Surface

Surface Pro (2017)

I really loved my Surface Pro 3 (purchased June 2014), but earlier this year, it became useless as a portable with a non functional battery. If I hadn’t encountered the (well known) battery issues, I would still be happily using my SP3. But being chained to AC outlets isn’t my idea of portability. I was hoping that Microsoft would offer a special trade in allowance for SP3 owners in light of the well publicized battery issues afflicting this model, but alas, it didn’t happen. Nevertheless, I decided to spend the money and splurge on the new Surface Pro, i7, 512/16 configuration. The form factor is perfect for me and the extreme portability (bad back) just can’t be equaled elsewhere.

After three days, my opinion is that this is a dream machine powerhouse.

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Surface Pro 3 SIMPLO Battery Issue?

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 https://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.

 

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Add a Fingerprint Reader to Surface 3

You read the title correctly. I’ve added a fingerprint reader to my Surface 3. (And you can do this with any Windows 10 device that has a USB port). Windows Hello is a wonderful feature that provides an extra level of protection from prying eyes while traveling. While I’m not necessarily paranoid, I don’t want strangers seeing my password or PIN while I’m lunching and computing. I feel more secure.

While you can purchase a typecover for the Surface Pro 4 (that also works with Surface Pro 3, but this combo has some power management issues), there is no similar option to purchase a typecover with a fingerprint reader for a Surface 3.

Luckily, there’s a way to do this (if you don’t mind using the single USB port on the Surface 3 and tying it up at least while you log in; you can remove and attach this peripheral while Windows is running so for me it is no big deal).

Amazon sells this super tiny add-on fingerprint reader from “Eikon” at a good price. It’s made by Authentech, who made many of the built in fingerprint readers for nearly all the big computer vendors (they were purchased by Apple in 2012).

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Fix for Microsoft Bad Update that disrupts WiFi, Cellular, BT for Surface 3 LTE

 

I was a victim of (yet another) bad Microsoft Windows Update for Surface that wreaked havoc with wireless connectivity, cellular, and bluetooth. In addition to the inappropriate Surface Pen driver forced on unsuspecting SP3 users. Surface 3 LTE users also received a nasty surprise.

Symptoms were coming back from hibernate, etc. I’d lose connectivity, WiFi would disappear, cellular would disappear, Bluetooth would disappear. Device manager would cycle through some weird messages when I checked the properties of the  modem adapter and the wifi adapter, ending with Code 38. Bluetooth would be missing. Here’s what the cellular modem driver looked like in Device Manager.

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How to get online With Verizon with an unlocked Surface 3 LTE

This post provides the steps to activate an unlocked Surface 3 LTE for consumer/retail/soho customers who have Verizon as a carrier who are not eligible for a business package from Verizon. The unlocked Surface LTE is only available to business customers with a 5 line minimum commitment and two year contract.  This article shows you how to activate a single unlocked Surface 3 LTE.

Ever since I first heard about the Surface 3 with LTE, I was chomping at the bit to replace my Nokia Lumia 2520 with a better Windows tablet that included cellular capabilities. When I heard that the first devices would be AT&T only, and then T-Mobile I was disappointed. Then I heard about an unlocked version. When that unlocked SKU became available in mid September, I asked about Verizon. I couldn’t get an authoritative answer, but was told that a VZW specific model was coming. So I waited.

On November 12, I saw an announcement that Verizon was finally selling a VZW Surface 3 SKU. http://www.verizonwireless.com/news/article/2015/11/microsoft-surface-3-with-verizon-4g-lte-now-available-for-business-professionals.html. I tried to order online, but found that it was business customers only. Five lines, five devices. I called and was told the same thing. As a consumer, no chance. Needless to say, I was not a happy camper.

I decided LTE was LTE and that just had to be a way to get an unlocked Surface 3 LTE working on the VZW network. And I followed my instincts.

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