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post #1 of 6 Old 08-19-2017 Thread Starter
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Surface Pro vs iPad - Power Consumption

Currently I have a number of older computers and tablets on board. I would like to consolidate a few devices. One thing I have thought about was potentially trading out my iPad for a Surface Pro but the big concern I have is power consumption. Unfortunately while there seems to be lots of comparisons around computing power not so much about power consumption.

Does anyone have any information about how much power they are consuming with either device, and how much it takes to recharge them completely? I rely a lot on solar so consumption is important.
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post #2 of 6 Old 08-19-2017
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Re: Surface Pro vs iPad - Power Consumption

We have a Pro 3 I7 and a Pro 4 I5 which live on board

The Surface Pro 4 has better battery life than the Pro 3, also, unless you really need the most powerful processor, avoid it as it uses more power and creates more heat.

The good news about charging is that they pull less than 3 amps at 12 volts to charge (35 Watts), I use a small 150 Watt Bestek invertor to power ours, it seems to be better than cigarette lighter socket units

It takes maybe 3 - 4 hours to charge up from 25%

Worth considering the blue tooth keyboard option as we have had problems with the Cover attachment connections on both machines
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Re: Surface Pro vs iPad - Power Consumption

There are lots of great Windows tablets out there that consume less power then the Surface Pro. Why not consider them too?
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...The good news about charging is that they pull less than 3 amps at 12 volts to charge (35 Watts), I use a small 150 Watt Bestek invertor to power ours, it seems to be better than cigarette lighter socket units...
Define "units". Do you mean cheap plug-in mini-inverters? Or 12v computer adapters?

The only Bestek inverters I have seen are cheap modified sine wave devices. Why would you want to use 12v to generate dirty AC, then just convert it back to dirty DC with inefficient generation of waste heat? It would be far better to take clean DC right off your house battery, fed directly into the computer via a decent car adapter. I can't believe a decent 12v charger wouldn't do a better job.

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Re: Surface Pro vs iPad - Power Consumption

To be honest I haven't looked into many windows tablets, originally I was looking at replacing my current iPad, which I use primarily as a backup chart plotter, and source to hold my music, with a new iPad, however I also would like to replace the computer I use for playing movies, and since the iPad isn't great for accessing hard drives, it's makes it more challenging to eliminate devices though I could certainly keep my NUC and just upgrade to a new iPad, which I know sips power compared to all PCs I have owned in the past.

That said computers/tablets have improved a lot in the last few years in power use so not sure how things are windows wise compared to a few years back. Also while a keyboard is nice, the tablet configuration is more important.

Additionally I would probably try to go direct dc to dc skipping an inverter. Overall charging time isn't super important, as I am more interested in power consumption when the device is on.


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post #5 of 6 Old 08-21-2017
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Re: Surface Pro vs iPad - Power Consumption

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There are lots of great Windows tablets out there that consume less power then the Surface Pro. Why not consider them too?
Can you suggest some, I am always looking?

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Define "units". Do you mean cheap plug-in mini-inverters? Or 12v computer adapters?
Difference in the use of English I said cigarette lighter socket units... You call them Car adapters

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The only Bestek inverters I have seen are cheap modified sine wave devices. Why would you want to use 12v to generate dirty AC, then just convert it back to dirty DC with inefficient generation of waste heat? It would be far better to take clean DC right off your house battery, fed directly into the computer via a decent car adapter. I can't believe a decent 12v charger wouldn't do a better job.

When I bought the Pro 3 in 2015 there was only 1 supplier offering a 12v charger with a car adapter which cost over 100US$ because the Pro 3 & 4ís have a very strange magnetic power plug going into the computer

I bought one of these chargers, the first 2 melted. The final one, which was a circuit board connected to the 12V supply had to output 12.1 volts to work BUT has a voltage drop of 0.6volts when connected to a power source so you need your batteries to be a minimum of 12.7 volts before the charger would work (and yes I tried more than 1 power source)


As I am not based anywhere where I can buy stuff off the internet and get it delivered easily, I used my inverters which has worked surprisingly pulling under 3 amps

Better car adapter changers may now be available but life is too short and I have not bothered to look for one
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post #6 of 6 Old 08-21-2017
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Re: Surface Pro vs iPad - Power Consumption

Seems like you've listed several reasons why you would be better served by a non-Microsoft Windows tablet. It should not be rocket science to charge a tablet off of 5 or 12 VDC. Proprietary connectors should be avoided.

I bought my Windows tablet >2 years ago and it's since been discontinued, so I don't have any suggestions.

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