What it is: Consumer Reports recently pulled their recommendation of Microsoft Surface tablets over reliability issues.
Microsoft’s Surface 2-in-1 devices are an interesting product. Supposedly they give you the features of a laptop and a tablet, but in most cases, they’re just ultraportable laptops that offer table features. The real feature of any tablet isn’t just the hardware but the software, so using Windows as a tablet is adequate, but not optimal. Still if Windows works for you as a tablet, then you might as well get a Surface device.
What Consumer Reports claims is that the reliability of Microsoft Surface devices is in doubt. Surface users in the past have complained about software bugs that have caused problems, but Consumer Reports claims that a high number of Surface users report problems. Since Microsoft generally fixes these problems right away, the real drawback is the inconvenience of taking your device in to get fixed. The real reliability problem isn’t just the hardware but the operating system, Windows.
Windows 10 has virtually eliminated crashes that plagued Windows XP. However, Windows 10 still isn’t the easiest operating system to use, especially since it’s the largest target for malware. So not only do Windows users have to deal with less than intuitive user interfaces, but they must also deal with security software to guard against malware. Toss in the higher price of a Microsoft Surface device and suddenly the convenience of having one device act as a laptop and tablet pales compared to the higher price you have to pay for buying and using a Surface device.
If you’re truly interested in a 2-in-1 device that runs Windows, look at rival devices from Dell, Lenovo, and Hewlett-Packard. They’re often cheaper than a Microsoft Surface and likely don’t have reliability issues that Microsoft Surface devices have. If you’d rather skip the headaches of Windows, then consider switching to an iPad or MacBook.
The Microsoft Surface is a decent device that’s priced too high compared to its rivals. Sales of Microsoft Surface units isn’t skyrocketing. In fact, it’s steadily declining. Microsoft never planned for the Surface devices to be massive profit generators anyway, so Microsoft probably doesn’t care that much about whatever happens to the Surface lineup anyway.
Ultimately, the Microsoft Surface is an interesting device that likely will continue improving with incremental updates and minimal market share. If you’re a die-hard Windows user, the Surface is probably for you. For everyone else, there are cheaper Windows alternatives or the iPad or MacBook.
If you want low price, get a Windows alternative to the Microsoft Surface. If you want to pay a higher price and get a smoother user experience, then it might be time to consider an iPad or MacBook. All hardware devices fail so don’t be scared away from the Microsoft Surface. Just don’t expect the Microsoft Surface to be a game changing product like the iPhone, iPad, or Macintosh.