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  • Why I won’t buy a new Surface Pro: Battery problems and support

    Home Forums AskWoody blog Why I won’t buy a new Surface Pro: Battery problems and support

    This topic contains 12 replies, has 11 voices, and was last updated by  anonymous 3 weeks, 3 days ago.

    • Author
    • #1924884 Reply

      Da Boss

      With new Surface Pro(s) and Surface Book(s) likely coming soon, a friend has asked me if she should plan on buying a new one. My answer? A resounding
      [See the full post at: Why I won’t buy a new Surface Pro: Battery problems and support]

    • #1924930 Reply

      Da Boss

      The Surface line has more problems. Hmmmm…….
      Perhaps, if you don’t do quality control on your products (you use your untrained, non-tech customers for testing instead) and you don’t do support, you can avoid spending the incoming revenue on things like that.
      If you do the right kind of marketing, you might also obscure the lack of concern for your customers.
      Your profits appear greater and the shareholders are happy.
      What’s not to like about that?

      3 users thanked author for this post.
      • #1925188 Reply

        lurks about
        AskWoody Lounger

        I think this works for awhile. After getting burned by MS enough times, most will wonder away to something else. When someone says enough will vary but everyone but the pure fanbois has a limit when they say “Enough! I am outta here!”. I see Chromebooks for sale at numerous retailers. Dell has announced a business oriented Chromebook. Companies do not make changes to the product line up without a good reason. I am not privy to the internal numbers but the observation and announcements indicate there is a real demand for something other than a Mac or Windows PC in the wild.

        • #1925414 Reply

          rc primak

          The best thing about Chromebooks is that if you don’t go too cheap, after their End of Life you can convert them into rather pricey Linuxbooks.  No need to trash perfectly useful hardware.

          Now try reusing a defunct Surface Book.

          -- rc primak

    • #1924970 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      I have a surface pro 3 & 4. The 3 developed problem and Microsoft replaced it. Both are still in use (knock on wood).

      These devices are not easy or efficient to repair. They are built to eventually die and a replacement purchased. As consumers we are setting ourselves up for failure. We purchase devices (cell phones, tablets, laptops) that are not user serviceable. I would never buy a phone with a battery I can’t replace. I know that the battery will need replacing long before the phone itself.

      We have to send a clear message to manufacturers that certain aspects of their products need to conform to the needs of the consumer and not be based solely on planned obsolescence. I will not purchase a future device that does not allow me access to its guts (somewhat easily) to upgrade memory, hard drive or battery. That pretty much means no more Surfaces for me, but that is Microsoft’s loss not mine.

      As for service outside these expected user serviceable parts, manufacturers who make their products unservicable need to be prepared to replace them quickly and easily when they break while under warranty. Outside of warranty, for a quality assurance issue, a hefty credit towards a new and similar device if one exists should be just as easily available if the company wishes to retain their customers.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1924984 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      As a company / corporate device (i.e. given FoC) – it’s great: it’s light enough, battery lasts adequately long enough either, has Windows on-board, it’s compatible where it should be, it does work. It does have some niggles with sleep mode but hey! Nobody’s perfect.

      But no sane mind should even come close to considering buying it – far too expensive and riddled with all these nonsensical (as per Woody’s summary) issues. And behold: it’s irreparable at all.

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1925057 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      The most difficult screen replacement I’ve performed for a client was on his Surface Pro 3. The screen is super thin, easily cracks, expensive with limited OEM availability compared to other screens. The replacement process starts with covering the old screen with tape, smashing it to pieces while attempting to gently lift it off the adhesive tape, then picking the remaining shards out of the chassis with a magnifying glass and tweezers. I’ve sworn off doing anything but software fixes on all Surface devices.

    • #1925061 Reply


      When the Surface 2 Pro came out, and into the Surface 3 series, I had many clients that really wanted one. They loved the form factor and especially the Wacom based touch screen. Several were deployed during that period.

      After a couple of years, the battery problems became severe. Support under warranty was a basic and lengthy swap for a refurbished replacement. Out of warranty . . . forget it. Buy a new one.

      I’ve sworn off them now. Will no longer recommend one to a paying client.

      ~ Group "Weekend" ~

    • #1925090 Reply


      Your post would also apply to the original Surface Book. There are people with ruined screens because the battery in the screen is bulging and Microsoft randomly fixes it for some people out of warranty and in other cases they say it will cost $600 to replace. If not for the battery issue, I was expecting to still be using my Surface Book. Dell and other OEM’s have replaced laptops with bulging batteries without cost outside of warranty. Microsoft is shooting itself in the foot by not taking care of these issues and communicating with their customers.

