Surface Pro will have about half the battery life of RT tablet

Earlier today, Microsoft announced that the upcoming Surface Pro tablet, running on Windows Pro 8 and an Intel Core i5 processor, would be out sometime in January starting at $899 for the 64 GB version and $999 for the 128 GB version.

Of course, a version of the Surface, running on Windows RT with an ARM-based NVIDIA Tegra processor, is already available for sale from Microsoft. In our review of the Surface, we noted that we had gotten "over 8 hours of use with a mix of email, video, web surfing and writing."

So what will the battery life be like for the Surface Pro? Microsoft's general manager for the Surface tablet division, Panos Panay, gave a response to that question to a person on his Twitter account today:

 

Yes, Panay is basically saying that the Surface Pro will have about four hours of battery life. That's certainly going to disappoint many potential Surface Pro owners who might have wanted the battery to last an hour or two longer. Hopefully, we will get some more solid battery performance stats in the weeks to come.

Source: Panos Panay on Twitter | Image via Microsoft

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During a meeting. A top executive yells out while giving a presentation, "wait, my Surface Pro battery is almost out after 3.8 hours. I will be back in 5 minutes as I need to get an extension cord." Top executive leaves room. CEO asks the young executive, "Son, Does your iPad have the presentation on it?". "Yes", sais the young executive. The CEO says, "Please take over, my time is worth more than waiting around for 5 minutes". By the time the top executive returns with the extension cord after 20 minutes, the young executive finished the presentation and sold the services of that company to their customers who attenede the meeting. "Congratulations lad you did it and are now the top executive due to your superior thinking on using a real working tablet", says the CEO. The top executive receives his pink slip... (True story in the future)

CEO "Son, Does your iPad have the presentation on it?"
Young Executive "No. It has neither the storage, nor the desktop class software necessary to play the presentation, let alone make the changes you are going to ask for in this meeting. There is also no way to just connect it to our projector or main conference room so you'll have to lean over and watch this tiny screen by yourself if you want to see anything. If you want feedback from everyone else in the room, they'll also have to crowd in and/or watch it themselves."
Top Executive "I'm back with the cord. Let's continue with our BUSINESS. Young Executive, bring us some coffee."

NeoPogo said,
During a meeting. A top executive yells out while giving a presentation, "wait, my Surface Pro battery is almost out after 3.8 hours. I will be back in 5 minutes as I need to get an extension cord." Top executive leaves room. CEO asks the young executive, "Son, Does your iPad have the presentation on it?". "Yes", sais the young executive. The CEO says, "Please take over, my time is worth more than waiting around for 5 minutes". By the time the top executive returns with the extension cord after 20 minutes, the young executive finished the presentation and sold the services of that company to their customers who attenede the meeting. "Congratulations lad you did it and are now the top executive due to your superior thinking on using a real working tablet", says the CEO. The top executive receives his pink slip... (True story in the future)

The young CEO actually said, "No, sorry sir. I don't have Office on my iPad, but if you'd like, we can look at photos of my ugly kids or play Angry Birds or see what my douchey friends have posted on Facebook in the past ten minutes."

Battery life might not be good but what you're doing is comparing MPG of a Ferrari (Surface Pro) vs. a Fiat 500 (Surface RT), Yes the Fiat 500 has far better MPG but the Power output of the Ferrari kills the Fiat 500

o0MattE0o said,
Battery life might not be good but what you're doing is comparing MPG of a Ferrari (Surface Pro) vs. a Fiat 500 (Surface RT), Yes the Fiat 500 has far better MPG but the Power output of the Ferrari kills the Fiat 500

Agreed.

I don't have good benchmarks but if you look at Sunspider, the Surface RT takes ~ 1.0s. The iPad 4 ~783ms. The Lenovo Ideapad Yoga 13 (and a number of other ultrabooks having the 1.7GHz i5-3317U, which I am guessing is what the Surface Pro will have as well) takes 150ms! Half the battery life, but 6x the performance as the Surface RT! (of course I do know that the processor is not the only battery eater on a tablet).

Also, note that the iPad 4 has a 43Wh battery, the Surface Pro's battery is specced at 42.5Wh...

The Microsoft fans will say anything to justify their purchase! The same thing Android and Apple fans do. Plain and simple, that battery life sucks!!!!

