Consumer Reports: Microsoft Surface is Dead Last for Reliability

Posted on August 10, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 134 Comments

Consumer Reports: Microsoft Surface is Dead Last for Reliability

The consumer advocates at Consumer Reports have delivered a stunning blow to Microsoft: The nonprofit organization has pulled its recommendations for Surface products, citing an industry-worst failure rate.

According to a Consumer Reports survey of over 90,000 tablet and laptop owners, an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices will experience “problems by the end of the second year of ownership.” This failure rate is the worst in the industry by far among mainstream PC makers, the publication says, and as a result, it is pulling its “recommended” designation for all Surface products.

“If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher predicted reliability,” Consumer Reports electronics editor Jerry Beilinson told Reuters. “Laptops and tablets … made by Microsoft were significantly less reliable than most other brands.”

Microsoft disagrees with the Consumer Reports findings.

“Every generation of Surface surpasses its predecessors in performance and in reliability,” a Microsoft statement claims. “Surface return and support rates are in line if not lower than industry average for devices in the same class. We are committed to ensuring the premium Surface experience for all of our customers across the entire family of devices.”

Microsoft had benefited from a curiously skewed series of positive editorial stories in mainstream publications because of its perceived innovation with PCs compared to Apple. I dispute that view, actually, and have wondered aloud how any PC maker could be called an innovator when they just released their first laptop in 2017. More to the point, other companies in the PC industry have been innovative in this space for years.

But as Consumer Reports notes, the reliability of Apple’s laptop and tablet products are consistently the most highly rated by its readers. So whether you believe that MacBooks and iPads are innovative, they are indeed the most reliable products of their kind.

Meanwhile, the Surface devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens, Beilinson told Reuters, noting that the reliability issues made Microsoft “a statistical outlier compared with other brands.”

I’m still waiting on the original report from Consumer Reports. It appears that they have briefed a few news outlets, and Microsoft, ahead of publication.

UPDATE: Here is the Consumer Reports write-up. “Due to its comparatively higher breakage rate, Microsoft laptops cannot be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time,” the publication notes.

 

 

Join the discussion!

BECOME A THURROTT MEMBER:

Don't have a login but want to join the conversation? Become a Thurrott Premium or Basic User to participate

Register
Comments (135)

135 responses to “Consumer Reports: Microsoft Surface is Dead Last for Reliability”

  1. Avatar

    John Scott

    If I was Microsoft I would be less worried about Consumer Reports and more about all their readers who gave the Surface bad marks. Because word of mouth is far more damaging then a report that comes out and is soon forgotten. People obviously had issues and all Consumer Reports did was add things up and unfortunately it was not so great for Surface. I saw a another reliability and service report that also put the Microsoft devices at the bottom. I can't say, I have never owned but a original Surface RT which did discourage me from considering another Surface product.

    • Avatar

      bsd107

      In reply to John_Scott:


      Actually, I think the Consumer Reports rating is far more damaging. Not because everyone reads CR, but because this is now the headline all of the internet and tech media. This will not be forgotten by the general public for 5-10 years. And it will be used by folks to continue justifying Macs being "superior".


      (As an aside, I don't for a second believe the Apple "10% breakage rate" is that low. Taking it into the Apple store, using the AppleCare you already paid for, does not mean that it didn't "break"....)

      • Avatar

        Divebus

        In reply to bsd107:

        Oh, people don't continue to "justify" that Macs are superior, they experience it. Look up "CIO of IBM says macs are better". You'll read that Macs need way less care, last longer, save a ton of money per machine and the user base is a lot happier working on them compared to Windows. That's from IBM, a dyed in the wool Windows camp that discovered what all the Mac users have known for decades. After coming to this conclusion with the experience of 100,000 Mac deployments, you have to allow for the possibility that Macs are in fact superior.


        I know... "but GAMES"


        cheers

      • Avatar

        Eric Dunbar

        In reply to bsd107:

        "(As an aside, I don't for a second believe the Apple "10% breakage rate" is that low. Taking it into the Apple store, using the AppleCare you already paid for, does not mean that it didn't "break"....)"


        That breakage rate makes a lot of sense given what I've seen of Apple laptops these past few years (disclosure: I'm now a 99.5% Windows 10 user).


        I use a Dell 2-in-1. My wife uses a MacBook Pro Retina 13".


        Specs-wise the machines are identical.


        Same RAM. Same SSD. Even the CPUs (both i5) are benchmarked within a percentage or two of each other. Hers does have a much nicer screen (matte "retina" vs. 1080P glossy), better keyboard, more responsive touchpad (though, mine is good given the price), better GPU and much better SSD and build quality.


        The only thing that mine has over hers is a touchscreen (no digitizer), but, with Windows 10 that's not really an advantage since Windows 10 is not exactly a touch-friendly OS compared to Android or iOS :(. I'm finding myself using the touch screen less and less as time goes on. Touch on a laptop simply isn't overly useful... maybe if it had a digitizer but then I'd need a pen anyway, but, I digress.


        Mine cost 1/3 of what hers did. That's the primary reason I got it over a MBP.


        But, you can tell that build quality on the MBP is much higher, and that it's even higher than the corporate heavy-duty laptops that I get through work (HPs and Dells). I must admit that my corporate laptops aren't bad (I've put them through the wringer) but they are very heavy compared to a MBP of the same size and specs, and, they're usually made from plastic that breaks.


        Apple makes a mean product. It's one of the best in the business for a reason, and, if a laptop would last me longer specs-wise than it does I'd happily fork over the cash to get a Mac (well, OK, I'm now wholly vested in the Windows ecosystem of software that the lack of a Windows key would make my work flow a little difficult if I were to switch back to a Mac).


        But, technology change so fast and my work flow no longer benefits from a Mac (I'm transitioning more and more towards amateur programming) that the premium just doesn't make sense for me.

  2. Avatar

    cornholio

    I gotta be honest...expecting 1 in 5 devices to break before end of 2nd year of ownership is pretty shitty. Doesn't say much for most of the vendors here.

  3. Avatar

    Waethorn

    Acer is looking pretty good. They are one of the top PC makers. Samsung isn't even close. So for Acer to score such a high score with their level of sales quantity, it's a good rating.

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to Waethorn:

      The survey included tablets, and since it included Apple, it wasn't Windows only or laptops only. Doesn't Samsung make a fair number of Android tablets? IDC has shown Samsung as #2 in worldwide tablet shipments for the past several quarters.

  4. Avatar

    Waethorn

    ABSOLUTELY. NO. SURPRISE.

  5. Avatar

    MutualCore

    Since Surface Laptop only came out in May, how can there be such known reliability issues with it already? Can someone point me to Microsoft Support forums about issue with the laptop? I just went to answers.microsoft.com and there are hardly any issues reported, but that's probably due to poor sales. There just aren't many Surface Laptops in the wild.

