Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 battery life disappointing

I bought a Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 (16gb, 512gb, intel i5) from Microsoft recently (mid-late 2021) and have been really disappointed with the battery life, to the point where I’m considering returning as fault, or at least misleading.

The claim of 17 hours battery life are misleading at best - you might get that with the screen dimmed to the lowest setting, with no internet and no background tasks running, but under sensible conditions (web surfing, calls, “balanced” battery settings), I’m getting about 5 hours. From 17h to 5h - it’s pretty pathetic.

I would go so far as to not recommend this laptop. If you have a laptop, being able to use it on battery is a core function - it’s no good having a nice, pretty laptop if you have to strongly ration its use.


Welcome to the Community @Joanna1

That seems very poor as a battery life when they espouse the 17 hour life. Have you contacted them about the performance? Could it be a faulty battery that they need to assess? If not, it may be useful to see if they are willing to assess the product and repair if needed.

Does any research show others having this problem? If so this may be a good starting point to argue your request of your choice of outcome ie refund, repair or replace under your Australian Consumer Law (ACL) rights.


I’ve installed a battery utility (batterybar) to check the expected battery life, and together with reduced screen brightness when using the laptop at night, the battery life matches the ~8h in the Choice review (Microsoft Surface Laptop 4 review | CHOICE).

Still a far, far cry from the claimed use up to 17 hours - which according to the fineprint on the Microsoft website is both active use and an unspecified amount of idle time, so an utterly useless, misleading, and consumer-hostile figure.


The Choice review mentioned 8 hrs under a heavy work load for the version they reviewed. TechRadar’s review suggested 11-13 hrs various real life tests on the version they tested vs up to 19 hrs claimed by MS.

All tests are representative of a range of typical use. 5hrs is not representative.


17 hours (and the numbers touted by the industry) is an ambit achieved under extraordinary circumstances not encountered by real users, and in a way similar to the 6 hour cycles washing machine manufacturers use to get their energy stars; yours does seem on the lower end.

An easy thing to check is whether your battery is a good one. As a new product in your hands if it is not showing a full charge with expected capacity you have evidence to have it repaired/replaced. It is an easy typed command:


The claim isUp to 17 hours of battery life based on typical Surface device usage.’ The key wording being ‘up to’ and ‘typical Surface device usage’. It doesn’t claim the battery will last 17 hours under any use.

Typical Surface device usage is based on ‘Testing consisted of full battery discharge with a mixture of active use and modern standby’…which would reflect potentially the use of an average user. Most users would not operate the device at maximum operating potential for 17 hours, but would be times of high intensity operation through to no use with the device in standby.

Looking at the Choice assessment, it is likely that Microsoft believe that the typical device usage would be about 50% standby with about 50% use.


Link to the MS Support pages.
Surface battery testing and estimated performance

As noted:

I can add to that further well known sites rate the actual battery performance of the Surface Laptop 4 at more than 10hrs.
Tom’s Hardware, 10hrs 46mins for the Intel i7 chipped version.
And Laptop Mag which appears to share the same source.

It’s important to keep an open mind as to the tasks @Joanna1 requires of the Laptop 4. Even the Choice review heavy duty use managed at least 8 hrs.

Considering the screen brightness setting is important to battery life, I turned auto brightness off on my laptop and iPad from day one. Set manually to suit.


Just wanted to thank everyone for the responses, it’s very much appreciated!