If you’ve got a Surface Pro 3 with battery life problems, you may be in luck. Some users have reported catastrophically poor battery life of late, with devices lasting just minutes in some scenarios. Microsoft, which initially dismissed reports, has apparently investigated the issue and traced it to a problem with the batteries in some Surface Pro 3 devices.
The problem occurs in Surface Pro 3 devices with batteries manufactured by Simplo, according to ZDNet. LG, the other battery vendor for Surface Pro 3, has not experienced the same problem. The issue was addressed in a recent support forum post:
The good news is that fixing the problem appears to be something that can be done via software update rather than a hardware fix. It’s not clear if the issue could have caused any damage to the batteries themselves, nor why the hardware would shut down in just minutes if the battery was otherwise working properly. Apparently some users paid Microsoft a $99 support fee to diagnose the problem, which company reps have now stated is the incorrect policy — it’s not clear if those customers will automatically receive refunds, but Microsoft has pledged to fix all devices whether they are in-warranty or not.
Battery longevity is a notoriously tricky topic to analyze and different batteries can age differently over time. It’s difficult to build databases of how specific companies compare with each other because most manufacturers won’t release data on their exact processes or the refinements they use from generation to generation. Battery charging is also managed extensively in software, which explains why a software bug could result in the batteries refusing to operate — though it doesn’t clarify if they may have been damaged in the interim.
If you’ve got a Surface Pro 3 with this issue, go bang on Microsoft’s doors and demand your $99 back (assuming you paid for support). Let us know if you don’t get it. There’s no word on when the fix will be available, but given the severity of the problem we’d expect it in the near future.