25% of Microsoft Surface owners report problems within 2 years, Consumer Reports finds

Posted:
in General Discussion edited August 2017
A new, large survey of Microsoft Surface owners found that a quarter of those using the hybrid devices experience problems by the second year of ownership, raising questions about the reliability of the company's iPad and MacBook competitors.




Consumer Reports announced on Thursday it can no longer recommend Microsoft Surface laptops and tablets, based on reliability data gathered from 90,741 device owners. The poll found that 25 percent of Microsoft laptop and tablet owners experienced problems by the second year of ownership.

According to Consumer Reports, that failure rate is "statistically significant," and notably higher than most other brands. As a result, the consumer advocacy group said Microsoft's hardware does not meet its standards for recommended products.

Among the issues experienced with Microsoft hardware were problems during startup, unexpected freezing or shutdowns, and slow response time on the device's touchscreen.

"Consumers tell us that reliability is a major factor when they're choosing a tablet or laptop," Consumer Reports survey manager Simon Slater said. "And people can improve their chances of getting a more dependable device by considering our brand reliability findings."

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For its part, Microsoft countered by saying the real-world return rates it sees are "significantly" different from the statistics gathered by Consumer Reports.

"We don't believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners' true experiences or capture the performance reliability improvements made with every Surface generation," Microsoft said.

The statement would suggest that perhaps hardware failures were more commonplace with older Surface hardware. But the Consumer Reports survey collected responses from users who bought Microsoft tablets and laptops between 2014 and the beginning of 2017 -- the first Surface tablet launched in late 2012.

In perhaps the most high-profile public relations disaster for Microsoft's Surface, the hardware stopped working on the sidelines of a major National Football League playoff game in early 2016. Later that year, and the following NFL season, Super Bowl winning coach Bill Belichick refused to use the Surface on the sideline, despite a lucrative partnership between the NFL and Microsoft.




In contrast, Consumer Reports has generally praised Apple's MacBook and iPad lineup, though there have been some spats. Most notably, in late 2016, the MacBook Pro with USB-C failed to earn a recommendation from Consumer Reports, marking the first time ever the organization would not approve of a MacBook Pro.

It turned out that a hidden software setting enabled by Consumer Reports resulted in extremely poor battery life. Apple quickly addressed the issue with a software fix, and the MacBook Pro once again made it onto the Consumer Reports recommended list.

Consumer Reports also took Apple to task back in 2010 over the iPhone 4 "antennagate" issue, refusing the recommend the handset over what it called a "design flaw." The organization declared Apple's antenna issues ultimately addressed a year later with the release of the iPhone 4s.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 53
    Maybe those ‘2 years’ is the reason why Microsoft pushed a ‘1,5 years’ subscription model!
    mkrewsonpscooter63radarthekatxzubaconstangmagman1979lolliverwatto_cobraviclauyyc
  • Reply 2 of 53
    macxpressmacxpress Posts: 5,001member
    I'm sure there are some that will think differently and absolutely love theirs, but I think the Surface is the biggest piece of shit for the price. Its way over priced and everyone I know who owns one absolutely hates it. They get horrible battery life, they crap out for no reason, they get hot, the fans blast constantly. If this is the best Microsoft can do at this price point they're in trouble and Apple has nothing to worry about (not that they do now). 

    Microsoft in my opinion, should stick to making quality software and less on making hardware that competes with the companies that purchase your software. Microsoft is not Apple and will never be Apple. They aren't going to make competitive products in the upper range of computers like Apple does. They aren't going to be able to create Windows and integrate it into their own hardware successfully. They should be focusing on making Windows better...Windows 10 is a start, but its still not always the greatest OS in the world to use. I honestly still think its behind macOS...
    edited August 2017 SpamSandwichjbdragonRacerhomieXwatto_cobraviclauyyclostkiwi
  • Reply 3 of 53
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,513member
    I mean, come on... if you've actually used one (I did, briefly, in a real-world work situation). The thing is a real shame.
    magman1979lolliverviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 4 of 53
    Had one, returned it after 3 days. Useless as a tablet. Better to just get a good Windows laptop (many to choose from).

    We do, however, use one at work. For a very specific function which it excels at (and which normal consumers would never come across). So it does have its uses, however limited they are.
    gatorguyjbdragonbb-15watto_cobrastantheman
  • Reply 5 of 53
    78Bandit78Bandit Posts: 235member
    I've had two Surface Pros.  An SP2 and an SP4.  The backlight went out on the SP2 after less than a year and it was replaced under warranty.  The SP4 has been flawless.

    I've got a feeling a lot of the issues consumers are reporting relate to the sleep problems that plagued the SP3 and SP4 models for quite a while.  A lot of the problem is Microsoft has to design its OS to run on tens of thousands of different hardware combinations by multiple manufacturers with new CPUs, motherboards, and video cards released every month.  Even though they do control the hardware in the surface the underlying OS still has to be able to run on an almost unlimited combination of other components.