  6. Avatar

    1armedGeek

    I would like to see exactly what goes bad with them, too. is it the tablet itself or it an accessory that a lot of Surface owners use, for example, the docking station(s), that cause(s) the problems?

  7. Avatar

    slartybartmark

    My 4th Surface Book is being shipped from MS now so I can ship the 3rd back.

    1st - keyboard issues

    2nd - battery/power issues

    3rd - clipboard latch issues, camera issues


    I'll be shocked if I get one of these devices that doesn't spontaneously wake in my bag. I'm thinking of just storing food in my computer bag and let the Surface cook it for me during my commute. Lemons/lemonade.


    I really, really want to like this device, but as with a lot of things MS, they keep getting in their own way and shooting themselves in the foot.

  8. Avatar

    Bdsrev

    Consumer Reports pulling their recommendation is VERY suspicious. Yes, when Skylake just came out, it was buggy as hell on Windows 10, but that's not a SURFACE issue, that was every Skylake Windows 10 machine. And this was all late 2015/early 2016, that's when they should have pulled their recommendation.

  9. Avatar

    Polycrastinator

    My feeling on this is what matters is how quickly you can get it repaired/replaced. I had a problem with my Gen 1 Surface Pro, I called Microsoft, within 30 minutes had a cross-ship organized with a replacement unit, and the replacement the next day. That's what matters. I'll deal with slightly worse reliability if I can count on them making it right if it fails because, in the end, all computers fail sometimes.

  10. Avatar

    nbplopes

    This was to be expected in my experience with Surface. It's strange that took so long for consumer reports to start noticing ...


    From an engineering perspective is also not surprising ... wait until those new ones with Core i5 with no fans ... it's gonna pop ...


    I find amazing some of the posts trying to find excuses ... have you guys read the graph? It says laptops ... laptops ... CR sees Surface's has laptops, they are laptops with tablet capabilities ... that is what they are. Forget iPads, Android Tablets and so on, they are not part of this equation.

  11. Avatar

    DeusFever

    This is too bad. A nice benefit of all Surface computers is that they do not come with any bloatware. But for a product priced as premium hardware, this failure rate is unacceptable. I wouldn't take a 1 in 4 chance on an $1000 laptop failing.

  12. Avatar

    Chris Blair

    I've had a SP2 for ... wow can't remember when I bought it ... anyway for many years with no problems. Same is true of my SP3. I skipped the SP4 because of its Skylake/firmware issues. Just bought a new Surface Pro, and except for a few issues with Windows Hello, which now seems to be fixed, I've had no problems so far. All in all my Surface Pros have just worked. In the mean time our rather boring Mac Mini failed and had to be replaced by a newer Mac Mini. But that's just my (outlier?) experience. I wonder how many of the problems noted in the CR survey ("the Surface devices were found to freeze, unexpectedly shut down or have issues with their touchscreens") were related to the SP4 Skylake/firmware thing.

  13. Avatar

    CaedenV

    ... I am tempted to call BS on the apple figure. All of my friends have apple laptops, and almost all of them have major issues requiring replacement of the device within the first year. This was not always true, but over the last 2-3 years it has become pretty sad.

    • Avatar

      Divebus

      In reply to CaedenV:

      Not to dogpile, but out of hundreds of Mac laptops, iMacs and Mac Pros I've deployed and take care of, when someone says they're having a problem it's nearly always self inflicted. It's computer hardware so you need to expect some issues but we struggle to justify replacing nine year old Macs because they're generally fine whereas the e-waste bins are full of 3-5 year old PCs. i don't think that's an anomaly. It's been that way at the last two places I worked over the last 17 years. PCs laptops have gotten better because 15 years ago, the e-waste bins had tons of 18 month old PC laptops.

    • Avatar

      TEAMSWITCHER

      In reply to CaedenV:

      My Apple Laptops have all been very reliable. I personally have never had a single issue. I have a friend at work who got a bad one, but it died on the first day and Apple replaced it in their store the same day.

    • Avatar

      Stooks

      In reply to CaedenV:

      Yeah so I work in IT at a company that probably has 50-70 Mac's and most of those are Macbooks, including at least 20 of the new touch bar Mac's (2016 version). We do NOT see the issue you have at all. Hardly ever do we have to touch a Mac for hardware issues in the first 3 years. After 3 years the iMac's tend to have problems, like drive failures (less now with SSD's) or fans going out and the device getting hot etc.

      • Avatar

        Michael Uhlman

        In reply to Stooks:

        This has been my experience as well. We have about 100 Apple machines between portables and iMacs and in the last 2 years I have only had two with hardware issues, one was bad pretty much out of the box, the other was about 2-3 years old. We also have about 150 Dell desktops and we tend to lose one every 6-7 weeks due to a hardware issue. We tried the Surface Pro 4 at one point but they had too many issues out of the gate and we returned them and went back to Dell. One thing people need to consider is generally speaking Apple doesn't sell cheap laptops so you are paying for a higher end machine. I would bet if you removed the low end machines from all of the manufacturers their failure rates would drop a good bit with the exception of Microsoft since they don't really have a low end machine to remove from the lineup.

  14. Avatar

    spiper

    It's worth noting that this is a "market survey" result, not a direct evaluation by CR on the quality of the device. That being said - I have returned a surface pro 4 for having the SSD die (always at the worst possible moment). So in my case, that's 1 out of 3 failed catastrophically. To microsoft's credit the replacement process was less than 12 hours, but the data loss is forever.

    • Avatar

      Stooks

      In reply to spiper:

      "but the data loss is forever"


      And that is 100% your fault. If you do not know about "back up" in 2017 then losing some will teach you pretty quick.


      My data is on Onedrive synced to my multiple devices. At least one device is also getting backed up to Crashplan. You could burn all of my devices and I would have two copies of my data.

  15. Avatar

    bbold

    Wow. Just sad. Keep in mind, this is the same company that flip-flopped on its Mac scores, too, and super fanboys like Rene Ritchie threw a huge fit and got the score reversed/retracted.

  16. Avatar

    Angusmatheson

    Is this surprising from the company that brought us the Xbox 360 and the red ring of death?

  17. Avatar

    robincapper

    So "novice" Microsoft are 1-7% worse than the established vendors who've "been innovative in this space for years"?

    What does this say about Toshiba, Dell, and to a lesser extent Lenovo, HP?

    • Avatar

      hrlngrv

      In reply to robincapper:

      One characteristic of tablets and laptops which desktop PCs don't share: tablets and laptops can be dropped more often, and almost certainly are dropped periodically. Maybe Apple owners are more careful or sober than Surface owners. Assuming the survey results were accurate, I'd want to control for different levels of care between the different brands' customers. One thing: HP, Lenovo and Dell sell most enterprise/workplace machines, and I suspect lots of employees don't treat employer-provided machines as carefully as their own machines.

    • Avatar

      Eric Dunbar

      In reply to robincapper:


      "What does this say about Toshiba, Dell, and to a lesser extent Lenovo, HP?"