Albert said,
paying more for less. see how the fanboys generate their own reality distortion field. lmfao.

stupid comments like this make me really angry. so you think battery life is the only relevant spec when buying a pc?! and there are not any other relevant details of this device that make it far more powerful and justify the slightly higher Price?!?

4 hours battery life for a tablet is not enough, not when you consider what battery life other tablets get. Also consider that the Surface Pro will be heavy, it's not really a tablet... It's some other thing so I suppose 4 hours is okay depending on the use case. What will the use cases be and what makes a MS Surface better than something else?

Surface Pro, No Compromises, except for battery life :-)

Edited by derekaw, Nov 30 2012, 4:59am : Spell

derekaw said,
4 hours battery life for a tablet is not enough, not when you consider what battery life other tablets get. Also consider that the Surface Pro will be heavy, it's not really a tablet... It's some other thing so I suppose 4 hours is okay depending on the use case. What will the use cases be and what makes a MS Surface better than something else?

Surface Pro, No Compromises, except for battery life :-)

Think of the Surface Pro as a touch screen ultra book with a very thin base. If you don't want your tablet to be a full laptop replacement, go with the Surface RT.

I think half of you here have the wrong idea of the funtionality of these devices. If all you are doing is browsing the web, checking emails and watching youtube then stick with our ipad, android /rt tablet - that is the right device for you.

If you want to do inking, integrate with your business network, run desktop apps, run photoshop etc all whilst being mobile in a tablet based form factor then these are the devices you should consider as on top of that they do web browsing, email, youtube very smoothly but you wouldnt buy one just to do things an ipad and other consumption tablets do very well.

Now as for battery life, the samsung Smart PC Pro / XE700T I am testing at the moment get the following numbers:

- 6.6hours of constant usage with 40% screen brightness and silent mode enabled (cpu throttled to a max of 1.2Ghz) - yes for most things short of photoshop it runs very smooth in that mode.
- 3hrs 11 mins in max performance mode.
- Above is based on the smart pc pros 49Whr battery.

Now with tablets small numbers make a reasonable difference and at best it would appear surface would be looking at 5.5 more likely 5 hours max and probably no more than a standard movie's length in max performance mode.

This just shows that MS is doing the right thing by trying to direct Windows over to ARM, but they'd have way more enthusiastic support if you could sideload RT apps.

migo said,
This just shows that MS is doing the right thing by trying to direct Windows over to ARM, but they'd have way more enthusiastic support if you could sideload RT apps.

They are by no means trying to "direct" people to ARM as a replacement they are merely opening the horizon.

And people wonder why there's an ARM variant. This is about what my Samsung Series 7 gets, and honestly that'd be fine for a purely work device, but with the desire to replace both tablet and laptop with this device, not having good battery life sort of kills that dream. Thankfully there's very little I can't do on an RT tablet, and that which I cannot do (due to desktop/x86 app requirements) are also things that I don't need to do offline, so I can RDP into an x86 machine and do said things. I wish I could get an x86 "ultratablet" that got 8+ hours of battery life, but I don't think we'll see that until at least the Haswell chips release. Even then, I'll be curious to see what performance can be had for extended battery life, and if we'll really be waiting until Broadwell for x86 designs that can achieve both. I am optimistic for Haswell-based "ultratablets", but Intel's record in mobile isn't exactly a good one so I'll temper that optimism with some realism I guess .

srprimeaux said,
People will complain about anything. "OMG, the RT is so slow and sluggish!" "OMG, the Surface Pro sucks at battery life!"

Except the Surface RT was smooth as butter. Those people are crazy.

Well that sucks... Why don't they just use a lower CPU? I'm pretty sure nobody wants the Surface Pro for power. They just want to be able to run x86 applications on a tablet.

Fry said,
Well that sucks... Why don't they just use a lower CPU? I'm pretty sure nobody wants the Surface Pro for power. They just want to be able to run x86 applications on a tablet.

One of the reasons I want to Surface Pro so much is that it has an i5 processor, instead of an Atom.

