Earlier today, Consumer Reports caused a huge controversy by pulling its "recommended" status from all Microsoft Surface laptops and tablets. While I personally swear by the consumer-focused organization for its coverage of vehicles and appliances, I take its computer coverage with a grain of salt. After all, it infamously panned the 2016 MacBook Pro for poor battery life, even going so far as to say Chrome provided longer usage than Safari -- totally wrong, by the way. It turns out Consumer Reports's testing of the MacBook Pro was flawed and it later reversed course, recommending the Apple laptop after all.
With all of that said, I was obviously a bit dubious of its criticism of some Surface machines. In my experience, the Surface hardware is extremely well made and owners are generally satisfied with the computers. That's not to say they are perfect -- quite the contrary. Actually, they have been prone to bugs that were later fixed (mostly) with firmware and driver updates. Despite those issues, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend any Surface product. Obviously Microsoft and Panos Panay -- father of Surface -- would share my disagreement with Consumer Reports. To solidify that, Panay has now penned a response titled "We stand behind Surface."
Poor reliability means Consumer Reports no longer recommends Microsoft Surface -- or any other Microsoft laptop or tablet
Influential reviewer Consumer Reports says that it no longer recommends Microsoft Surface tablets and laptops. The consumer group says that poor predicted reliability for the Surface range means that it is pulling its "recommended" tag.
More than this, Consumer Reports goes on to say that it "cannot recommend any other Microsoft laptops or tablets." Recent studies suggest that a quarter of laptops and tablets from Microsoft will present problems for users within two years of ownership.
If you need a Windows 10 computer, you can't go wrong with a Surface. Slowly but surely, Microsoft diversified its offerings, which now includes a tablet, two laptops, and an all-in-one-desktop. In other words, the Windows-maker recognized that one size does not fit all. Regardless of your needs, you can probably find a Surface that makes you happy.
The problem? These Surface computers are expensive. Actually, they can be very costly -- especially with top specifications. If you find yourself wanting one of these computers, but don't have any money in savings, I have good news. Today, Microsoft launches the Surface Plus Program for both consumers and businesses. This program essentially loans you the money, with a possible zero percent interest rate, to buy a Surface. Zero percent essentially means "free money," making it a wise alternative to high-interest credit cards.
Microsoft sent shockwaves around the technology world back in 2013 when it released the first edition of its Surface Pro. As its first computing release, the device was a bold change by a company best known for its software, but the success of this initial model, and the three successive releases, have proved it to be a shrewd idea.
Released last month, the latest edition of the Surface Pro has dropped the model number seen in previous generations, meaning this product goes back to basics when it comes to naming, however when it comes to what's inside, the device has received a welcome upgrade.
The Windows 10 Creators Update rollout began in April, but unless you took it upon yourself to manually update your PC, there’s a good chance you won’t have been offered it, especially if have an older system. In June, according to AdDuplex, just 35.7 percent of Windows 10 users were running the latest feature update.
AdDuplex has just updated its figures for July, and this shows that 50.1 percent of Windows 10 users now have the update. That might seem like a big jump forward, but to put the speed of the upgrade into context, three months after its rollout began, the Anniversary Update was already on 3/4 of all PCs.
When Microsoft announced the Surface Pro in May it also unveiled a couple of new Type Covers to go along with its latest Windows 10 hybrid device. And, now, the software giant is making sure that the keyboards work with the Surface Pro 4 as well.
Microsoft has added support for the Surface Pro Type Cover and Signature Type Cover via a new firmware update, that it just released for the Surface Pro 4. It comes with an updated keyboard driver, version 1.1.504.0.
In 2017, it is not uncommon for people to own many mobile devices. Using myself as an example, I regularly use an iPhone, iPad, and Nintendo Switch. Let's not forget my portable MacBook Pro too.
If you own a bunch of mobile devices like me, such as a smartphone, tablet, and slim laptop, Satechi has a really cool new product for you. Called "R1 Aluminum Foldable Stand," it aims to provide an optimal viewing experience for all of your devices -- including Nintendo's popular Switch gaming console. When you aren't using it, it can fold up to go into a drawer, laptop bag, or luggage.
Most Windows 10 users still haven't been offered the Creators Update -- even owners of Surface devices
The problem with this is that not everyone has been offered the latest feature update. Two months after it launched, the Creators Update continues to roll out at a glacial pace, meaning the majority of people running Windows 10 are still on the Anniversary Update, and that includes users of Microsoft’s own Surface range of devices.
