08-17-2017 04:25 PM
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  1. Al Sacco's Avatar
    So, if you're paying attention, you've likely heard that consumer reviews site Consumer Reports dealt Microsoft and its Surface brand a significant blow yesterday, when it removed its "recommended" designation from ALL Surface PCs and questioned the lineup's overall reliability.

    I wrote a news story for Windows Central on the subject yesterday, and since then Microsoft's Surface chief disputed the claims—and I received a ton of responses from readers on social sites like Twitter. Of the dozen or so responses I received, the majority by far seemed to agree with Consumer Reports' finding. In other words, I heard from many more people who claimed to have returned their Surface PCs due to hardware issues than people who said they'd had no problems at all. Of course, that doesn’t necessarily mean much, because people are more likely to respond if their experience was in line with the report than if it wasn't. (People love validation.) But it did seem notable to me.

    At Windows Central, we were surprised to hear Consumer Reports' take, because we're all big fans of Surface and for the most part have not really experience any sort of consistent reliability issue.

    What do you think of the whole thing? Do you think the report's conclusions are valid? Do you trust Consumer Reports in general? And do you think this whole thing will have any lasting effect on Microsoft and Surface?
    08-11-2017 07:18 AM
  2. tgp's Avatar
    This is of course anecdotal, but our experience with retail and personal use would put the reliability somewhere in between. We haven't had issues with 1 in 4, but reliability has not been anywhere near 98%.
    xandros9 likes this.
    08-11-2017 08:05 AM
  3. orlbuckeye's Avatar
    But I heard the report was with software issues. Although users can easily mistake hardware issues with software as when drivers (software) fails the hardware doesn't work as it should.
    smithy_dll likes this.
    08-11-2017 08:28 AM
  4. wpcautobot's Avatar
    I have had the Surface RT, Surface 2, and Surface 3. The Surface 2 had some separation in the metal where the camera assembly was at the top. It was like this right out of the box and they immediately replaced it during the purchase process unboxing. The other items have not had hardware issues at all. Software and drivers though have been spotty at initial release but ironed out over time. The initial software quality is what I think MS should be focused on. They seem to want to release a bit too early. They need to take time to polish up those drivers first. All of that said, the MS Store has always been great at customer service, never gives me trouble if I need help or have any other issue. I recommend the MS Store if you have one nearby for any purchase due to their customer service.
    08-12-2017 12:23 PM
  5. giganotosaurus's Avatar
    I really don't care.. I get my reviews from youtubers now.. Not consumer reports!!
    goncaloncpinto likes this.
    08-12-2017 12:38 PM
  6. CryptoSys's Avatar
    Good guy Consumer Report telling the TRUTH ! Respect for the site doubled in my heart.
    WinLou likes this.
    08-12-2017 12:45 PM
  7. hans-martijn's Avatar
    For me MS made an impression after stopping their next windows mobile tryout. I'm not sure whether I will trust them ever again supporting an expensive device of their own brand for a longer period of time. I'm not an apple fanboy who replaces his phone every year with the latest model. I would keep my L950 preferably until next year, hoping there will be software left. If MS ever makes a phone again, I probably won't buy it. I've restarted enough now; I'll try something different next time.
    WinLou likes this.
    08-12-2017 12:48 PM
  8. hans-martijn's Avatar
    For me MS made an impression after stopping their next windows mobile tryout. I'm not sure whether I will trust them ever again supporting an expensive device of their own brand for a longer period of time. I'm not an apple fanboy who replaces his phone every year with the latest model. I would keep my L950 preferably until next year, hoping there will be software left. If MS ever makes a phone again, I probably won't buy it. I've restarted enough now; I'll try something different next time.
    08-12-2017 01:17 PM
  9. MadSci2's Avatar
    One should not forget Microsoft has worked very hard over the years to develop and nurture a reputation for screwing over its Consumer customers, and never, never admits to it or makes it right. Anyone here get a refund for Windows Me? Vista? and the less said about how MS botched Windows Phone and Mobile, well, actually, lots should be said about it because pretending they treated their customers well is part of their problem.

