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Microsoft Surface Pro 7 review: This or a convertible notebook?

By Kenny Yeo - 28 Feb 2020

Benchmark performance, battery life, and conclusion

Performance

To evaluate the Surface Pro 7, we will be pitting it against other comparable ultraportable notebooks such as the recently reviewed ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434, the Acer Swift 5, the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1, and the HP Spectre x360.

The Dell and HP are arguably the Surface Pro 7’s closest rivals as they feature top-notch build and convertible form factors that enable them to be used as tablets. Here are their configurations and how they stack up.

Specifications comparison
Model Microsoft Surface Pro 7 Acer Swift 5 ASUS ZenBook 14 UX434 Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 HP Spectre x360
Processor Intel Core i7-1065G7 Intel Core i7-1065G7 Intel Core i7-10510U Intel Core i7-1065G7 Intel Core i7-1065G7
Memory 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB 16GB
Storage 512GB SSD 1TB SSD 1TB SSD 512GB SSD 1TB
Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics NVIDIA GeForce MX250 NVIDIA GeForce MX250 Intel Iris Plus Graphics Intel Iris Plus Graphics
Price S$2,688 S$2,398 S$2,098 S$2,898 S$2,899

 

 

Benchmark results

The Surface Pro 7 was a strong performer. Its numbers on PCMark 10, WebXPRT 3, and Cinebench R20 were all very commendable. And although it couldn’t run 3DMark for unknown reasons, its numbers on Tomb Raider was decent considering its form factor. But perhaps more importantly, it exhibited very little performance throttling – an issue that plagued older models. Overall, it performed very admirably against its two closest rvials – the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and HP Spectre x360.

 

 

Battery life

The latest Surface Pro 7 has a battery capacity of just 43.2Wh – the smallest of all the notebooks here. Despite that, it lasted just over 5 hours in the Modern Office workload and was just five minutes shy of two hours in the intensive Gaming workload. Diving deeper and looking at the power consumption figures reveal that it is more efficient than its rivals. Overall, battery life and portability can be said to be very good.

 

Still the best detachable notebook, but…

If you are reading this review, I'm assuming you are in the market for a device that can work as a tablet and as a regular notebook. The first question to ask yourself is if you really prefer a detachable notebook over a convertible one?

If the answer is yes, the Surface Pro 7 is your best option. Admittedly, there’s a lack of credible competitors but the Surface Pro 7 itself is a decent device with class-leading build quality, a fantastic display, decent all-round performance, and a fantastically portable form factor.

The Surface Pro 7’s key downsides are its aged design and its price. The unit we tested (Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512GB SSD) comes in at S$2,688 and that’s excluding accessories. The Surface Type Cover is S$249 and the Surface Pen is another S$148. Add them all up and you are looking at S$3,085, which means the Surface Pro 7 costs about S$180 than the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and HP Spectre x360. The Surface Pro 7 is a pricey device.

The Surface Pro 7 is still the best detachable notebook around, but it's high price means it's worth exploring other options.

However, if you are not set on a detachable notebook, it would be foolish not to at least check out convertible notebooks like the Dell XPS 13 2-in-1 and HP Spectre x360. Granted, their tablet modes are compromised, but their built-in keyboards offer a better typing experience. If you type a lot, this is something to bear in mind. Moreover, the current crop of convertible notebooks is much more comfortable to be used as tablets, because they have never been this compact or light.

To end, the Surface Pro 7 is still the detachable notebook to get, but its aged design and high price mean it’s harder to recommend it outright especially when there is no shortage of options.

If you're set on getting the Surface Pro 7, head over here to start your purchase journey!

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7.5
  • Design 7.5
  • Features 8
  • Performance 7.5
  • Value 7
  • Mobility 9
The Good
USB-C, finally
Nice display
Compact and super portable
Good all-round performance
Class-leading build quality
Power efficient, decent battery life
The Bad
Starting to look dated
Only one USB-C and USB-A port
No Thunderbolt 3 support
Accessories are not included and pricey
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