Surface Pro 3 and 4 pick up new 'Battery Limit' feature, more Surfaces to follow

Microsoft this week announced a new "Battery Limit" feature (opens in new tab) (via OnMSFT) for its Surface devices that is aimed at helping them maintain their ability to hold a charge after being connected to external power for long periods of time. Initially available for the Surface Pro 3 and Surface Pro 4, the feature will eventually roll out to further Surface devices (opens in new tab) in future firmware updates.

The main goal for this feature is to assist in maintaining battery reliability in settings where a Surface may be used in things like kiosks and consoles, where the Surface device is rarely removed from a power source. Microsoft explains:

The new Battery Limit feature of Surface devices from Surface Pro 3 forward addresses these situations by providing a UEFI setting that instructs the battery controller to limit total charge to a maximum 50%. Enabling the setting preserves the battery's ability to take and hold a charge while it's connected to external power for an extended period of time and is recommended for Surface devices integrated into solutions like kiosks, consoles, and other scenarios where they are constantly connected to an external power supply.

UEFI Battery Limit

Battery Limit Mode can be enabled via the Surface UEFI settings under the "Boot configuration" option.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • It is about time! The only limitation with this new feature is there should be a way to adjust the maximum charge level in 1% increments all the way to 99%. This would allow the user to greatly extend the life of the battery. In my Kia Soul EV the charge limit is 95% (even though the display shows 100%) just for this reason. So Microsoft, add an option to change the max charge level.
  • That limits the usefulness of this feature. Changing it to 99% vs 50% doesn't make it better. And changing it to 99% vs 100% doesn't really provide that much benefit. Edit: meant to say feature, not device.
  • What? Being able to select any setting between 50% and 100% doesn't make it better? Either you didn't understand what I said or you don't know how much a Lithium-ion battery's life is affected by various states of charge.
  • I can't say I know too much about battery tech, but I agree maybe Microsoft could consider users who are mobile some days, docked other days. Perhaps there is an optimal level of battery for users who are docked a lot of the time, but not 100 percent of the time? That's me. I'm docked for days at a time, then highly mobile, then back to docked ...
  • The optimal charge for long-term storage is closer to 70%, so Microsoft is missing the mark. I've seen Lenovo ThinkPad laptops that let you toggle a similar feature on or off from within one of the Lenovo bloatware apps. This should just be built into Windows and configured from the settings app, so you can leave the battery cap in place and then quickly switch it off and charge up to 100% on the rare occasion when you need a full charge.
  • The optimal charge for ANY Li-Ion battery is between 40-80% so Microsoft aren't doing the wrong thing here but you aren't wrong either.
  • I am wondering whether the introduction of kiosk mode has contributed to the increasing number of devices that no longer recognise the type cover keyboards. Could it be that Microsoft added kiosk but disabled keyboard with the new firmware.
    Please investigate someone at Windows Central!
  • I would have preferred the cap at 80%, as the best compromise in autonomy vs battery life span seems to be the 80 scenario, but even having 50% cap is great news! And maybe later down the road they provide some adjustment.
    But if possible this should be a system setting and not a UEFI setting, needing a reboot to change.
    Never the less, an awesome addition - hurry up and release it for the 2017 too!