    Surface has been a better ride, but as usual, MS keeps releasing these pricy hardware consumer products before they are ready. The result is a constant cycle of 'new Model' problems that earns them a bad reputation. My Surface Pro 3 has been a delight, but only after the first 6 months of battery issues all caused by Microsoft's software problems. Now the battery is wearing out and I cannot help but think that the way it was cooked for nearly a year starting out probably contributed to it. Did MS do anything about the abuse they caused to the batteries in Surface tablets. Don't make me laugh!

    The Surface Book launch was equally messy. As for the Surface Laptop, well I bought one for my Daughter to take to college. It lasted one week before a total hardware failure that required a complete replacement. While it lasted, I had to suffer thru the problems caused by their latest not-ready-for-prime-time Operating System, which is so messed up it blocks downloading and installing Office 365 to a pre-existing account. MS's own Support personnel don't have 'scripts' yet to provide help, and their Surface Laptop support links only go to ones for other Surface products. All of which wasted two days of my time as I had to figure out what was wrong, because MS's own people are untrained and helpless.

    Based on my experience, I wouldn't recommend Surface hardware to general consumers either. MS just doesn't ever launch their devices properly. They act like consumers are corporate IT users who have a vast free array of IT support to fix problems for them. Surface products should only be matched to advanced 'prosumers' who can figure out and solve issues without help from Microsoft. The only alternative is to shell out abusive prices for warrantees that shouldn't be necessary in the first place.

    Oh - for the love of God if you ha!e a Surface Laptop - INSTALL WINDOWS 10 PRO IMMEDIATELY!


    Microsoft has been abusing its Consumer customers for so many decades they don't realize that they are doing it - or that it will cost them dearly. They need to learn this lesson and Consumer's Reports is actually doing them a favor.
    08-12-2017 01:58 PM
  10. editguy's Avatar
    It's only a big deal from the perspective of bad PR and for those who use it to make purchasing decisions. You would be better off reading reviews on Amazon. At least there you can get a sense of whether or not it's a user problem or a product problem. CR is probably the worst place to be getting info for making purchases. Additionally, they have shown biases for decades.
    08-12-2017 03:49 PM
  11. ZuneEtunes's Avatar
    I think it's much to do about nothing, especially when you consider that Consumers Report is no longer as relevant as it once was. I used to be a subscriber to their magazine several years ago, but I no longer seek information from them for items I purchase such as: appliances, vehicles, electronics, lawn mowers, etc. There are so many sources available these days.
    SpinelessWonder likes this.
    08-12-2017 05:17 PM
  12. DavidJ726's Avatar
    I has the SP 4. Had nothing but troubles trying to run two monitors with the dock and using MS's "Gold Plated" Display Port to HDMI adapters. I'll ignore the DPI scaling issues (of which I wasn't happy) but just trying to keep two monitors active, and set up as Monitor 1 & 2, along with the sleep issues, and I finally gave up. I had went as far as to bring both my monitors to the local MS store here in KC, and they couldn't figure it out either. I spent hours on the phone with MS, their best solution was reinstalling Windows and updating drivers. The ended up swapping out all of the equipment... the SP4. the Dock, the Adapters and the keyboard to no avail. I finally returned it all.

    I see similar issues online with the current SP, but I don't know to what extent these issues are prevalent. So yes, with my bad experience, I am reading CR reports with an open eye.
    Last edited by DavidJ726; 08-14-2017 at 11:03 AM.
    WinLou likes this.
    08-12-2017 05:59 PM
  13. Erik Read's Avatar
    I owned the first Surface Pro and also a Surface Book. My Surface Book can't use a USB 3.1 SSD without locking up. I have tried several SSDs and several USB cables. All with the same outcome. I recently bought a MacBook Pro and everything works just fine. So, yes, there are issues especially when you consider the premium price point.
    WinLou likes this.
    08-12-2017 06:17 PM
  14. Tenticle's Avatar
    Consumers union uses data derived from actual users . It is a neutral party and is effectively unbiased.
    J.d.power is none of these. It is beholden to its customers (The companies pay them to review their products) , I consider their "ratings/awards to be meaningless.
    WinLou likes this.
    08-12-2017 06:34 PM
  15. Monte Constable1's Avatar
    I would argue that pulling the recommendation for all product without data as to which ones were the worst/best is not good practice. I don't know how well the new Surface Laptop or Pro will hold up, but I would be shocked if those devices made up a statistically significant portion of the negative responses. So yes consumer reports should and can be more clear about their data.
    SpinelessWonder likes this.
    08-12-2017 08:10 PM
  16. Wayne Jordan's Avatar
    I can't watch videos on my Surface Pro 4, purchased in March 2017 because double vision when watching videos, off and online. And then the flickering starts. $1400 and I can only use it for everything but videos. Of course, Manufacturer's warranty has run out.
    08-12-2017 09:11 PM
  17. UzEE's Avatar
    Let me clear one thing before I give my 2 cents: I absolutely love my Surface Book (Performance Base).

