Consumer Reports: Don't Buy a Microsoft Surface Laptop or Tablet

Megalith

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Consumer Reports has pulled its recommendation on Surface laptops and tablets due to "poor predicted reliability in comparison to most other brands." The report suggests that 25 percent of these devices will present their owners with problems by the end of the second year of ownership

Microsoft Surface Pro is designed and built with performance and reliability in mind," Microsoft told CNBC. "Microsoft's real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports' breakage predictability. While we respect Consumer Reports, we don't believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners' true experiences or captures the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation. We're proud of the high performance and versatility marks Surface Pro received in Consumer Reports' laptop lab evaluations."
 

dyzophoria

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I hardly hear a complaint from people I knew that bought surface devices, only latest thing that i heard that made a stir was about the screen bleeding
 

ReconSniper

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My only complaint is the pen battery died... Yeah, had to replace it from Amazon and went ahead and ordered a pack of 6 for $4.
 

gunbust3r

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Had SP2 with battery issues, another just up and died. Definitely don't buy without something like Amex extended warranty to get your money back in year 2. Oh and just dont buy at all on principal since they still use that abysmal Avastar WiFi/Bluetooth in everything.
 

krotch

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I've had my Pro 3 for years and never a hitch. I'd buy another in a heartbeat if I could justify it. I want my Pro 3 to break so I can buy a new one but it won't cooperate.

Same thing with my Pro 3. Worked perfect, until I dropped in at the airport in July. Still works, but the screen is cracked, so the touch doesn't work. I'll probably get one of those stick on screen covers, so the screen doesn't crack further or cut me. The bottom right has a big chunk missing.
 

W.Feather

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My office has 5 surface pro 4's .... have had them for over a year now, no issues / hiccups, couple were used as primary machines for users at times, hell I have one that I had the screen on for 8 hours going around a prison on a site investigation for 5 days straight last year, held up admirably ..
 

thejokker

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I bought a Surface Pro when it first came out. When the Surface Pro 3 came out I bought one and gave my Surface Pro to my brother. Both are used daily and both are still running strong. My Boss upon my recommendation bought a Surface Pro 4 and it too is running great.

Consumer Report has been criticized in the past for their reviews... Controversial (questionable) reviews sell magazines... (they must be apple goons?)
 
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We have about a hundred SP4 and a dozen Surface Books.

I hate them. Keyboards suck on the SP4, the Surface docking stations have been nothing but trouble, their Marvell WiFi is junk, and PXE can only be done on their USB NICs (which costs $40 per). We switched to USB 3 based docks, and things have been better, but...I'd rather have the Thinkpad Yogas. The keyboard is better, docking is always reliable, and no external pen to knock off and lose, as it's harder to lose it in the internal silo. I was able to upgrade to a laptop, and I threatened to go to a used Yoga 12 before I'd take an SP4. Thankfully, we got a Yoga 260 as a replacement of a busted 12 (busted by the repair people!), so I snagged that, and upgraded it to 16GB of RAM to handle my virtualization/multiple RDP stuff. Couldn't do that on a Surface!

Thankfully, we're looking at other models now. We'll see how it goes, but if nothing else, Dell's competition would get us in person repair the next day, as opposed to mailing it off and getting a check to buy a new one as part of our current accidental program.

Now, I know there are tons of users that love them. But from the support standpoint, they're a headache I'll be happy to phase out.
 
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Benzino

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I've supported various iterations of the Surface product, from RT to Surface to Surface Pro. I like them but would hate to have issues after the warranty is up. If a screen cracks after the warranty the best you can do is take it to the Microsoft store for credit towards a new one, which is less painful than just being stuck with an out of warranty product that is probably impossible to repair.
 

raz-0

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We had a bunch of them where I work, they are cycling out, and for the most part not being replaced. Mostly surface pros from 1 to 3, no surface books I am aware of, and I ahven't seen any surface laptops yet, which doesn't surprise me.

The number one problem is the stupid alcantara keyboards delaminating at the corners. On top of that, after a couple years of heavy use, those keyboards are gag inducingly nasty. The wrist rest portions near the track pads are dead skin farms of the worst sort. :p

The number two problem is the wi-fi. People live with it, but it's not great.

There's also an end user perception that they kind of suck display wise because they were high DPI before windows rolled out sufficient high DPI support.
 

Armenius

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Have had my SP4 for more than a year with no issues so far. The only thing that is concerning is how hot it gets when you're doing actual work on it.
 

Mugato

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I hardly hear a complaint from people I knew that bought surface devices, only latest thing that i heard that made a stir was about the screen bleeding

Dozen or so SP4's onsite here; screen bleed on a couple, my personal device had an issue where it would hitch every 5 seconds for a second thus freezing the mouse during movement. I restored it three different times. Finally, after the creators update (and like the 10th firmware update), the freezing went away, thank god - it's usable again! Overall, they blow an iPad out of the water, we'll see what happens with iOS 11.
 

gunbust3r

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The number two problem is the wi-fi. People live with it, but it's not great.

