The Surface Windows 8 Pro charger: a great idea poorly executed (opinion)

There are many things I like about Microsoft’s Surface Windows 8 Pro, but the charger isn’t one of them. Let me explain why I think its a great idea poorly executed!

surfacepro-2nd-usb The Surface Windows 8 Pro charger: a great idea poorly executed (opinion)

Sporting a 1.7Ghz Intel Core i5 processor, 4GB RAM, a 3.0 USB port, and a killer display, the 128GB Surface Windows 8 Pro is a speedy, and compact, portable powerhouse! How do I know this? Because on Sunday, contrary to reports about its unavailability, I casually walked into Best Buy and bought one. No muss, no fuss. I also bought the typecover keyboard, and reluctantly, the dual coverage insurance.

Needless to say after plunking down $999 for the tablet and $129.99 for the keyboard, I was anxious to get it home and check it out. I quickly set it up with my Microsoft account and password, and my e-mail, calendar, and start menu items I’d previously pinned on the screen of my RT tablet synced over without a hitch. Yes, you read it right, I also have a Surface RT, and no, it’s not for sale.

After setting up, I spend most of the day conducting what I assure you were the most arbitrary, and unscientific tests you can imagine. Among the things I found was that I really liked the typecover, and preferred it over the touchcover that I chose when I bought my RT. It was very responsive, and the feedback from the keys made typing, at least for me, much easier. The Surface Pro’s 10.6″ ClearType Full HD Display is very sharp, and clear, and the 10 point multi-touch screen’s response to touch, was immediate, and revealed no discernible lag when scrolling.

As expected, battery life was about half of what I’ve come to expect on the Surface RT. When casually surfing the web, checking e-mail, playing a game, or doing some light word processing, it tapped out around 4.5 hours. Under more stressful use, playing movies, streaming music, heavy web surfing and the like, expect to lose an hour.
For all of its prowess, its use of the full version of Windows 8 Pro, its ability to download from the web, use Windows legacy applications, leap tall buildings with a single bound, wait, strike that last one; the Surface Windows 8 Pro does have a weakness; its charger!

surfacepro-2nd-usb The Surface Windows 8 Pro charger: a great idea poorly executed (opinion)

To many what I’m about to say may seem to be small potatoes, or a problem with an easy solution, but please, hear me out.

The charger is designed to allow the user to charge their tablet and another USB device (in this case a cellphone) at the same time. If you look closely at the charger in the promotional picture that leads this post you will note that the charger housing is sitting on a table with the charging side of the cable plugged into the device, and the bulk of the charging side of the cable nicely rolled up next to a cellphone charging in the charger housing’s USB port. The plug-in side of the cable is barely visible. However, if you look at the pictures I took, you will notice that the plug-in side of the cable is relatively short. This means, that under normal circumstances you will not be able to charge your phone as shown in the promotional picture, because you would have to place the charger housing, and anything plugged into it, on the floor!

surfacepro-2nd-usb The Surface Windows 8 Pro charger: a great idea poorly executed (opinion)

It’s a great idea, but it’s poorly executed!

  • ChrisKinOZ

    What about a longer A/C lead if it’s not moulded into the charger? Simple solution if the manufacturer has allowed for this. Of course we haven’t seen the surface Pro outside of the USofA.

    • Diyogee

      Unfortunately, the AC lead is molded into the charger.

      • smp

        The charger that came with my Pro has a separable ac cable. standard two prong type (E219959)

  • Jesse Chunn

    I totally agree with this post, including the part about this being easily solved. Yes, not ideal, but they make these things called extension cords that you can get in just about any length desired. Also, for a traveling person like myself, it is actually good, since the little desk in my hotel room usually has a plug right on the desktop, so all that extra length just gets in the way. Again, I agree with the article. If MS had not made the cable molded into the brick, you could easily replace the plug end with a longer cord (like one from an old computer), like most laptop charging cables are designed. Oh well, maybe in a future version. Still, not bad for a first try.

  • Chewy

    FWIW, I’m using this adapter for portable use; and also while at the hotel, they have the outlet usually on the base of a lamp, so distance isn’t an issue.