Microsoft hints at plan to improve Surface Pro’s weak battery life

Microsoft Surface Pro Battery Life

While the Surface Pro’s battery life is only marginally worse than that of its nearest competitor, Microsoft (MSFT) has taken a lot of heat over its new tablet’s battery performance. In BGR’s Surface Pro review, we said that the battery lasted between 4 and 4.5 hours per charge with moderate usage. Microsoft defended the tablet during a question and answer session on Reddit this week, claiming that providing better battery performance would have resulted in a device that was too thick and heavy. But upon digging deeper into that Q&A session, AllThingsD’s John Paczkowski found that Microsoft may have a plan to address battery longevity.

During Wednesday’s “Ask Me Anything” session on Reddit, Microsoft’s Surface boss Panos Panay was asked about the Pro model’s connector design, which is different from the connector on the Surface with Windows RT.

“We haven’t announced what [those connectors] are for but they aren’t an accident,” Panay wrote on Reddit. “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?”

While Panay didn’t state that Microsoft has a battery add-on in the works, his comment that the new connector is capable of supporting more current certainly suggests that the company may have plans to utilize that added capacity.

Adding fuel to the fire, AllThingsD points to another exchange during the AMA session:

Q: Does Microsoft have any plans for an external battery or for a thicker keyboard cover that has an extra battery? Or, if I want an external battery brick, is there a third party one I can buy that can be used with the surface.

A: That would require extending the design of the accessory spine to include some way to transfer higher current between the peripheral and the main battery. Which we did…

Adding an external battery pack to the Surface Pro would bring added weight and bulk to a device that is already relatively thick and heavy for a PC with a tablet form factor. But the release of an external battery accessory could certainly help sway buyers put off by the Surface Pro’s relatively weak battery performance out of the box.

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