Microsoft Surface…Not So Much

Microsoft Surface was supposed to be Microsoft’s answer to rival Apple’s iPad—a chance to inspire consumer loyalty and refresh a long-standing brand. However, almost as soon as the Surface was released, the web erupted with user complaints on a variety of technical issues.

Chief Complaint #1: Touch Cover Keyboard cracks and splits

One of the main selling points of the Microsoft Surface was the Touch Cover Keyboard. In essence, it is meant to serve as both a pressure-sensitive touch screen keyboard and—when not in use—a durable cover for the tablet screen. The biggest user complaint about the touch cover keyboard is that it tears and begins to peel, usually at the point where the keyboard connects to the tablet, and quickly becomes impossible to use.

While this is not the case for all users, Microsoft has acknowledged the issue and released a secondary cover keyboard in response. The new one is built more durably and has replaced the touch keys with raised keys for an additional price.


Chief Complaint #2: Wi-Fi Connectivity Issues

The majority of complaints filling Microsoft customer service forums focus on the Surface’s inability to connect to Wi-Fi networks. For those who are able to connect, their Internet service doesn’t function long before slipping into “limited” connectivity. So far, users have only been able to temporarily fix the problem by turning on and off the “airplane mode” or rebooting the tablet.

At first, Microsoft encouraged users to check their Wi-Fi routers to pinpoint the issue, but users commented that their gaming consoles and other portable devices had no connectivity issues within the same networks. Microsoft has recently released software updates in an effort to fix the problem. Users have since reported improved performance with Wi-Fi connectivity, but the issue is far from resolved.


Chief Complaint #3: Modest Battery Life

Another major issue facing Microsoft Surface users is the tablet’s short battery life. The Surface’s battery (without running apps or media) lasts approximately 2-1/2 hours less than the leading competitors (Google Nexus and Apple iPad). In addition, some users are having issues with recharging their Microsoft Surface once the battery has run low.

These issues are even more disturbing for those who have upgraded to the recently released, more expensive Surface Pro. Pro users have reported that the battery life of their new tablet is about half of the original Surface, lasting about 4.5 hours with minimal media usage.

While Microsoft has made no official announcements about battery complaint resolutions, there are rumors floating around online tech forums about the company developing an external battery for the Surface, giving users hope for the tablet’s survival.

Scratching the Surface

Overall, the Microsoft Surface Pro offers a feature-rich computing experience housed in a sleek, compact 10” tablet—but it’s not without its flaws. Whether those drawbacks will ultimately detract from the overall user experience is yet to be determined. Hopefully, future generations will offer more seamless, elegant performance.

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