Microsoft’s new Surface Pro 4 Windows 2-in-1 delivers a lot in a thin and light package. There’s new security options for logging in, and new cameras that deliver acceptable photos. Changes inside have made the Surface Pro 4 faster at transferring pictures and video. This year’s device is booth cooler and quieter than past Windows 2-in-1s from Microsoft. There’s one problem with the Surface Pro 4 though.
Despite big upgrades in other areas, the Surface Pro 4 gets the same battery life as the Surface Pro 3. Crank up the display brightness and it’s possible to get even less battery life. Many point to its slightly bigger and much sharper display. Whatever the reason, only being able to match the battery life of the Surface Pro 3 is a big potential problem for Surface Pro 4 buyers.
There are some ways that you can extend the amount of time your Surface Pro 4 lasts in between charges. Many of these tricks apply to Windows 10 devices that aren’t made by Microsoft.
Getting Better Surface Pro 4 Battery Life: Use the Darker & Darkest Setting For Display
With the Surface Pro line, Microsoft has joined the march to making notebooks more like tablets. Others have followed in recent years, adding sensors and ideas taken from smartphones. The ambient light sensor in your Surface Pro 4 is a perfect example of this trend. Ever since the iPhone, ambient sensors have let smartphones measure the amount of light around them. Devices use the information from the sensor to dim their screen accordingly. Automatic screen brightness lets your device eek out battery life by only making the screen bright enough so that it’s comfortably readable, but not overly bright.
On the Surface Pro 4, swipe from the right edge of your screen to open the Action Center. Tap the Expand option. Now tap or click on the Suggested box. Tapping it repeatedly changes it between Darker, Darkest, Suggested, Brighter and Brightest. Go with Darker or Darkest for more battery life.
The Surface Pro 4’s display is its biggest battery draw. This change can have a huge effect on battery life.
Getting Better Surface Pro 4 Battery Life: Disconnect Any Extras
Almost everything that’s connected to the single USB port on your Surface Pro 4, is pulling from its battery. Disconnecting extras can marginally improve battery life. When you’re near a power plug, consider charging through the Power Supply that comes with the Intel Core i5 and Intel Core i7 versions of the Surface Pro 4 instead of your device.
This will get your device charged faster and save you from having to draw on your Surface Pro 4 when away from a power plug. When in-between charges, unplug any accessory that’s not essential to what you’re doing at that moment.
Getting Better Surface Pro 4 Battery Life: Turn Off Extra Connectivity
Another big draw on battery power for the Surface Pro 4 is Wi-Fi. Having Wi-Fi off when not in use can improve your experience. It’s not a great idea to go turning the feature off all the time, but its great for situations where you already expect to not be connected – like planes, trains and long car rides.
Tap the Wi-Fi icon in the right corner of the Taskbar. Flipping on Airplane Mode with a tap will shut off Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, boosting your Surface Pro 4’s battery life while it’s off.
Getting Better Surface Pro 4 Battery Life: Change How Your Device Sleeps
Another way that the Surface Pro 4 creates the illusion that it’s just a tablet is a feature Microsoft used to call Connected Standby. When users hit a power button on their phone or tablet, they aren’t really turning it off. It’s going into sleep mode, where it still can pull down email updates, stay connected to the internet, and continue to stream music. The Surface Pro 4 is no different, which can have an impact on battery life.
Open the Settings app from the Start Screen or Start Menu, depending on whether you have Tablet Mode turned on or off. Tap or click on System. Tap or click on Power & Sleep.
From this screen you can have your Surface Pro 4 automatically turn off when it is on its own battery power for just a minute. There’s also options for disabling Wi-Fi connectivity when in Sleep. Finally, there’s a switch for letting Cortana manage power options depending on your location.
Getting Better Surface Pro 4 Battery Life: Close Power Hungry Programs
This needs repeating, there are programs that can have a huge impact on battery life. These programs are usually feature rich and downloaded through a web browser. Great examples are iTunes and the Adobe suite of media creation tools. Also, Google’s Chrome browser is known to be a huge offender. Close non essential programs and your Surface Pro 4 has to do less work. Less work means there is less power required for the processor. Your device will last longer.
Getting Better Surface Pro 4 Battery Life: Turn On Power Saver Mode
Like Windows Phone before it, the Surface Pro 4 has a special mode meant for situations where longer battery life is required. It’s called Power Saver Mode and it can be toggled at any time or configured to turn on automatically.
Tap or click on the battery icon in your Taskbar on the right side. Now click or tap on Battery Saver.
Surface Pro 4 Battery Life Quick Tips
- Check to see how much battery life your device has left by tapping or clicking on the battery icon in the Taskbar. This estimate is updated in real-time> It’s based on your screen brightness and processor load.
- The Surface Pro line had a Power Cover at one point that almost doubled battery life. Unfortunately, Microsoft never refreshed the Power Cover when it introduced the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 3. Some report good results with the Power Cover and Surface Pro 4, but it’s not an officially supported accessory any longer.
Good luck with your Surface Pro 4. Here’s to hoping these tips lead to better battery performance when you’re away with your Windows 2-in-1.