A breakthrough in Surface Book battery problems?

Microsoft now claims the Surface Book 2 battery can be replaced by Microsoft Authorized Service Providers. If true, it's a Festivus miracle in the ongoing Surface battery debacle.

Microsoft Surface Book 2 battery
Daniel Masaoka

I’m not vouching for Microsoft, mind you, but if the latest official assertion about the Surface Book 2 battery is true, it’s a game changer.

Since the dawn of Surface time, there’s been no way to have a battery replaced: Your only option was to swap out the entire unit, an expensive proposition. A recent post by a Microsoft employee on the official Microsoft Answers Forum raises a glimmer of hope that batteries in the Surface Book 2 can be replaced.

Surface owners have complained about short-lived batteries and their expensive replacements going all the way back to the original Surface and Surface Pro. Way back in February 2013, poster Hyperlexis described his interaction about a bad Surface Pro battery with a Microsoft Surface rep:

[Microsoft]: you asked about the cost of a battery replacement after the warranty expires. Individual components can't be replaced, so what we do is replace the entire unit. Even after the warranty expires we still offer replacements for less than the cost of buying a new unit. For the Surface Pro that would be $449.99 if done through the self-serve site I mentioned earlier, or $469.99 if done with an agent's assistance.

[Hyperlexis]: OK. But honestly — Apple charges $99 for replacing worn out iPad batteries with refurb units. Does MS REALLY charge almost $500 for the same service? Apple, I mean sends out an entire refurb iPad with a new battery, that is.

And so it has continued to this day. If your Surface/Pro/Book battery goes bad, your only choice is to have Microsoft swap out a full refurb replacement — with the cost in the nosebleed range.

2 batteries in Surface Book 2 — and one can be replaced?

Yesterday, poster Alex09160 on the Answers Forum had an interesting battery question:

I am asking a question about the Surface Book 2. Does it have 2 batteries, and if it does, how long will it take for both batteries to charge? Last question, is the a way I can make it automatically switch and start charging the second battery when battery 1 is done?

In fact, the $2,500 Surface Book 2 does have two batteries — a 62Wh one in the base, one rated at 22Wh in the detachable top — and the software is supposed to handle charge balancing automatically. Charging time estimates vary all over the place and depend on whether you’re using the proprietary charger or USB-C.

Consider the answer. Microsoft’s Emmylou Gac said in response:

The device contains a built-in battery. The battery in this device is not user replaceable and should only be replaced by Microsoft or a Microsoft Authorized Service Provider. Surface Book 2 is built for performance. It delivers up to XX hours of battery life. To get your questions answered, we suggest you to contact or visit our Microsoft Store near you.

That is quite astounding on several levels. (Not sure how to express “XX” in decimal.)

Is Microsoft signaling a change in its “disposable laptop” policy? Can you plan on using your new Surface Book after the warranty is over — without spending $500 or so to get a refurbished one?

It's like a Festivus miracle.

Celebrate American Turkey day on the AskWoody Lounge.


Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

7 inconvenient truths about the hybrid work trend
Shop Tech Products at Amazon