Microsoft released details about their second iteration of Surface hardware on November 29th. The Surface Pro is to be released "early 2013" and pricing will start at $899. I thought the specs were impressive and pricing was on par with what I expected them to start at. I only paused at two points. Storage and battery life.
I'm not here to beat the storage horse to death. It's been done. It's Windows and it's big, I get it. I only paused because Microsoft pointed that fact out for me.
I got a good chuckle at this footnote because I've been spoiled by other tablet software and it's smaller footprint. I took a mental note that the 64Gb Surface Pro is probably not for me. (I have the 32Gb Surface RT and often think I should have got the 64Gb)
The battery life issue came to head due to a tweet from Panos Panay, a GM at Microsoft and an architect of the Surface.
He stated that the Surface Pro will have "half the battery life of the Surface RT." The web immediately lit up with activity. Surface Pro is DOA, RIP Surface Pro. This was a feeding frenzy for every tech blog on the planet.
Could this be the death of the product before it hits the shelves? Honestly, I was thinking that somewhat at first but I've had some time to mull this over and I think that while the headline is great; Surface Pro is DOA due to 4 hour battery life, these tech writers are forgetting a few things.
First of all this isn't an iPad. It doesn't look like one, it doesn't act like one. What would have been the lowest run time required from Surface Pro for it not to be an instant failure to these people? Eight hours, 7? Had it come in at 7 or 8 hours it would have been "commendable but not quite iPad like run time." In other words, it would have failed in their eyes no matter what.
My second point came by way of the Sunday paper and the advertisements within. The ad for Office Depot was filled with Windows 8 laptops and they listed a stat under each one that no other ad in this paper had. Battery life. It was all over the place. Most were listed at "up to" 3 hours and some minutes. Mostly, 3hr 30min, 3hr 45min, and a couple at 3hr 59minutes. (That one confuses me to why they couldn't just fudge that up to 4 hours.) My own experience with Windows laptops is not much better. Run time in my household has always been less than stellar but admittedly we don't have the highest quality of laptop in the house. Yes, there are laptops with longer running battery life than what I have discussed here. That's not the point. The point is that on this store flyer there are a lot of choices and most of those choices are under 4 hours of battery life.
The last point is the "mileage may vary" argument. In laptops we all know that what is advertised is rarely achievable. My mileage with Surface RT has been on par with what's advertised if not better. Others have seen this as well.
I think that calling Surface Pro an instant failure due to it's battery life is simply crazy. It seems to me that the Surface Pro has more of a chance than these tech writers think. Call it a laptop with a touch screen. Only, it has a Core i5 processor, an SSD drive, two HD cameras, USB 3.0, sensors galore, and comes in at 2 pounds. Did I mention the whole touch thing?