      What does it say about the other commodity PC manufacturers? That they make better received products than Microsoft despite the fact that they sell consumers much cheaper hardware, on average. Acer, Asus and Dell sell a large number of Windows-running devices at a third the price point of the cheapest Surface device.


      The only relevant comparison in that lot is between Apple and Microsoft since they produce products in the same price range. And, Apple blows Microsoft out of the water despite all the positive press that Microsoft's received for its Surface line of devices.


      As for Samsung, I am shocked that they're up there in perception since my experience with their (non computer) products these past few years has been terrible (fridge, microwave, dish washer, TV), and, when I look on-line I see that I'm not the only person who's run into problems with Samsung products.

    • Avatar

      Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to robincapper:

      The other vendors supply a range of devices, from premium to cheap. MS is only in it for premium dollars, which makes their hardware issues harder to accept versus the $300 Chromebook.

      Oddly enough, the Lenovo laptop we bought last year was very poorly reviewed and then pulled from the market, but the problem was the way Windows configured the WiFi adapter. It would disappear when resuming from sleep. One checkbox in the device's settings fixed it (allow Windows to turn this device off to save power). Since that setting change, the Laptop has been bulletproof. Every product review I saw from consumers had the very same wifi complaint.

  18. Avatar

    bleeman

    I started with the Surface RT, went to the Surface Pro 2, the Surface Pro 3, and now the Surface Pro 4. I liked the RT unit and the SP2 was great, but at my age the screen was just to small for day-to-day use. My original SP3 is now my wife's and my other SP3 is my backup but I'm seriously considering making it my primary. My SP4 has had its issues and lately its just been getting worse and worse. I'm about to take a trip to the MS store. I've been having the random freezing issues, fan continuously running when the only thing open was Edge and Outlook, and it keeps dropping it's Bluetooth connections to my Arc Mouse (The newest model as my original finally broke) and Surface Dial. In addition, I'm getting frustrated with the stupid issues like every time I click on the Action center my external mouse and touchpad will both stop working. Then they'll start to come to life in jumpy mode and finally after about 30-45 seconds start functioning normally again. In addition about 50% of the time when the screen times out and goes black when I wake it back up the external 34" monitor will go from it's recommended 2560x1080 to 640x480 and I can't get it back until I power down the SP4, the monitor and the Surface Dock. In some instances doing all three steps it will take two or three times to get it back to normal. Finally, about a month ago I've started having the unit get stuck shutting down. I'll do a standard shutdown at the end of the day, screen will switch to gray mode and show Shutting Down and that's it. I've let it stay that way a few times as I've gone to bed and when I get up 5-6 hours later it's still supposedly shutting down.


    I still love the concept and design of the SP4 and I've been a Microsoft fanboy for many years (Can you say, Zune, Windows Home Server, Windows Phone, Windows Mobile, Microsoft's networking products (Switch and Router) among other things. But even I'm starting to lose patience and beginning to think it's time to look for something else.


    Finally, to add insult to injury my SP4 is less than 8 months old :-(

  19. Avatar

    YouWereWarned

    I've owned multiple Acer and Asus notebooks that have NEVER failed, and my last notebook to have any issue was a TI with a 386sx CPU (remember those, kids?). The margins for error in self-reported but unsubstantiated surveys of this sort are likely as large as the best-to-worst delta. Great for headlines and clicks, but hardly rigorous. Surface is probably worse than Apple, but the rest are likely statistically indistinguishable.

  20. Avatar

    mortarm

    i'm surprised Lenovo didn't have a higher rating.

  21. Avatar

    bbold

    Innovation is amazing. I'm so glad Microsoft are pretty much front of the pack when it comes to being innovative with designs and ideas. Now they need a team to ensure everything works as advertised and streamlined for everyday use. If it's not, they need to adjust their marketing lingo and strategies to consumers and enterprise.

  22. Avatar

    scoob101

    The "breakage" rates are skewed by the frankly abysmal quality of the drivers coming with surface line. Thats not to say that this isn`t an issue - its unforgivable, but at least drivers can be (and have been) updated.


    If you strip out driver issues, I expect that Surface would come down to about 20% fail rate.



  23. Avatar

    jm206

    Rank 1 sells only $1000 - $2000 devices while rank 2-9 sell devices ranging from $300 - $2000, with the majority of their volume in the $300-$600 range.


    Are these idiots are Consumer Reports brain dead or just being paid under the table?


    This is textbook intentional misrepresentation of data, you learn this shit in Stats 101.


  24. Avatar

    cawoodstock

    my SP4 has had no issues, causing me no hesitation from buying a future surface. Unfortunate for others out there who have had issues.

  25. Avatar

    robinwilson16

    All my Surface devices have been somewhat unreliable but I still like them nevertheless so live with their unpredictability.

    I have had the following: Surface, Surface 2 RT, Surface 3 Pro, Surface 4 Pro.


    Issues I have had are:

    * Device does not resume from standby and sometimes even holding power does not work to hard reset and it can take time and perseverance to bring life back to the device (Pro 4 is not as bad and hard reset has always worked) - all devices have done this

    * Device fully shuts down and hibernation does not work as expected and must power on and re-open things - all devices have done this

    * Type keyboard does not work when resuming and must be detached and reattached

    * Device overheats and shuts down with a thermometer icon (Pro 3 only)

    * Device very loud and hot and performance really bad struggling to even display web pages (Pro 3 only) and battery life terrible

    * Power adaptor failure as just stops charging device (was not the fuse)

    * Dock does not work and must be unplugged and plugged back in again

    * Device comes on in bag making bag hot and then no battery

    * On screen keyboard fails to appear on login screen making it impossible to log in until you find a keyboard (may be a general Windows 10 issue)


    I think the device with the worst track record was the Pro 3 whereas the Pro 4 is probably the best but it wasn't a very high bar to beat.


  26. Avatar

    rcangus

    On my second Surface Book, and since I live in an area where there is no local MS store, so getting them to replace is an absolute trial (took me over 10 hours of calls/emails/chats last time). Current one *always* needs a reboot if waking from sleep, UWP apps cause entire UI to crawl and fan to go nuts (watch Youtube in a browser, start groove - youtube starts dropping frames - and this is a dual GPU device too), random keyboard lock issues (need to detach and re-attach screen), sound never goes to the speakers attached to the dock if it has been closed at a client site and attached at home (requires reboot), has major trouble driving a 4K (recommended) monitor, etc. I could go on. In short, this is a terrible device from a performance and reliability stance. Which is a shame, because my SP3 has had *no* problems and has been stellar for the last 3 years. Oh, and I still love the Surface Book - it is a beautiful device - just with major, major issues that are still not fixed after how many years? Certainly does not deserve to be on *anyone's* recommended list

  27. Avatar

    anchovylover

    The hits just keep coming for MS in consumer. This news, the Kapersky back down, huge drop in revenue from the Surface line, WMobile in its death throws, Bing losing 3% desktop market share in a year, developers still cool on UWP, the Store is lack lustre to say the least, W10 adoption moderate at best since the ending of the free upgrade period and Edge being completely ignored by users. Not good, not good at all.

