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Microsoft Defends Surface Pro Storage, Short Battery Life

By - Source: Reddit | B 44 comments

128 GB model offers 83 GB of storage, while battery life is said to be below 4 hours.

Microsoft has defended Surface Pro's reduced storage space due to the installation of the OS and software, as well as its short battery life.

It was recently revealed that the 128 GB Surface Pro variant will offer 83 GB of available storage space for users, with Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system and pre-installed software accounting for around 45 GB of internal storage. For the 64 GB model, meanwhile, 23 GB of storage will be left free.

Panos Panay, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President for Surface, said the reduced storage space is necessary, with the tablet’s microSDXC support referred to as a solution for users looking for more storage space.

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.

Available disk space is a design choice and a tough one to make as an engineering team. It is a clear set of tradeoffs to provide the customer more space while providing them the tools out of the box. We created a simple disk image with only a few critical applications out of the box installed to provide choice. There has also been questions about why including the recovery image by default. Ideally, you will never need your recovery image, however this is a choice we would prefer the customer to make vs. having the customer need the recovery image not realizing they needed to create one themselves.

We decided to ship a Pro 64GB sku as it provides full windows 8 and enough storage for a number of large application installs such as games, productivity apps etc. which usually run in the multiple GBs. It also provides you flexibility to extend storage should you need. If you plan to carry more personal items with you locally, our 128GB may be the better option for you.


Microsoft faced similar backlash with the 32 GB Surface RT model as it left users with 16 GB of storage due to the installation of Windows RT and apps. The software giant was subsequently sued for allegedly falsely advertising the amount of storage space. That said, it clearly depicts exactly how much space will be taken on its website.

Elsewhere, outlets have reported that a single charge with moderate use sees Surface offering between 4 and 4.5 hours of performance, while others have reported battery life in the mid to high three-hour range. Responding to the short battery life in his Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything), Panay explained:

The product was designed to take full advantage of Windows 8 coupled with the Ivy Bridge core processor from Intel. 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. This product is optimized in every way to take advantage of the full third generation core i5 it runs, yet give the best battery life.

If you compare it to say a MacBook Air, you will quickly see that pound for pound in battery size vs battery life, you will find optimizations that puts Surface best in its class. That said we picked a smaller battery to be sure we were able to give you the same performance and to keep it thin. This kept the weight under 2lbs, and still kept it thin enough to take advantage of our great Windows work for inking and give you a great inking experience (like pressure sensitive inking, ability to do kanji, great sketching).

The Surface Pro launches on February 9, with prices starting at $899 for the 64 GB model without a Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboard accessory. As for its premium price tag, Panay said:

"Surface Pro is perfect for the person that wants a MacBook Air and an iPad, but doesn’t want the weight or hassle of both devices. We didn’t skimp on the performance you need to run a business but gave it to you in a very portable package."

 

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Top Comments
  • 24 Hide
    tokencode , February 7, 2013 4:10 PM
    Once again I think Microsoft underestimates the stupidity of the general population when it comes to electronics. It looks like a tablet, therefore people compare batterylife etc to a tablet of similar size rather than realizing the huge functionality differences between the 2. This is a very small form factor ultrabook, not a tablet. Microsoft hasn't done a good job in communicating that to the general population. I think most people think of this as an expensive iPad with less battery life when in reality this makes the iPad look like a children's toy.
  • 21 Hide
    PMentior , February 7, 2013 3:57 PM
    MurissokahTranslation: Our product does not have much storage left for the user because we believe we understand our customers' needs better than they do, so we pack it with every software ever made by Microsoft.It's just amazing how Microsoft excels at making unpopular choices on their products. Limiting customer choice is a capital sin in competitive markets, and they should start getting used to competition.


    But you still have a choice. The Windows 8 restore utility lets you move the restore partition to a usb drive and then delete it. That frees up 8GB or so i believe. The only other preinstalled microsoft software that I have heard mentioned is Office 2013. If you don't want it you can remove it and there is another couple of gigs. That leaves about 25GB of used space which is about right for a Full desktop Windows install.

