Microsoft Responds to Surface Pro Storage and Battery Life Woes

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News Posted: Fri, Feb 8 2013 10:10 AM
Surface Pro reviews are out, and unfortunately for Microsoft, they're more sobering than spectacular. Two common complaints among the glut of early evaluations is that Surface Pro suffers from poor battery life and that it's expensive, debuting at $899 and up. It's even more pricey if you jump to the 128GB model, which many users may find themselves doing following concerns that Surface Pro is taking up a large amount of storage space for the OS, recovery partition, and pre-installed apps. Are they valid concerns?

Microsoft's Panos Panay, Corporate VP working on Surface, spent some time on Reddit participating in an AMA (Ask Me Anything) session and addressed two of those concerns (storage and battery life). Let's start with storage.

Surface Pro

According to Panay, Surface Pro storage woes have been exaggerated, though not by malicious intent. Instead, those who were reporting just 23GB of available storage space on the 64GB model and 83GB on the 128GB were using pre-release models that hadn't been fully optimized.

"We designed Surface Pro (and the allocation of disk space on our systems) to have the power of full Windows 8, the ability to have a simplified and fast upgrade to full Office and the confidence of a recovery image already available on your device," Panay explained. "Beyond the flexibility and confidence this provides, we also include an ability to extend your storage via microSDXC, USB 3.0 and SkyDrive (including 7GB of free storage). Initial reports out regarding available disk space were conservative (eg. 23GB available on 64GB and 83GB available on the 128GB system), however our final production units are coming in with ~6-7GB additional free space."

Panay conceded that the design choice was a "tough one" with a "clear set of tradeoffs," but ultimately decided that a 64GB SKU would still provide enough space for a number of large application installs, such as games, productivity apps, and so forth.

Surface

Moving on to battery life, Panay said Microsoft opted for a smaller, thinner battery to keep Surface Pro's size and weight to a minimum. Obviously that means the system's run time suffers, especially compared to other tablets, but when compared to notebooks in its class, things aren't so bad.

"This product is optimized in every way to take advantage of the full third generation Core i5 it runs, yet give the best battery life. If you compare it to say a MacBook Air, you will quickly see that pound for pound in battery size vs battery life, you will find optimizations that puts Surface best in its class," Panay pointed out. "That said we picked a smaller battery to be sure we were able to give you the same performance and to keep it thin. This kept the weight under 2lbs, and still kept it thin enough to take advantage of our great Windows work for inking and give you a great inking experience (like pressure sensitive inking, ability to do kanji, great sketching)."

Microsoft's biggest challenge is educating the public on what Surface Pro is and what it's intended for. Many of the complaints surrounding Surface Pro tend to view the device as a tablet, though in Microsoft's eyes, it's a full-fledged notebook that can function as a tablet when needed.

With that in mind, do you think the storage, battery life, and price complaints have been fair, or does Panay's comments ease any concerns you might have had?
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In all fairness you really need to compare battery life to ultrabooks not tablets. When you look at it this will be the fastest tablet on the market. At work we are paying around 1300-1500 for the Dell XPS so I think prices is spot on. Its faster then the XPS also.

If this thing came with a dock (power, monitor, mouse, keyboard, ethernet would be nice) it would be a total winner for a work pc in my eyes.

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sevags replied on Fri, Feb 8 2013 11:25 PM

He didn't even have to answer anything on reddit, I find nothing wrong with the Surface Pro. It's not a tart it's an ultrabook in a tablet format why doesn't anyone get that? If people think an ultrabook was being reasee with all the benefits of a tablet (ie.. longgg battery life, multitouch screen, small OS install) then they are living in a pipe dream. This is for people like me I have NEVER liked laptops and I've owned 5 in the last 10 years only 1 of which I owned for more than 6 months before I sold it. I prefer a tablet and prefer an iPad to any notebook except that it's not powerful enough and isn't a full OS and the Surface fixes those problems. Now I can have the form factor I enjoy interacting with the most while giving up ummmm... nothing? since battery life is pretty much on par with compatible ultrabooks. I don't even want the keyboard cover!!!!!!

So far I haven't read a single reason NOT to consider the sPro.

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3vi1 replied on Sat, Feb 9 2013 9:36 AM

>> So far I haven't read a single reason NOT to consider the sPro.

Here you go: Horrid battery life compared to any other tablet, heavy, loud fan noise, uncomfortably hot to hold, expensive, can't be used in the lap like the utrabooks with which it's competing... and, with all the benefits of running the largest number of trojans and malware of any OS.

I would probably dislike it, no matter what, because it's from Microsoft and I... remember the 90's.  But, even my overwhelming love for tech-toys doesn't make me want one of these even in the slightest given all the negatives.

What part of "Ph'nglui mglw'nafh Cthulhu R'lyeh wgah'nagl fhtagn" don't you understand?

++++++++++++[>++++>+++++++++>+++>+<<<<-]>+++.>++++++++++.-------------.+++.>---.>--.

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sevags replied on Sat, Feb 9 2013 7:08 PM

3vi1 did you not read anything I or others said? It does NOT have horrid battery life!!!! What are oh talking about this isn't a standard taet this is a CKMPUTER in laptop format and battery life is exactly where it is expected! I don't think it's too heavy, and it is definitely NOT too expensive show me an ultrabook with these specs AND a multitouch screen at this price?

You are a a MS hater like you stated so even with a great product in front of you you wouldn't give it a chance. Nothing wrong with the surface pro just you...

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sevags replied on Sat, Feb 9 2013 7:11 PM

Oh and this isn't meant to be in the lap do you complain that the iPad doesn't go in your lap? You clearly don't see what this product is all about. People like me see huge value here it is better than ANY tablet out in the world right now while being an ultrabook. Love it!

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