I wonder what the internal response from SMB and Enterprise was to questions about WiFi?

A business: Hey this would be a great corporate product if it had a real intel NIC and could come out of sleep and reliably reconnect, handle SSID's with the same name on 2.4 and 5hgz, not perform even worse using 2.5 and Bluetooth simultaneously, and not get a constant stream of "did that fix it?" driver and firmware updates.

Microsft: NOPE Avastar for the 13th product in a row...
 

Biznatch

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Same goes for all the new ultra portable tablets/laptops. Nothing is upgradeable/replaceable, so it's just a matter of time before it fails and has to be trashed.
 

Outamyhead

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I hardly hear a complaint from people I knew that bought surface devices, only latest thing that i heard that made a stir was about the screen bleeding

We had pro 3's failing all the time, pro 4's aren't much better so our company is done with them especially as the warranty was only a year compared to the 3 years we got with regular equipment.
 

gunbust3r

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Waiting for the apologist fanboy to pop in with the "Surface was not meant to be successful (or reliable), they just make them to spur innovation from the likes of Dell and Acer..."
 
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We have about a hundred SP4 and a dozen Surface Books.

I hate them. Keyboards suck on the SP4, the Surface docking stations have been nothing but trouble, their Marvell WiFi is junk, and PXE can only be done on their USB NICs (which costs $40 per). We switched to USB 3 based docks, and things have been better, but...I'd rather have the Thinkpad Yogas. The keyboard is better, docking is always reliable, and no external pen to knock off and lose, as it's harder to lose it in the internal silo.

Thankfully, we're looking at other models now. We'll see how it goes, but if nothing else, Dell's competition would get us in person repair the next day, as opposed to mailing it off and getting a check to buy a new one as part of our current accidental program.

Now, I know there are tons of users that love them. But from the support standpoint, they're a headache I'll be happy to phase out.

They're good for their use case; grabbing and going to a meeting. But I've had the same issues with the docks refusing to talk to the HDMI connected monitor until power cycled and the keyboards being lost until you disconnect & reconnect them. That's after a crap-ton of USB controller updates through WSUS too. I don't know why the WiFi sucks so hard but that's aggravating as hell as I keep getting complaints from users who can't connect at home. My SP4's most aggravating feature is that it topples over when on my lap when I have to perch somewhere in the wiring closet to manage recalcitrant switches. I just brought in a Dell XPS 15 9560 with all the bells and whistles. Pretty slick, although it too has docking station problems (fixed with a BIOS update, thankfully, but still should've been caught before shipping). The person using it replaced their 2011 MacBook Pro and was able to hook it up to the Thunderbolt display with no drama. Downstream devices were also accessible so that was a blessing.
 

heatlesssun

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Waiting for the apologist fanboy to pop in with the "Surface was not meant to be successful (or reliable), they just make them to spur innovation from the likes of Dell and Acer..."

LOL! If Consumer Reports is seeing reliability issues then they are seeing them. I have Surface devices, non-pro Surface 3, Surface Pro 3 and the original Surface Book. The SP3 is almost 3 years old and still works fine, the only issue is the battery is getting old but I can still get 4 to 5 hours out of in lighter usage scenarios. The Surface Book has given me the most trouble, at least initially with power management and stability issues related to the screen detachment and multiple GPUs. It took about 5 months to get everything solid but since then it's been a very stable device.

If there is a problem Microsoft should address it, certainly things can improve. I'm looking forward to the Surface Book 2, assuming that one is coming. It's easily the 2 in 1 device I've ever owned and I've had more than a few. I do think devices like this do spur innovation and have overall helped the 2 in 1 market a lot which has seen some very good growth over the last few years and is expected to continue for several more. I'll probably never own another conventional laptop.
 

StryderxX

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I work at a corporate bank in NYC and coordinated with IT to deploying several hundred Surface Pro 3 tablets. About half had issues related to WIFI, sleep/resume, keyboard disconnections, bluetooth etc. As a result the contract we had with the vendor that supplied the hardware was cancelled November of last year.
 

mvmiller12

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I've had an original 4G/128G Surface Pro, and replaced it with an 8G/256G Surface Pro 2 from eBay when the original developed memory problems after ~1.5 years of service. Microsoft wanted $500 to "fix" it, I got the better equipped SP2 on eBay for ~$350 without power brick. Been just fine ever since, though the battery IS aging.
 

raz-0

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Waiting for the apologist fanboy to pop in with the "Surface was not meant to be successful (or reliable), they just make them to spur innovation from the likes of Dell and Acer..."

