Microsoft’s Surface family of hardware products have generally been lauded by the press for their seemingly high-quality designs, first-party status, and for getting most of the details right with regards to ergonomics and functionality (often times, later being copied by third-party manufacturers). Publications like Consumer Reports have also given Surface laptops and tablets recommended ratings based on their own in-house testing.
However, Consumer Reports is now walking back its recommended rating after receiving tens of thousands of responses from its subscribers. In particular, the publication says that the predicted reliability of the Surface Book and the recently introduced Surface Laptop falls below that of competitors in the sector based on a survey of 90,000 of its readers. In fact, Surface products are “significantly less reliable than most other brands”.
Its finding showed that roughly 25 percent of the devices will have one or more problems within the first two years of ownership. As a result, it will no longer recommend any Microsoft-branded laptop, tablet or convertible. This includes the new Surface Pro. Recommended ratings have been pulled for both the 128GB and 256GB Surface Laptop along with the 128GB and 512GB Surface Book.
Microsoft of course disputes these findings and disagrees with Consumer Reports’ decision to dropkick the Surface Laptop and Surface Book. In a statement to the publication, Microsoft said, “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”
"Every generation of Surface surpasses its predecessors in performance and in reliability," said in a separate statement to Ed Baig. "Surface return and support rates are in line if not lower than industry average for devices in the same class. We are committed to ensuring the premium Surface experience for all of our customers across the entire family of devices."
Last year, Apple ran afoul with Consumer Reports when its laptops were shown to deliver less than stellar battery life. The recommended rating was later reinstated following the publication’s testing methodology was called into question and Apple’s decision to squash a developer bug in Safari.