I had my first chance to play with Surface RT at the Microsoft NYC store today. I loved it. It was buttery smooth, no matter what I was doing. Really can't wait for the pro. If the battery life can yield about 5 or 6 hours, that wouldn't be a bad thing at all. Just 4 hours, and I would have to play with that one too, before a purchase is definite.

dead on arrival, so adding the price now the battery life its going to be poor....

way to kill high expectations that its good maybe im impressed when the actual surface pro release

It's more likely to be closer to 6 or 7, that's what I got with the Samsung Ativ Pro, which is essentially the same thing. That's more than enough to get through a full day of work from my experience. Besides, how often are you out for 7 hours without any kind of power source anyways?

lexp said,
iPad killer number 100500!

Stop comparing something a tablet that would be beyond in horse power and application usability to an Ipad. If you want to compare then use Windows RT which is even above the Ipad with usability.

lexp said,
iPad killer number 100500!

While the pro is a different beast and really won't compete with the iPad, they could have done great damage with the Surface RT. Unfortunately, the mess that is the Music app and non-functioning Xbox Music matching, syncing service combined with the fact that you can't sync the Surface with a PC kind of doomed it as an iPad Killer. And that's not getting into the app situation. But it is still a great device.

If the lack of, and abysmal state of some of the core apps is because MS overextended themselves, then maybe 6 months from now it'll be a different story. Consumers don't wait around much these days though.

MorganX said,
While I have never run out of Battery or even gotten below 50% on the RT, this can't be good for $1k.

$899 is not $1000.

I just rounded up the 128GB for $999. $100 to double the internal ss storage is a gimme in my book. Gotta do it regardless of battery life.

I don't know why anyone would be surprised to hear that the Surface Pro won't last as long as the Surface RT. It's just common sense.

jakem1 said,
I don't know why anyone would be surprised to hear that the Surface Pro won't last as long as the Surface RT. It's just common sense.

Agreed, but -50%? That's just an ugly number.

spudtrooper said,
I get well over 8 hours on my surface.. but the battery life is squarely on Intel and the reason arm is in full force on tablets..

Intel and the screen. Having such a high res screen won't help matters.

I can attest to that and that includes lots of music and Netflix, well, 2-3 hours worth of that a day along with Lync and RDP.

well bang goes the thought of using a surface pro in the workplace, for us anyways, i was hoping it would last at least 7 hours somehow then it could almost survive a full days work as a desktop/laptop replacement. Now with that battery life its an executive toy <shakes head> thatll be the ipads being handed back then.......

Mando said,
well bang goes the thought of using a surface pro in the workplace, for us anyways, i was hoping it would last at least 7 hours somehow then it could almost survive a full days work as a desktop/laptop replacement. Now with that battery life its an executive toy <shakes head> thatll be the ipads being handed back then.......

I would wait for real tests before deciding, the 8 hours that RT gets is pretty constant use with video playback thrown in - I seriously doubt running office apps would put much of a strain on the device. as someone pointed out above, he gets 12 hours out of the RT.

Mando said,
well bang goes the thought of using a surface pro in the workplace, for us anyways, i was hoping it would last at least 7 hours somehow then it could almost survive a full days work as a desktop/laptop replacement. Now with that battery life its an executive toy <shakes head> thatll be the ipads being handed back then.......

Don't you have power points in your workplace?

Mando said,
well bang goes the thought of using a surface pro in the workplace, for us anyways, i was hoping it would last at least 7 hours somehow then it could almost survive a full days work as a desktop/laptop replacement. Now with that battery life its an executive toy <shakes head> thatll be the ipads being handed back then.......

You don't leave laptops plugged in while they are being used in the office?

Sraf said,

You don't leave laptops plugged in while they are being used in the office?

Sure... but the point of a tablet is mobility and a charging cable attached to one surely is going to limit that.

Condere said,

Sure... but the point of a tablet is mobility and a charging cable attached to one surely is going to limit that.


You're expecting to be "mobile" in your office for more than 4 hours? How much work do you do while moving around?

Condere said,

Sure... but the point of a tablet is mobility and a charging cable attached to one surely is going to limit that.

You're not really thinking this through. When you're at your desk, plug it in. Unless you're away from your desk AND actively using a Surface Pro, there shouldn't be a problem.

I usually get at least 12 hours out of my RT, so that means 6 hours of normal usage. Seriously you can't complain about that.

siah1214 said,
I usually get at least 12 hours out of my RT, so that means 6 hours of normal usage. Seriously you can't complain about that.

6 hours is still a problem as a pro tablet. Usually a normal working day is at the minimum 7 hours. And it's often between 8 and 10 hours. Needing to charge the tablet during lunch is not really cool.

