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65

Surface Pro 3 Core i3, i5, and i7 will all have equivalent battery life

Surface Pro 3 Pen

If you’re still considering picking up a Surface Pro 3, but the processor choice has you confused, you can cross one concern off of your list: battery life. It was only a few days ago that we learned exactly which Intel Core i3 and i7 processors would come with the device, greatly impacting everything from clock speed to graphics.

The rule of thumb in computing is that the faster and more powerful the processor is, the more battery it will consume. But not so fast.

Intel’s Core processors have a wide range of speeds and options for OEMs who chose them. While the Core i7 used in the Surface Pro 3 is not the latest version, it’s the one most ideal for power vs. battery life vs. the need for cooling. Indeed, the Core i7 used can Turbo boost up to 3.3 GHz while the Core i5 version only goes to 2.9 GHz. Interestingly though, the Core i7 has a lower base speed of 1.7 GHz versus 1.9 GHz for the Core i5 edition.

Surface Pro 3 battery

Due to some smart work by Intel and Microsoft in selection of the processors, they all should get around that 9 hour benchmark that Microsoft claims for ideal battery life (most reviews have been putting it 8.5 hours, which is pretty close). Surface team guru Panos Panay just answered this question on battery life in the ongoing Reddit AMA:

“The battery performance is the same across the i3, i5, and i7. The i7 will see benchmark scores appx. 15-20% better than the SP3 i5.”

So there you have it. The Core i7 won’t sacrifice battery life, but you will get a 15-20% increase in performance. Combined with the better video graphics (HD4400 vs. HD5000), the Surface Pro 3 with Core i7 should be quite the performer.

Is that extra horsepower worth the extra $250 between the two versions ($1299 vs. $1549 for the 8GB versions)? That’s up to you, but at least that precious battery life won’t be an issue.

Source: Reddit AMA

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Comments

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Sam Sabri says:

Whew! Not that I have a need for the i7 version, just nice to know battery life is equal.

I totally want to rock the i7. This sucker needs to be awesome so I can carry it to my grave in case nobody ever does a model this good again.

txDrum says:

I doubt they'll be totally equal. You can't run a high bin i5 @ 2.9 and an i7 @ 3.3 and get the same battery life. I imagine they will have similar battery life on web browsing and such, but when you run them full throttle the i7 will die first. The same thing happened to the MacBook air after all, and that thing has no battery life rival even after a year.

rjmlive says:

Yeah there is no way it's going to turn out to be equal in real life usage tests.  For how they measure in "web browsing" or whatever low power state functions I can see it being potentially equal.

This is a PR gaff from the start.  He should have clarified.

Regardless, Macs with similar specs are still going to trounce the battery life.  It seems that the weak link in battery life is either the size of battery involved or the OS, maybe both.

bkydcmpr says:

it takes less time to run the same job for the faster cpu. when you feed both of them the same full throttle jobs the i7 will back to rest first.

greedypnguin says:

TxDrum is right, using an i7 and an i5 on Ie for example will probably have similar battery life seeing as the i7 won't be running full throttle, however run a stress test on both and leave the 2 on until battery goes, then you will have an accurate representation of battery comparison.

smoledman says:

I would expect the i3 to give me gobs more battery life, weird.

mrhumpty says:

Perhaps they are putting a smaller batter in those to keep costs down?

kingjah says:

The simple answer is the more powerful processors work faster than idle back, but I still find it hard to believe the i7 and i5 have similar power consumption under higher continuos loads...

theefman says:

Allegedly. No OEMs battery claims have ever proved to be accurate so bucket of salt needed with this one.

They've obviously tested them and so far, the SP3 Core i5 does get close to the 9 hours advertised. I mean, if the Core i7 comes out with 5 hours battery life, I'm not sure how Panos can backtrack on this claim.

I wonder if anyone's going to test the 1-year standby time lol

spinzeroWL says:

"Most reviews have been putting battery life at 8.5hours...."

Do keep up ;)

bkydcmpr says:

maybe need a little tweak in power configuration to get 9 hours battery life.

