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Surface Go Battery Life Tested: Could Be a Dealbreaker

The Surface Go has so many things going for it. A gorgeous display, a keyboard with a real touchpad and the ability to run full Windows (once you do the free upgrade from S Mode). 

And based on our Surface Go benchmarks, it's also faster than the typical budget laptop. There's just one BIG problem: battery life.

Surface Go Battery Life Results

Battery Life (hrs:mins)
Surface Go (8GB)6:06
iPad (9.7 inch)10:07
Asus E403NA8:04
Acer Chromebook Spin 11 8:41
Lenovo Flex 6 119:11
Tablet Average10:05
Budget Laptop Average7:41

On the Laptop Mag battery test, which involves continuous web surfing at 150 nits of screen brightness, the Surface Go lasted only 6 hours and 6 minutes. That's over an hour and a half less than the average laptop under $400, which lasts 7:41, and it's also 4 hours behind the 9.7-inch iPad (10:07).

Here's how our battery test works. We load a dozen web pages that are stored on a local webserver. Some of the pages are plain graphics and text while others have streaming videos or WebGL animations. The test remains on the more active pages for 2 to 3 minutes, so as to simulate a user watching content.

MORE: Surface Go Review Roundup: What Critics Love (and Hate)

Note that we ran our battery test in full Windows 10 Home and not S Mode. In addition, we ran this test on the 8GB, 128GB SSD version of the Surface Go. We will be running the same battery test on the entry-level 4GB model.

To further put this battery life into perspective, a $399 budget laptop like the 14-inch Asus E403NA lasted 8:04 on our tests. And the smaller Lenovo Flex 6 11, which is a 2-in-1, lasted over 9 hours.

Acer's Chromebook Spin 11, which is an 11-inch 2-in-1 running Google's lightweight Chrome OS, endured for 8 hours and 41 minutes.

To be fair, the Surface Go is very light and thin, and is designed to be highly portable. And, unlike the iPad, the Surface Go runs full Windows. But, at least based on our initial testing, you're going to want to take that power adapter with you. 

Stay tuned for additional test results and our full review.

Responsible for the editorial vision for Laptop Mag and Tom's Guide, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.