By Jennifer LeClaire / CIO Today. Updated March 11, 2014.
Even before it ships, Microsoft’s Surface Power Cover is getting an upgrade. Set to find its way onto store shelves next week, the tablet cover will boast better battery life than originally marketed.
When Microsoft first discussed the Power Cover, a Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 accessory that promises to deliver a more convenient typing experience, Redmond promised it would deliver up to 50 percent more battery life to the tablet.
Essentially, the cover recharges the Surface’s battery while you work. The latest news out of Redmond indicates the Power Cover will extend the battery life up to 70 percent instead of 50 percent.
Stretching Surface Power
The concept behind the Power Cover is to give power users -- like business professionals that need to make it though all day and all night meetings and international travelers -- more time to use the Surface before the battery indicator bar turns red and the screen goes black. With that purpose in mind, the additional battery life is sure to be a welcome surprise.
“The Power Cover has all the standard features of a classic QWERTY keyboard -- a full row of function keys (F1-F12), Windows shortcut keys, media controls, and a trackpad make it easy to navigate your Surface without taking your hands off the keyboard,” Microsoft said on the product site. “An ultra-thin trackpad lets you control the cursor with your fingertip.”
According to the company, the Power Cover also doubles as a screen cover. Here’s how it works: you can fold it back like a book cover to get a full touchscreen experience. When you flip the cover back it disables the keys. When you close the cover, it shuts down your display to save battery life and, of course, adds a layer of protection from scratches and dings when you are on the go.
Pros and Cons
We caught up with Wes Miller, an analyst at Directions on Microsoft, to get his take on the new cover. He told us there are pros and cons to the Power Cover, which will retail for $199.
“On a device where you don’t have a replaceable battery, this is a good way to get additional battery life -- there’s a good chance your device could last the whole flight,” Miller said. “With 70 percent additional battery life instead of 50 percent, it was worth the wait.”
The cons, however, are twofold. First, it’s not cheap. If you need to get work done on a flight, though, it may be worth the price. The second con is perhaps more troubling for the Surface Pro-toting road warrior: It’s not backlit.
“Backlighting has been a pretty popular feature and the Power Cover is not backlit,” Miller said. “Microsoft said it was due to conserving energy. That is the one thing that a lot of people might look at before making a purchase, especially if they’ve fallen in love with keyboard covers and wish it was backlit.”