Cyruss1989 says:

Apple isn't lying afaik... All other OEMs I've tried so far are.

greedypnguin says:

Daniel, if possible could you run a stress test on the 2 versions and see how long both last?

onysi says:

So how long is it? Like 9 hours long? Is that on full bright or or half way bright? Is that web browsing or media consumption? I feel like 9 hours is not enough for someone who's out everyday like me from. 7 to 8pm which is 12-13 hrs. I work/class mostly everyday.

9 hours video or web. Yes, brightness at 50%.

"I feel like 9 hours is not enough for someone who's out everyday like me from. 7 to 8pm which is 12-13 hrs."

I find it difficult to believe you're working on a computer for 12-13 hours a day straight with no outlet near you. If so, my condolences ;)

I use a Core i7 15 inch QHD laptop with dedicated video, 16 GB of RAM and it "only" gets around 7 hours, but that's enough for me to live blog, render video, do photos, run Lightroom and cover an all day event with battery to spare.

But hey, if you know you need 12-13 hours, then this is not your device.

spinzeroWL says:

'My condolences'...
:)

Some people just like to find issue when really there is none. 9 hours is beyond most peoples working day. & I'm sure the Surface team designed a charger to go with the SP3 that delivers a good charge from just a short charging session.

90 minutes of charging reportedly gives 70+% battery back.

And yes, I don't think regular students, artists, programmers, professionals are using 7-9 hours of battery mobile every day without an outlet. I'm sure there are those who do need that, but obviously they need a different device.

rjmlive says:

I would like to see if it could be powered by a battery pack.  I initially suspect not because of the probable power draw from the CPU.  Perhaps the internal battery could however at least be recharged by one without the product being used.

spinzeroWL says:

This is why I remain content with my Asus T100. Recharging via micro USB is a great thing. I can recharge it whilst I'm driving via the little USB lighter socket adapter. & I can recharge it whilst I'm out hiking and whatever else using an Anker battery pack. For someone that craves being out in the wilderness, but who still needs access to various productivity tools for business, the T100 is a gem.

NutmegState says:

My criteria for any of my mobile devices is if I can fly NY to CA or NY to Europe and not have to plug in my device while trapped in a flying tin can.  8.5 or 9hrs are all good for me.

onysi says:

okay so i was a bit exagerating on that.  Its just that when my battery is half way full (50-60%) at the end of the night, do I leave it as is or plug it while im asleep?  What scares me is that if i leave it charging overnight, it might overcharge and fuck up the battery.  And if I dont plug it, by the time I wake up in the morning before heading out-- it might already be down to 10-20%.  This is a common issue for me and my phone.  I am afraid of leaving it overnight charging so I let it sit.  Sometimes I try to wake up 5am and plug it then.  That why I dont have to worry about overcharging the batt.

LOL  I'm still getting the tablet.  I just need a new habit of charging it.  #firstWorldProblems

you can charge it over night, your laptop will not let it overcharge, ocne its full it will stop accepting the charge, what your referring to is when you leave a laptop plugged in all the time and play games on it constantly, creating the trickle charge effect (laptop keeps accepting the charge for a little bit once it drops a certain trheshold and then cuts it off again, THAT is dangerous, charging your laptop overnight is not, hope that clears it up and makes ya feel a bit more confident about charging!

Which is the laptop u use??
I have hp 15 j101ex 16 gb ram i7 2.2 4 gb dedicated graphics ... 4 hr is the maximim if i browsw, use photohshop and dreamweaver..

bkydcmpr says:

it's enough if you put it in sleeping mode when you are having lunch or in the bathroom..

Jas00555 says:

Lol that's one of the few things they answered. Joe's AMA sounded much better and transparant than this AMA.

And Joe's AMA was BS as well... just marketing gimmiks to have them do AMAs

SamiHanna says:

Can i play moba games on the i3 processor?

I guess if the tweak the power options in windows & lockout changes using group policy registry settings & a severely gimped video driver they could keep it that way

SamiSaifDine says:

Great Consideration from Microsoft!

Daniel Curry says:

Anybody want to buy me one? I'll pay in two installments :)

Sure! Meet me in a dark alley and give me your money. :)

Daniel Curry says:

Great! Which dark alley? :)

bkydcmpr says:

gay avenue in east st. louis, il.

Does the actual performance come from Turbo Boost? A bit confused.

JohnCz says:

Maybe now is the time to go hd5000 assuming Intel is going to make it more mainstream over the next 18 months.