    I can't comment on if the 25% failure rate is accurate or not. But I've owned Surface products and have bought them for our office as well in the past. I also closely follow the news regarding these devices so I somewhat have an idea of what's it like with devices I don't really own.

    We got two Surface Books (i7 / 512GB / 16GB / 940M) in December 2015 for work. One for me (developer), another for a co-worker (designer). While there were some software issues at first, we just powered through them because we absolutely loved the hardware. But sometime around March 2015, my co-worker's Surface Book had a unique glitch. He had detached the clipboard for some design work, and when attaching it back to the base, some glitch in the driver didn't register the device being attached, even though, physically, the muscle wire lock had engaged and the base had firmly attached.

    This caused a major problem since Windows / software didn't allow us detach and reconnect, and since it didn't think it was in a attached state, the touchpad, keyboard and even the base's battery didn't work. This eventually led to the clipboard running out battery juice because it didn't charge as well even though we could charge the base. Long story short, after lots of support calls and troubleshooting, we had to ship (read: hand carry) the Surface Book on a 22-hour flight back to the United States (from where it was bought) and bring it to a Microsoft Store in California. To Microsoft's credit, the replaced the Surface Book on spot no questions asked and gave us a completely new one.

    The replacement has been working fine, and even though my co-worker often encounters issues with the dock, he just ignores them and reset's / reboot the device because he actually enjoys using it.

    Fast forward to March 2017 (interesting coincidence I know). I got hooked to Overwatch so I decided to upgrade (side-grade?) to a Surface Book with Performance Base (i7 / 512GB / 16GB / 965M) mainly because of the much better GPU. So we got the new machine for me and gave my older Surface Book to another co-worker. By that time, my Surface Book had developed a slight bend at the center of the display a few months ago but I didn't really pay much attention to it. I thought it's probably because I always tend to open the lid from the center with moderate force so it somehow started to bend because of that.

    About a month later, that bend had turned into a massive bulge that had managed to dislodge the screen. Turns out the battery had swelled and was probably about to explode. At that time, the Surface Book had been in use for about 1 year and 4 months.

    kwi9wor.jpg
    ibilzno.jpg

    Unfortunately, since there was a risk of it exploding and catching fire, no shipping company or airline allowed us to take the Surface Book back to the US to get repaired / replaced, and it is nothing more than a $3000 paper weight now.

    As for my current Surface Book (performance base), I run into very frequent performance issues where the touchpad starts to lag after a period of inactivity or if there is some activity on the CPU. This doesn't happen on the other Surface Book's I've tested under similar conditions so my guess is that this is a problem with my device. Another issue I've had with this unit since day 1 is that it's Wi-Fi performance is very erratic and I get random ping spikes even when communicating with my router. It's mostly 1ms and then suddenly would jump to 6 or 10ms for a second or two and then comes back again, which causes problems while streaming Xbox One or playing games online in general. I've tried numerous fixes but this is apparently a hardware issue so nothing works.

    TL;DR: The Surface line is amazing hardware and I believe Panos Panay when he says they have some of the highest customer satisfaction levels. However, this doesn't mean that they don't have issues that indeed have a high chance of rendering a particular device completely useless, so I also believe when Consumer Reports says almost 25% users experience issues within the first two years of ownership.
    mobilejk likes this.
    08-12-2017 09:32 PM
  18. badtzbuzz's Avatar
    I own a Surface RT, Pro Gen 1, and Pro 4. The only issue I have is on then Gen1 with the on/ff button requiring a firmer push than new. After 5 years, I can't really compliance about this. Also the Gen 1 has been dropped a few times by my daughter, with no signs of damage.