  28. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    Just a sudden realization. I know I've read a lot about the reliability issues caused by Intel's pitiful efforts, and mentioned them earlier, it's just that...


    Consumer Reports!? The same people who raised a stink about MacBook Pro battery life that turned out to be false. The same people who turned the minor annoyance that was the iPhone 4 antenna into the full-blow bullshit session that was Antennagate?


    That Consumer Reports? Okay, fuck this shit. At this point, I realize that CR burned their credibility years ago, and upon further investigation I understand that they never reclaimed it. They've turned to clickbaity pronunciations and therefore are worth nothing.


    They probably recommended the Samsung Note Mad Bomber Edition.

  29. Avatar

    SenorGravy

    I would take umbrage with Microsoft's claim that the return rates "are in line if not lower than industry average for devices in the same class".


    Microsoft wouldn't take them back! Hell, recently even an MS MVP was urging users to go ahead and send them back before the 30 day window expired because Microsoft would leave you holding the bag,

  30. Avatar

    wspaw

    I wish we had the kind of reliability with our Apple products that Paul describes. We've spent SO much on them that I can't read that and not chime in.


    My wife's last two Mac Book Pros and now the Air have not been very reliable. The Pros began to behave erratically in the second year and were replaced while the Air lasted about twice that. She has to use a Mac, so we keep buying them - the Air is about to be replaced by another Pro.


    I use a Surface Book and it has certainly been frustrating at times with the power, sleep and docking issues, but it is still usable.


    We should probably stop buying premium machines, but we just can't seem to resist.

  31. Avatar

    bsd107

    My personal experience on Surface computers:


    • Original Surface Pro 1 (128GB) still running fine to this day
    • Surface 2 (WinRT) was dropped after two years cracking the screen, unit was replaced under OneCare. Replacement Surface 2 died after about six months. Not sure if this was due to it being a refurb or not. Replaced by MS.
    • Another Surface 2 (WinRT) still running great
    • Surface Pro 3 i7 still running great
    • I know of a Surface Pro 2 that was running fine for two years


    No question, there has been some wonkiness at times with driver bugs, etc in the early days. But only the replacement Surface 2 actually "broke".


    So, that is a 1 out of 5 (ignoring the SP2 which hasn't been run in so long I don't count it) or 20%.


    Surface Accessories:


    • I will say that my first gen Type Cover keyboard failed after two years, due to it breaking at the hinge/fold causing some key presses to no longer register. The replacement Type Battery Cover and a Surface Touch Cover Gen2 still work great.


    • The AC adapter on my Surface Pro 1 had its magnetic connector come apart after about 2 years of use. MS replaced it for free. One of the Surface 2 AC adapters stop working last year - I had to buy a replacement from MS.
    • Avatar

      scrowe

      In reply to bsd107:

      SurfacePro 1 lasted me fine until I upgraded to SP3 and sold it on. The original touch cover literally blistered my fingers, replacement type cover lasted circa 2 years, until a set of keys stopped working, a replacement still works fine with SP3. All used as work laptop.
      Owned SurfaceRT , Surface2 and Surface3 as couch surfing tablet. Each purchaser elevated previous as bedroom tablet. I sold on the RT when I got S3. Then less than 2 months later S2 battery failed. Microsoft refused to do anything only 14 months into warranty, other than try and charge me £200 ukp for a return replacement. I wrote in a complaint, pointing out how loyal I was to the MS Surface Brand, history of purchases could be verified via MS UK online store. I had no reply and when I complained via phone was told, it was policy not to guarantee a response to an escalation/complaint, and refused to do anything.

      Unfortunately, I will not buy another Surface resulting from this experience. I got rid of the S3 as it became really sluggish under Win10 even after clean reset, reverted to an Android tab. I will also replace my work SP3 with a HP Spectre X2 as soon as they are available and affordable in the UK.

  32. Avatar

    Randall Lewis

    Consumer Reports does top notch testing of products. Unfortunately they also do deceptive "rankings" of products like this list. It is based on a self-selected group of their subscribers, who are people not at all representative of the overall consumer market for electronics, but rather richer and whiter than that market overall. The magazine rarely actually tests electronics but rather relies on these surveys.  Survey respondents don't even need to own the products or services they rate. 


    I'm not saying Microsoft doesn't have some problems with the Surface. I returned my SP4 even after the firmware fix for the sleep issues. The return was problem free and the replacement SP4 works reliably to this day. But I've seen that there seem to be some issues with the new Surface Pro and Laptop, but it is a bit curious to withhold recommendations for these two new devices because other devices have issues two years out. I'd even be OK with that, if Consumer Reports stopped treating these limited sample surveys of theirs as if they were the equivalent of the testing they do.



    • Avatar

      Minok

      In reply to Randall_Lewis:

      True, but they are called "Consumer Reports". (could be read as "what consumers/users report")

      And not like the German "Stiftung Warentest" (foundation for product testing)

    • Avatar

      bsd107

      In reply to Randall_Lewis:

      "I'd even be OK with that, if Consumer Reports stopped treating these limited sample surveys of theirs as if they were the equivalent of the testing they do."


      I totally agree.


      And I am not buying the Apple 10% bull$hit number.

      • Avatar

        Divebus

        In reply to bsd107:

        I would consider that 10% bull$hit number accurate. Based on my experience, that number is even a little high. It's quite possible that Apple laptops (and everything else they make) is just built better. They're known to cherry pick entire lots of components for quality (for a price) and leave the rest to the $300-$900 laptop makers. They do occasionally fail to guess right, but more often they don't.

  33. Avatar

    dstrack

    Disappointing as a shareholder for sure... My experience with Surface Pro 2 and my current Pro 3 probably hasn't ranked the best but customer service wise it has been pretty good. I definitely had a few issues with original Pro 2 but repair/replaced by MSFT and usually a fair deal. I still love my Pro 3. Will be upgrading soon.

  34. Avatar

    Ugur

    Like some other commenters, i'm not surprised in the least by these findings, and really, no one should be.

    The surface devices are very nice at first glance, but each of them so far has had major reliability issues, not for a minority of users, but rather for a majority.

    Remember the wifi working/not working/slow working in between on older surface pros? the sleep/wakeup/hibernation etc issues on various SP and SB models? Keyboard in between not working on SPs?

    Etc etc.

    I had a Surface Pro 3 and while i loved the device in theory, in actual usage it was just not there enough yet.

    I had the i7 model and the fan would get loud in between while not doing any heavy lifting whatsoever.

    Then in between the keyboard would not work or i would get wifi/internet not working or very slow while it is perfect and fast on all my other devices.

    So i sold it.


    On the upside, yes, they address more and more of these issues with each product cycle (at least it feels like it).