      2 users thanked author for this post.
    • #1925179 Reply

      Da Boss

      UPDATE: From Barb Bowman:

      The reply from Microsoft referring to a Windows Update to fix @surface pro 4 bricked type covers due to corrupted firmware has been edited and the reference to a future update has been removed

      1 user thanked author for this post.
    • #1925281 Reply

      AskWoody Lounger

      Thin and light devices have their problems with issues. This might be more a firmware mess up. But Apple and Microsoft have some pretty bad surveys showing their reliability close to the bottom. Both companies seem to have lost their mojo in building good products.

      • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by  John.
      • #1926181 Reply


        It’s more like they are engineered right at the warranty period curve that the warranty engineers have established empirically using lower grade parts. So that’s devices that are mass  produced in such volumes that there is sufficient savings to be had in lowering the build quality for the OEM(MS) and simply replacing the defective units is found to be less costly compared to offering better build quality. So the Bean counters and their actuarial calculations are targeting the lowest costs at the lowest quality that they can get away with.
        And the one cost that those Bean Counters do not have to factor in the lost productivity of any Surface end users that may be using the Surface for business usage. I’d rather go with a good business grade laptop if I where on the road than risk my device becoming unusable when it’s actually needed the most for some presentation that needs to be finished by a deadline.

        If one purchases a quality Business Grade laptop with the Pro variants of the CPUs that’s used in the laptop makes and models of choice for most of the big enterprise IT departments then those laptops usually ship with the better Motherboard parts etc. Most business grade CPUs and Laptops come with at least 3 year warranties as standard so the devices’ warranty engineers have no choice but to make the laptop’s/device’s design engineers make use of the better grade Motherboard/other components with the higher MTBF(Mean Time Between Failure)  in order meet that 3 year warranty curve.

        So maybe consumers should also look for the very same laptop makes and models of Business Grade laptopa as that’s what I did and my laptop has a socketed CPU and replaceable battery as well as a CD/DVD drive.

        And the newer  Ultrabook/thin and light laptops are not as serviceable and are of some inferior build quality as well compared to the pre-ultrabook business grade laptops of the past. Tablets are nice but really they can not replace a full featured laptop that’s actually Business Grade and the IT departments that service thousands of these laptop devices are very good at only choosing the better designs/brands with the longest service lives and that are more serviceable in-house. That’s why the older Thinkpads and other devices are still sought after even today.

        If you are purchasing an Intel Laptop or and AMD laptop Look for the CPU SKUs that are used in the business grade laptops and AMD actually has a business grade Pro APU/CPU branding while for Intel one has to look for the CPU SKU with all that VPro and other business grade features listed as supported. Now for most Intel socketed CPU based Motherboards, even in laptops, it’s not possible to upgrade the CPU beyond the generation of CPU that’s matched with the specific Motherboard generation that matches the CPU. But for AMD their Motherboards support the Same MB chipsets/socket form factor across multiple CPU/APU generations. So if one is fortunate enough to find a laptop that is socketed(Usually that’s portable workstations) then if they ever offer AMD’s AM4 socket then it may be possible to upgrade beyond a single CPU/APU generation without having to replace the motherboard. That is if the Laptop’s/Portable Workstation’s OEM has that whitelisted for the end user to be able to do.

        I’m still using my HP Probook  of the Ivy Bridge Intel(core i7 3632QM) 3000QM/3000M series generation and I could upgrade to a more powerful CPU, and there is 7 more Mobile Laptop 3000 series parts above that. And I could upgrade the laptop to a i7 3840QM and and that processor has 2MB more of L3 cache, 8MB up from 6MB on the i7 3632QM. And these processors are a bit more powerful than any of the first few generation of Ultrabook grade CPU parts that shipped after Ivy Bridge generation Intel CPUs. And the HP Probooks of that generation also can have the CD/DVD drives swapped out with a Hard Drive Caddy and give the laptop a second SATA drive.

        The HP 4540s even has plenty of online tear-down/repair videos and an actual video that upgrades the CPU and swaps the Hard-drive for an SSD drive with the video’s producer also installing windows 10 if that’s what is desired. The parts if still available are very low cost for new parts such as CPUs, motherboards, etc. And there are plenty more parts available for business grade laptops than consumer grade variants. Business/Sever grade CPUs have extended spare parts availability guarantees so the end users are assured of at lest 2+ years of actual parts production from the processor makers. So poor is the overall quality of those Ultrabool/thin and light laptops that more folks are just looking for the older pre-Ultrabook generation of laptops and if the older laptop is more upgradable then the cost of new parts is a good bargain as well.

    • #1925711 Reply

      Paul T
      AskWoody MVP

      This old adage seems appropriate:
      You can only have 2 of the 3 options, light, robust and cheap.

      cheers, Paul

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