When I reviewed the Surface Book, there were a lot of bugs with the software. Some of them have been pretty minor, and Microsoft has been updating the firmware and drivers on it since before it was launched. Most of the issues have been sorted out, but there was still one issue which seemed to be elusive to the teams at Intel and Microsoft. The Surface Book would not always sleep, or, I should say, when it went to sleep it would actually use much more energy than when it was being used. Often times I would close the lid on the Surface Book and after a minute or two I’d hear the fans kick in, and the device would get very hot to the touch. This was an even bigger issue if you closed it and put it in a bag, since the bag would just trap all that heat.
Today there is good news, or at least the chance of good news. Microsoft has released a firmware update which directly tackles the sleep issue. Normally firmware updates get released with little fanfare, but head of Microsoft’s hardware division, Panos Panay, has written a blog post letting everyone know that there is a firmware update. It’s not too often that the head of a division steps up and writes release notes, so clearly he felt that this issue was a big enough one to make a statement, and to be clear it is that big of an issue.
Whether or not this fixes the issue will remain to be seen, but I’m updating the Surface Book at the moment and will report back in time, but hopefully this solves it. As I said in the review, the Surface Book is solid hardware that was let down by software, and assuming this update does fix the major issue with the latest Surface models, it will be much easier to recommend it to others.
Here is everything listed in the release notes for today’s update:
System Hardware Update – 2/17/2016
Microsoft driver update for Surface UEFI
Microsoft driver update for Surface Management Engine
Microsoft driver update for Surface System Aggregator Firmware
Surface Management Engine update (v126.96.36.1992) improves system stability.
Surface System Aggregator Firmware update (v88.1081.257.0) improves accuracy of battery status and battery life during sleep.
Surface UEFI update (v104.1085.768.0) improves battery life and improves stability during power state transition changes into and out of sleep states.
Intel® Precise Touch Device driver update (v188.8.131.52) improves stability during power state transition changes into and out of sleep states.
Intel® HD Graphics 520 driver update (v184.108.40.20664) improves display stability, system stability and battery life.
Intel® Display Audio driver update (v220.127.116.115) supports compatibility with the updated graphics driver.
Realtek High Definition Audio(SST) driver update (v18.104.22.16834) improves system stability.
Intel® Smart Sound Technology (Intel® SST) OED driver update (v22.214.171.1247) improves system stability.
Intel® Management Engine Interface driver update (v126.96.36.1996) improves system stability.
Intel® Serial IO GPIO Host Controller driver update (v30.63.1603.5) improves auto rotation reliability when tablet mode is turned off.
Intel® Serial IO I2C Host Controller driver update (v30.63.1603.5) improves auto rotation reliability when tablet mode is turned off.
Surface Book Base Firmware driver update (v188.8.131.52) improves battery life during sleep.
If anyone owns the Surface Book or Surface Pro 4, I would highly recommend installing this. According to Microsoft the update is being rolled out right now, so if you don't see it in your region just check back soon.