Microsoft Surface Pro to have half the Surface RT's battery life

Microsoft Surface Pro to have half the Surface RT's battery life

Summary: Microsoft has shared not only Surface Pro pricing, but also expected battery-life stats for its Intel-based PC/tablets coming in January.


How much does battery life matter to tablet users? Microsoft may soon find out, first-hand.

Microsoft went public today with pricing for its Surface Pro PC/tablet devices -- the Intel-based ones running Windows 8 Pro that will allow users to run their existing third-party apps on the Desktop. The 64 GB version will be $899; the 128 GB version, $999. (Both prices include a pen, but no Touch or Type keyboard/cover. So add another $120 to $130 for that.)

Pricing is not all the team shared about the Microsoft-branded Surface Pros, due out in January 2013.

Surface Pros are going to get about half the battery life of the Surface RTs. Surface RTs get between eight and ten hours of battery life, based on various estimates I've seen (and my own personal experience on mine).

The Surface team Twitter account confirmed the battery-life plans in a November 29 tweet to @Shahroom:



For me, that'd be a deal breaker. With a tablet, I count on not having to lug a power cord around. Other readers of mine say they plan to use the Surface Pro like a PC, so they are less worried about only getting four to five hours of battery.

Why the low battery life? Surface Pro, as Microsoft officials announced a few months ago, uses the Intel "Ivy Bridge" (generation 3) Core i5 processor. It doesn't use the lower-power-consumption/higher-battery-life Atom/Clover Trail and it doesn't use the fourth-generation Core Haswell.

Some had hoped/wondered if Microsoft's decision to deliver Surface Pro after Christmas was related to a last-minute substitution of a more powerful Intel processor. But that isn't the case, a Microsoft spokesperson reconfirmed when I asked today. Surface Pro uses the Intel Core i5.

If you want to see the rest of the Surface Pro specs and how they compare to the Surface RT ones, you can download the PDF of Microsoft's comparitive spec sheet from a few months back. It's still accurate.

There are trade-offs in every device. Do you think Microsoft made the right choice between processor power and battery life on this one?

Topics: Tablets, Microsoft, PCs, Windows


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • I figured as much

    I wanted a Pro before the RT came out but I was so fed up with my iPad (worst tablet ever, so frustrating to use) that I was quite desperate to replace it with something else. I took a chance that the Pro would end up being exactly what it ended up being: the thinnest, lightest laptop in the world but not a great tablet. This Pro makes the MBA look like a heavy, ugly, useless brick but I don't believe this is going to be a great device for someone who is looking for a tablet.

    For those of you who want the thinnest, lightest, best laptop in the world, the Surface Pro might be the right device for you if the battery life isn't a deal breaker. Me? I'm glad I went with the Surface RT which is the world's best tablet right now.
    • "The Surface RT which is the world's best tablet right now"

      Based on actual hands-on experience with ALL currently available tablets, or just the iPad and Surface RT? And iPad is the "worst tablet ever"? So there's no tablet ever released that's worse than an iPad? You're entitled to your opinion of course, but feel free to provide some more info.
      • It is an absolutey fair request

        Based on actual hands-on experience by me which I fully admit is iPad and Surface RT.

        The Surface RT is hands down the best tablet out of all the tablets I've got hands-on experience with.

        The iPad is hands down the very worst tablet out of all the tablets I've got hands-on experience with.

        I won't say anything bad (or good) about Android tablets, not having ever owned one. I've played with them in the store but unlike others, I refuse to be unfair to Android and issue judgement based on a few minutes of play time.

        And yes, if it wasn't implicitly clear, this is my opinion based on actual hands-on experience and ownership of said tablets.
        • Translation: "I'm a microsoft employee and am trying to make it look like this thing isn't a stinker"
          • Surface RT is the best tablet out today

            Sorry jeffjenn, It IS the best tablet out today. I would like to see you stream a football game and try to send an email at the same time on your ipad without interrupting the game. Can't be done sorry.
            Richard Barela
          • Sorry Richard Barela

            but it is most definitely not the best tablet out today, there is no such device. It might be the best tablet out for you but that doesn't mean it's the best. Each device will be better for certain people make it the best tablet available for them regardless of your opinion.
          • translation: "i work for apple, and realize its better than the iPad..."

