Surface Pro: price and battery life disappoint

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 30, 2012
Updated • Mar 19, 2013
Hardware, Windows 8

I had high hopes for the Surface Pro ever since Microsoft announced that it would release the device a few months after the Windows 8 operating system. It was the device that I was looking for, running a full version of the operating system allowing me to run my legacy x86 programs on the device. The Full HD resolution, enough RAM, the form factor and the design with its integrated kickstand and attachable keyboard had me hooked.

I already had plans to replace my bulky laptop with the Surface Pro on business trips and other adventures, as its size and weight surely would make it ideal for that.

Several important factors, like price, availability and battery life, have been revealed by Microsoft yesterday. The Surface Pro will be available in January 2013. I had hopes that it would be available in December but a January release is not really something that is bothering me a lot.

But price, that is a different kind of beast. The Surface Pro starts at $899. For that, you get the 64 Gigabyte version and no keyboard. That's right, if you want a keyboard, and who would not want one considering that the alternative is the on-screen keyboard, you have to pay an extra $119 to $129 which makes the device cross the $1000 mark. The 128 Gigabyte model starts at $999, without keyboard as well, so that you end up at more than $1100 for it.

That's $1000 for a 10.6" device with a Core i5, 4 Gigabyte of Ram, 64 Gigabyte of hard drive space, and onboard graphics.

Even if price is not a issue here, there is another factor that may convince you that the device is not the one you are looking for. Microsoft General Manager Panos Panay yesterday revealed on Twitter that the battery life of the Surface Pro will "have approximately half the battery life of Surface RT". What this means is that you get 4 hours and 30 minutes, plus minus a couple of minutes, of battery life when you run a fully charged device.

surface pro battery life

Does that sound like a truly mobile device that you can take with you on business trips? It won't last through a single work day without charging, and that's disappointing.

It is a disappointing development. I would not mind the price that much, as I have set my upper limit for the device to $1000, but the battery is the deciding factor that put me over the rail.

There are rumors that Microsoft is already preparing second generation Surface devices.

  • There will be a Surface RT 2 that uses an 8.6-inch display and will have a Qualcomm chipset, as opposed to the NVIDIA Tegra chip used in the current Surface RT
  • The Surface Pro will be updated to an 11.6-inch display, and will ditch the Intel Core i5 CPU for an upcoming and yet-to-be-released AMD "Temash" APU
  • There will be a third Surface called the "Surface Book" that has a 14.6-inch display, and an Intel 22nm "Haswell" chip

What about you? Has the revelation of price and battery life changed your perception of the Surface Pro? Which device would you recommend instead?


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  1. MikeFromMarkham said on November 19, 2013 at 2:15 pm

    Thanks for the great tip.

  2. Thomas said on November 19, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    I’m wondering: say you use the standard boot policy. And at some point in time something happens and as a consequence windows does not start properly. How do you get in the recovery menu, since you could have pushed F8 in older windows versions, but with windows 8 you have to go through the PC settings (which are not accessible any more in the example)?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 19, 2013 at 5:21 pm

      Windows detects issues automatically as well, and will display the recovery options to you.

  3. jasray said on November 19, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Great tip! Thanks!

  4. Ramesh Khanna said on November 20, 2013 at 10:57 pm

    Thank you once again. I emailed you about problems i had recently. Once i put in this change i will be able to prevent the problem i had in trying to go to a backup which windows refused to use because i had booted up with a Windows 8 repair disc while the backup was win8.1. The boot of 8.1 was succeeding but the system was in a loop in which it would accept the password and then ask for it again so it was not possible to tell it to boot it in safe mode.

    I just hope nothing happens before i am able to put in your fix.

    I will try to print out this page so a fellow user who is very adept will be avle to put in this fix as well

  5. Marius T said on November 21, 2013 at 10:27 am

    To bad I didn’t knew this when my Win 8 had a problem rebooting endlessly and I had to reinstall,great tip thanks!

  6. Rajan said on November 22, 2013 at 3:36 am


    For Windows XP SP3 pc i am having lot of starting problem.
    Actually i am following what you informed tapping F8 several times.
    But it takes 3 to 6 times to switch off and on only and finally starting.
    Can you suggest me any other best idea to start in one time without switching off and on.
    Expecting yours valuable suggestion in this regard.

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