Tech News Windows

Consumer Reports: Don’t Buy a Microsoft Surface

Dave Parrack 10-08-2017

Consumer Reports is no longer recommending the Microsoft Surface as a worthy purchase. This is because, according to existing owners, the Microsoft Surface has a high failure rate. Microsoft is of course questioning the validity of Consumer Reports’ findings, but this is bound to affect consumer confidence regardless.


The Surface line is Microsoft’s brand of laptops and tablets. This is premium hardware aimed at people who would ordinarily buy a Mac Microsoft Pays You to Ditch Your MacBook for a Surface Microsoft really wants you to buy a Surface device. So much so it's willing to take that old MacBook off your hands in exchange for cold, hard cash. Read More . The Surface has been generally well-received, and Microsoft’s foray into the hardware market is being viewed as a success. However, Consumer Reports thinks there’s a problem with the Surface.

Consumer Reports Estimates a 25% Failure Rate

Consumer Reports has previously recommended the Microsoft Surface Laptop and Microsoft Surface Book. However, regardless of how well these machines did in laboratory testing, the hardware is now mature enough for Consumer Reports to survey actual users. And the results suggest that “25 percent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will present their owners with problems by the end of the second year of ownership.” Which, suffice to say, isn’t great.

Microsoft defended the reliability of the Surface line, issuing a statement saying:

“Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability. We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

It should be noted that Consumer Reports’ quoted 25% figure is just a guesstimate. However, it’s based on data from “90,741 tablets and laptops that subscribers bought new between 2014 and the beginning of 2017.” Which means that a fair few of the Surface devices bought by Consumer Reports’ subscribers over the last few years have broken in some way.

The Truth Is Out There!

Consumer Reports feels that Microsoft’s hardware leaves a lot to be desired. And if that’s the case it’s right to remove the “Recommended” status from the Surface line The Microsoft Surface Isn't Such a Joke After All When Microsoft first unveiled the Surface, people laughed at this iPad-wannabe. And yet four years on, business is booming. No, seriously, stop laughing! Read More . Microsoft, on the other hand, has its own data related to breakdowns and returns, and that clearly disagrees with Consumer Reports’ findings. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle.


As always we’d be interested to hear your real-world experiences…

Do you own a Microsoft Surface device? If so, which one? And how long have you owned it for? Have you had any issues with it yet? If so, what sort of issues? Or is it still working as perfectly now as the day you bought it? Please let us know in the comments below!

Image Credit: Norio Nakayama via Flickr

Related topics: Microsoft, Microsoft Surface.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

Whatsapp Pinterest

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

  1. Chaz
    August 28, 2017 at 9:26 pm

    On surface book now (jan 2016) and been running great ever since. Owned surface pro 2 before that and had since its release date (only traded it in to upgrade to surface book) and never had any issues with that either. Have a surface pro 3 at work and only issue in 2-3 years that we've had it is there was a win8 update and it broke the keyboard driver and had to reinstall windows (upgraded to win 10) but that is a software issue not hardware.

  2. Ollie
    August 11, 2017 at 11:26 pm

    Surface Pro 4 in 2016... still working great. I paired it with a Brydge keyboard and now my daily tablet driver is my daily laptop driver. The i5 with 4GB is what it is and I'm happy with the performance/value ratio. The Ink integration is wonderful and I keep finding new ways to invoke it.

  3. Pete
    August 11, 2017 at 4:42 pm

    1 1/2 year old Surface Pro 3, i5, running Windows 10 with no issues. It's been great. No driver issues, no bugs, no failures, no crashes. The tablet is well built and hardy and has handled jostling and mild abuse well.

  4. Stephan
    August 11, 2017 at 3:19 pm

    I bought a Surface Pro 4 in 2016, I immediately returned it. The problem wasn't the hardware, it was Windows. Mac OS X is still a superior operating system despite its many flaws. Im a fan of what Microsoft has been doing with desktop machines. If they ditched Windows for a better OS, I'd switch in a heartbeat.

  5. Bob
    August 11, 2017 at 2:30 pm

    I haven't trusted Consumer Reports since they rated RCA TV's the most reliable brand many years ago, and in the repair shop I worked at we threw out more 2-3 year old RCA's than any other brand. Their cheap sets were the worst and CR said "highly reliable". Joke. I have a surface pro 4 and had to send it back under warranty, was sent out on Monday and got it back on Wednesday. Great service and great product, what you would expect in a premium device.

    • fcd76218
      August 13, 2017 at 12:31 pm

      They most probably rated only certain models as reliable, not the entire brand.

      BTW - you sure do carry a grudge a long time. RCA has not made TV's in decades. As a matter of fact, there hasn't been an American=made TV on the market in many years. They are made now in East Asia.

  6. Sandra
    August 11, 2017 at 1:57 pm

    I bought my Surface Pro 4 last September and it is running great. My daughter got hers back in December of 2015 and has had no problems with it. My husband also has one from work (I don't remember when he got it, but it was before Dec 2015).

  7. Robert Lacoursiere
    August 11, 2017 at 1:44 am

    13 month surface book with zero issues

    • Marie
      August 11, 2017 at 2:28 am

      2-year user with no problems whatsoever and I love it? Wonder if Apple is behind this? Things that make you go hmmmmm??

      • fcd76218
        August 11, 2017 at 12:53 pm

        Didn't you know that Apple is funding the entire Consumer's Reports organization?!

        If you believe that, I have a bunch of bridges across the US I'll sell you at a good price.

        Based on Consumer's Reports past record versus Microsoft's past record, I am much more inclined to trust CR than MS. If you have one of the Surfaces that has not yet crapped out, Congratulations.

    • Ray
      August 11, 2017 at 3:37 am

      9 months with a Surface Pro 4 i5 with zero issues as well. Best notebook I've had in a long time, was so glad to get rid of my MacBook pro (that was running windows mainly at that point anyway).

      • Mike Walsh
        August 12, 2017 at 10:45 pm

        Oh, for crying out... Seriously? I'm no fan of Macs (to my mind, they're overpriced junk for what they are, despite their OS being much closer in concept to what I do run myself), but you're telling us that you paid out ALL that money for one.....and THEN you make the conscious decision to pollute it with Redmond's spy-ware???

        Jeezus H...

        You'll reap what you sow, boy, mark my words.