    But yeah, MS still has some way to go both in hardware and windows 10 itself until it is halfway close to Apple or even just others like Samsung regarding actual reliability.


    Apple's devices are not my facorites (anymore) due to .. various reasons.. but yeah, on the reliability and consitence side MS and others sure can and should learn a good chunk from them.


    I feel like way too often MS releases something in alpha or beta level quality as like thing for the masses.

  35. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    NEWS! Experience counts for something in hardware. Whoda thunk?!

  36. Avatar

    hrlngrv

    Not all surveys are representative. It's possible pissed off Surface owners were more likely to respond than happy Surface owners. You have to dig into the actual responses and respondants before assessing the representativeness of the survey.

    It would have been better if CR had stuck to its own objective testing.

    OTOH, MSFT would be wise not to be defensive towards CR, but realize it may have a problem with Surface owners and consider being more proactive than its corporate culture has led it to be in the past.

  37. Avatar

    Daniel D

    The good news is Microsoft is working flat out on upgrading Windows 10 with features you don't need and never asked for, because thats easier then confronting the issues the company has in almost everything else.

  38. Avatar

    Chris Payne

    Doesn't surprise me. MS has long had problems with execution, whether in hardware or software. When I get an Apple device, I expect (and get) a polished, buttoned up experience. It may be limited, but what it does it does reliably. When I get an MS device, I expect bugs and frustration, whether it's a phone, the Xbox, Surface, or Windows. Maybe their keyboards and mice are top-notch, I don't know. I guess you can give Office a pass too.


    Oh, I love MS, and I'm happy to spend money on Surface. But it's hard to deny their execution problems.


    Someday MS may have a coming to Jesus moment, like the secure computing initiative, where they mea culpa their issues and focus on quality. I feel it's needed.

  39. Avatar

    Stokkolm

    All I can say is that my Surface Pro 3 is still going strong after over 3 years of use. I did have to send it in once because half of the touch screen stopped working at one point, but that was well within my warranty period and it hasn't acted up at all since it was repaired.

    • Avatar

      Nonmoi

      In reply to Stokkolm:

      I don't understand this way of defense at all.

      Yes, it is not a out of pocket expense when your SP3 broke, but someone has to flipping the cost.

      Since the Surface line has consistently been rated at the very bottom of repairability scale, the cost for repair are likely to be higher than industry leverage, this in term is eating into Surface's profitability.

      So even if you somehow don't care that as a consumer you paid extra for extraordinary hardware failure rate, and only care about the well being of Microsoft, you should be concern with this, not defending it.

      • Avatar

        Stokkolm

        In reply to Nonmoi:

        I'm not defending it, I'm just expressing my experience with a Surface device. I also previously owned a Surface Pro 2 and I have used a different SP3 and a Surface Book at work and never experienced any reliability issues with any of those either. I, and probably most people, put a lot more weight on the value of a product based on my own experience with it. The fact that Consumer Reports isn't recommending it is almost meaningless to me, because based on MY experience, Surface devices have been very reliable.


        Now that Paul has also posted a chart that actually shows the reliability ratings, I'm not sure how they can say that Microsoft laptops are a statistical outlier when their estimated failure rate is only 3% higher than Dell's, 4% higher than Lenovo's, and 5% higher than HP's. I understand if they don't want to recommend a product with a 25% failure rate, but I'd like to know if they recommend HP or Dell laptops with a 20% and 22% failure rate respectively.

        • Avatar

          Nonmoi

          In reply to Stokkolm:

          To be fair, we don't know what CR counts as failure. It actually seems very high across the board.


          And if we give it 6 more month we will likely to see a dramatic increase in mbp's failure rate. (Most people I know who got the new MBPs had to send it in at least once, most of them end up get back a newest MBP instead. Seems to me like Apple knows how those new MBPs have problem from the very beginning. )


          But one thing to note is that while Apple, Samsung, Panasonic, and Microsoft only produce premium laptops, OEMs like Acer, Dell, HP and Lenovo produce wide range of laptops, so it is understandable that the overall failure rate of the later group is higher than the former.

          The real outliers are Panasonic and Microsoft here with only premium offerings and high failure rate, and since Panasonic has very limited distribution in NA (ironically, only through Microsoft Store in the US) it is not unjustifiable for Consumer Report to call out on Microsoft on this topic.



          • Avatar

            bsd107

            In reply to Nonmoi:

            "And if we give it 6 more month we will likely to see a dramatic increase in mbp's failure rate. (Most people I know who got the new MBPs had to send it in at least once, most of them end up get back a newest MBP instead. Seems to me like Apple knows how those new MBPs have problem from the very beginning. )"


            But WILL we find out the statistics on this? Typical Apple users line up at the Genius Bar, get their replacement new MBP, and are so happy that they give a 5 out of 5 satisfaction rating on CR, Yelp, etc.

          • Avatar

            Sprtfan

            In reply to Nonmoi:

            If most of their data came from Surface book, I don't think it is really an accurate comparison. There really is not other product on the market similar and I'd expected a higher failure rate on a 1st gen product that introduces some thing like a detachable screen.

            • Avatar

              Nonmoi

              In reply to Sprtfan:

              I don't have access to the original Consumer Report article, but from OP, it seems all surface devices are included, not just SB. (Edit: I read in comments that only SB and MSL are included, if it is true, I think we can just call CR's original article total bs.)


              PS: SB is new only in a relative terms, since that PCI-e based external GPU units were actually a thing way before the concept of SB was ever there, and at about the same time frame Thunderbolt based external GPU units are slowly coming into the gaming laptop space. On the other hand, detachable tablet/laptop was there way before the SB too, remember Thinkpad Helix from the Windows 8 era? So, yes SB is new, but not like leading the industry by generations new, just a little more adventurous, and thanks to the terrible execution at the very beginning, it failed to catch on.

  40. Avatar

    Darmok N Jalad

    Well, I can't say I'm totally surprised if my own experience is any guide. Of the multiple MS-branded products I've owned, I've had real problems with an overwhelming majority of them. This includes Surface, Xbox, Band, and Lumia. Ironically, most of my issues have been software problems (largely sleep/resume not working right), though build quality issues were very significant when it was hardware. My home-built and OEM Windows machines have done far better.

    In regard to Apple, I bought a used Mac mini 2010 about 8 months ago. It still functions as well as it did in 2010 mechanically, with a working optical drive and still silent cooling, and it is still a stable platform with the latest version of macOS on it. Our iPads still work correctly, even though one of them has two cracks running across the digitizer. The iPhones have also stood up well over time. While people may say Apple is expensive, the hardware and software seems to be well engineered in my experience.

    • Avatar

      skane2600

      In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

      I have no opinion on the Surface's reliability since I've never owned one, but you can't compare a Mac mini or any desktop machine to a laptop in terms of reliability. Both the requirements of portability and the experience of being ported around make such a comparison invalid.

