Consumer Reports Dumps Microsoft Surface From Recommended List

Consumer Reports Dumps Microsoft Surface From Recommended List

Consumer Reports is a US-based not for profit service that gives people recommendations on whether consumer products are worth buying and live up to vendor claims. Getting a tick from them is a big deal, especially in US markets. And a black mark can be a massive cause for concern which is why there will be a bunch of people at Microsoft HQ panicking at Consumer Reports’ dumping the Surface from its recommended product list.

At the heart of the issues are problems wth ongoing device reliability.

Their analysis has found that a quarter of devices will require repair within the first two years of use.

The decision by Consumer Reports applies to Microsoft devices with detachable keyboards, such as the new Surface Pro released in June and the Surface Book, as well as the company’s Surface Laptops with conventional clamshell designs.

On the back of iFixIt’s teardown scoring the new Surface Book an unprecedented 0, calling it a “glue-filled monstrosity“, this is not good news.

Although I’ve reviewed the Surface Pro, my long-term exposure to these devices has been through my sons who have Surface Pro 4 issued through their school. Both have had a couple of power supply issues in the three years they have used those devices.

Apple received a poor rating from Consumer Reports earlier this year, because of battery life issues with the MacBook Pro, but this was reversed following a software update.

Have you been a long term Surface Pro user? How have you found the device’s reliability?


  • I had a surface pro 2 and the keyboard died after about two years, I had to bend it just the right way or apply pressure to the connector to get it to work, I looked in to getting a new keyboard but a new one was the same price as when I originally got it and I wasn’t keen to spend $100+ on a keyboard for an ageing device. So I gave it to a friend who had a surface 3 with power supply issues and a working keyboard and got myself a surface book.

    That reminds me, I also had power supply issues with the surface pro 2, the cable coming out of the power supply to the computer wore out and the wires were exposed, I contacted microsoft and they sent me a new power supply. It was pretty painless but I think they just ended up valuing aesthetics over known and sturdy materials to build parts that wear easily.

    I really liked my surface and the surface book, they were excellent devices, it’s just a shame that they can’t quite get it 100%.

    • I have a Surface Pro 3 and I can’t stand the design of the power supply cable. I’ve had several MacBooks in the past which are known for having ‘fragile’ cables but never had a problem with any of them. The SP3 cable however just seems designed to fail with the way the cable’s stress-point is positioned during normal use.

      • Microsoft have acknowledged the flaw in the design of the original Surface charger cables (the blocky plug with the figure 8 connector). They have since changed those cables to a different design that is just like every other figure 8 cable. They will also replace the original cables free of charge.

        My organisation has hundreds of Surface devices and we have boxes of replacement figure 8 cables in anticipation of the original cables failing. Interestingly, only a few of those cables have had to be replaced though.

  • Bought a Surface Pro 4 about March 2016 (i7 2.2GHz 8Gb Ram). SSD failed earlier this year. Fortunately I had a decent backup system in place. No idea whether the SSD was recoverable cause there’s no way of extracting the SSD without using a hammer. Microsoft painlessly sent me a new Surface which has been brilliant for the last several months. The first one did show signs of glitching from the start so I’ll chalk it up to “one of those things”.

    That said I’d have no hesitation buying another Surface during my next upgrade. I am even running CAD on this and loving it. I used to buy Dell and almost every laptop I purchased failed after a year or two. But they too had a strong warranty program so I kept going back.

    My high school kid’s school uses Surface Pros. The primary kids use iPads. I am not aware either school has major issues with either device choice. My primary kids submit homework writing on the screen with their fingers (ie they have regressed to finger painting)! And the school wonders why their handwriting is shocking? That’s enough reason alone to prefer Surface Pro.

  • I’ve had my Surface 3 Pro since it was released and I have to say that I’ve never had a problem with the power supply, keyboard or anything else with it. I’m very happy that it’s working great, the battery is a little bit worse than on day one but that is normal for any batteries with laptops and other things.

  • Surface Pro 3 – i5 model

    After the power supply cord breaking due to no strain relief, it’s replacement later stopped working. The third one has the same design fault, no strain relief.

    After the third power brick the power circuit inside then stopped working which needed the original machine to go back for replacement, Microsoft were shockingly slack on service, didn’t return original packaging, and to make it worse, Couriers Please lost the replacement on the way back.

    No doubts in my mind, hardware by Microsoft is something to avoid.

  • I work in the IT department for an organisation that has moved from HP and Lenovo devices to Surfaces. I have noticed an obvious decrease in reliability with various issues that only affect the Surfaces, or the Surface docks.

    People seem to like the Surfaces despite their flaws though. Whenever we are due to replace computers we give the users a couple of options and 90% of them choose the Surfaces over the other options from HP/Dell/Lenovo.

  • My first Surface Pro 3 i7 failed and was replaced under warranty in the first 3 months, but since then has been great – I’ve been through two docking stations since then, however, which has been dissapointing and expensive. But I love it enough that I’ll be sticking with it when I upgrade. There’s just no other device I’ve seen that offers an equivalent level of portability and power. Hopefully they’ll keep making it better.

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