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Consumer Reports: Microsoft Surface has worst failure rate in the industry


Independent consumer advocacy group Consumer Reports has pulled their recommendation of Microsoft's Surface products stating they have the 'worst failure rate in the industry."

According to a Consumer Reports survey of over 90,000 tablet and laptop owners, an estimated 25 percent of those with Microsoft Surface devices will experience “problems by the end of the second year of ownership.” This failure rate is the worst in the industry by far among mainstream PC makers, the publication says, this has resulted in them pulling its “recommended” designation for all Surface products. 

This is an alarming development for Microsoft, who has evolved its Surface devices over the years and aggressively added to the model lineup with the Surface Book, Surface Studio and most recently, the Surface Laptop.

Consumer Reports famously panned Apple's MacBook Pro with TouchBar due to inconsistent battery life performance. After software resolved the issue, the MacBook Pro was once more recommended by Consumer Reports.

In Microsoft's case, the Surface lineup is coming in dead last in terms of failure rates among notebook PCs. Due to its comparatively higher breakage rate, Microsoft laptops cannot be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time,” the publication states. 

Microsoft quickly responded these findings with a blog post titled, "We Stand Behind Surface." Citing a 98 per cent satisfaction rating from customers, Surface lead Panos Panay stressed that "The Surface Team’s mission is and has always been to make devices that deliver great experiences to our customers and fans. It’s the motivation for everything we do, and we are proud of the Surface devices we have built."

To Microsoft's credit, Surface products are attractive, they use premium materials, and are built to an exacting degree even if they have notoriously low reparability scores.

I've been a fan of Surface and have at one time or another invested in Surface Pro 2, Surface Pro 3 and Surface Book devices.

The build and keyboard of the Surface Book impressed me the most, even if I realized I didn't need the 2-in-1 functionality as much as I needed a reliable laptop. Issues with Wi-Fi disconnecting, the rubber feet peeling off and an assortment of software issues had me going back to Microsoft's retail store. 

To Microsoft's credit, they replaced my Surface Book twice with replacement units, and even helped me get my data over to the new replacement devices. Their customer service exceeded my expectations, but my satisfaction with the Surface Book dwindled. I eventually let it go and moved to a MacBook which has given me zero problems. 

The Surface 2-in-1's, laptops and desktops are premium device which are priced at the high-end of the spectrum, so there's a definite expectation these will be trouble-free for a longer time. 

Source:, Consumer Reports, iFixit

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