      • Avatar

        Darmok N Jalad

        In reply to skane2600:

        Hence my references to both iPad and iPhone. Still, more than one of my Surface devices rarely left the home, and were treated with kid gloves. Then again, that Mac mini was used by someone else for most of its years, under what conditions, I have no idea. It also got shipped across the country in non-standard packaging. It does have multiple moving parts that still function today, which is still a testament to the durability of the components and the overall design.

  41. Avatar

    SgtShultz

    I'm not surprised. The Surface Pro I bought wouldn't charge straight out of the box. It wasn't a good initial impression. While it's possible I just got a lemon, it left a bad taste in my mouth for trying another one.

  42. Avatar

    gregsedwards

    I wonder how much of the reliability issues are related to IT shops insisting on hamstringing updates or installing sub optimal drivers, because "we know what were doing better than Microsoft!"

  43. Avatar

    ibmthink

    Whats damning about this is if you take the price range of Surface products into consideration. All Surface devices are really Premium-PCs. And still, Microsofts does worse according to Consumer Reports than all the other mainstream PC makers, who have many cheaply made PC in their lineup that should be less reliable compared with a premium-device.

  44. Avatar

    gmtom1

    I think I agree with the findings. My 1st Surface Pro 3 developed the yellow line on the display after two years in. It was replaced under MS Complete with a refurb device, which died a year later (curiously, right after the Complete coverage ended) when the battery stopped being recognized by Win 10 and it would only operate when plugged in.


    The MS Community forums are filled with complaints of people with bad devices. I don't know if it's higher than average or not, but I was pretty disappointed, given the "premium" image and price I paid for the SP3. Meanwhile I have had HP Probook laptops from my employer that have been rock solid for 10 years (over multiple machine changes for upgrades).


    I've since moved to a HP Elite.

  45. Avatar

    dvdwnd

    Consistent with my experience of three SP4s. The much-derided Surface 2, on the other hand, is a marvel of stability.

  46. Avatar

    Roger Ramjet

    The report link is, er, broken ...

  47. Avatar

    JerryH

    Interesting. I see they defined "breakage" as anything that doesn't work like the user expected - such as freezes, boot failures, etc. I work with a LOT of hardware at work - central IT design for a large company - so I usually end up testing each new model of notebook or tablet we are considering bringing in. I also have a personal Surface Laptop and so does my wife. So far, I would say the Lenovo X1 tablet Gen 1 is FAR worse than the Surface Laptop (frequent keyboard issues, often won't charge unless you locate and press the tiny little recessed "hardware battery reset button" with a pin, tons of issues like those).


    But, just last night my wife hit one of these issues that CR seems to count. Her Surface Laptop would not start. It was connected to the dock, she tried to start it up and it flashed the BIOS based white Windows logo (not the blue one of an actual boot), then showed a low battery symbol, then turned off. Repeat, repeat, repeat. I finally had to unpower the DOCK of all things and then power the dock back up as hard booting the PC did nothing, nor did disconnecting and reconnecting the dock to the PC. So - yep, if they count that as "breakage" - then rack one up for us. I'll have to see how reliable the actual hardware is over the next two years though.

  48. Avatar

    jimchamplin

    I’m not disputing, based on all of the issues that have been reported on here at Thurrott.com even, it seems that there’s definitely something lacking in the process with these things. It’s rather sad that they’ll have Panos go out there in the keynotes and talk about the advanced design and go on with how precise and detail-oriented they were, but the damn things don’t work right, and typically because some bit of the new hardware apparently isn’t correct, or had some deep flaw (Skylake. Good job Intel, no wonder ARM is coming fast and hard for your lunch) or dare I say, Windows is a convoluted mess that works inconsistently.


    Over the last few years I heavily considered a Surface Pro. I’m really happy that I didn’t pull the trigger. I know I’d be in that 25%.

  49. Avatar

    Nonmoi

    So maybe we are not paying for the brand and design premium for Surface, we just paid for the design/engineering failure of it.

  50. Avatar

    bcollins

    I'm about to complete year 5 with my Surface Pro 2. That makes it the second longest-lasting computer that I've owned in the last 20 years, and I wouldn't be surprised if I could surpass the eight year mark to make it the longest-lasting computer I've owned. Historically, I've found that when Consumer Reports reports about products I own, their report doesn't jibe with my experience.

  51. Avatar

    mjw149

    Since they're discussing breakage, it makes a lot of sense. The fans, dGPUs, detachable keyboards, complex hinges and touchscreen components all add up. They're clearly more complex than average hardware, but they're generally more capable as a result. Comparing them to Apple is rather like BMW vs Honda.

    • Avatar

      pecosbob04

      In reply to mjw149:So which is which? Is Apple the BMW or the Honda. Both fine automobiles IMHO and if you throw in the Acura...


    • Avatar

      Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to mjw149:

      MS pits Surface directly against Apple products, so it's hardly unfair. Also, it's an incomplete comparison if you only say the Surface beats a MacBook Pro or iPad Pro on the feature list, but then fail to study how those advantages pan out in the real world. This report basically helps inform the buyer of the risks of owning this more complex hardware.

  52. Avatar

    Jules Wombat

    Panos and his team are at cutting edge, pushing the boundaries. The consequence of performance vs reliability is perhaps now exposed as falling the wrong side of reliability. But Microsoft doesn't count on product Quality anymore, so this is a consequence.

    Anyhow I have had my Surface Pro 4 for about 2 years, seems Ok so far. Hardware quality seems OK, more frustrated by the Windows 10 Software. Similarlyy for my Lumia 640 and Microsoft Band 2 still in use.

  53. Avatar

    Sprtfan

    So what products are Consumer Report exactly looking at? As Paul noted, Microsoft didn't even have a laptop until 2017. The comparison seems flawed if they are comparing Surface book and/or Tablets to everyone's Laptops.

  54. Avatar

    wolters

    I've had every Surface up to Surface Book at one time or another. Beyond some phantom touches on an SP4 and the "hot bag" issue on the Surface Book, I've not had any problems whatsoever. I've had more problems out of Acer than anything.

  55. Avatar

    glenn8878

    Plus you're paying a premium for the name brand. That name brand means less than what it used to be.

  56. Avatar

    Mestiphal

    Well, even if the report was intended to talk about how long the product lasts, I'm sure that those people who invested a good amount of money on a brand new system that came with broken drivers/firmware from the get-go were a little disappointed about the fact. Whether or not Microsoft fixed the issue, the damage was already done.

  57. Avatar

    dcdevito

    Wow, that sucks. Really badly.

  58. Avatar

    Hal9000

    I bought a Surface Pro 3 along with a Docking Station 3 years ago, replacing my laptop, tablet and desktop PC.

    Three years later, my dream of a "one device does it all" and "one ecosystem for every device" has died.

    I had my SP3 replaced once because of battery issues, the docking station twice because of issues with the DisplayPort, and generally I had stability issues, especially when putting the device in sleep mode while docked. Microsoft has not managed to fix this to this day.

