We had high hopes when we first heard of Microsoft's hybrid Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 convertible notebooks. Unfortunately, we (as well as early adopters) encountered a variety of bugs in these machines. Last Friday (Dec. 11), the company issued an apology for the performance issues beleaguering these products.
The Surface team thanked (opens in new tab) Surface owners for their support and apologized, stating "For those of you who've had a less-than-perfect experience, we’re sorry for any frustration this has caused." The letter promises that the team is "working to issue additional updates and fixes as soon as possible to further improve the overall Surface experience." It points users to Surface-specific update files and suggests users confirm that their notebooks are set to receive Windows updates.
Speaking with Engadget, a Microsoft representative explained that the company is aware that its work is not over when it comes to these shipped notebooks: "We know a small set of Surface Book and Surface Pro 4 customers are experiencing issues and addressing that is a top priority for us. We have dedicated engineering teams working to get updates and fixes out as quickly as possible."
In our reviews, we noticed bugs in both notebooks, and while updates solved some errors, some problems persisted after updates. For example, we found laggy performance issues in the Surface Book, and problems booting the notebook after it was updated to the latest build of Windows 10.
When we reviewed the Surface Pro 4, the Laptop Mag Battery Test (continuous Web surfing over Wi-Fi) drained the hybrid's battery in a mere 6 hours and 4 minutes. Artifact and pixilation issues with the rear cameras also plagued two of the three review units we tested.
Other issues that users have reported (opens in new tab) about the Surface Pro 4 include its spotty touchpad, overheating points on its display, and egregious battery usage when the Pro 4 was in sleep mode. Responding to those complaints in the Surface Pro forums, a Microsoft employee by the name of Joe suggested users change their power settings to hibernate and not sleep, and promised that driver updates would be issued to fix display issues.