They are "makeshift" training rooms that were built before everyone started using laptops. We currently have to daisy chain multiple power strips and extension cords to accommodate the laptops we have now because the current laptop batteries only last 1-3 hours depending on the condition.
It is both a hassle and hazard, so when we refresh these old laptops, we want to replace them with ones that can make it through the day without a/c power.
Even if we had a few additional power outlets installed in the room, the way the desks are laid out makes it very awkward to reach any power outlets without creating a trip hazard.
Also, the desks are not always laid out in the same configuration. Sometimes they ware classroom-style and sometimes they are in squares or one giant square.
Not relying on A/C power outlets during the training sessions would make this much easier to deal with.
I thought about this some more and I don't think the Surface Pro 2 can be a long term solution for this scenario. The rated battery life will diminish over time and it costs $450 and up to get a replacement when the battery on the Surface Pro starts failing. It won't be worth spending $450 on used Surface Pro 2, so we would be stuck in a year or two and end up back to extension cords and power strips like we have on our 4 year laptops today.
We will need something will lower cost battery replacements. Even the MacBook Air only costs $129 to get battery replacements from Apple.
The perfect laptop would be a Windows PC that does what the MacBook Air does for the same or less cost.
Maybe the new Lenovo X240 with a 9 cell battery will be the best choice. We can buy new batteries and install them ourselves if the battery life starts dropping after a year or 2 of the 4 years we will have them.
For most people 4 to 7 hours may be enough.
We have a unique situation where we need laptops that will be used all day set up and a room that is frequently reconfigured with desks moved around based on instructor preferences and number of attendees and don't want power cables, extension cords and surge protectors strewn all over the place as an eye sore and trip hazard. There are only a few power outlets in the room. The laptops need to run wirelessly all day and then would be locked away and charged overnight before being set up again the next morning.
They don't need to be super powerful, but they need extreme battery life and need to run some legacy Windows software, not Modern UI apps from the Microsoft Store. We also don't need battery-burning 1080p screens with tiny touch points, but that's the way Microsoft makes the Surface.
I'm thinking that maybe a not-yet released Bay Trail device that supports Windows 8 Pro and keyboards and mice may be a more economical choice. I assume upcoming Bay Trail tablets will support 10+ hours of battery without requiring extra battery packs.
The only reason we may want a Haswell device instead a Bay Trail device is in case we need to run Windows 7 in a VMs to run something old like IE 8. The Atom tablets probably will not have enough memory or CPU power to run VMs. But if it turns out that we don't need VMs, then Bay Trail will be cheaper with better battery life.
The Surface RT or Surface 2 may be a posibility for you if you can just use it like a terminal and RDP back to full windows sessions to run your x86 applications. I do this all the time on my Surface RT, I love the long battery life and can run all the x86 apps I need via RDP (remote desktop or even Remote App).
We need to keep them for 4 years and the $450 cost to get a replacement makes any Surface not worth it. We will need something with more affordable battery replacement if the battery life is not guaranteed for the period we will use them.
Also, since we are going to get a couple dozen, we want Windows 8 Pro so we can join them to the domain and manage settings with Group Policy instead of having to manually configure each device one by one.
I'll get the stiffer type keyboard with backlight and be in hog heaven. I already love using the SP1 with keyboard folded under on my chest/belly, and I also don't have the problems others have with the SP1 in my lap so even better angles/stiffer keyboard will be even better for me.
That's a problem with a lot of reviews. They don't spend enough time with it to know that folding it under is so useful. I do this all the time and it's super comfortable just resting on my chest or stomach.
I was at the Launch Event and was under NDA until 10:30 AM today, Me and my family were part of the launch event as one of two Families who use their Surfaces. We spent time with Panos and his team on Sunday morning and they won't say this publicly or officially but he did say they are getting 8-10 hours on the Pro 2 in regular use and the Power Cover will an additional 40%, so you could get 12 to 14 hours.
Wow! That sucks big time. Although far cheaper than a brand new device, it's still alot. This is the drawback to the optically bonded screen. But still damn. They could always reseal the screen after replacing it.
I hope enough noise is made about this once it comes time that peoples battery start conking out.
Apple only charges 99 and they send you a refurbished unit. Microsfot needs to copy that model on it.
There are ways to ensure a longer lifetime with lithium ion battery though.
Like the other poster said, how about the RT? As that definitely can't cost that much to replace. Probably half the total cost. Like for the pro.