    So, what can I say... Meanwhile I replaced my Windows Phone with an Android device, canceled Grove and moved to Spotify, and I just built myself a new Ryzen-based desktop PC and got myself an iPad, my first Apple product since 1991.

    The Surface Pro 3 will be used solely as a laptop for another year or so.

    Will I replace that with a Surface product? Probably not...

  59. Avatar

    JacobTheDev

    I've consistently had Wi-Fi issues on my Surface Laptop since launch day; it's annoying, but I think that's just a driver issue that could be fixed.


    I think Consumer Reports is being a bit hyperbolic when they say that Surface devices are "by far" the most unreliable and "a statistical outlier compared to other brands." Yes, they appear to rank worst on the provided chart, but there's a pretty steady decline in percentages, and it's only worst by 1%. Hardly seems "by far" or "an outlier" to me.

  60. Avatar

    warren

    These are really great products. But yeah between wi-fi and sleep issues, and the long list of firmware updates that have tried to fix those issues, it's pretty clear that reliability just hasn't been good enough.


    I'm really hoping that the reason we haven't seen the next full generation of Surface Pro yet is because they're working on reliability.

  61. Avatar

    prettyconfusd

    I'd agree with this. I'm on my fourth Surface Pro 4 in 15 months and this one is having troubles too.


    Throw in the problems caused but the official dock, the chip set, and how easy it is to wear the pen nib out and you've got a problem.


    With the price hikes and them stupidly no longer including the pen in the box it's likely this will be my last Surface.

  62. Avatar

    helix2301

    I wonder if the consumer report news could affect the NFL deal with Microsoft that do come to end in 2018 I think

  63. Avatar

    will

    Ouch!


    I have deployed around 2 dozen of the Surface devices from the SB, SP4, SS, and the current SL and SP. The SB and SP4 had lots of issues when they launched and generally just sucked. Today people are using the devices, and for the most part they are stable. However, I still see people fidgeting with the docks trying to get the screen to show up on the monitor or the USB device stops working.

    Overall I feel that Microsoft only goes 90% the way when it comes to QA. They need to work on the details and have a device that "just works" and is amazing to hold/use. Apple does this with their products and it shows.

    Some of this is Windows 10, and again Microsoft needs to stop adding features to Windows and focus on improving what they have, but most of this comes down to the hardware.

  64. Avatar

    Roger Ramjet

    Is anyone else trying to click on the report link? It doesn't work.


    So, I am forced to speculate ...

    ... are these apples to, Apple? The large gap may mean more than quality build. An Apple tablet sees a very different set of use conditions vs. a Dell laptop. In fact if the chart above simply lumped all tablet & PC products together, you can almost see the correlation between the results and product strategy, rather than some standardized measure of build quality. What I mean here is Apple has the highest mix of light tablets, Microsoft has the highest mix of "complicated" or "innovative" products that try to do a lot (too many, in this view?) things in one product.


    Further, you would still need to adjust for the type of user, for the mileage an average user puts on the product to get an accurate picture of build quality. The median Apple user isn't the median HP user. Otherwise the result isn't as predictive for YOU. This last part wouldn't save Microsoft since their users are unlikely to be any more demanding than both Apple and other PC OEMs. Besides, they charge a lot for the devices.

    • Avatar

      nbplopes

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      Do you know how to read? Look at the graph ... it says laptops. Why you came up with this idea that iPads and Android Tablets are in the mix? What is the basis for this assumtion when CR clearly stated laptops?

      • Avatar

        Roger Ramjet

        In reply to nbplopes:

        Read my further comment this same thread.

        Not that easy is it, this read business. :-)

        • Avatar

          nbplopes

          In reply to Roger Ramjet:


          Haven't read it until now. Yes you noticed your error, but further comment goes on in justifying the gap avoiding the simplest of the explanations with more and more assumptions.


          For instance, you try to justify the gap by bringing the issue of audience and its characteristics, in particular speculating that the environment in which these devices are being used is different. And within this difference, again speculate that PC are being used in more harsh environments than MacBooks and Macs, or that its users are more careful. The tendency here is to favor MS of course ...


          But here is what happens. Macs are desktops so in that regard I don't see the basis for such differences. Regarding laptops, MacBooks vs PC laptops/hrybrids what I can say is the MacBooks by experience are being used a harsh environments, case in case by Photographers in particular traveller photographers, just to mention one. On another note, the percentage developers buying MacBooks is huge has traditionally it has been a more flexible platform if we consider that it runs both Windows and OS X / Unix. Virtualization in UNIX like systems is quite good and OS X is no exception for that matter. Microsoft with Windows 10 is correcting that with very interesting initiatives.


          But I can give personal examples about its durability. I have a MacBook Pro from 2009 stif perfectly functioning (my 6 year old uses it) even though if you look at it you would think otherwise. It fell on ground several times from sofas and tables, so much so that the metal is bent at points, the rubber stuff bellow is gone, attached something with tape to keep the balance, the plastic in from of the display is somewhat detached, need to push it back again from time to time. I think internally the car might be somewhat bent has in certain positions the fan is scratching the metal making a horrible noise so much so I tell my 6 year old to only play with it while in the desk (but he does take it to his bed ... go figure). Yes I had problems, onetime after two years needed to replace the RAM (it went bzerk), which I did form $50 and SSD's after while burnout (this is a pre SSD era model and it does not natively support TRIM).


          In contrast my SP3 with no such aggressive treatment, you look at it ... looks brand new and had to go fixing 2 times, one after 6 months and in both I got refurbs. The second time SP4 was already out and haven't got an upgrade in exchange not only for these two instances (It was go to work laptop) but also drivers and update problems I had during this as time as other thousands of user also had considering what I saw in the forums. All in all I payed over $2000 for this as I invested in two smartphones keyboard, dock and all. I bought the all experience and .... well it was unreliable for my standards.


          Here is the simplest explanation you can find. Its overall better engineered and better produced. Couple this with very good support and ... Yes its is expensive, but so are high quality PCs, in the sheet with better specs if you look for them. Yet the trend in the PCs at the moment is high price systems, that look very good and well designed, light and slim, a territory of Apple, but you don't get the robustness neither the performance that those specs would suggest. Take for instance a Core i5 in a slim case, how do you think that will work out with believing in miracles from Intel? The only way is severe Throtling (meaning, money down the toilet for the specs) and/or putting more pressure in the components in terms of heat which in turn of course reduces durability. Even though Windows 10 looks more optimized than any other previous Windows.


          Cheers,


          Nuno








          • Avatar

            Divebus

            In reply to nbplopes:

            I have to ditto what Nuna says about rough environments. I work for that place which has a lot of photographers shooting for that magazine with the gold rectangle as a logo. They pretty much exclusively use Macs everywhere with some exceptions. The e-waste bins (which I frequent) occasionally have Mac laptops in them. They've been in the field hit, run over, bent in half and every one of them clearly have a lot of miles on them before meeting their demise. Eventually they'll break if you keep pounding tent stakes with them. The telling thing is the age of what gets recycled.


