Surface Book reportedly plagued by early bugs, hardware issues

Surface Book

Updated: A Microsoft spokesperson confirmed that a small group of Surface Book owners have flagged issues and noted the company is working on a fix with a Windows update.

Original article below...

It's been just a little bit over 24 hours since the Surface Book was officially released and there are already a wide array of complaints and reports of serious bugs concerning Microsoft's first laptop.

A good handful of new Surface Book owners have taken to online forums air their problems and the list of issues is long according to ZDNET. What's more troubling is the list isn't limited to software bugs that can be easily fixed with future updates, there are also a few complaints of inoperable or shoddy hardware.

The long list of issues with the Surface Book is as follows:

  • Dead on arrival (or badly limping on arrival) Surface Books
  • Random crashes and lockups
  • Surface Book systems working fine until they're updated, following which they fail to load
  • Surface Book systems failing to boot when in the dock
  • Detaching the Surface Book from the dock results in an error (the most common being related to SearchUI)
  • Weird screen color temperature issue when scrolling web pages (see video below)
  • Random display driver errors displayed every 10 to 20 minutes
  • Random trackpad freezes
  • Problems physically connecting/disconnecting the dock, with some users ending up with the screen half-disconnected
  • A screen wobble due to a weight imbalance between the screen and keyboard
  • No ambient light sensor controlling the brightness of the backlit keys, something that most laptops - especially premium models - have these days
  • No quad-core CPU option for those wanting more power
  • Concerns about the strength of the hinge

Forbes also spotted another Surface Book forum post by ericspt that highlights some of the hardware's key problems with playing media.

  • Dell 34″ U-Wide cannot be used with the dock. Screen goes black every 2-3 minutes for 10 seconds or so
  • Cannot boot with the dock. Monitor never comes on and my Kef X300 speakers just click over and over. Have to boot without the dock, then plug the dock in
  • Strangest problem is color temp changes on web pages as you scroll. Goes from a light white screen to a purple or yellow hue once you hit a certain point in the page, happens consistently on long pages and easy repeatable. Happens on both the external monitor and the laptop screen.
  • Playing MPEG files on the laptop works fine, playing them connected to the dock will give an unable to decode error sometimes, program closes other times, and plays. After it errors out 2-3 times it refuses to play until reboot.
  • Going to a web page where there are a lot of animations or movement causes a black screen, won't come back until you undock/redock
  • Cannot detach dock, says I have to close SearchUI but its not a running service that I can find, have to reboot again

Currently we're in the process of completing our Surface Book review and we've faced a few issues with our own first-generation hardware. A few problems we've run into with just a few hours of usage include the system not starting up properly when connected to the dock, display driver failures and three separate errors that popped up while trying to stream media using the universal Netflix app.

Software bugs often arise with first-generation hardware, just take a look at the first-ever MacBook Air. But hardware specific teething problems are nearly impossible to fix without returning the device.

We've reached out to Microsoft for a comment and a spokesperson for the company said, "A small number of customers have flagged some issues with their Surface Book. We are working hard to resolve them quickly and easily with Windows Update."

  • The Surface Pro 4 is the closest we've come to Windows tablet perfection
Kevin Lee

Kevin Lee was a former computing reporter at TechRadar. Kevin is now the SEO Updates Editor at IGN based in New York. He handles all of the best of tech buying guides while also dipping his hand in the entertainment and games evergreen content. Kevin has over eight years of experience in the tech and games publications with previous bylines at Polygon, PC World, and more. Outside of work, Kevin is major movie buff of cult and bad films. He also regularly plays flight & space sim and racing games. IRL he's a fan of archery, axe throwing, and board games.