Consumer Reports no longer recommends Microsoft Surface devices due to reliability concerns

Posted August 11, 2017

The consumer advocates at Consumer Reports have delivered a stunning blow to Microsoft: The nonprofit organization has pulled its recommendations for Surface products, citing an industry-worst failure rate.

As detailed in this latest study, the publication's journalists estimate that about 25 per cent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will present problems after only two years of ownership.

The publication, known for unbiased product testing, said it can't recommend any other Microsoft laptops or tablets due to "poor predicted reliability" compared to other brands.

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The spokesperson added that "Microsoft Surface Pro is designed and built with performance and reliability in mind" but has not yet clarified the "reliability improvements" made within the past two or three years.

Microsoft has enjoyed success with its Surface series, PCs that the company believes is far more advanced. The company surveyed 90,741 tablets and laptops Consumer Report subscribers bought between 2014 and the beginning of 2017.

The comparison with Apple's Mac is only to be expected given that Microsoft pitches its Surface devices as computers capable to rival MacBooks and iMacs both when it comes to performance and product quality.

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Microsoft Surface has been an industry redefining product since its inception. But unless there is sufficient evidence to show that the device is unreliable or malfunctioning, consumer buying confidence is unlikely to be affected by it that much.

"If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher predicted reliability", Beilinson said in the interview. The report does not specify how many users experienced this. Because of this, Consumer Reports can not recommend the devices. Frozen computers, unexpected shutdowns and unresponsive screens were noted as complaints.

What are your thoughts about Microsoft's Surface lineup? Of course, a Microsoft representative provided Consumer Reports with a public statement via email.

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What's hugely important to point out here is that Consumer Reports' retraction of its recommendation appears entirely dependent upon subscriber survey answers.