    Apple has comparatively minuscule variations in hardware, revises its devices at a glacial pace, provides extremely limited opportunity for the user to upgrade after purchase, and is in complete control of the system from top to bottom.  Apple can identify and eliminate potential issues much easier than Microsoft.

    Having said that though, I would still recommend a Surface for anyone looking for a Windows based device.
    viclauyycstanthemanGeorgeBMac
  • Reply 6 of 53
    jungmarkjungmark Posts: 6,719member
    It's an unscientific poll but wow. 

    Perhaps users need need to start dancing to use it properly. 
    baconstangviclauyycwatto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 53
    Consumer reports... eh... the same folks who ran the flawed tests on the new MacBook Pro. Major grain of salt. I’ve never used one of these machines, nor would I sully my fingers with one, but... consistency demands that I look askance at this after my reaction to the MBP battery thing. 
    gatorguytallest skillolliverwatto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 53
    But, but, but... it haz a mouse. 
    StrangeDayspscooter63bb-15watto_cobrakhunsa
  • Reply 9 of 53
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,192member
    jungmark said:
    It's an unscientific poll but wow. 

    Perhaps users need need to start dancing to use it properly. 
    It is a pretty good size sample group! " data gathered from 90,741 device owners"
    baconstangwilliamlondonwatto_cobraRacerhomieXnetmagekhunsa
  • Reply 10 of 53
    jbdragonjbdragon Posts: 2,192member
    When I use a tablet, I want it to be fast and reliable. That's not Windows!!! As I use Windows on my Desktop at Home and Work, I don't want to deal with the same things I do with Windows. The hours wasted over the years from Windows 95 to Windows 10 that I'm currently using having to fix the many issues I've had over the years. To giving up and ReInstalling Windows and then Reinstalling my software and settings. That alone takes hours to a few days to deal with!!!

    TO top it off, you also have to deal with Firewalls, Anti-Virus software, Malware software, Spyware software, and so on and so on.

    I'm still using my iPad 3 though it is pretty laggy these days, but it works. I haven't had to do any the the above listed things on it. I want to upgrade to a iPad Pro this year. I'm waiting for iOS11 though. I'm not a fan of running Beta software. I like to just turn it on and start using it and not worry about all that other crap.
    mike54radarthekat2old4funbb-15baconstangdewmewatto_cobrastanthemankhunsa
  • Reply 11 of 53
    jcs2305jcs2305 Posts: 845member
    78Bandit said:
    I've had two Surface Pros.  An SP2 and an SP4.  The backlight went out on the SP2 after less than a year and it was replaced under warranty.  The SP4 has been flawless.

    I've got a feeling a lot of the issues consumers are reporting relate to the sleep problems that plagued the SP3 and SP4 models for quite a while.  A lot of the problem is Microsoft has to design its OS to run on tens of thousands of different hardware combinations by multiple manufacturers with new CPUs, motherboards, and video cards released every month.  Even though they do control the hardware in the surface the underlying OS still has to be able to run on an almost unlimited combination of other components.

    Apple has comparatively minuscule variations in hardware, revises its devices at a glacial pace, provides extremely limited opportunity for the user to upgrade after purchase, and is in complete control of the system from top to bottom.  Apple can identify and eliminate potential issues much easier than Microsoft.

    Having said that though, I would still recommend a Surface for anyone looking for a Windows based device.
    There are tens of thousands different hardware combinations for the Surface? You seem to be speaking on and making an excuse for Windows OS. This article is regarding Consumer Reports review on the Microsoft Surface specifically, not Windows and it's use on tens of thousands of different hardware configurations?
    pscooter63chiabb-15macky the mackywilliamlondonwatto_cobrakhunsa
  • Reply 12 of 53
    mike54mike54 Posts: 349member
    jbdragon said:
    When I use a tablet, I want it to be fast and reliable. That's not Windows!!! As I use Windows on my Desktop at Home and Work, I don't want to deal with the same things I do with Windows. The hours wasted over the years from Windows 95 to Windows 10 that I'm currently using having to fix the many issues I've had over the years. To giving up and ReInstalling Windows and then Reinstalling my software and settings. That alone takes hours to a few days to deal with!!!

    TO top it off, you also have to deal with Firewalls, Anti-Virus software, Malware software, Spyware software, and so on and so on.