            I don't think it I fair for you to say that. Look. I am a 13 year old girl, and therefore I cannot work for either company- and my parents I guess are able to but they're teachers. We have a android tablet that is my sisters, an iPad- that my mom owns and for xmas I got the Microsoft surface with RT. I had been using the iPad for a while, but I definitely prefer the surface. Its way more simple and visual, and lets put it this way. I would never attempt to write a review this long on any other tablet. This is really good and a lot better than the iPad. It has word on it, and can do so much more than an iPad. My mom LOVES apple, but she had to admit that she would trade her iPad for a surface ANY day. I think you should really take a closer look at it, and look at its features more closely. Its really good, and I'd like to see you try and write a review on an iPad using any 3rd party keyboards: None of them compare to the touch cover on the surface. Plus, the surface is thick enough to take USB drives and such, meaning you don't have to buy movies from the iTunes shop- you can just put them on a stick and plug it in. I think the surface is really good and that the screen is more responsive than the apple one- don't knock it 'till you try it -.-
        • This changes everything!

          So, Consumer Reports has declared the iPad the best tablet out there. PC Magazine (not Mac, but PC) rated it top of the heap (giving it five stars and an Editor's Choice -- no other tablet got that combination). It also consistently rates highest in consumer satisfaction over every other tablet, most recently in J.D. Power's Tablet Satisfaction Survey two months ago.

          BUT, if Todd Bottom 3 (the very latest model of Todd Bottoms) declares the iPad to be the "worst tablet ever," well, I think we can all agree that this whole tablet hierarchy needs some serious, serious reevaluation.
          • Todd is also

            Matt Miller, and Will Farrel
            Troll Hunter J
          • It might be the worst for his needs

            because there is no single tablet that is best for everyone.
            Michael Alan Goff
          • His iPad is sitting on a shelf collecting dust

            - proving that he may not be the sharpest knife in the drawer. iPad 2 is selling like hotcakes on Craigslist, eBay and an entire cottage industry of web sites dedicated to selling iPads, like and such.

            Due to build quality, iPads tend to get top dollar even 2 years after release. It makes upgrading to Apple's newest version painless for those already owning an iPad.

            Guess we're left to wonder whether anyone with any amount of savvy would let theirs collect dust. But it's what tb3 says is happening, so we can draw other conclusions.
          • A much better use for the iPad 2

            is gaming.

            I'm surprised it's still holding up, really.

            It's quite the nice device.
            Michael Alan Goff
        • Nexus 7...

          I own one of Google's Nexus 7s. It's an OK tablet, but suffers badly from Android's problems. Android reminds me of Window '95. Load the wrong mix of software and your tablet is set to warp factor 0.00000001 I.E. slow!
        • Yes it is your opinion but not solely based on hands on experience

          I couldn't care less what tablet you think is best or worse but you have got to be a complete moron is you think anybody reading here doesn't know that your opinion is completely clouded by your bias for MS and hatred for Apple. We all know that if the iPad and Surface RT were actually identical devices with the exact same features only different logos you would be same the exact same thing. When it comes to your opinion you have zero credibility around here except with the most extreme Apple Haters, I think even most of the MS fanboys dismiss you as a joke.
          • non-biased

            are you a cancer born hahaha so many negitives aren't really constructive, so much os I just had to comment .. oH marry chistmas everyone don't worry we will lall still b here on 2012-12-21 giggles
          • subject what I drive for PC and such

            I'm still struggling with a HP pavilion and HTC sensation eRrr .. plugged into a LG 50 inch TV .... do tablets do that .. hMmmm can't say what's the best but I sure manage with my set up and comfortably so

            P.S. when are we going to get solar panels on mobile phones and tablets, wouldn't it be easier than all those redundant crappy wired plugin power cords.
            P.S.S. and what about employing some nano tube capacitors instead of redundant batteries, they are faster to recharge and have a darn longer life span .. it's about some one else started thinking about making out net-ware up to date with 2013 .. we are past the stoneware age, really we are. do you all think ha ha ha the world is going to end and it's not worth the bother ... Give me a break ......................
          • nano-tube capacitors?

            Are you kidding? Those are still in the laboratory. No one anywhere has them in production.

            You should try working on them, but based on your brain-dead message, I doubt you have the skillz.
    • No one believes

      that you have an iPad. Troll !
      • Watchmen247 .....toddbottom3 carries Loverock Davidsons back pack

        when they go hiking in Central Park.
        Over and Out
        • I'm willing to wager

          toddbottom3 and LD are one in the same.
          Alan Smithie