More Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tidbits: Battery life, power and more

More Microsoft Surface Pro 3 tidbits: Battery life, power and more

Summary: Microsoft execs talked about the new Surface Pro 3's battery life, Connected Standby, and multiple-monitor support and more during a Reddit AMA.


Microsoft's Surface team fielded a number of questions about battery life -- and more -- involving the company's newly announced Surface Pro 3 tablets during a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) on May 27.


Microsoft announced its Surface Pro 3 line-up of 12-inch tablets with Intel Core i3, i5 and i7 processors on May 20 at an event in New York City. At that event, Microsoft execs said users should expect Surface Pro 3 battery life of up to nine hours.

On Reddit on Tuesday, Corporate Vice President Panos Panay and members of the Surface team acknowledged that despite the difference in processors, the battery performance will be roughly the same across all the new Surface Pro 3 models. (The i7 will see benchmark scores approximately 15 percent to 20 percent better than the Surface Pro 3 with i5, the Surface team added.)

Surface Pro 3 supports Connected Standby, Microsoft execs reiterated. It will wake up in half a second, but if users don't touch the device for more than four hours, it goes into hibernate and then deep sleep to save battery. At that point, it will take longer to come out of hibernate -- similar to the case with Surface Pro 2.

The Surface Pro 3 battery will be able to be charged daily (meaning five days a week) for more than 4.5 years and still maintain 80 percent capacity, the team said during today's Reddit. The Surface Pro 3 can charge from zero percent to 80 percent battery in two hours and a full 100 percent in four hours.

The Surface team noted that while the batteries in Microsoft Surfaces are not user-replaceable, Microsoft will replace the Surface Pro 3 battery if it fails during the warranty period. If it fails after the warranty period, Microsoft support will replace the battery for about $200.

Answering an oft-asked question as to why there is no 3G/LTE support built into any of the Intel-based Surface Pro tablets, Microsoft officials noted that while this isn't on the roadmap, "we heard the ask. Because the devices have USB support, many use mobile cards and Mi-Fi tethering, Microsoft execs said.

They also noted that "battery certainly has been a consideration to date" as to why there's no 3G/LTE in the Pro 3 or other Pro devices.

Microsoft's Surface Reddit participants didn't answer questions about a reported Surface-branded Miracast dongle -- which could be Microsoft's alternative to Google Chromecast -- that is in the works. The only Miracast reference from the Surface team was an acknowledgement that users who have a Miracast-enabled endpoint, like a dongle, can "can project to it by sliding the right side edg(i)e, selecting devices, then project, add wireless display."

Other snippets from today's Surface Reddit AMA:

A related aside: Microsoft plans on releasing an update to the Surface Pro 3 before the product begins shipping on June 20 to address power-related issues some of us with review units are experiencing. (I have had my Surface Pro 3 look like it's charging, but ending up not doing so, resulting in difficulties in turning on the unit due to a discharged battery.) 

Topics: Mobile OS, Microsoft, Mobility, Tablets, Windows 8


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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  • As a Laptop replacement

    I will thoroughly test it as a Laptop replacement soon. I ordered one (i5/256gb) 2 days ago and hope to use it as my portable computer everywhere.
  • I hope they matched the price of macbook air

    i5 processor with keyboards and pen should not differ more than $100 compared to macbook.
    • Why? it is lighter and comparison should take storage into account

      It runs windows, has USB 3.0, display port, runs two monitors, weighs 1.6 lbs and function as a tablet. I don't see that it needs to be tied to Mac Air price points.
    • You Forgot To Add

      $80 Bucks For Parallels
      $200 Bucks For Windows
      • Also Office.

        If you have to buy that that certainly adds to the price of the MacBook Air.
        • You Sure Have To Buy A Lot

          of extra stuff to make a Mac useful!

          And then you're always looking for a place to set it down so you can use it!
          • Don't forget the $60+ for anti-virus for Windows.

            and the cost of rebuilding when it fails...
          • Comes with it

            Haven't used anything but the MS provide Security Essentials and Defender for years. No problems. Just don't visit 'those sites', click on everything you see, or open attachments from people you don't know and can't spell.
          • Ever heard of Free Alternatives

            Like AVG. You don't need to pay for an Anti-virus. Windows Firewall does the job. You can also setup your router firewall as well. There are ways to get around paid software.
          • Yup

            Agree. Been using AVG for years. Never paid a dime. It's kept me protected just fine. On my new Dell Venue, I'm just using Microsoft Security Essentials. No problems so far.
        • You also have to pay for Office

          On the surface Pro, as itt runs Windows 8.x, rater than Windows RT. The RT versions come with a version of Office, while the more expensive "Pro" do not.
          I hate trolls also
      • Derp

        The unfortunate thing about using parallels on a mac product is you lose the optimization and the battery life drops by a lot.

        Surface 3 is going to be excellent, It's aimed at certain markets. If you think its crap and not for you then you are not the target market. It suits my needs almost 100% which is rare for a device.

        I am not sure why they are comparing it with a macbook at all, sure its a laptop replacement but its more of an AIO mobile device. especially with the pen etc. I use my SP2 for meetings, sketcing up things, general work etc and even some gaming with the xbox controller!
    • Higher resolution touch screen with digitizer

      weighs less, can perform as a tablet, great inking and it runs windows.
      • Seriously how much do you think Apple would charge

        for those extra features?
      • perform as a tablet??

        With what apps compared to apple and android.
    • What about the touch screen and its sensors?

      Is mac book going to discount lack of touchscreen and its related sensors? or we add another $100 to SP3 to be fair?
      Alfred Soyemi
  • are Surface Blades really still alive

    Another nice idea, that has been dropped. If they were really serious about alternative Surface blades, they would have offered third party blade support and developers SDK for blades. But no, just a silent drop of the Music blade, so we all know they are dumping blades.

    A proper Windows 8 Maracas dongle would be good. My EZcast dongle does not work well with my Lumina 2520 windows tablet. Very intermittent connection, constantly losing the Mirracast connection. So demoting from Windows 8 devices really has to be proven to be as good as the competition who are marching ahead on consumer tablet to TV interoperation, leaving Microsoft again too late to catch up.
    • blades

      I asked Panay at the launch if blades were still alive and he said yes. So that's all I know. MJ
      Mary Jo Foley
  • Surface Music Kit

    Another nice idea from Microsoft that went nowhere. They really have a hard time pushing some of their great stuff out of the gate. I was ready to spend some money on this (assuming it would have been decently priced - which is often an issue with Microsoft lately).

    Oh well...
    • Disappointed

      I was disappointed by this as well. This is the first I heard of it. I was looking forward to the Music kit for some time but became increasingly frustrated with the lack of release. Now it is dead. Perhaps if they struck while the iron was hot, say, 6 months ago, it would have been a mild success albeit a niche device.