Microsoft Plays Defence On Surface Reliability Concerns

Image: iStock

Last week, Consumer Reports gave Microsoft a pasting over the reliability of the Surface Pro and Surface Book computers. It's easy to see why given no fewer than a quarter of devices needed a repair within two years of purchase according to Consumer Reports. Microsoft, as expected, has mounted a defence but it's not very strong.

As we reported last week, Consumer Reports panned the Microsoft Surface's reliability. As I mentioned, my sons have school-issued Surface Pro devices and, while they like the devices, I did question them about the reliability.

My youngest son, who is pretty careful told me the kickstand on his device flaps around now and doesn't lock into position. It's not a major component failure and he is living with it as his computer is due for replacement at the end of this school year.

But he has lost count of the number of replacement power supplies he's needed- and my other son has had a few replaced as well.

While a sample of two is not enough to draw conclusions, it's telling that they both suffer similar issues.

Microsoft's defence, titled We Stand Behind Surface, is very light on actual data.

The say the predicted and actual failure rates are well below 25% but don't tell us what they actually are or what they consider a failure. Is a power supply replacement a failure? That seems, based on comments from readers and asking a few friends about their Surface experience, to be a fairly common problem.

They also point to a recent survey suggesting 98% of users are "satisfied" with their Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book. Given both those devices are very recent additions to the Surface family, that's hardly a surprise. Consumer reports looked at a longer window that "I just got it".

If Consumer Report' data is accurate, then Microsoft's problems aren't going to fixed quickly. And no amount of spin can cover poor reliability.


    I think the power supply would have to be listed as an accessory, not as part of the actual 25% failure rate. So, if that commonly faulty brick is included I htink the failures have to be higher.

    This power supply problem is such a simple fix too, all Microsoft need to do is add strain relief to the custom plug so the wires inside don't break - or better, replace it with a USB-C socket, and allow charging that way.

    I think the biggest insult when I lost these power supplies was that the surface is 100% dead without them. A week without the use of my computer each time they broke. If there was some form of USB charging, like a phone, then the surface wouldn't be a doorstop.

    My wife had 3 surface book replacements in 12 months, all hardware issues. The worst one was the tablet randomly disconnecting every few hours from the base only recoverable by a hard reset, but the other two replacements were due to the USB ports lost power continuously. Just seems like they haven't quite figured out the hardware sadly, which is a shame cause we loved the concept and design. Much love to JB for processing the refund!

    I bought a Surface Pro 3 when they were first released, and two and a half years later upgraded to a Surface Pro (2017). I never had a single hardware problem with the SP3 that wasn't fixed with a driver update, and so far the new Surface Pro has been even better than the SP3.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now