If you have a Surface Pro 3, you probably received a firmware update on or around 8/292016. This firmware update is a fix for Simplo batteries only. Most people have reported their SP3’s with Simplo batteries now show reasonable capacity (but there are customers reporting bricks).
A trend is appearing in the Microsoft Community Forums (Answers) that suggests that something in the firmware to fix Simplo has had a bad impact on Surface Pro 3’s equipped with LGC batteries. This thread has some folks posting about this http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfhardware/surface-pro-3-with-lgc-lgc-battery-degradation/13d03fbe-1edd-489f-bd0a-2c07ff615128?msgId=25830051-4e6d-4a5d-b194-2e78168e6534 (and there are a couple of others).
If you have a Surface Pro 3, you should open an administrative cmd prompt and type
powercfg /battery report
Save the file and if it looks like the samples below, post in the above thread. As you can see, these folks are stuck on a fixed, less than 100% capacity. This condition was not present prior to the 8/29 firmware update. You can also let me know on Twitter, @barbbowman if you are impacted.
Let me first state that I’m getting an iPhone 7. I’m going to buy it from Apple. My prior “contract” which I signed when I traded an iPhone 5 for an iPhone 6 expired when I paid this month’s bill and I am off contract.
It isn’t that I plan to switch carriers, as Verizon is the only real choice where I’m located. AT&T doesn’t even give one bar inside my home. I want the freedom to decide my own destiny so to speak. Verizon, on the other hand, seems to be using training that requires their store agents to use a sledgehammer approach when customers ask about their options and want to make changes.
I can’t remember ever having such a hard time getting what I wanted and getting a sales person to stop hammering me with details of something I indicated up front I had no interest in. (And getting my intelligence questioned to boot.)
On Thursday, I went to one of the corporate Verizon Stores to discuss what plans were available. I brought a print out with me so that it was crystal clear what I was interested in:
After waiting for a store rep (busy, longish wait, others were there with the same questions) on Thursday, a rep came over and asked what I wanted. I said, “ I’m going to be buying an iPhone 7 from Apple, not Verizon. I’m checking to see if there are any hidden charges if I sign up for the “new Verizon Plan” and keep my tablet (already activated) on it and get the iPhone 7 for the Apple Store at the Mall and activate it there and I don’t want a contract with Verizon”. He checked my account and confirmed I was “off contract’’” and launched into a sales pitch for trading my phone (iPhone 6) and getting a free iPhone 7. I said (nicely) “I already told you I wasn’t interested in this trade up two year contract. I want to talk about any hidden charges on the New Verizon Plan”.
The rep checks some stuff on his tablet and then says “You can buy the iPhone 7 from us on a device plan for $27.04 a month. It’s not the same as the old contract”. I stood up and said “You aren’t listening to me. I’m not buying a phone from Verizon”. He then decides to tell me “You can trade in your iPhone 6 for a $200 credit that you can apply to accessories”. I tell him that this is just another ‘shell’ for a 24 month contract. He confirms this is true. I want to smack this guy upside the head. I restrain myself. I decide to leave the store and come back the next day.
So yesterday (Friday), I return the the Verizon store and a different rep waits on me. I still have my piece of paper (the above print out) and I tell her I don’t want to buy an iPhone 7 from VZW, lease one, trade in anything and all I want to do is switch to the new Verizon Plan with MY CURRENT DEVICES, as I am off contract and eligible. She launches into a sales speech about how I can trade in my iPhone 6. I tell her bluntly to STFU as I already stated I was not interested. Then she starts with the device payment plan. I ask her if she has actually listened to what I told her. (Apparently not.)
I stand my ground, I tell her I want to switch to the new Verizon Plan. She taps some stuff into her tablet and tells me she can make it effective with my next billing period. She gives me figures. I tell her I’m off contract and it would save me $35 to switch today. She then tells me that THAT would involved a pro-rated bill and that I would have trouble understanding it. I stand up again, and restrain from physical violence and tell her that it is uncalled for to question anyone’s intelligence or math skills and to make the switch or get a manager over that will do it. She tries one more time to sign me up for device payment or a contract. She asks me why I won’t take a contract or buy a phone from VZW or select device payment. And I tell her it is none of her business.
She finally sets up the plan I want and pushes the buttons to make it happen. She tells me she is making a note in my account that I probably will be complaining about a pro-rated bill that I don’t understand. Unbelievable. Exhausting.
While Microsoft’s response to the SIMPLO issue has been restricted to “working on a possible software fix”, customers are starting to report that even when plugged in, their SP3 tablets shut down. In essence, they can’t use their Surface Pro 3’s at all. This seems to happen when the amount of usable battery fully charged falls below a certain point, and as the days continue without a fix, more and more customers will have unusable devices. I don’t see that they will be able to keep their devices running long enough to even apply a software fix, should one actually become available. These customers are trapped. Microsoft won’t swap them out, and some are paying the usurious $450 out of warranty exchange fee. Note that Microsoft committed to a $200 battery replacement program on a Reddit AMA https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chsei5u but has refused to honor this or even comment on it. (And as an aside, Apple charges $129 to replace an out of warranty battery.)
Microsoft told customers in the same Reddit AMA https://www.reddit.com/r/IAmA/comments/26m9cu/we_are_panos_panay_and_the_surface_team_at/chse7pn that “the battery can get charged daily (5 days a week) for over 4.5 years and still maintain 80% capacity”. Again, customers are responding in the thread that they can’t even use their devices while connected or docked.
I checked my sent email and note that as a Community Forum Moderator that I brought it to the attention of Microsoft on March 3, 2016. And a couple of times thereafter. I saw the trending that early.
And as of Saturday, March 6, afflicted Microsoft customers have not had a single update on the situation since the initial “we think we can fix in software and are working on a fix”.
As a Community Moderator on the Microsoft Surface Forums, it’s pretty easy for me to pick up trending hot issues (unlike the paid Forum staff who do not triage or correlate). I regularly forward these on to a contact inside Microsoft. At the end of June, I saw an increasing number of reports about a sudden and dramatic decrease in Surface Pro 3 battery capacity. I’ve been forwarding these along every since, asking that Microsoft at minimum state that “we are investigating reports”, but no official MS rep has even posted that they are reading and investigating.
Sadly, once out of warranty, it costs $99 to even contact official support. And the scripted answer is “we will replace your device with a refurb for $450” (etc.). Many folks have gone this route.
I’ve been scraping the forum and doing my own analysis. The folks who know how to run a battery report (admin cmd prompt, then powercfg /batteryreport) have been posting screen shots or cut and paste text outputs. Based on the sampling, I see only SIMPLO batteries and no LGC batteries. This is disturbing.
I’ve been begging MS to respond to afflicted users. The silence is deafening.
Below is a sampling of what I am scraping from the Forum. If you have a Surface Pro3 and are seeing diminished capacity, PLEASE post in http://answers.microsoft.com/en-us/surface/forum/surfpro3-surfhardware/surface-pro-3-battery-degradation/783f6a00-19ba-4dcf-a828-0ad87751e15a. Please include a screenshot/capture of the capacity history and the manufacturer of the battery.