Consumer Reports is stripping its “recommended” badge from Microsoft’s entire lineup of Surface PCs because the hardware was found to be “significantly less reliable than most other brands.”
In a survey of 90,000 tablet and laptop owners, Consumer Reports found that roughly 25 percent of Surface users have encountered “problems by the end of the second year of ownership.” Those problems include freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and touchscreen response issues. Reuters reported on the latest Consumer Reports reliability study, which was published on Thursday.
“These conclusions are based on our breakage rate estimates for laptops by the end of the second year of ownership, gathered from subscribers’ experiences with 41,304 laptops purchased new between 2014 and the first quarter of 2017,” the nonprofit publication wrote. This is not the kind of chart that Microsoft wants to see:
But Microsoft is coming out hard against the notion that its hardware is any less reliable than PCs from other companies. “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation,” the company told Reuters in a statement. Apple was found to have the most reliable computers in the annual survey, though it too has tangled with Consumer Reports in the past. In that case, the controversy was over battery life that failed to meet Apple’s promises.
The Surface products are positioned by Microsoft as the pinnacle of Windows hardware, combining top-of-the-line design with the best possible software experience. Most recently, the company has rolled out the Surface Laptop — the line’s first traditional laptop PC — and an upgraded, more powerful Surface Pro. Neither of those products had yet been released at the end of the Consumer Reports survey period. Instead, Microsoft’s standing was likely hurt by bugs and crashes that affected past devices like the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book.