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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  • vedye - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Wow. No idea how u got that impression. Especially after reading the opening. You must have a strong imindpower. Reply
  • anomaly597 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Yeah, you definitely have no preconceived allegiances or anything. Reply
  • MadMan007 - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Are you aware of the name of the website you're reading? It's ANANDtech, Anand started it himself years ago and runs the show. He's not sold off control to any media conglomerate or other company. There is no way anyone can truly 'force' him to do anything on his webiste. Reply
  • krutou - Saturday, October 27, 2012 - link

    Doesn't mean he's not biased. Reply
  • tviceman - Tuesday, October 23, 2012 - link

    Did you really just say "Apple" and "magic" in the same sentence without being sarcastic??? Reply
  • Gradly - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Yes this is true. It feels like this:
    The software sometimes buggy yet that's OK, the display is not perfect or retina but its OK, Its not a competitors to iPad or Androids but a completely new species and that's OK, the kickstand may break if you pressed hard on it and that's OK, the classic windows interface may be not suitable for touch but against all odds its OK, you need time to get used to the keyboard and I read some of reviewers had troubles pressing lightly or hard in order to type but however its OK, lack of applications and this is OK, etc

    Overall Its totally OK
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    Lets see:

    Ipad 2012 review - ~20 pages

    iphone 5 review ~20 pages

    Ipad keyboard review - 3 pages all by it self

    Iphone 4s review ~15 pages

    Galaxy note 2 review - ~10 pages

    Brand new product, with a brand new os, from a major player in the market

    gets ~11 pages of a review.

    hmm.

    Just rename the site appletech.

    Said that it has swung so much into an i-love website.
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I meant sad, not said. Reply
  • Anonymous1a - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    @Michal1980, your comments are rather absurd! What do you mean he was forced to do it? If he didn't want to review it, he can easily return the device. Secondly, what magic is losing out of Apple devices? He me mentions potential flaws in them just like he mention them in the Surface. Haven't you even read the review? Yes, he pointed out some of the flaws in the device, but he also said that this was one of the best tablets on the market right now and a very well executed effort.

    And, for those who claim he is biased, how can you ask your views on such absurd comments, like Michal's? They have nearly no substance to them - oh, and far worse are those who are accusing him of favouring Apple because he is Indian. This is levels beyond ridiculous.
    Reply
  • michal1980 - Wednesday, October 24, 2012 - link

    I meant oozing out of apple devices.

    And my comment is based on reading all of the reviews. Theres a far different tone in apply articles then this one.

    Like I said before, the article reads like it was forced. Go back and read an apple review, and the tone is far different. While no one can 'force' Anand to do anything, this article IMHO reads like he only wrote it because its part of his job.
    Reply

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