Surface Pro 3 Battery Life Benchmark Test

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Surface Pro 3 battery life for your amusement and information.

Like the Surface Pro 3 against the previous generation (Surface Pro 2) in both everyday use and constant use scenarios.

Unlike the original test, however, I also ran the tests with the Power Cover for the Surface Pro 2 so you can see how the Surface Pro 3 battery stacks up against that setup as well.

In addition, I ran the first test (Everyday Use) in both the default Balanced and Power Saver modes to see how much extra life the power saver mode grants.

In case you are unaware, below are the default settings for each mode:

  • Balanced: Display turns off after 5 minutes, the computer sleeps after 15 minutes and the screen is on 50% brightness
  • Power Saver: Display turns off after 2 minutes, the computer sleeps after 10 minutes with the screen on 50% brightness

OK, now that we know all that, let’s get started…

Surface Pro 3 Battery Life: Experiment 1 (Everyday Use)

In this test, I completely charged the batteries then used them in a “normal” manner intended to simulate how most people would use their Surface on a day-to-day office or school use basis until they auto powered down at about 5% battery remaining.

Test Details:

  • The power option for all 3 configurations was set to the default Balanced setting then again in the default Power Saver configuration
  • Both the SP2 and SP3 have i5 Processors
  • I was connected to WiFi the entire time the tablets were awake
  • I surfed the web, checked my email, and maybe played a few games
  • The tablets were allowed to sleep when I wasn’t actively using them but, I did not turn them off
  • All of my tests started at 7:30 AM and ended when the devices auto powered down at around 5% remaining battery life. At that point, I simply calculated the number of minutes elapsed
  • Results are rounded to the nearest minute

I ran the test 5 times and averaged the results for all 3 configurations and the results of those tests are summarized below.

Coming in at nearly 13 hours and 15 minutes, the Surface Pro 2 with Power Cover and in Power Saver mode is the clear winner for duration. That said, at around 11 hours and 45 minutes, the Surface Pro 3 is pretty impressive as well, especially considering how light it is.

If you happen to be a data-nerd, I included a chart with the data from 5 test runs below (you can click on the picture for a larger version).

Surface Pro 3 Battery Life: Experiment 2 (Constant Use)

In this test, I completely charged the battery then fired up Netflix to simulate someone Netflix Binging on a new series or enduring a long trans-oceanic flight by watching movies until the Surface auto powered down (at around 5% battery remaining).

TEST DETAILS:

  • The power option for all 3 configurations was set to the default Balanced setting (not that it mattered much in this scenario)
  • Both the SP2 and SP3 have i5 Processors
  • I simply played movies on Netflix back to back until the battery died
  • Results are rounded to the nearest minute

Below are the results I obtained. As with the everyday use test, I did the test 5 times for each configuration and the graph below represents the average of those tests (you can click on the picture for a larger version).

As you can see, the Surface Pro 3 battery life outlasted the Pro 2 by over 100 minutes. In terms of movie watching, this is an entire additional movie. However, the SP2 Power Cover more than levels the playing field by expanding the average life of the SP2 by almost 200 minutes or almost 3 1/2 hours!

Again, if you’re a data-nerd, I included a chart with the data from 5 test runs below (you can click on the picture for a larger version).

Interestingly enough, I noticed that my Surface Pro 2 did better in these tests than it did in my original comparison against the Surface Pro. I don’t really know why, especially since when I do a battery report, it claims my battery is operating at only about 93% of its design capacity.

However data is data and if I had to guess, it’s because Microsoft has made some firmware and or driver improvements resulting in better battery life.

Either that or the battery report functionality was written by the same guy that does the Windows progress bars

Surface Pro 3 Battery Life: Conclusion

I think the results are pretty self explanatory and hardly surprising. Microsoft has claimed that the Surface Pro 3 has a longer battery life than the Surface Pro 2 and it does.

Considering that the SP3 has a larger screen and is so much lighter, this is very impressive.

However, if you’ve already got a Surface Pro 2 with a Power Cover, you’re already packing the best battery life you’re going to get, even if it weighs considerably more. At least until a Surface Pro 3 Power Cover gets released – if one ever does.

If you have any questions, complaints, gripes or armchair quarterback input on how I should have done the experiments, please leave them in the comment section.

😉

Tim

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