LaP said,

6 hours is still a problem as a pro tablet. Usually a normal working day is at the minimum 7 hours. And it's often between 8 and 10 hours. Needing to charge the tablet during lunch is not really cool.


I use my Surface through 2 days of work usually before I have to charge (It's in sleep when I "close" the touch cover, but when I get e-mails, calls, etc. it still rings and I can open it right up)... I also do light browsing and sometimes chat via Skype as well. I've never had to charge it at work.

LogicalApex said,
Um... 4 hours... What the...

I get ~10 hours on my T530 and that is a full laptop. Surely a tablet can do better...

That makes absolutely no sense what so ever - its running the same components as a 'full laptop' but is a fraction of the size, how in the name of common sense would you expect similar battery life?

LogicalApex said,
Um... 4 hours... What the...

I get ~10 hours on my T530 and that is a full laptop. Surely a tablet can do better...

Seriously, your hating is getting more and more ridiculous.

duddit2 said,

That makes absolutely no sense what so ever - its running the same components as a 'full laptop' but is a fraction of the size, how in the name of common sense would you expect similar battery life?

Why wouldn't I expect the battery life to be at least as good?

My T530 is running an i7-3520M... Which is the fastest dual core CPU Intel currently sell for laptops. Meaning it is a power hog...

Whatever is in the Surface Pro will be an Ultra Low Voltage chip from Intel so it will suck a fraction of the power of mine. I have a 15.6" 1920x1080 screen which I'm sure sucks a LOT more power than the one in the Surface Pro. I could go on and on.

To say 4 hours is anything other than laughable on a tablet is crazy to me.

jakem1 said,
Seriously, your hating is getting more and more ridiculous.

Err... So 4 hours battery life is a good thing? I'm at a loss here.

LogicalApex said,

Why wouldn't I expect the battery life to be at least as good?

My T530 is running an i7-3520M... Which is the fastest dual core CPU Intel currently sell for laptops. Meaning it is a power hog...

Whatever is in the Surface Pro will be an Ultra Low Voltage chip from Intel so it will suck a fraction of the power of mine. I have a 15.6" 1920x1080 screen which I'm sure sucks a LOT more power than the one in the Surface Pro. I could go on and on.

The Surface Pro uses an Intel i5 processor... it's not a Clover Trail Atom. Add in the fact that tablets have less space for batteries (the battery in your laptop probably weighs as much as an entire Surface), and you hit an engineering wall of what you can possibly accomplish.

LogicalApex said,

Why wouldn't I expect the battery life to be at least as good?

My T530 is running an i7-3520M... Which is the fastest dual core CPU Intel currently sell for laptops. Meaning it is a power hog...

Whatever is in the Surface Pro will be an Ultra Low Voltage chip from Intel so it will suck a fraction of the power of mine. I have a 15.6" 1920x1080 screen which I'm sure sucks a LOT more power than the one in the Surface Pro. I could go on and on.

To say 4 hours is anything other than laughable on a tablet is crazy to me.

Err... So 4 hours battery life is a good thing? I'm at a loss here.

OK so the 4 hours is derived from the 8 hours RT gets in near continuous use wit plenty of video thrown in for good measure - you threw in a 10 hour figure but no mention of usage or if its continuous.

Back to components, it will run the 3rd gen ivy bridge i5 cpu - not a million miles away from the i7 you may have in your laptop.

Screen size isn't going to make massive difference, its 10.5" so 2/3rds the size with the same pixel count - yes it will use less but not by a massive margin.

Finally, a full sized laptop can contain a larger battery, MUCH larger!

So its most likely going to give people more than 4 hours UNLESS you are using it CONSTANTLY and playing some videos / intensive stuff.

duddit2 said,

OK so the 4 hours is derived from the 8 hours RT gets in near continuous use wit plenty of video thrown in for good measure - you threw in a 10 hour figure but no mention of usage or if its continuous.

Back to components, it will run the 3rd gen ivy bridge i5 cpu - not a million miles away from the i7 you may have in your laptop.

Screen size isn't going to make massive difference, its 10.5" so 2/3rds the size with the same pixel count - yes it will use less but not by a massive margin.

Finally, a full sized laptop can contain a larger battery, MUCH larger!

