Battery Life

Surface features an integrated 31 Wh battery, which is larger than what’s in the iPad 2 but smaller than what Apple used for the iPad 3.  Charging duties are handled via a 24W power adapter with a custom magnetic connector.

Of all of the aspects of Surface, the charging connector feels like the least well executed. For starters, the connector is quite long – about twice the length of a MagSafe connector. Secondly, the magnets in the connector aren’t all that strong so the attraction to Surface isn’t very confidence inspiring. The third issue is alignment. Because of the 22-degree beveled edge on Surface, you have to approach mating the power connector to the tablet very carefully. More often than not I’d have the connector match up but not fully connect. It usually required a few minor adjustments to get the connector to actually start charging. My final complaint is about the power indicator LED on the connector itself. The LED only glows white and gives no indication of whether or not the device is done charging. Furthermore, it doesn’t even glow all that bright, making it hard to tell in daylight whether the device is even getting power. I’m pleased with virtually all aspects of Surface’s physical design, but the charging port and connector need to be redone for the next generation.

The power adapter itself is larger than the 10 – 15W units you get with most tablets in this price range, but it is also a considerably larger power supply. You can take Surface from completely empty to fully charged in a little over 3 hours hours. You can also get Surface up to 50% power, while using the device, after just over an hour of being plugged in. Microsoft wanted to prioritize real world productivity scenarios where you had a limited amount of time to charge but also needed to use the device. The larger power adapter and not gigantic battery were the right balance to meet those needs.

The power brick features a Windows RT logo, but is otherwise clean. The surface of the adapter is a nice soft touch plastic. The two prongs for US models stow away neatly in the adapter. The power cable is nice and long at around 1.5m. There’s no built in cable management other than a little U to keep the connector attached to the end of the cable.

To measure battery life I put Surface through our 2012 tablet battery life suite. All tests were run with the display calibrated to 200 nits and with Surface, its Touch Cover was attached.

Overall battery life is pretty competitive with the iPad. In lighter use cases Apple pulls ahead slightly, but if you look at our updated web browsing test the heavier CPU load pushes Surface ahead of the third gen iPad. It’s not clear how the 4th gen iPad would stack up in this comparison.

Video playback is also decent for Surface, although Apple manages to pull ahead with the win there as well. The bigger accomplishment is that we’re seeing a Windows device with battery life that’s comparable to other tablets running mobile OSes designed from the ground up.

Microsoft has the right OS platform to be competitive in this space. With some more power efficient hardware I could see a future iteration of Surface moving its way up these charts.

Camera Performance
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  • Mumrik - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Anand - you often keep an eye on the comments section for your reviews. Please get rid of this nonsense. Reply
  • scorpian007 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Um, I'm an indian and I am not a fan of Apple products at all. I've owned 2 iPhones, an iPod, and a Macbook Air and the only product I was wowed by was the original iPhone. So don't go around generalizing and being a racist idiot. Reply
  • krutou - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    So you've owned a total of 4 Apple products and you're not a fan. Its not like there aren't any viable alternatives out there. Reply
  • PrajithNair - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yourfather239,

    This is yourmother230 (yes, I had 8 before pushing you out)

    Not sure if you think these comments help you feel better cos your Indian father walked out on you cos you were an albino. You need to vent elsewhere son. This is a tech site - not KKK central.
    Reply
  • Sam_d - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    No possible sentence could be constructed that could possibly express how downright stupid this comment is. your comment fails every single stage of my mental common sense process so thoroughly that I can’t even fathom the type of twisted logic it would take to come up with it. Congratulations, sir. I have never been more serious than when I say that your comment was so mindblowingly moronic that the mere act of reading it has negatively affected my intelligence as a side-effect. It’s like, in trying to comprehend the crazy thought process that would’ve been required to come up with that coment, new paths were forged through my brain in an attempt to mimic your own – horrible paths that lead to logical fallacies and intellectual dead-ends. My head is actually physically in pain. I’m going to go take some aspirin and try to forget I ever saw this. Reply
  • B3an - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    WTF? Anand clearly likes the Surface and theres nothing bias here or forced. Examples:

    "As a device, Surface is incredibly well executed"

    "The chassis is well built and the integrated kickstand is seriously one of the most useful features to ever meet a tablet. "

    "Surface is the most flexible tablet I've ever used"

    "The Windows RT experience, in many senses, is clearly ahead of what many competitors offer in the tablet space today. Multitasking, task switching and the ability to have multiple applications active on the screen at once are all big advantages that Microsoft enjoys. For productivity workloads, Surface is without equal in the tablet space."

    "I’d say in terms of smoothness of UI, Windows RT on Surface is much more like the iPad (or Windows Phone 7.5) than most Android tablets. Jelly Bean does complicate things as it really fixes a lot of the UI performance issues that hampered Android. Even then I’d say Surface’s UI responsiveness is among the best."
    Reply
  • Krysto - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    The difference between biased and objective, is that a biased person would try to make it sound as if Surface works basically as fast as Jelly Bean, as Anand did here, even though it's clear he thinks Jelly Bean works a lot better on Tegra 3 if you read between the lines.

    An objective person would've admitted JB works better not just with animations, but during using it and opening apps as well.
    Reply
  • This Guy - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Reading the review he noted that Surface loading times where far slower but he also noted that multitasking was far better. He backed up his analysis with data.

    How is this not objective?
    Reply
  • The0ne - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yes, but read the conclusion again. Reply
  • yourfather239 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    So does any other indian pos, Indians love to kiss Apple's butt because it makes them look better than millions of others in their country who live in slums. Reply

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