Is this finally the end of the Surface Pro 3’s woes? Will owners finally be able to move on? One would certainly hope so, but we’ll keep our fingers crossed nonetheless. Microsoft has just rolled out a firmware upgrade that should, hopefully, end all battery problems for the now “deprecated” Surface tablet, which has irked owners to no small extent. But perhaps even better, the company has changed its previous stance regarding out-of-warranty exchanges and has decided to refund those owners as well.
The Surface Pro 3’s battery problems started back in August, when users started reporting their devices suddenly experiencing significantly degraded battery lives. That ranged from experiencing only half the battery capacity or not charging at all. Initially, it was theorized that Surface Pro 3 models that sported batteries made by company SIMPLO were the only ones affected. Microsoft never named names but did reveal that it was a simple firmware bug that caused the sensors to report the wrong battery charge and capacity.
The fix for that bug rolled out quickly and, at first glance, it seemed that all was well. But barely a month later, reports came flooding in that previously unaffected Surface Pro 3 units were now exhibiting similar, and sometimes even worse, behavior. Without official information, the running theory was that the bug fix actually triggered the bug in units that used LG Chem batteries.
Again, Microsoft hasn’t, and will never, admit to those, but in its firmware update for the Surface Pro 3 this week, it gave the exact same explanation. In a nutshell, the firmware was reporting the wrong charge level for the battery, preventing the charging system from filling it up to full capacity, therefore draining the battery faster.
At the beginning of the Surface Pro 3 battery problems, there were conspiracy theories that Microsoft purposely induced the issue, given that it started happening immediately after the warranty period for the Surface Pro 3 expired. Quelling those accusations, Microsoft refunded owners who already paid for an out-of-warranty exchange for the device. However, Microsoft initially refused to acknowledge the second wave of complaints. But now that it has done so, it is also giving a refund for those affected by it, though it says it has already contacted owners privately.