According to Microsoft’s support staff (a person identified only as “Joe”), the problem is that the CPU isn’t dropping into its full sleep state, and Microsoft knew about the problem from day one. He writes, “We couldn’t do it at RTM for a variety of reasons, power management is a very hard computer science problem to solve especially with new silicon. Currently it is not in the deepest ‘sleep’ that it can be so there are wake events that would not otherwise wake it. We will have an update for this issue sometime soon in the new year.”
According to Microsoft, the solution is to disable Connected Standby by manually setting the chip to “Hibernate” from within Windows 10’s power management options. He also notes that users are advised not to leave any streaming browser windows open, as this will prevent the system from sleeping the CPU.
Based on the problems people are having, it doesn’t sound like the CPU is sleeping very much at all — all in the name of giving people email five seconds faster than they’d otherwise have it, but at the cost of drastically reduced battery life. It’s baffling that Microsoft would ship a system with a problem this severe — battery life is one of the most important metrics for a system these days. There is no special path for Surface Pro 4 / Surface Book users to contact the company, so hopefully you can either wait until January or return your device if you’re unhappy with the product as it currently exists. Microsoft has pledged to continue updating the platform until it resolves the outstanding issues.
Engadget reports that some users have had issues with multiple Surface Book / Surface 4 Pro devices, leading them to switch to other platforms. If you’ve got one of the new devices, what’s been your experience thus far?