    I would have purchased the Book or Laptop to overcome the Pro's lap-a-bility drawback, if it was in my budget this year.

    I can certainly be counted as part of the 98% satisfied customer...tested and proven experience.
    SpinelessWonder likes this.
    08-13-2017 05:38 AM
  19. Great deal's Avatar
    The damage is done, let it die and wither away, repeatedly bringing this issue up just keeps it in the publics eye. MS will have to increase thier testing, simples, MS have to ensure the next report puts them at the top and quite frankly thats good for everyone as there have certainly been issues in the Surface line.
    WinLou likes this.
    08-13-2017 08:03 AM
  20. dkediger's Avatar
    Consumer's Union/Reports has, in my opinion, lost much credibility over the years. I think largely this is due to the much more rapid pace of product evolvement that makes evaluation difficult and untimely. I also do feel there is a bias underlying their reporting that is separate from true consumer advocacy. Case in point: their ride on the incandescent to CFL to LED bandwagon. While certainly a great improvement from an energy efficiency standpoint, they gave little to no attention to factors like color temps, fixture replacement, dimming capabilities and switch replacement, multi-level bulbs. All things which directly impacted their target audience - the consumer - and in many cases became the largest expense and factor affecting the consumer replacing bulbs.

    Overall, I feel their tech reviews are particularly weak and offer little insight beyond what is generally available elsewhere.

    I think their automotive long term reliability reporting is their best and most useful feature. That speaks to my original point though; product/manufacturer reporting on durable goods that have ample life spans with well know use cases that generate volumes of usage data.

    My own experience with Surfaces in my workplace, as an IT director: perfect, no, but not any more issues, actually slightly better, than our other mobile devices (mainly Lenovo business notebooks). Certainly not a 25% issue rate.
    08-13-2017 08:42 AM
  21. KelvBlue's Avatar
    They dont have records for those, they projected the reliability of those based on the previous Surface models.
    08-13-2017 08:44 AM
  22. incendy's Avatar
    In the end, I think it is a good thing. Worst case scenario is that it makes Microsoft take a much harder look at the reliability of their Hardware and Software. My feelings on my Surface Book are that it is an amazing device plagued with issues. Many of which were fixed via firmware updates, many that remain such as CPU spikes on battery and network issues when docking.
    08-13-2017 09:25 AM
  23. missionsparta's Avatar
    Well, my household has had the opposite experience. Our Surface Book rubs like a beast and our MacBook is giant pile of sh**.
    08-13-2017 09:29 AM
  24. abrichman's Avatar
    I have long felt that CR was something more for my mother's age group than my own (e.g. the AARP and up crowd more than the Gen-X and younger). When researching my last three laptop/2-in-1 purchases (dating back to 2010), I never once even thought to look at CR results because they seem so wildly irrelevant in this space. BUT, I have to acknowledge that for folks in that older bracket, this could represent a very real ripple in sales with that demographic.... IF that demographic buys these machines in the first place.

    From another PoV, hardware failure rates are kind of par for the industry. Having had an eMac (pair of resistors) bulge and render the machine unusable, my experience with Apple was great that they took back the machine at the physical store and returned it to me m having replaced those parts within a reasonable amount of time at no cost. Great support of their product. For my first SP2, MS worked with me tirelessly to try resolve a very real behavioral issue and swapped out the entire device for a new one (with the newer chipset). On receipt of that, the issue returned and we eventually determined it was a third party driver (USB -> DisplayPort) I was using with the dock that was the cause (which the mfgr updated later and addressed the issue). They were great about the whole and again, was left very impressed with their efforts and expense to address at their cost (and it wasn't remotely their issue as we'd find out). Again, great support of their product.

    So to me, if MS and Apple have shown that they'll make issues right (even if those issues are not caused by them directly), my concern for a product defect - provided that's an exception vs. rule - is non-existent.
    08-13-2017 10:46 AM
  25. mobilejk's Avatar
    Is this a "big deal"? No, but this site is trying to make it one, with Windows dwindling mindshare and rapidly disappearing mobile presence. Looks desperate.

    Just stop.
    08-13-2017 12:12 PM
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