You could tell there wasn’t a lot to say about the new Surface Pro 7 when Microsoft’s Panos Panay turned over its unveiling to a colleague who proceeded to turn her presentation into a demonstration of the new Edge browser and the absolutely unnatural ways that the company pretends that families communicate with one another.
The sequence was a little bizarre, but totally understandable. Now in its fifth incarnation in this form factor, the Surface Pro is a proven, mature product, with very little room for innovation.
As expected, the Surface Pro 7 adds a USB-C port and is now powered by 10th generation Intel “Ice Lake” CPU. Prices range from $749 for the i3, 4 GB, 128 GB model to an insane $2299 for an i7, 16 GB, 1 TB beast. If you can afford that, then you won’t be upset to know that the type covers and Surface pen continue to be sold separately.
For me, the sweet spot configuration is the i7/16/256 which sells for $1499. You can save $300 by dropping down to an i5 with 8 GB RAM.
I skipped the Surface Pro 6 and can’t speak to how its pen performs for artists. Among the reasons I walked away from this blog last year was that I was tired of defending poor pen performance in Photoshop introduced by the Windows 10 fall 2018 update. Those issues took several months to be resolved and Microsoft didn’t help its cause by stonewalling the problem.
My Surface Pro 5 pen performs very well in all applications on the entire Surface line and I’ve recently tested one low cost alternative that really shines (look for that review soon). So from my perspective, even if the company did nothing to tweak this generation’s inking capabilities, the Surface Pro 7 should be an excellent choice for Windows artists. I still prefer traditional Wacom pens like the one in its Mobile StudioPro line, but the Surface Pro remains a more flexible, all-purpose device.
I’ll probably skip the Surface Pro 7, but that doesn’t mean you have to. I look forward to reading your impressions below.