So its most likely going to give people more than 4 hours UNLESS you are using it CONSTANTLY and playing some videos / intensive stuff.

My usage is coding and heavy web browsing with the brightness at medium and constant. Of course, the whole article is speculation at this point so if it gets damn good battery life in the real world then that would be worth celebrating. If it gets 4 hours, or close, I'm just not going to consider that anywhere near acceptable.

You have to conider the size of the battery that can be put into a tablet as compared to a notebook

LogicalApex said,

Why wouldn't I expect the battery life to be at least as good?

My T530 is running an i7-3520M... Which is the fastest dual core CPU Intel currently sell for laptops. Meaning it is a power hog...

Whatever is in the Surface Pro will be an Ultra Low Voltage chip from Intel so it will suck a fraction of the power of mine. I have a 15.6" 1920x1080 screen which I'm sure sucks a LOT more power than the one in the Surface Pro. I could go on and on.

To say 4 hours is anything other than laughable on a tablet is crazy to me.

Err... So 4 hours battery life is a good thing? I'm at a loss here.

LogicalApex said,
Um... 4 hours... What the...

I get ~10 hours on my T530 and that is a full laptop. Surely a tablet can do better...

Well, what is your T530 battery size? According to Lenovo there are 2 models: 5200 mAh and 6600 mAh. In either model, the battery is larger than the one in Surface Pro.

Surface Pro = 42.5 W-h
Lenovo 6600 mAh = 73.3 W-h
Lenovo 5200 mAh = 57.7 W-h

So, either you have a battery that is either 36% larger or 72% larger. By the amount of time you say your T530 lasts, I think you have the 6600 mAh. In this case, the Surface battery is 58% the size of your T530 one, so it should last 58% less. that would be around 5 hours and 48 minutes. Which would be on par with half the Surface RT battery life, as according to Anadtech's reviews it lasted around 10 hours and 30 minutes on video playback.

LogicalApex said,
I get ~10 hours on my T530 and that is a full laptop. Surely a tablet can do better...

Comparing a Tablet FormFactor to a Tablet FormFactor... You know how heavy the Surface would be if it had a Laptop battery pack like your T530 right?

And this has historically been the problem with windows tablets/umpc's slow and hot with crap battery life.

I hope Windows RT will fill the gap but Locking down desktop mode for developers isn't helping.

Well, considering the RT actually gets more than 8 hours of real world usage, that sounds great for the Pro. That means we can expect 5-6 hours or so of actual usage.

Wyn6 said,
Well, considering the RT actually gets more than 8 hours of real world usage, that sounds great for the Pro. That means we can expect 5-6 hours or so of actual usage.

psst.. dude half of 8 is 4... not 5 or 6.

NastySasquatch said,
Wow 4 hours... That's not good enough by far. That puts it squarely in the toy category.

A toy only to be had by Richey-Rich!

NastySasquatch said,
Wow 4 hours... That's not good enough by far. That puts it squarely in the toy category.

It's a laptop with a removable keyboard, what do you expect? Given what's in it, and the size/weight of the thing, personally - I'm impressed!

NastySasquatch said,
Wow 4 hours... That's not good enough by far. That puts it squarely in the toy category.

My iPad is a massively overpriced TOY. An intel based tablet can actually be used for WORK.

NastySasquatch said,
Wow 4 hours... That's not good enough by far. That puts it squarely in the toy category.

well why buy it then? buy a laptop instead. yay 6 hours.

Javik said,
Given that it's running a desktop class CPU that's hardly a surprise.

Desktop class CPU? Not even close. Very powerful but not desktop class. It's basically the same specs as any other current ultrabook.

mrp04 said,

Desktop class CPU? Not even close. Very powerful but not desktop class. It's basically the same specs as any other current ultrabook.

Not all desktops have an i7..

Cøi said,

Not all desktops have an i7..

You see, there many things behind a CPU like architecture and power envelopes, and just because it's called an i7/i5 doesn't mean it's actually better than a desktop class i3.

ruelle41 said,

You see, there many things behind a CPU like architecture and power envelopes, and just because it's called an i7/i5 doesn't mean it's actually better than a desktop class i3.

Well maybe I missed that. But what I meant is that I'm quite sure the i5 will outperform a bunch (maybe not most) of existing desktop PC's since they're usually a few years old already.