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Microsoft promises Surface Pro 3 charging flaw fix

Microsoft promises Surface Pro 3 charging flaw fix

A flaw discovered by early reviewers of Microsoft's Surface Pro 3, in which the tablet refuses to charge, will be fixed in a software patch ahead of launch.

Microsoft has confirmed that its Surface Pro 3 tablet-cum-laptop product line is suffering from a battery charging flaw, but promises that the issue will be fixed with a software update ahead of launch.

The latest entry in Microsoft's own-brand tablet line-up, the Surface Pro 3 is undeniably impressive: with anything up to a Core i7 processor and a 2,160x1,440 resolution 12" touch-sensitive display with pen, the convertible tablets are fully-fledged computers - although, as with its previous launches, the real attraction are the ultra-thin Touch Cover and Type Cover accessories that turn the device into an ultra-portable laptop but that Microsoft is loath to bundle.

The US press has had their hands on loaner review units for a little while now, but not everything has gone smoothly. There have been reports that the Surface Pro 3 can fail to charge - leaving the unit dead, no matter how long it is connected to its mains adapter.

In a message to Twitter, external PR consultant for Microsoft Jordan Guthman confirmed the flaw but promised that an update would be issued prior to general availability of the tablet. With the UK launch scheduled for August, there's plenty of time for Microsoft to find and fix the flaw - although the tablet will be on sale in the US on the 20th of June, providing a much smaller window for the issue to be fixed.

Separately, Guthman also confirmed that the battery in the Surface Pro 3 - in common with the overwhelming majority of Ultrabooks and tablets - will not be user-replaceable. If the battery suffers a failure during the warranty period, it will be replaced free of charge; if it fails outside warranty, a $200 fee will be charged for professional replacement. UK battery replacement fees have not yet been confirmed.

4 Comments

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MSHunter 29th May 2014, 15:09 Quote
Software update to fix charging issue......
Charging should be Hardware based and you should be able to use plugged in no matter the state of the battery. This is a major design failure.

Though I fear this is done on purpose to shorten the product life span.
Krazeh 29th May 2014, 17:11 Quote
You can't rely on a purely hardware based charging solutions with modern batteries, unless want a lot of exploding batteries. There needs to be a software element to it.
MSHunter 29th May 2014, 21:04 Quote
OK "software" as in a few lines on code on a control chip not integrated into the OS or BIOS which can only send info but not receive and I am not convinced this can not be done with a decent circuit. either way there is no excuses for a device that can not take all required power from external source. Many an old laptop I ran without the battery years after it was no longer useful as a full windows PC.
Nexxo 29th May 2014, 21:50 Quote
If that would work it would have been done. There is quite a bit of negotiation going on between a charger and a battery to allow for rapid charging, but not over-charging, of the battery in any state while minimising memory effects and maximising its lifespan. The device meanwhile has to use that power as sparingly as possible to make the battery last.

Your old laptops had brick-like batteries that lasted for three hours tops. That ten-hour lifespan we enjoy now? It ain't down to the battery; it's down to the technology that manages it.
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