Well, I'm not going to say that isn't a thing, i suspect it isn't a profitable thing through. But I can say I had switched to Mac for my laptop last go round due to build quality and the general awfulness of anything windows based that wasn't selling within a couple hundred bucks of the equivalent macbook (and usually with some galring annoyance or flaw).

The surface and surface book got me to look at windows laptops again beause it had a nice feature set. Stil had flaws though. Crank it forward a year, and Apple wants $3000 for the newer version of what I had, and there were a shit ton of laptops rocking the basic feature set of the suface book. So now I recently went back to windows. I have a really nice machine with a 4k display, a stylus, discrete graphics and it was half the price of a 15" macbook pro similarly speced. Not only did they win me back, they clearly induced a shift in the windows laptop market for feature sets.
 

Shmee

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We have about 75 Surface Pros out there (3s and 4s), and they have held up as well as any laptop. Sure we have had a bad one every here and there, but out of 75 that's to be expected. I am on a Surface Book, and I love it. The only crappy thing about them is that every now and then they can get hung up at startup (something to do with the system shutting down, but then closing the keyboard cover too fast, so it is sleeping during shut down), so you have to hold down the volume up and power button for 30 seconds to fully reset the boot, but that has been less common after the last few updates, and it is an easy thing to walk users through to fix.
 

fishrule

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I had a Surface 3. It was a nightmare to deal with. It often froze, had poor wifi, and pretty abysmal battery life. I think Consumer Reports just calls it like it is.
 

heatlesssun

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I returned my Surface 3 a long time ago. Horrible machine.

I have mine since launch and while not a fast machine because of the Atom and eMMC storage it's made a decent traveling device and great for OneNote.
 

RogueTadhg

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I've been looking forward to having a new surface. The surface 4...? er. last model before this one. was pretty good. Just the pen needed to be better and it looks like they made it a lot better now. So I'll probably purchase a surface and a pen and see how it writes and if I can really use it for note taking this time around.
 

AceGoober

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What I really dislike about Surface is the crap WiFi. I've had to tell customers, after making every effort to improve response and speeds, that their brand new Surface simply had crap WiFi implemented. If Microsoft can fix this issue (either working with the vendor or outright replacing the I/C with a competitor's brand that doesn't suck, then they'll have a winner.
 

chenw

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Well we recently got the new Surface pro, so I'll report back any findings or issues with it.

I had looked into other models but they all have different quirks, or is made by Lenovo (nothing against the company specifically, I don't trust anything that's designed on the mainland, period).

The only thing that could come close was Transformer pad, but Asus is took their bloody sweet time getting their T304 out the door, and Wonder woman is already off the cinemas they had a promotion of getting free Wonder Woman tickets with a T304/T303 purchase, and T304 was released when the movie is off the screens.

To add on the fact that T304 only came with a maximum of a 7500U, New pro came with a 7660U, something I'd not give up anything for.
 

MrDeaf

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The only "regular" problem I encounter with SP4 is the BT doesn't always work well.
Also the screen digitizer and keyboard randomly not responding at all was annoying, but it only happened once each and was easily fixed by a hard reboot.

The wifi on SP4 is highly improved from SP1.
SP1 would constantly drop connection when the wifi channels got switched around, but SP4 seems to have fixed this problem for the most part.
I still wish they used a better wifi chip, however.


I think my biggest gripe is SP4 featuring a single USB3.0 port with inadequate power delivery
 

BulletDust

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Surface pro as a serious device? Sorry, there's just not enough inputs and outputs without a dock of some description which causes issues itself and costs more $$, and they're too top heavy to sit nicely on anything but a perfectly flat surface - And they're literally irreparable/upgradeable.

Best to get a decent laptop that's not a compromise between a laptop and a tablet, a 2012 Mac Pro's a better device.
 

heatlesssun

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Surface pro as a serious device? Sorry, there's just not enough inputs and outputs without a dock of some description which causes issues itself and costs more $$, and they're too top heavy to sit nicely on anything but a perfectly flat surface - And they're literally irreparable/upgradeable.

Best to get a decent laptop that's not a compromise between a laptop and a tablet, a 2012 Mac Pro's a better device.

A conventional laptop and Surface Pro or Surface Book are quite different devices. I wouldn't recommend a Surface Pro or Book or any 2 in 1 device to anyone not expecting to use it some significant portion of the time as a tablet.
 

Crosshairs

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I guess Microsoft missed their payment to consumer reports this month....;)
 

Avalanche

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The SP3 I have from work overheats, so I had to disable the turbo boost. If I have updates or a build upgrade I have to put it in the fridge or it will never finish. This just recently started happening in the last few months. It worked quite well over the last three years, even though it was a backup to my main work machine.
 
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