Microsoft Surface Pro

The Microsoft Surface tablet has a significant battery life, according to a recent zdnet.com report. The ARM-based hardware, which a number of tablets are currently using, is the reason for the considerable battery life of the tablet offering of Microsoft. Although its performance is not as good as Intel, it is suitable enough and does not consume too much power.

Once the Surface Pro is released into the market, it will be easier to make a comparison between the two processors including its effect on battery life. A standard Core i5 processor from Intel will be used on the Surface Pro tablet and will have a similar hardware as the Surface RT tablet that uses the ARM architecture.

The statement of Microsoft indicating that the battery life of the Surface Pro will only be around four to five hours or half of the nine-hour battery life of the current Surface RT model has concerned some industry watchers. This gives an indication on the price to pay for using Intel hardware compared to ARM-based hardware even though the battery of the RT model is limited to 31.5W-hr compared to the 42W-hr of the Pro model. Despite its bigger battery, the power consumption of the Intel version is bigger compared to the ARM model.

There are other disadvantages of using Intel processors instead of ARM processor. Intel-based mobile computers normally have to deal with heat issues. It has become more difficult to manage the heat generated by Intel processors as tablets and laptops become lighter and slimmer. There is a possibility that fans will be installed inside the Surface Pro model to deal with the heat inside the tablet. Using the fans will also affect battery performance.

However, the latest Atom processor of Intel, the Clover Trail, appears to offer better batter performance in tablets that were released into the market recently. Although this is suitable for tablet manufacturers, it appears that Microsoft has opted to give the Surface Pro the standard Core i5 processor.

It may be possible that Microsoft decided to provide Surface Pro users a similar experience as using the latest laptop models. Although power user may benefit from this, it will be a high price to pay for mobile users. The battery life of the Pro model of the Microsoft Surface tablet is below the standard battery performance of other tablets in the market. This simply shows the disadvantage of using an Intel processor compared to the performance of the ARM-based processor of the Surface RT tablet.

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