Microsoft Surface Pro Pricing Announced; Battery Life Looks Low

November 30, 2012

As you may know, I am monitoring the release of the Microsoft Surface Pro tablet, due out in January. That’s mainly because it can run a full client copy of Outlook, which is key to the MYN/1MTD productivity solution. Keeping your task list at hand and well linked to your e-mail is core to the MYN/1MTD systems, so anything that makes that easier—like a new lightweight tablet with Outlook—is important.

The latest news on that is the pricing. Pricing was just announced at $899 with 64GB and $999 with 128GB. As expected by many, it is about the same price as a low-end Ultrabook.

Price Too High?

Some people are howling about that price, saying it’s way too high. But I disagree—we are used to paying more for mobile power, and that’s what you get here: a full power laptop about the size and weight of a tablet. With the Type keyboard attached as a cover, this will be the lightest Ultrabook by far, allowing you to keep a full copy of Outlook with all its power closer at hand than ever before. So I think it makes sense.

Battery Life

However, one other factoid became apparent in this same announcement. Battery life is expected to be about half that of the Surface RT, so only about 4 or 5 hours—much too short for a tablet. That life is low because it is using the same chipset used in all other recent Ultrabooks: an Ivy Bridge Core i5, but with a small 42 W-h battery. I think that short battery life is unfortunate and it may argue for waiting for the next iteration of the Surface Pro (nothing announced), which surely will use the fourth-generation Core Haswell chips that are reportedly much more power efficient. Or consider one of the Atom-based Windows 8 Pro tablets I wrote about here—and they are available now. Or, as I also discussed in that article, get a Surface RT for tablet activities, and carry a true Ultrabook for most “real” work.

All that said, the tiny size of the Surface Pro makes it a compelling choice as a full-power Ultrabook.


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