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Now that the first Surface Pro reviews are out, it seems that even those determined to overlook its hefty price tag are going to have a hard time justifying the Core i5-powered tablet’s piss-poor battery life to themselves. At around 4-5 hours, the Surface Pro’s battery life (or the lack thereof) belies the very reason people buy tablets — unwired, uninterrupted on-the-go use. Microsoft’s Panos Panay tackled questions about both the Windows 8 tablet’s limited battery life and lack of usable storage space in a Reddit Ask Me Anything (AMA) session session on Wednesday.
Panay, General Manager of the Microsoft Surface, defended the Surface Pro’s limited battery life, arguing that the device was optimized to take full advantage of the Ivy Bridge Core i5 inside it, “yet give the best battery life.”
“The product was designed to take full advantage of Windows 8 coupled with the Ivy Bridge core processor from Intel,” Panay wrote in response to a question. “We created a product that did not compromise speed, performance in any way. With that, we wanted to be the best notebook/laptop product in its class, but still deliver you the tablet form factor.”
Comparing it to the MacBook Air, Panay proclaimed the Surface Pro the best device in its class in terms of “battery size vs battery life.” However, he did concede that the small battery, which helped the company keep the overall weight under 2 lbs, is a tradeoff after all — one that the company now views as a challenge.
Interestingly, Panay hinted, if ever so vaguely, at a battery add-on of some sort for the Surface Pro when asked about the new connectors on the bottom of the device: “I'm pumped you caught that - we haven't announced what they are for but they aren't an accident! At launch we talked about the ‘accessory spine’ and hinted at future peripherals that can click in and do more. Those connectors look like can carry more current than the pogo pins, don't they?”
This is what he had to say on the storage space issue: “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. 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.”