Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is a Windows 8 device in a league all its own. The entire line of Surface devices were born out of necessity. Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system focused on bringing the PC into the device age. It was Microsoft’s hypothesis that people didn’t want a laptop and tablet. Instead, the company bet that there was a market for something in the middle. It hoped that it could create a device that could be both notebook and tablet. The Surface Pro was the first such attempt. The Surface Pro 3 is the first device in the series hat’s come close to achieving it.
Microsoft makes the Surface Pro 3 available in multiple flavors. There are versions with less powerful Intel Core i3 processors and high-end versions with more power and more storage. Each comes with a keyboard port, a full copy of Windows 8.1, a single USB port and a digital pen that allows users to take hand written notes with the push of a button.
Really, the only flaw with the Surface Pro 3 is battery life. Microsoft’s documents on the Surface Pro 3 indicate users can expect somewhere around 9 hours of battery life. That’s in line with most notebooks, but not stellar for a tablet. Even more worrying is how Microsoft calculated that number. It’s based on just web browsing. Here’s how to get better Surface Pro 3 battery life.
Adjust Your Settings
Getting better battery life starts with managing your settings on any device. The Surface Po 3 isn’t different in that regard.
What you want to pay attention to is your device settings. The Surface Pro 3’s spacious 12-inch display is great for editing documents, drawing or browsing the web. Powering that display takes up a lot of battery power though. You can’t magically, shrink the Surface Pro 3’s display but you can reduce the amount of power it consumes by dimming your brightness settings. To do so, place your finger on the right edge of the display and slide it slightly to the right to reveal the Charms Bar. You can also make the Charms Bar appear by placing your mouse cursor in the top-right or bottom-right corner.
Tap or click on Settings.
Now look for the Screen setting and drag the brightness down a little to save some battery power.
To be fair, the Surface Pro 3 has an ambient light sensor that detects how much light there is around you and adjusts screen brightness accordingly. If your Surface Pro 3 has already done this than you’re already good to go. You can lower it even more if you find yourself in need of extreme power savings.
The next thing you’re going to one to take a look at is wireless and Bluetooth settings. Every Surface Pro 3 is equipped with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. These are what allow you to browse the internet or connect to a wireless keyboard, for example. You should turn these off when you’re on a plane or in a situation where neither are of benefit to you.
Go back to the Settings Charm the same way you did before. Instead of tapping or clicking on Screen, you want to tap or click on the Wi-Fi settings. In our example it’s the Wi-Fi meter labeled 1KF148.
Now tap the switch beside Airplane Mode to disable both Bluetooth and Wi-Fi.
Most Windows devices allow you to change these settings quickly with something called a Power Profile. The Surface Pro 3 is one of the few devices that doesn’t allow you to do that, presumably because its firmware and settings are managing that sort of thing already.
Save the Power Hungry Apps for When You Have A Charger
Maybe you’re new to the Surface Pro 3 but you aren’t new to mobile computing. If that’s the case chances are that you’ve noticed running some apps kills your battery a lot faster. The Surface Pro 3 is part notebook and part tablet so what apps you’re running has an impact on the battery life you can expect.
All Desktop apps aren’t necessarily bad for battery life. Microsoft’s Office suite of productivity apps are fine. Watching a movie in Windows Media Player or doing some light web browsing isn’t necessarily bad either. What you have to keep an eye on are apps that put pressure on your Surface Pro 3’s processor. Take Adobe Photoshop, for example. Running Photoshop will kill your Surface Pro 3 battery a lot faster than browsing the web. You want to save anything that’ll tax your processor and turn on your fan until you can charge.
Windows Store apps were created with battery worries in mind and are typically a lot less taxing. If you’ve downloaded it from the Windows Store, it’s pretty hard to imagine that it would tax your processor and kill the Surface Pro 3’s battery at an unreasonable rate.
Good look with your Surface Pro 3. It’s unfortunate that the Surface Pro 3 doesn’t support the Surface Power Cover that older devices did, but with these tips maybe you can browse longer than normal and stay productive as long as you need to.