Why Microsoft Isn’t Making Rechargeable Pens For Surface Pro 4

I’ve lost count at the number of times my Xbox controller’s disposable batteries have died on me at the most inopportune moments. It still baffles me as to why Microsoft doesn’t just put rechargeable battery packs onto its controllers and I’m left asking the same question when it comes to the new Surface Pen.

The Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book were announced a few weeks ago with some pretty impressive specs. The standout feature for both devices is the quality of the screens and their ability to provide an alternative to paper when it comes to note taking and artworks.

For precision doodles, the Surface Pro 4 comes with a new Surface Pen, which is great given that it was an optional add-on for the Surface 3. The pen has 1024 pressure levels and clips onto the side of the Surface Pro 4 magnetically.

The pen is powered by an AAAA disposable battery which, according to Microsoft, will last a full year and the magnetic clip mechanism helps extend the battery life by turning the pen off once it is connected to the Surface Pro 4.

So why does the Surface Pen still use disposable batteries? Because, creativity. That’s according to Microsoft Surface marketing manager Markus Weickenmeier.

“Ideas can come into your head that you’ll want to commit to paper or a screen,” he told Lifehacker Australia at a Surface press event. “With rechargeable batteries, you’re assuming you are going to have time to charge it before you use it. For us, we believe creativity will strike at any moment and you’ll want to know your pen is going to work without having to plug it in to charge it first.”

But imagine a year down the track, you have a brilliant idea that you want to jot down only to realise your pen has ran out of juice and you have no replacement battery readily available.

Even so, the Surface Pen is still an impressive accessory for the Surface Pro 4 and the Surface Book and you can even customise the pressure sensitivity to your liking. It’s going to be incredibly useful for students that do a lot of note taking and modern artists that are heavily dependent on editing their work with photo editing software.

What are your thoughts on electronic devices that use disposable batteries? Let us know in the comments.

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