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:
- The Intel i5- and i7-based Surface Pro 3s are able to drive two 2560 x 1440 screens; the Intel i3 can drive one of those or two HD screens.
- Microsoft is working on allowing users to opt to launch desktop OneNote using the top button on the Surface Pen for the Surface Pro 3. Currently pressing that button launches the Metro-Style/Windows Store version of OneNote.
- There's something about the Surface Pro 3 power connector that Microsoft execs are hinting has to do with Thunderbolt support (or Thunderbolt competition, maybe?)
- Microsoft is no longer offering the Surface Music Kit, but the Surface blades concept is still alive
- And last, but not least, the Surface team said the Surface Pro 3 devices will be upgradable to "whatever the next (Windows) version is called" (a k a Threshold).
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.)