Microsoft Surface Pro battery life could improve… with powered keyboard covers

The Microsoft Surface Pro is more powerful than your typical tablet, thanks to an Intel Core i5-3317U processor. But it’s literally more powerful – meaning not only do you get better performance, but you also see quicker battery drain.

While the Surface Pro has a bigger battery than the Surface RT tablet with its NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, it gets less than half the battery life.

But it looks like Microsoft may be planning to support new accessories that will extend the tablet’s battery life.

Microsoft Surface Pro

In a Q&A on Reddit, members of the surface team confirmed that there are new connectors on the bottom of the Surface Pro — and they can carry enough current to charge the battery.

In other words, you don’t have to use the power jack to charge the tablet. You can also charge it using the connectors in the spine where you would normally attach the Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboards.

That means you could attach an Asus Transformer Pad or HP Envy X2-style keyboard with a built-in battery so that the tablet can run off the keyboard’s battery. This could effectively double the battery life of the Surface Pro, which reportedly gets around 3 to 5 hours of run time, depending on what you’re doing with the device.

Of course, that sort of keyboard cover would also be thicker and heavier than the current options — but even with an extra battery, the Surface Pro would probably be thinner and lighter than many ultrabooks.

It’s not clear if Microsoft plans to offer any new keyboard covers or if the company simply paved the way for third-party accessories.

The Microsoft Surface Pro goes on sale February 9th for $899 and up. Keyboard covers and other accessories are sold separately.

via The Verge

  • NoOne

    At a certain point shouldn’t I just buy a laptop AND a tablet, save money, and have a better experience with both devices? After having seen one, I don’t think the Surface Pro is the answer yet… To small to work on, to heavy to use as a tablet… It’s like the worst of all worlds.

    • NoOne

      Sorry, meant to add. I don’t think adding a heavy keyboard dock really resolves the fundamental issues with the device.

      • steveo

        There is no fundamental issues with the device. You don’t even own one so how could you possibly know what you are talking about? What because you read some tech blogs? Why don’t you head over to best buy.com and read the actual user reviews or on amazon and read REAL reviews from people who own them. They completely contradict every tech blog BS out there coming straight from real world users.

    • steve

      Obviously you have never used one, this device is AMAZING and with some small tweaks I get a full day put of my battery I am more than pleased with this awesome piece of hardware. Plus the display port out allows me to dock it to a full monitor and thN pick it up and go chill on the porch as a tablet. Definitely recommend

    • steveo

      You obviously haven’t ever used one. Probably because you cant afford it. I however have one and it is by far the absolute best device I have ever owned! Its a laptop a desktop and a tablet all in one device. AMAZING! Not too mention the pen is outstanding. I run my whole business off of this thing and it is so nice to only have to carry this thing. Plus with some minor tweaks I get 5-6hours of battery which is way more than my laptop gets. Haswell isn’t going to be all that much better I’m sure it will be a little better but it will not be night and day. Not the first generation ones anyways. I will be definitely buying one the day it hits though (surface pro 2)! I have sold my iPad and packed away my laptop because of this thing. Don’t knock it till you own one. Playing in the store isn’t the same.

  • Marc

    How do the Surface keyboards work? Do the touch/type keyboards for the Surface get disabled when folded all the back/some angle?

    • hoodoo__operator

      yes

    • steve

      Yes, when you fold it back it doesn’t recognize the key presses. It snaps on and off so easily its nothing to just take it off

  • me

    I’d rather have some sort of secondary battery attachment secured to the bottom and go without any keyboard for tablet use. Then have a dock for desktop use.

    • kuran

      That’d be cool. For non-professionals, a keyboard probably isn’t used too extensively. Then again, how many hours would non-professionals use their tablets between charges anyway? Unless they’re too lazy to just plug it in when an outlet is available (ie. overnight or while at a desk using a desktop).

      • Guest008

        It’s not about being lazy but about battery cycles. The less a battery cherge lasts, the more often you’ll have to plug it in and, therefore, the less the actual physical battery lasts.

        And as these batteries are not removable, you’d have to go to a MS Store (if there’s one near your location. – Think about non US citizens) to make it change. And his has a cost too.

    • Guest008

      A keyboard dock with a integrated battery is the best option since that allows you to use it as a laptop on your lap and in your bed… As well as whenever you see fit.
      You can always choose to use a bluetooth keyboard if you prefer since the docking one would be optional, not necessary.

  • Barry Woods

    Yea, cause the keyboard covers didn’t cost enough already.

  • ad24

    There is no remedy for this issue. This generation of core processors is simply not appropriate for this form factor and MS can’t do anything about that. Any machine with the core processor will have the same battery, weight, noise and temperature issues.

    Hope that Haswell will enable a fanless Surface with a good battery life. If not, I really hope that MS will introduce a Surface based on the next generation of Atom processors. Until then I am keeping my old notebook…

  • http://www.facebook.com/jervis.dabreo Jervis Dabreo

    I’m sure Microsoft have some sort of firmware update in some drawer in a back office that will fix the battery issue, just be patient. The surface pro is a great tablet, the kinks will be ironed out all in due time.