Microsoft was given a blow recently by Consumer Reports in regards to its Surface PCs.
“Consumer Reports is removing its ‘recommended’ designation from four Microsoft laptops and cannot recommend any other Microsoft laptops or tablets because of poor predicted reliability in comparison with most other brands,” the magazine said in a recent post.
Consumer Reports added that Surface devices had a two-year breakage rate of 25 percent. The 2017 Surface Pro, the Surface Pro 4, and the new Surface Laptop weren’t part of the study. Because of this, many people are saying that the study is invalid.
But the truth is that Microsoft’s Surface Book, in particular, is an example of the worst quality control in PC history. When it was released in October of 2015, there were several problems that made the device almost unusable.
The biggest one was the “Dynamic-Fulcrum” hinge, which was supposed to allow Surface Book owners to detach the screen from the base. However, it only worked half of the time, and other times, one would hear the sound of a death rattle when the detachment took place.
Then, there’s the touchpad, which worked so poorly that this author had to use a separate mouse just to get work done. Microsoft issued a driver update that eventually fixed this issue, and some other issues were fixed as well. By the spring of 2016, the Surface Book was somewhat usable.
But what Microsoft couldn’t fix with driver updates is backlight bleed, something which has been prevalent on Microsoft’s Surface devices since they started arriving in stores in 2012. Although some backlight bleed is normal for an LCD screen, many current Surface Pro units had an unforgivable amount.
One would think that Microsoft would improve their quality control after all the complaints. However, it appears that, as Tech Radar explains, the problem has continued.
“Microsoft deployed a pretty swift fix for the flaw which affected the new Surface Pro that meant the device randomly went to sleep, but there’s another issue with the hybrid which has reared its ugly head: excessive backlight bleeding with the display.”
Once again, not every new Surface Pro owner is complaining about this. And backlight bleed is usually only noticeable in the dark. However, it becomes a problem when you watch a video and see a yellow glow in the picture.
The backlight bleed problem has been written about extensively on Reddit.
“SP5/i5/8GB/256GB here, launch day device had bad bleed and since I had not left the mall. I went back to exchange it and the replacement that we opened had it also bad. The display models (x3) all showed bleed,” said one contributor.
There are some others who have affirmed to taking back several units as well. However, these people didn’t say how bad the problem really was on their devices.
There have been issues with the new Surface Pen as well. Several people have complained that the new stylus produces very jittery writing and drawing at times. Since the new Surface Pen now costs $100 extra, users are hoping for a driver to fix the problem.
According to ZDNet, Microsoft Surface chief Panos Panay has refuted Consumer Reports’ tests and allegations. However, Mr. Panay would be far more productive if he helped improve Microsoft’s quality control, which appears to be almost non-existent at this point.
Microsoft Surface products are high quality products, but it’s always a hit and miss to see which Surface device will work properly. Let’s hope Microsoft takes the Consumer Reports survey to heart so they don’t turn away any more potential customers.
[Featured Image by Drew Angerer/Getty Images]