NutmegState says:

HD 5000 Graphics will be in the i7 according to the AMA

JohnCz says:

I'm aware, what I'm curious is if Broadwell (coming later in 2014)  and Intel's followup chip .. does hd5000 move down to i5 and even i3 mobile processors.  I bet it will.

UWbadgers16 says:

Super cool for people planning on doing hardcore graphics work and stuff. I have a powerful desktop so I'll defer more performance intensive work for it. I think the i5 256/8 is a great option.

AlanTeew says:

What wizardry is this? The power has to come from somewhere...

terencechan says:

It is not surprising if the cpus have the same TDP

Antwan3k says:

I just want to know what kind of realistic limitations I can possibly expect for using the i3 version in terms of not being a "power user".. I'll probably use this tablet in a similar fashion as I use my current Surface RT, which is mainly for the Modern apps from the store, MS Office, and the option to use a few legacy apps if there's a need..

pazces84 says:

Same here. I want to see just how the i3 model will be able to perform. For  me it's either the i3 or i5 model. I have no need for that much power (i7).

titoyees says:

over powerfull tablet for you!

I do the sam

nzrocketman says:

Does the keyboard act as a battery also

stephen_az says:

Whyt don't you add the disclaimer that this is a paid advertisment for Microsoft? Do you not see how incredibly assinine this sounds?  It is in realm of Ford being fined for claiming higher gas mileage actually achievable. Yes, they will say it is equvalent because that is waht they need to say. Intel also stopped one step short of claiming 4th generation CPUs would allow double-digit battery life and the current generation Atom CPUs wold take performance and battery life stunning levels.  How did those work out for every one?  Improvement, yes - believable claims, no. if you don't understand how this stuff works and you are going to shill juat be honest about it. 

spinzeroWL says:

Moan, moan, moan ;).
Asus T100 here. Surprisingly powerful, nearly 10 hours of battery life, recharges via micro USB and weighs a kg with the keyboard dock.
Intel delivered.

Intel definitely delivered. I always tell my gf that my Dell Venue 8 pro has godlike battery life.

Its also a powerful little gadget. I bought a Miracast receiver to hook up my DV8 to my TV. I then hooked up a mouse and keyboard through an OTG cable and im now using my tablet as a full Windows 8 PC and I haven't had a hitch yet. I don't run extremely powerful software but for what I do run there is 0 slowdown.

spinzeroWL says:

My T100 has morphed into my desktop replacement. I use the keyboard all the time, and actually find it very usable with tactile keys that give good feedback. I also do web design, listen to music, have multiple tabs open....and do video editing on occassion (1080p vids from my 1020). I even did some charity pamphlet/business card designs today with MS Word 2013. It's a surpisingly robust little design editor :). Not bad for a free bit of software! & certainly vastly better than OpenOffice (which I can't ever imagine going back to)

It does stutter when doing the 1080p stuff - and sometimes stutters when I've overrun the 2GB's of memory. But by and large, it is one of the quickest and most pleasant computers I've ever used. Cracking bit of kit - and a v.good advert for Microsoft's vision.

One thing I particularly like --- OneDrive displays all of my cloud files even if I haven't downloaded them to my computer. Makes the whole cloud thing very seamless...

coolbreeze78 says:

Not waiting until Sept for an i7.

cvaughn99 says:

..but not equal gpu performance ... Can we get HD5000 on all CPUs plz, those Flash websites need more GPU cores.

titoyees says:

super power tablet for you!

I do the same things on my old Lenovo Lynx tablet with a poor Intel Atom.

i3 is just a lot of power, will be fast!!!!!

bigbangboum says:

No LTE... not for me and many others but this is one of,the best hybrid laptop I've seen so far. Too bad Microsoft forgot to add this feature.

why? You can buy any LTE adapter from any vendor on any network you like.

Tips_y says:

Absolutely right. Built-in LTE capability comes with a price so I'd rather buy a separate LTE adapter.

EspHack says:

well some basic logic here, if it is faster then it does things in less time therefor using the same battery as doing it slower lasting more, but thats for "normal" usage, if you  use both of them at full power it is obvious which one will die first

mitchellvii says:

Honestly, if you are just going to be running Office and surfing the web, the i3 will be MORE than enough.  Too bad it doesn't come out until end of August.