    I'm still using my iPad 3 though it is pretty laggy these days, but it works. I haven't had to do any the the above listed things on it. I want to upgrade to a iPad Pro this year. I'm waiting for iOS11 though. I'm not a fan of running Beta software. I like to just turn it on and start using it and not worry about all that other crap.
    Spot on. My sentiments exactly.  
    radarthekatbb-15baconstangmacky the mackywilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 13 of 53
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 8,818member
    But but but Microsoft is innovative and Apple isn’t!
    baconstangwilliamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 14 of 53
    chiachia Posts: 701member
    78Bandit said:
    A lot of the problem is Microsoft has to design its OS to run on tens of thousands of different hardware combinations by multiple manufacturers with new CPUs, motherboards, and video cards released every month.  Even though they do control the hardware in the surface the underlying OS still has to be able to run on an almost unlimited combination of other components.

    Apple has comparatively minuscule variations in hardware, revises its devices at a glacial pace, provides extremely limited opportunity for the user to upgrade after purchase, and is in complete control of the system from top to bottom.  Apple can identify and eliminate potential issues much easier than Microsoft.

    Having said that though, I would still recommend a Surface for anyone looking for a Windows based device.

    Your post only helps to underline what a comparatively inferior job Microsoft is doing with its Surface range compared to Apple's products.

    As you have stated, Microsoft has complete control of how Windows and its drivers are written for its Surface products and complete control on the components it uses for the Surface.  It's fully within its power to create an ideal Windows configuration for its ideal Surface range.

    If the ideal Windows configuration on what should be the ideal hardware make for a less than satisfactory user experience, what hope is there for a good experience of Windows from the hardware of multiple manufacturers who have little to no control over the Windows code, with their tens of thousands of hardware combinations and almost unlimited combination of components?
    pscooter63radarthekat2old4funbb-15williamlondonwatto_cobra
  • Reply 15 of 53
    williamhwilliamh Posts: 677member
    I bought a few recently at the specific request of some users.  MS made it a real pain in the ass to deploy in the smaller business environment.  Some mission-critical apps (made by Microsoft!) aren't installing right.  The more I have to deal with it, the less I like it.  The dock is very inelegant with the power brick about the same size and weight as the dock.
    bb-15watto_cobrachiakhunsa
  • Reply 16 of 53
    My Samsung owning friend love his Surface Pro. He rolled his eyes at the MacBook Pro's "USB-C obsession" while secretly wishing for the day it replaces USB-A, B, mini-A, mini-B, micro-A, micro-B standardses.
    radarthekatbb-15williamlondonwatto_cobrakhunsa
  • Reply 17 of 53
    25% that seems pretty normal for a Windows device...  Unless Windows is hardened in an enterise setting (locking out user functions) Windows performance degrades rapidly.

    Surface may be experiencing hardware issues in addition to that... but there is a reason Microsoft created Windows S.

    Microsoft is trying to recreate Apples "walled garden" and rightly so, otherwise they'll never be able to compete in reliability (at the consumer level).

    Microsoft's next step is to forbid OEM's from installing that garbage that they add. (Anything other than basic drivers)

    I suspect Surface devices were created because negotiations failed with the OEMs.
    williamlondonwatto_cobrakhunsa
  • Reply 18 of 53
    78Bandit said:
    I've had two Surface Pros.  An SP2 and an SP4.  The backlight went out on the SP2 after less than a year and it was replaced under warranty.  The SP4 has been flawless.

    I've got a feeling a lot of the issues consumers are reporting relate to the sleep problems that plagued the SP3 and SP4 models for quite a while.  A lot of the problem is Microsoft has to design its OS to run on tens of thousands of different hardware combinations by multiple manufacturers with new CPUs, motherboards, and video cards released every month.  Even though they do control the hardware in the surface the underlying OS still has to be able to run on an almost unlimited combination of other components.

    Apple has comparatively minuscule variations in hardware, revises its devices at a glacial pace, provides extremely limited opportunity for the user to upgrade after purchase, and is in complete control of the system from top to bottom.  Apple can identify and eliminate potential issues much easier than Microsoft.

    Having said that though, I would still recommend a Surface for anyone looking for a Windows based device.
    But you said the SP4 is flawless, then you follow it up with "...sleep problems plagued the SP3 and SP4..." What you're saying does not make sense.
    bb-15watto_cobra
  • Reply 19 of 53
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,151moderator
    Consumer reports... eh... the same folks who ran the flawed tests on the new MacBook Pro. Major grain of salt. I’ve never used one of these machines, nor would I sully my fingers with one, but... consistency demands that I look askance at this after my reaction to the MBP battery thing. 
    No looking askance required.  This isn't Consumer Reports doing a flawed test; this is simply feedback from a universe of real-life users.  Big difference.  
    edited August 2017 bb-15baconstangStrangeDayswatto_cobrabeowulfschmidtchianetmageSpamSandwichkhunsa
  • Reply 20 of 53
    foggyhillfoggyhill Posts: 4,767member
    That's the same laptop those hacks at Verge declared "the best"... Oh the Irony.
    StrangeDayschiasuddenly newtonwatto_cobra
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