As part of a 'shift in its retail options', on 26 June Microsoft announced the closure of nearly all its physical stores.
The four exceptions, 'Experience Centers' in London, New York, Sydney and its native Redmond, will no longer sell products.
While Oxford Circus is the company's only physical presence in the UK, the news means 104 stores across the US will close.
All this means it's not always obvious where you can try Surface hardware. Microsoft's own range of computers are among the most popular devices on the market, but without a brick-and-mortar presence there's no go-to place for trying the company's products.
With that in mind, here are some third-party retailers where you're likely to be able get some hands-on time.
Where can I try Microsoft Surface products?
Retailers vary hugely depending on which country you're living in, so we've broken it down into the UK and US for the purposes of this article. Here's all the details you need for finding the store closest to you.
- Currys PC World - Store Finder
- John Lewis - Store locator
- Tesco - Store locator - Electronics are only available from Tesco Extra stores, with a limited selection of Surface products that are not always available.
- B&H - NYC Store only
- Best Buy - Store Locator
- Costco - Find a Warehouse
- Walmart - Store Finder - Walmart stores' groceries, so Surface availability may be few and far between
Surface products are also available in the US from Abt, Adorama, Amazon, Antonline.com, Beach, DataVision, Fry's Electronics, Micro Center, Nebraska Furniture Mart, Newegg, Office Depot, P.C Richard & Son, RC Willey, Staples and TigerDirect.
While many these stores should have Surface products available to try, it's worth noting they may not have all the products in the range. Given the current situation, there may also be reduced opening hours and increased hygiene restrictions.
What about in-person support?
This is the other major consequence of the closure of Microsoft's physical stores. Only the aforementioned four Experience Centers will now offer dedicated in-person Surface support, with Microsoft shifting much of this online.
Unless you happen to live in one of those four locations, your primary options will be live chat, phone call or sending the device in the post.
The latter is simply not an option to people who rely on their Surface device for everyday usage, while there's no guarantee it will come back fixed. Zac Bowden at Windows Central said his Surface Book 2's battery issue sent back unfixed, as Microsoft's policy prevents it from working on devices that have any physical damage.
It was always going to be difficult to Microsoft to compete with Apple on physical spaces, but this move will only strengthen Apple's position when it comes to customer support. With the two companies in direct competition for PC and laptop users, this may tip the balance in Apple's favour for some people.
Want to buy Microsoft hardware? Check out our guide to the best Microsoft Surface.