    Here is the math I used:

    118GB (disk space after formating)
    - 8GB for Recovery partition
    - 2GB estimate for Office 2013 preinstall
    - 25GB Windows Install
    - 83GB free space


    Remember that this isn't some tablet OS with limited functionality. You get a full desktop OS that can do anything a regular laptop with similar specs can do.
  • 19 Hide
    hate machine , February 7, 2013 4:15 PM
    YukaProblem is that MS is still charging you (pretty much) for every single piece of UNWANTED software in their tablet/thing.Also, 1K for an underperforming tablet/notebook? It doesn't have diamonds as buttons, right?Cheers!


    How is it under performing again? How exactly are the internals considered "not up to the task" and how is it unusable as a tablet?
Other Comments
  • -9 Hide
    Anonymous , February 7, 2013 3:45 PM
    Wait until they start getting the patch Tuesday updates. It will eat up even more storage
  • 13 Hide
    cburke82 , February 7, 2013 3:47 PM
    What extra software does it come with and can it be deleted if we dont need it? If i can I dont care because I can free up the space if it cant thats an issue.
  • 21 Hide
    PMentior , February 7, 2013 3:57 PM
    MurissokahTranslation: Our product does not have much storage left for the user because we believe we understand our customers' needs better than they do, so we pack it with every software ever made by Microsoft.It's just amazing how Microsoft excels at making unpopular choices on their products. Limiting customer choice is a capital sin in competitive markets, and they should start getting used to competition.


    But you still have a choice. The Windows 8 restore utility lets you move the restore partition to a usb drive and then delete it. That frees up 8GB or so i believe. The only other preinstalled microsoft software that I have heard mentioned is Office 2013. If you don't want it you can remove it and there is another couple of gigs. That leaves about 25GB of used space which is about right for a Full desktop Windows install.

    Here is the math I used:

    118GB (disk space after formating)
    - 8GB for Recovery partition
    - 2GB estimate for Office 2013 preinstall
    - 25GB Windows Install
    - 83GB free space


    Remember that this isn't some tablet OS with limited functionality. You get a full desktop OS that can do anything a regular laptop with similar specs can do.
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , February 7, 2013 4:06 PM
    There is, always, The Cloud.
  • 9 Hide
    kawininjazx , February 7, 2013 4:06 PM
    Microsoft's response "Buy a flash drive you big baby."
  • -9 Hide
    Yuka , February 7, 2013 4:07 PM
    cburke82What extra software does it come with and can it be deleted if we dont need it? If i can I dont care because I can free up the space if it cant thats an issue.


    Problem is that MS is still charging you (pretty much) for every single piece of UNWANTED software in their tablet/thing.

    Also, 1K for an underperforming tablet/notebook? It doesn't have diamonds as buttons, right?

    Cheers!
  • -6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 7, 2013 4:10 PM
    Thanks Microsoft! I needed a laugh today.
  • 24 Hide
    tokencode , February 7, 2013 4:10 PM
    Once again I think Microsoft underestimates the stupidity of the general population when it comes to electronics. It looks like a tablet, therefore people compare batterylife etc to a tablet of similar size rather than realizing the huge functionality differences between the 2. This is a very small form factor ultrabook, not a tablet. Microsoft hasn't done a good job in communicating that to the general population. I think most people think of this as an expensive iPad with less battery life when in reality this makes the iPad look like a children's toy.
  • 19 Hide
    hate machine , February 7, 2013 4:15 PM
    YukaProblem is that MS is still charging you (pretty much) for every single piece of UNWANTED software in their tablet/thing.Also, 1K for an underperforming tablet/notebook? It doesn't have diamonds as buttons, right?Cheers!


