Surface Pro's Battery Life Extended Through Firmware Fix: Report

Road warriors rejoice? Microsoft issues an update that delivers a big boost to the company's Intel-powered Surface tablet.


Surface Pro 2 now lasts longer between charges, according to new tests performed by PC enthusiast site AnandTech.

After the Surface Pro 2 hit store shelves Oct. 22, Microsoft released a firmware update that allowed its Marvell WiFi components to enter into lower power states, stretching the tablet's battery life and helping users eke out more time before seeking out a power outlet. "The improvement is significant," wrote Anand Shimpi.

Heavy users of the Web are more likely to experience the boost. "In our Web browsing battery life test, Surface Pro 2 now manages better battery life than Surface 2. Microsoft told me that their internal target was over 8 hours, and this firmware update brings it up to snuff via a nearly 25 percent increase in battery life," stated Shimpi. According to tests, the tablet lasted 8.3 hours in Web browsing benchmarks.

Video watchers will also notice longer viewing sessions, although not to the same extent. "The improvement on the video playback side is still reasonable at 16 percent over the numbers I originally ran," informed Shimpi, an improvement of approximately 1 hour compared to pre-update benchmarks.

Reporting similar results, The Verge's Tom Warren wrote, "Microsoft promised a 75 percent increase in battery life for Surface Pro 2 over the original, and the company delivered."

"In our own Verge Battery Test, we can confirm that the battery life on the Surface Pro 2 has increased to 8 hours, 51 minutes following the firmware update, an almost 20 percent increase," said Warren. Calling the improvements "impressive," he concludes that the firmware update finally helps the slate live up to its billing and "improve the viability of using the device all day as a tablet or a laptop."

In Wayne Rash's Surface Pro 2 review for eWEEK, he wrote that the "full HD screen and improved cameras on the front and rear make the Surface Pro 2 a nearly perfect laptop replacement" and that the touch-screen was among the best he's tested.

"Overall, I found the Surface Pro 2 to be far better for doing real work than my iPad, and because it will run nearly any Windows application, there's a huge selection to choose from," concluded Rash.

In a twist, the optimizations helped an Intel-based device beat out ARM in the battery department. The Surface Pro 2, which starts at $899, runs Windows 8.1 and is powered by a fourth-generation Core i5 processor (Haswell) running at 1.6 GHz. Upgrades this time around include a full-size USB 3.0 port, an improved kickstand and backlit type covers.

"Microsoft's Surface 2 tablet, running on Windows RT 8.1, has not received similar battery improvements in its firmware update, meaning the Pro 2 outpaces the ARM-based model on battery life," observed Warren.

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez

Pedro Hernandez is a contributor to eWEEK and the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Previously, he served as a managing editor for the network of...