Today, Microsoft’s Surface 2 tablet already matches the battery life users can expect from Apple’s popular iPad. Now, Microsoft is preparing to allow the tablet family to blow the iPad out of the water with an integrated battery accessory its calling the Surface Power Cover.
After months of waiting the pre-order button for the Surface Power Cover finally surfaced on the company’s Microsoft Store website late yesterday, where it’ll go on sale there for $199.99 beginning March 19th. It appears that spending the extra $199 on the accessory should be worth it for anyone not satisfied with the Surface 2’s battery life. Microsoft says users should expect a 70% boost in battery life with the Surface Power Cover if they’re using it with a Surface 2. As the device already gets 10 hours of battery life when playing back video, the accessory should boost it to about 17 hours. Surface 2 directly competes with Apple’s iPad Air. It tops out at about 10 hours of battery life.
Whether that extra battery life is worth the $199 for Surface 2 users remains unclear. However, the tablet is meant to be equal parts tablet and laptop replacement. Mounted on top of that external battery is a physical keyboard that matches the original Surface Type Cover. Users who haven’t already paid $119 for the Type Cover or Type Cover 2 might find the accessory useful. Unlike the Type Cover 2, the keys on the Surface Power Cover don’t have aren’t backlit.
The Surface Power Cover also works on the Surface Pro and Surface Pro 2 tablets, however Microsoft says it’ll only boost their battery life by an estimated 60%. Unfortunately, the cover won’t work on the original Surface tablet that runs Windows RT and comes in black.
Today’s reveal comes just a day after a report indicated that the company was adding to a Surface 2 with LTE to its portfolio soon. Microsoft confirmed that the Surface 2 with LTE was on its way last year. However, it didn’t share any information about pricing. Rumors now indicate that the tablet could cost $679.