Surface Pro 4 users who wish to use the tablet hybrid at its convenient portable best, utilising the sleep mode for fast response wake times, have been experiencing trouble with excessive battery drain. According to Windows Guru Paul Thurrott the new Surface Book suffers from the same power management problem. Now there may be a decent workaround available, pre-empting Microsoft's official solution expected later in the year.
According to reports, when you put your Microsoft Surface 4 into sleep mode it continues to munch through approx 8 per cent of its battery capacity per hour. That's not very good at all and the same symptoms displayed by the Surface Book are, in Paul Thurrott's view, "unacceptable", especially in a premium device.
There's a new driver available for the Intel chipset featured in the Surface Pro 4 that hasn't yet passed through the processes necessary to become available via Windows Update to these machines. According to Windows-centric site Neowin, the driver installer file available from the Intel downloads site won't work either. However it notes that the driver update ZIP file can be downloaded, extracted and the update for the Intel Iris Graphics component applied manually.
The impact of the new Intel driver is quite significant in Neowin's testing. In updating from a driver released in November to this latest one power consumption while sleeping, over a two hour period, was reduced from 2,000mW to 625mW. Many Intel components that previously showed they were 100 per cent active in sleep are seen to be truly sleeping with the latest Intel driver update applied. There are instructions on the site to go ahead with this Surface 4 driver update - but please don't proceed if you haven't done proper backups, considered any risk, or have the patience to wait for Microsoft's official update.
In other Microsoft Surface news today, a Microsoft patent application has come to light concerning the Surface Pen. The patent shows that Microsoft is considering a stylus silo that also recharges the inking implement. With the current Surface pen offering between six months and a year of battery powered use it is not clear why effort is being put into this, other than the potential value of the patent.