    How is it under performing again? How exactly are the internals considered "not up to the task" and how is it unusable as a tablet?
  • 12 Hide
    therogerwilco , February 7, 2013 4:27 PM
    Hey Apple, ever heard of a usb port?
  • 13 Hide
    Anonymous , February 7, 2013 4:30 PM
    @Murissokah
    usb 3.0 and microsd in a tablet form factor? compared to the ipad that seems pretty flexible to me....
  • -2 Hide
    homiedontrightclick , February 7, 2013 4:33 PM
    This is what happens when you have a tablet that wants to be a computer.
  • 10 Hide
    blakbird24 , February 7, 2013 4:36 PM
    Microsoft simply needs to lure someone from Apple's marketing department. If this were Apple, they'd be praised for "providing everything a user needs from the start". Microsoft simply doesn't know how to spin things like this.
  • 7 Hide
    Anonymous , February 7, 2013 5:02 PM
    It may not have much for battery time, but given one of the major target audiences (corporate types), 4hrs is fine as you are seldom in meetings longer than that doing anything that would drain a battery that quickly. I know several corporations looking at tablets for certain internal and external job roles, but would never be able to make the necessary sacrifices to integrate iPads or Android tablets which can't run their existing (and often custom) Windows apps. To be honest, I see the Surface RT as a consumer product and the Surface Pro as a business platform. I see the Surface Pro being successful in the business landscape, less so in the more price conscious consumer market. Different products, different target audiences.
  • -3 Hide
    boiler1990 , February 7, 2013 5:10 PM
    tokencodeOnce again I think Microsoft underestimates the stupidity of the general population when it comes to electronics. It looks like a tablet, therefore people compare batterylife etc to a tablet of similar size rather than realizing the huge functionality differences between the 2. This is a very small form factor ultrabook, not a tablet. Microsoft hasn't done a good job in communicating that to the general population. I think most people think of this as an expensive iPad with less battery life when in reality this makes the iPad look like a children's toy.


    I'm still surprised that they couldn't fit a better battery in there. There are many ultrabooks out there that can hit 5 hours. I understand the hardware is a little more constrained what with the active digitizer for the stylus and whatnot, but it still seems a bit odd to me that you can have two similarly-sized devices with the same hardware, and one will last 50% longer than the other.
  • 6 Hide
    Anonymous , February 7, 2013 5:39 PM
    I love how people act like with any other tablet they have access to the full advertised space shipped with. I bought an Android tablet that was advertised as an 8GB model (with sd card expandability) and only had access to like 3GB of storage space.
  • 15 Hide
    Camikazi , February 7, 2013 5:41 PM
    YukaProblem is that MS is still charging you (pretty much) for every single piece of UNWANTED software in their tablet/thing.Also, 1K for an underperforming tablet/notebook? It doesn't have diamonds as buttons, right?Cheers!

    *cough* 1k for 128GB iPad with limited tablet OS *cough*
    I'd take the Surface Pro any day.
  • 7 Hide
    Ro0ster , February 7, 2013 5:44 PM
    I dont think this is necessarily MS's problem, but maybe its ours as a consumer? That we demand smaller, more mobile tech that performs as robustly as any full blown laptop/desktop. I think we're kidding ourselves to believe a tablet will replace the full functionality of a workstation solution. To continue trying to only produce more misunderstandings as to what the product actually brings to the table when compared to other tech (iPad) that looks the same but is completely different.
  • -1 Hide
    velocityg4 , February 7, 2013 5:48 PM
    For one thing the they could get rid of the WinSXS folder. It takes up huge amounts of space and XP worked fine without it. At the very least they could have the system clean out old versions of components and those that are of no use. Such as if you don't have IIS installed.

    Also they shouldn't have the restore image on there. With modern firmware capabilities. There is no reason why this tablet should not be able to boot by network to MS servers for a reinstall of Windows and personal servers for people without broadband, corporations and tin hat wearers.

    Same goes for additional software. You don't need preloaded copies of Office and other bloatware. If someone wants it they can purchase online, download and install. Just put some shortcuts in there to begin the buying process.
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