As the Microsoft Surface Pro 2 released, users experienced poor battery performance when it comes to web browsing and video playback. Shortly after, Microsoft pushed an update that addressed the issue. What the update does is allowing the Marvell WiFi solution to drive down to even lower power states, conserving more power and hence improving battery life.
AnandTech performed tests on the Surface Pro 2 after updating to the newly released firmware and noticed a 16% increase when playing back video compared to the previous firmware tests made. Here is a screenshot with the updated benchmark results:
Also, Surface Pro 2 now manages better battery life than Surface 2. Microsoft told AnandTech that their internal target was over 8 hours, and this firmware update brings it up to snuff via a nearly 25% increase in battery life when performing a browsing battery life benchmark test. The screenshot below represents the benchmark results for this test.
A software update also rolled back the Surface Pro 2’s video drivers to an earlier version that is told to have fixed the display corruption on wake issue as well. Take note though that Surface 2 did not receive any similar battery life changing firmware update, hence no improvement for the device. Don’t fret though, as Microsoft could release one soon enough.
Yet to achieve its targets for this holiday season Microsoft still has many problems to deal with. Consumer confusion about the variety of available operating systems is one of those big problems – consumers don’t know if they need Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows RT or Windows 8.1 RT. The shopping experience is another and Microsoft thinks buying a Windows PC (desktop, notebook or tablet) is just too confusing and daunting for consumers. It wants to work with big retailers (such as BestBuy) to simplify the process.
Whether Microsoft’s ambitious holiday plan will work remains to be seen, check out more details on Microsoft’s plans here.
The Verge reports that the UK retailer Argos has been selling Microsoft’s Surface 2 to customers before the embargo date of October 22nd has passed. Apparently Argos were selling the Surface 2 as early as Friday October 18th, 4 days before the embargo, and the Verge was able to buy a Surface 2 from their nearest on Saturday October 19th.
Argos were only selling the Surface 2 (both 32 and 64GB models), not the Surface 2 Pro, Type Cover 2 or Touch Cover 2. Argos responded to the Verge story stating it was a mistake and that they had immediately withdrawn Surface 2 sales from their stores.
“We fully comply with embargos issued by our suppliers and have withdrawn the Microsoft Surface 2 from sale with immediate effect. We are working with Microsoft to investigate this error as a matter of urgency.”
The Surface 2, Surface 2 Pro, Type Cover 2 and Touch Cover 2 should all be made available from October 22nd.
To our average reader I’d expect the difference between the Surface Pro and the Surface RT is pretty obvious – one runs Windows 8 RT and the other runs full Windows 8, one has an Nvidia Tegra 3 ARM processor and the other an Intel Core i5 processor. The differences are obvious to the technically minded but to your average consumer the difference probably isn’t so obvious, as let’s face it, both tablets and operating systems do look similar.
Speaking with PC Pro Microsoft Australia marketing manager, Jack Cowett, believes that the difference between the Surface Pro and the Surface RT have not been fully recognised by consumers, and may have even confused them:
“We think that there was some confusion in the market last year on the difference between Surface RT and Surface Pro…We want to help make it easier for people, and these are two different products designed for two different people.”
Microsoft obviously knows it has caused confusion as they have a dedicated web page set up to help consumers decide which one is right for them. With the second generation Microsoft looks to get around the confusion by ditching the RT moniker and just going with Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2. This way there is a clear indication that the Surface Pro 2 “is better” and aimed at the higher end user who does actually need the “professional” benefits of having a full Windows 8.1 tablet while the Surface 2 is aimed at a broader audience who can make do with ARM and lighter productivity.