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Surface Pro bashed for battery, storage. Microsoft responds.

Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet is a full-featured machine – and it eats battery life like one, too. 

By Matthew Shaer / February 8, 2013

The Microsoft Surface Pro tablet.

Microsoft

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As testers have discovered in recent days, the Surface Pro runs out of juice after about four or five hours, give or take. (By comparison, the Apple iPad, one of the chief Surface Pro competitors on the tablet side, can go up to 10 hours without a charge.) 

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The good news: Microsoft may be mulling the release of some battery-extending hardware. In an AMA over at Reddit (hat tip to PC Mag), Panos Panay, who heads the Surface division at Microsoft, discussed "future peripherals that can click in and do more." 

A precondition for those peripherals, he said, "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...."

As Jared Newman of PC World notes, Mr. Panay is probably referring to the new connector plates at the bottom of the Surface Pro. 

So yes, don't count out the possibility of some more battery life for the Surface Pro just yet. 

Here's Mr. Newman again: 

The question is, can Microsoft build a new keyboard cover with its own battery that doesn't compromise the design of the Surface itself? The existing Type Cover – the one with mechanical keys – is already a bit clunky as a screen protector. Make it thicker, and the design hews closer to the litany of existing clamshell-like hybrids, such as the Samsung ATIV Smart PC and the Lenovo ThinkPad Helix. The unique appeal of the Surface, as a tablet whose keyboard cover easily folds out of the way, would start to diminish.

The Surface Pro hits shelves this weekend. The device has received generally positive marks from reviewers, who have praised the blazing speed and fluid user experience. 

"The Surface Pro is an important idea, almost a new category, and it will be the right machine for a lot of people," opines David Pogue of the New York Times. "It strikes a spot on the size/weight/speed/software spectrum that no machine has ever struck."

Still, besides the battery-life issue, some critics have taken issue with the storage space, to boot – although Microsoft says its base model Surface Pro gets 64 GB, The Verge estimates it may be more like 23 GB of real, usable storage. 

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