the kickstand, taking off the cover with a SIM ejector tool and removing taking it out with a Torx screwdriver. Any Type E M.2 2230 drive (the really tiny ones, like the popular Kioxia BG4 1TB) can be inserted and booted up.
The Pro7+ also includes much better battery life: boosted from 10.5 hours to 15 hours of “typical usage,” per Microsoft’s spec page. That seems to be entirely based on those improved processors, since the dimensions of the tablet are exactly the same, presumably not making room for a bigger battery.
The Surface Pro 7+ is available to order now starting at $900 for the 8GB RAM, Core i3 version, but only if you have access to Microsoft’s industrial and educational reseller network. We’re likely to see some or all of these upgrades, especially the 11th-gen processors and Xe graphics, on the Surface Pro 8 in the latter half of this year.