REVIEW: Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ tablet laptop
MANILA – Tablet-laptop hybrids, also known as 2-in-1s, can offer the best of both worlds, and the Microsoft Surface Pro 7+ comes very close to this ideal.
The Surface Pro 7 is one of Microsoft’s latest stabs at a tablet that can be fitted with a removable keyboard, and it works great at both these use cases.
This device is obviously geared towards on-the-go business people, who need a reliable, powerful computer that’s also easy to carry while traveling to business meetings. While the COVID-19 pandemic may have taken away the need for business travel in the past year, face-to-face interactions are seen to rebound as vaccination rates rise and the outbreak is brought under control.
This thing is light, weighing just 1.7 lbs or 0.7 kgs. Despite this, it still comes packed with welterweight specs, including a desktop-class OS.
It’s also a pretty good-looking device.
I’ve used a 2-in-1 before. More than 10 years ago–when Asus unveiled its Transformer tablet, I eagerly snapped up a unit, with its promise of being a great tablet, and a compact laptop in one. But I also wished then, that it ran Windows instead of the tablet-version of Android, which I found a bit lacking then.
This year, I finally got to test a tablet that runs the latest version of Windows–Windows 10 as 11 has yet to be released.
The 12.3-inch Surface Pro 7 sits comfortably in the middle of a media-consumption tablet like the 10.2 -inch iPad 7, and a full productivity laptop like the 15-inch Macbook Pro.
But this device can duke it out with other business laptops. Our review unit came spec’d with an 11th gen Intel Core i5 processor running at 2.4 GHz, 16 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD for storage.
It also features a 12.3-inch touchscreen display with a 2736 x 1824 resolution (267 ppi) and a 3:2 aspect ratio.
The tablet also features 1 USB-C port, 1 USB-A port, a headphone jack, and a nano SIM tray at the back in case you need to have direct access to LTE networks.
Our review unit also came with a TypeCover that magnetically snaps onto the bottom side of the tablet, transforming it into a laptop.
As a tablet, the Surface Pro 7 needs a bit of getting used to, especially if you’re coming from an iPad, as it’s bigger and heavier than Apple’s consumer-oriented tablet. Also, since Windows was never really built from the ground up as a touchscreen OS, you need to be a bit more accurate when clicking buttons and links on the screen with your fingers.
Because of its work-oriented 3:2 display ratio, HD content will appear with black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.
As a laptop, this device is almost a home run. It’s light, powerful, battery life was more than adequate–Microsoft claims up to 15 hours of battery, and it runs all your Windows apps.
This is a very good laptop, but like a lot of 2-in-1s, it made a few compromises for the sake of the form factor.
The TypeCover keyboard needs some getting used to. While it’s clicky enough, it doesn’t feel as solid as typing on the keyboard of a regular laptop. The keyboard also has a tendency to flex a bit when it’s not on a solid flat surface, like when you’re using it on your lap. If you use this on your lap, the kickstand can also leave marks on your legs. You can’t adjust its display angle either like on a regular laptop.
It could also use a few more ports, perhaps a micro HDMI for connecting to older monitors, a dedicated SD card and micro SD card reader for accessing media files from cameras.
But these aren’t dealbreakers, as this is a fairly powerful computer in a very portable form factor. If I could take only one device with me on a business trip, this would be it.
I would have liked to try this with a stylus, but the review unit did not come with a Surface Pen. As someone who regularly uses the Apple Pencil on his iPad, it would have been nice to see how responsive the Surface Pro 7+ is when it comes to drawing and note-taking.
The Surface Pro 7+ retails for P74,690 with the TypeCover keyboard sold separately for P7,290. The Surface Pen meanwhile retails for P5,075.
If you have a budget of around P700,000 you can buy 8 units of this high-end 2-in-1 laptop, with lots of spare change left.