Consumer Reports no longer recommends Microsoft Surface devices

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Surface Laptop
Beware the Surface Laptop's reliability.
Photo: Microsoft

Consumer Reports has pulled the “recommendation” rating it awarded to four Microsoft Surface devices.

The publication says the change was made as a result of “poor predicated reliability,” and said the estimated breakage rate for Microsoft tablets and notebooks was higher than that for most other brands.

Microsoft’s Surface lineup offers innovation in a stagnant and struggling PC market. Its devices have revived interest in portable Windows machines, and kickstarted a new generation of 2-in-1 laptops that can also be used as tablets.

Every Surface device has been greeted by incredibly strong reviews, but according to Consumer Reports, they’re just not reliable enough. After surveying 90,000 subscribers, it found 25 percent of Microsoft devices “present their owners with problems.”

“Microsoft’s estimated breakage rate for its laptops and tablets was higher than most other brands’,” the publication explained. “The differences were statistically significant, which is why Microsoft doesn’t meet CR’s standards for recommended products.”

Problems cited include startup issues, unexpected freezes or restarts, and unresponsiveness touchscreens — all of which surfaced long after the devices had been purchased.

Consumer Reports originally recommended four Surface devices — two variants of the Surface Book and two variants of the Surface Laptop — but says its inability to offer a recommendation rating extends to the entire Surface lineup, including the popular Surface Pro.

Microsoft was quick to defend its devices.

“Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability,” it said in a statement. “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

This isn’t the first time Consumer Reports has slammed a popular product.

Consumer Reports vs. Apple

Back in 2010, Consumer Reports refused to recommend the iPhone 4 because of the “antennagate” scandal.

“When your finger or hand touches a spot on the phone’s lower left side — an easy thing, especially for lefties — the signal can significantly degrade enough to cause you to lose your connection altogether if you’re in an area with a weak signal,” it explained.

“Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.”

More recently, the publication advised subscribers against buying the latest MacBook Pro due to its inconsistent battery performance. However, Consumer Reports reversed that decision and eventually gave it a recommendation after Apple addressed the issues with software updates.

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