The Microsoft Surface Pro will have about half the battery life of the Surface RT, Microsoft’s official Surface Twitter account says. And since testing by The Verge pegged the ARM-based tablet’s endurance at around 8 hours, that means you should expect about 4 hours of usage from the Surface Pro before you need to charge it. This comes despite the fact that its battery is rated at 42.5 Wh, compared to the RT tablet’s 31.5 Wh – almost 50% more capacity went in there, but the Intel x86 processor is taking its toll.
So it looks like the Surface Pro is in fact thick, heavy, expensive, and power hungry as well. Just as we anticipated yesterday, when Microsoft officially announced the pricing of its upcoming tablet powered by the ‘full’ Windows 8, and not the incompatible-with-existing-apps crippled ARM version called Windows RT.
Four hours of battery life isn’t even excellent in the laptop world anymore, it’s just adequate (if barely). As for tablets, the low-end of the spectrum provides at least 8 hours of juice, with the iPads even going way past the 10-hour mark in certain conditions.
4-hour battery life is even inferior to that of many ultrabooks, though now Microsoft’s insistence to compare the Surface Pro to ultrabooks and not tablets makes a lot more sense. If compared to tablets (and let’s get this out of the way – the Surface Pro is a tablet, no matter what nonsense Microsoft’s PR department spews), this device loses on all possible counts except performance. But then the question becomes whether anyone would sacrifice everything else just for the sake of performance. And we don’t mean Microsoft fanboys. No, what normal human being would buy a tablet that’s thicker, heavier, a lot more expensive, and comes with less battery life than virtually any decent competitor, just because of the increased performance? We’ll have to wait and see.
Compared to ultrabooks though, the Surface Pro may have its strengths. After all, it is thinner than most of those, and lighter, and the battery life is only slightly worse. See? Now this becomes an interesting value proposition.
Or it would, if ultrabooks were selling well themselves. But they aren’t. So the Surface Pro is battling some pretty unsuccessful products (at least so far) for a market that hasn’t really taken off yet. And it’s been desperately trying to take off for a couple of years now, with incredibly big financial backing from Intel. Why would the Surface Pro become, in effect, the first successful ultrabook? No one outside of Microsoft’s HQ seems to know.
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