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article imageSurface owners blast Microsoft as batteries last for minutes

By James Walker     Jul 19, 2016 in Technology
Microsoft is facing a rapidly growing number of complaints from owners of its Surface Pro 3 convertible tablet who claim they are facing dramatically reduced battery life since the one-year warranty expired. Some are left with just minutes of charge.
As Neowin reports, a quickly expanding thread on Microsoft's support forums indicates the scale of the issue. Scores of users are reporting that the battery inside their Surface Pro 3 suddenly failed completely shortly after the device's warranty expired, leaving it unusable as a mobile device.
As an indication of the severity of the issue, some users are reporting the maximum charge capacity of their Surface has decreased from around 40,000 mWh to just 140 mWh in less than three months.
The battery inside the Surface Pro 3 has a design capacity of just over 42,000 mWh. While that capacity will decrease over time during normal use, a sudden decline down to mere hundreds of mWh indicates a major hardware defect. That level of capacity reduction wouldn't usually be encountered until years of regular charging has been completed.
Windows includes a built-in tool to monitor the status of your battery and check its health. It can be accessed by running "powercfg /batteryreport" from a command prompt and opening the resulting file. Users uploading screenshots of the report to the forum confirm the existence of the problem. The utility shows that batteries built by manufacturer Simplo are being left with as little as 140 mWh of power after a year's use, insufficient for even 10 minutes of browsing.
An example battery report from a defective Surface Pro 3
An example battery report from a defective Surface Pro 3
DWAYNE972 / Microsoft Support Forum
At the Surface Pro 3's launch, Surface designer and Microsoft head of hardware Panos Panay promised a "great battery." In a Reddit thread, Panay said the battery could be charged daily, 5 days a week, for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80 percent capacity.
Panay also made a few promises about what would happen if batteries failed. He said Microsoft would replace any batteries failing during the warranty period free of charge. For units failing after the warranty expires, Panay said Microsoft support could replace the battery for $200, despite such a change effectively meaning a device swap.
Unfortunately for owners, the batteries are expiring mere months after the warranty. The only Microsoft response on the forum so far has been to contact support. Owners have been quoted up to $450 to obtain replacement devices, even though Microsoft could supposedly do a $200 battery switch.
Surface Pro owners are now pressing Microsoft to offer them free batteries. Seeing as the issue appears to be so severe and is starting just outside the warranty period, they argue the company should be held responsible for the battery defects. The evidence provided by the Windows battery report reveals just how quickly the failure occurs, leading to a capacity decrease of over 10,000 percent in just a few weeks.
Microsoft is yet to make an official response to the thread. The number of reports is growing though and owners of the defective devices, costing $800 and up, are becoming increasingly restless.
What is clear is that some Surface Pro 3 owners are facing battery degradation that is far beyond the usual levels of gradual wear due to charging. It looks as though the batteries provided by Simplo are suffering abrupt failures after completing around 200 charge cycles, leaving Microsoft caught awkwardly between its "great battery" promise and having to replace devices costing hundreds of dollars.
More about Microsoft, Surface, surface pro, surface pro 3, Windows
 
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