            A few years ago, there was a raft of 9 year old G4 Titanium PowerBooks in there - beaten to death, some with travel stickers all over them, recently used but most of them still booted up. I'm thinking "they're still using these???" Yup. There were also some 2009 Mac Book Pros in there at the same time. They had more issues with liquids and bending/breaking screens when they take a hard shot but apparently not as durable as the Titaniums. I've made four good 2009 Mac Book Pros out of about 10 dead ones from the field and I still use them.


            Apple fixed those issues by using milled aluminum cases instead of the stamped aluminum on the 2009 Mac Book Pro. I've waited patiently for the newer Macs to show up in e-waste and only found one that was drowned. The rest will be in the field for 10 years.


    • Avatar

      Angusmatheson

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      I agree that Apple likely has lots of iPads in there , which are much more reliable. A laptop with a full operating system (Windows or MacOS) is certainly going to be more of a problem. Samsung may also have a fair number of tablets making their numbers look better. But it still doesn't explain why Microsoft is worse when Toshiba, Acet, Dell and so on. I think this is about innovation. Microsoft computers have been innovative - pushing the boundaries. And that comes at a price. As a user I would like to have boring reliable hardware (I drive a Honda Civic for heavens sake), but others like that exciting bleeding edge. Microsoft stated goal is to push the OEMs - if that bid true they must continue to innovate the surface line,

    • Avatar

      Bob Shutts

      In reply to Roger Ramjet: I think you bring up an interesting point in your original post. (Disclosure: Apple user here.) From what I can see PCs are used more frequently in environments where they are prone to bumps, spills, and users who don't 100% understand how they are supposed to use the unit. No slam against anyone or anything: I just notice more PCs in a "rough" environment. Maybe this stacks the deck a bit.


    • Avatar

      Roger Ramjet

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      Edit: Coming to my ASUS laptop, I see immediately that the chart above is labelled *Laptop* Computers, (earlier, I was on my ipad, and somehow I missed it. I will blame the tool :-)). That said, it points to the question a more precise counting.

      For example, the Apple "laptops" would have been MacBooks, and the Surface "laptops" would have been ... Surface Pros, Surface Books ... So, yeah, just look at the products, mechanically (I know there are build issues as well). This statistic is one in favor of Apple and their fit the product to the use strategy, vs. let the product do all things from Microsoft. In that case on the MS side, I guess you could just be upfront about it. An SP form factor isn't going to hold up as well over time, as a camshell. If the trade off good for your flexible use, then, golly.

      Then again, that is where MS was going anyway, hence the SL. They just had to take a long winding route to gain mindshare along the way. If this report holds up, it may force them to come out with some sort of warranty for the SL, (and pay real attention to their build quality, form factor limitations aside) which would be good for consumers.


    • Avatar

      Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      If there has been one consistent complaint I've seen with Surface hardware (and experienced personally), is that it is most unreliable in suspend and resume. It may seem like a trivial thing, but it gets very frustrating from a consumer point of view when a device fails to resume from sleep, and this is especially true of something portable. For me, my Surface devices would either fail to wake, wake to a blank screen, or wake without mounting the microSD or type cover. I experienced this from the original RT all the way to 3, after which I threw in the towel on Surface. MS tried to blame Skylake, but the problem seems deeper than a CPU architecture. No amount of other features can redeem a device that can't be consistently ready when you need it. Apple has that one figured out, in my experience.

    • Avatar

      Mestiphal

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      I don't have any bias against Acer, but I do find hard to believe that they scored higher than Dell, HP, Lenovo and Asus

  65. Avatar

    Boris Zakharin

    I typically replace my laptops about every five years. I've had four so far including the current one. Three of them are from HP. The first one (2004) lasted the entire 5 years with no defects. The second (2008) had the keyboard break during the first week of use. The replacement keyboard also broke during the first year of use. Thankfully they were different keys, so after a transplant, it lasted the entirety of 5 years. The third (2016) is still new, but no problems so far. The ASUS one (2012) is the only one whose internal components (the fan and display adapter) failed before the five years were up necessitating an early replacement.


    I've owned a single Surface (RT) since 2012 (it was a gift from MS to the employees and customers of my employer at the time). While it is still in active, though very limited, use, it has developed multiple issues over the years. In 2015, a permanent horizontal line appeared on the screen. This year some sort of power problems developed (the light on the power adapter is not consistently on. The device refuses to turn off the screen when the power button is pressed. When it goes into this mode, it eventually reboots due to what is reported as a critically low battery after which it runs fine again for a time). However, the typical tablet replacement cycle is about 2 years, so if I actually needed a tablet day to day, I would have upgraded, possibly twice, before seeing these issues.

    • Avatar

      CaedenV

      In reply to bzakharin:

      I have had oddly good luck with laptops. Bought an Acer Netbook forever ago, and it still 'works'... Can't do much more complicated than playing an MP3, but it works as well as it ever did.

      My main laptop is a Dell XPS12 (2nd gen with the neat carousel display form factor) which is coming up on 5 years old and really just needs a new battery to be truly useful again.

      My work laptop is an HP, just a year newer than the Dell, and it keeps plugging along.


      Crazy thing is that I am rough on my laptops. They sit in my bag and get tossed unceremoniously from place to place. I figure there are no moving parts... so nothing *should* break provided the fan isnt running... and for better or worse it has been true. Well... the netbook has a HDD... but at this point it is a game to see what it will take to kill the thing lol.

  66. Avatar

    Brandon Mills

    I'd like to know the further breakdown of the Surface line by model. I wonder if certain models were far more unreliable than others.

    • Avatar

      CaedenV

      In reply to BrandonMills:

      I wonder how many of those Surface returns/complaints were from SP4 before the bios fixes were implemented. I bet that weighed heavily on this.

      That isn't to say it isn't without some merit. I mean, I know 4 people with surface pro 3/4 computers, and 3 of them had to get theirs replaced for various reasons. Small pool, and not all were in that 2 year window... but ya... doesn't look good.

  67. Avatar

    GT Tecolotecreek

    The big question is how long will MS continue to sell them. Sales are way down, and reports like this aren't going to help them recover. Has anyone every seen their margins on this product line after all the warranty claims? Surface is starting to tarnish the MS brand.

  68. Avatar

    SvenJ

    The chart isn't complimentary, but the majority of the big OEMs sit in the 20-25% range. That isn't good by itself, but comparatively not that different. I am very surprised that Samsung and Acer are lower. Not surprised that Apple is near the top. My Surfaces (plural) are all doing fine though I did have an RT replaced way back when. Puts my experience in about the 15% range.

  69. Avatar

    Benjamin Tennyson

    I think those Reports May Have A Fault in It.They May Collected Data From Few and Just Jod Down A So Called Report

Leave a Reply