Microsoft announced the newest member of the Surface PC family today, January 11: The Surface Pro 7+. Surface Pro 7+ is an incremental upgrade to the Surface Pro 7, and will begin shipping next week via business channels for commercial and education customers. (The Pro 7+ won't be available in the usual consumer retail channels like Best Buy.)
Rumors had been circulating for a while that Microsoft would be refreshing its Surface line with a Surface Pro 8 and Surface Laptop 4 early in 2021. I asked Microsoft if there was a Surface Laptop 4 ready for imminent announcement and was told the company had no comment.
Surface Pro 7+ includes 11th-generation Intel Core processors; optional LTE support; and overall performance improvements. Microsoft kept the same form factor with the Pro 7+ in order to simplify the lives of business and IT admins who may want to use existing docks, peripherals and cases, officials said.
Surface Pro 7+ with Wifi only (no LTE) starts at $899 without a keyboard/Type Cover, which costs between roughly $100 and $160, depending on the model. The 4G LTE Advanced option starts at $1,149 (also without a keyboard). The Pro 7+ devices are available in select markets in North America, Europe and Asia starting later this week. Business and education customers can start placing orders today through their local commercial resellers.
Microsoft officials also reiterated today that the Surface Hub 2S 85-inch touch-screen conferencing system will begin shipping to commercial and education customers later this month in select markets.
Officials had nothing to say when I asked whether Microsoft still had plans to introduce a cartridge upgrade -- dubbed Surface Hub 2X -- as Microsoft first announced a couple of years ago. (According to reports, Microsoft tabled the idea of 2X in favor of software updates to the 2S devices.) Officials also declined to say if and when Microsoft still plans to introduce a Surface Hub monitor/display, which officials announced two years ago.
In September 2020, Microsoft made it possible for Surface Hub 2S to run Windows 10 Pro and Enterprise, rather than the customized Windows 10 Team OS with which Surface Hub devices have shipped.
Back to the Surface Pro 7+. These PCs will offer removable SSD and will ship with Windows Enhanced Hardware Security features enabled out of the box. Users have the option of purchasing models with up to 32 GB of RAM and 1 TB of storage. The Pro 7+, without the keyboard, weighs 1.7 pounds.
Surface Pro 7+ devices ship with Windows 10 Pro; come in Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 models; and include a 5.0 MP front-facing camera with 1080p full HD video and an 8 MP rear-facing camera with 1080p full HD Video. Microsoft is claiming up to 15 hours of battery life "based on typical Surface device usage." My rule of thumb is real-life Windows PC's get about half of the battery life in real-world situations that vendors, including Microsoft, claim.