Microsoft came very close to launching a smaller version of its Surface slate three years ago. The Surface Mini, as it was rumored to be called, was expected to see the light of day alongside the Surface Pro 3, but mysteriously there was no sign of it at the software giant’s launch event in New York.
During the company's earnings report a few months after the launch event, Microsoft admitted it had been working on the diminutive device, but had decided "to not ship a new form factor" after all, although it didn’t give a reason. Due to the late cancellation, we never got to see what a Surface Mini would have looked like, but today details and images of it have finally surfaced (pun intended).
Microsoft releases Windows 10 S recovery images for Surface Laptop allowing downgrades from Windows 10 Pro
With the Surface Laptop, Microsoft is testing the water with Windows 10 S, its cut-down version of Windows 10. For those who find they can't live with the restrictions the operating system imposes on them, there is the possibility of upgrading to Windows 10 Pro -- but Microsoft warns that this is a one-way, irreversible process.
Except it's not, of course. While it's not possible to "uninstall" Windows 10 Pro and downgrade to Windows 10 S, there's nothing to stop you from restoring your computer to its factory state -- something that Microsoft has just made a great deal easier by releasing the recovery images for Windows 10 S version 1703.
It has been a few weeks since Microsoft launched the new Surface Laptop, and the Windows 10 S machine has been very well received. If you do get one, though, you'd better hope that nothing goes wrong with it.
A teardown of the device reveals that the Surface Laptop is largely held together with glue, and if you were to attempt any sort of repair, you would likely damage it. It also shows that components such as CPU and memory are soldered in place so they can't be replaced or upgraded. Overall it was given a rating of 0 out of 10!
The Surface Pro only just went on sale, but you might want to reconsider that purchase. Don't get me wrong, Microsoft's hybrid tablet looks great, but ASUS has a very similar new Windows 10 PC that might be better. Called "Transformer Pro T304," it features the ports that are missing from the Surface Pro, such as HDMI and USB-C -- no dongles needed. Don't worry, there is a USB Type-A port too.
Not only does the Transformer Pro T304 have plenty of ports, but plenty of horsepower too. Regardless of configuration, you get a 7th-generation Core i7-7500U and 12.6-inch display with a 2160x1440 resolution. While the display is slightly larger than Surface Pro, the resolution on the ASUS machine is less -- something to consider. For memory, 8GB is standard, but you can opt for 16GB. The increase in RAM also gets you a storage bump, going from 256GB to 512GB. The superior model also gets Windows 10 Pro rather than Home.
Microsoft has been developing its Surface line of computers for years, and it has been exciting to see the evolution. What started out as a tablet with a terrible keyboard has evolved into a world-class desktop (Surface Studio), tablet (Surface Pro), and notebook (Surface Laptop). Slowly but surely, the company has created a diverse product line that focuses on elegance and productivity.
While pre-orders were already available, today is finally the day you can buy the all-new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro. Consumers have a hard decision to make -- which one should they buy? While Surface Pro stays true to the original Surface mission of being a tablet and laptop in one, the Surface Laptop is true to its name -- a notebook only.
Intel revealed in early-May that there is a critical security vulnerability in its Active Management Technology, which can be exploited to gain remote access to PCs. The feature is designed to help system administrators manage devices, so, due to its nature, it is more likely to affect enterprise users than consumers.
However, since the Surface line is popular with businesses, Microsoft wants to let its enterprise users know that no Surface devices are affected by the AMT vulnerability, despite it being offered in some of the processors available with its tablets and laptops.
Whether or not the Surface Hub is a success has been a big question mark. After all, Microsoft hasn't shared exact sales figures. Obviously, the company doesn't have to sell a ton of them to be considered successful, since it has a narrow focus and large price tag. While we still do not have exact sales figures, today we can confidently call the product a success. Why? Well, Microsoft announces something very impressive -- 50 percent of Fortune 100 companies have purchased at least one of them. Keep in mind, this is in addition to companies outside of that group.
True, that could be a total of only 50 Surface Hubs, but the number isn't so important. The truly impressive aspect is that these are high-quality companies that are often seen as trendsetters. In other words, this is exactly what Microsoft should want to be seeing from a fairly niche product. Today, the product gets even more attractive for two reasons. For one, the Windows 10 Creators Update is now available for it. Secondly, Microsoft introduces a new 5-year extended hardware service plan.