Surface 7: Everything we know about Microsoft’s new 2-in-1

According to the latest leaks and rumors, Microsoft is prepping not only a Surface Pro 7 — but also a counterpart device that’s been dubbed the Surface 7.

Though we don’t know much about the device at the moment, its existence could prove an interesting turning point in the Surface lineup. Despite having the cheap, smaller Surface Go still in the lineup, Microsoft may want to go harder after the iPad with a device powered by the new Qualcomm Snapdragon processor.

Here’s everything we know about the Surface 7, which could end up being a truly revolutionary Surface device if unveiled at the Microsoft Surface 2019 event in NYC on Wednesday Oct 2.

Price and release date

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Right now, judging from rumors from the French blog Frandroid, it can be assumed that the Surface 7 could be coming very soon, if not by the end of this year. Most likely, it’ll be announced at Microsoft’s upcoming October 2 event in New York City. Of course, Microsoft has not officially acknowledged the device, but it is said to be codenamed “Harper,” based on information obtained from Microsoft leaker WalkingCat. That makes an impeding reveal a huge possibility.

As for pricing, it is hard to point out an exact final cost of the device. Since rumors indicate that the Surface 7 could launch alongside the Surface Pro 7, it might be labeled by Microsoft a more premium Surface device. That could also be because it is said to come with slimmer bezels and USB-C.

Similar to the top range-Surface devices, Surface 7 might come in well over $900 if configured with 128GB of storage and 8GB or 16GB of RAM. As normal, we assume that the Type Cover keyboard would not come bundled in. In the past, Microsoft has never officially bundled the keyboard or Surface Pen in with its newest Surface devices. Though Surface devices tend to be pricey, we expect the Surface 7 to be priced below the Surface Pro 7 but above the ultra-affordable Surface Go.

New design

As Apple accomplished with the iPad Pro, the Surface 7 could shape up to be different and set itself apart from the rest of the Surface lineup. Surface 7 could be a more premium device, with a high selling point and fancy features not found on the other models.

But what features exactly? Well, it is expected that Surface 7 could feature slimmer bezels, especially around the left and right sides of the device. The screen size also might stay the same at 13 inches, as it would appear that Microsoft is only considering the 15-inch size for its Surface Laptop 3.

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That would put it visually on-par with the 12.9 inch iPad Pro. It also would make the Surface Pro 7 the cheaper model, with the same thick bezels from the past. Again, similar to what Apple has done with the iPad Air, Mini, and regular iPad lineup.

It’s not clear if the top and bottom bezels will also shrink, but that too can be a possibility. HP recently shrunk a Windows Hello webcam down to the size of a grain of rice, and we’d love to see this type of technology come to the Surface too.

USB-C

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Every modern laptop or Windows device typically has one or more USB-C ports. But for quite some time, Microsoft’s products didn’t feature the new port. The company instead relied on USB-A, mini-DisplayPort, and Microsof’t own Surface Connect for power.

This is great for those who don’t want to use dongles, but it also makes the devices seem quite older. USB-C — particularly Thunderbolt 3 — offers quite a bit of modern advantages. That includes fast charging, data transfers, and the ability to daisy-chain displays and connect to external GPUs.

Only the Surface Go finally adopted USB-C, alongside the Surface Book 2. That said, it is widely expected that the Surface 7 could feature a USB-C port. This is rumored to make the device thinner, and perhaps cut out the classic Surface Connect port in the process.

Qualcomm over Intel

So, what will be powering the Surface 7? In the past, Microsoft has separated out a Surface device from the “Pro” lineup before, with the later non-Pro device having a different CPU architecture. We’re expecting the same to happen with the Surface 7 — and believe it could be powered by a Qualcomm ARM-based Snapdragon 8cx processor.

This isn’t new ground for Microsoft, as with the Surface Pro 2, Microsoft also sold a Surface 2 model alongside the main Pro device. The Surface 2 came with a Nvidia Tegra 4 processor, whereas the main Surface Pro shipped with Intel inside. This locked the Surface 2 down to apps from the Microsoft Store only.

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Photo by David Cogen

This time around, we think the Surface 7 could be a bit more powerful than the Surface 2 ever was. The Snapdragon 8cx processor has been in the Samsung Galaxy Book S, but its performance is relatively unknown. Qualcomm, though, claims the 8cx is on par with the Intel Core i5  8250U processor. That might make it great for web browsing and general productivity.

However, Seeing as though Intel Ice Lake processors were just released, more advanced testing will still be needed to see where it stands.  Still, the 8cx could offer a couple of advantages to the Surface 7. LTE connectivity, and all-day battery life. Qualcomm has claimed for up to 23 hours of battery on a single charge, which could make the Surface 7 useful for media consumption.

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