Microsoft Surface Family Finally Regains Recommendation From Consumer Reports

Just over a year ago, Consumer Reports caused a huge rift in the consumer electronics realm when it withheld is vaunted "recommended" rating from Microsoft's Surface family of products. The publication based its decision on a survey from 90,000 of its readers and found Surface products to be “significantly less reliable than most other brands”.

At the time, the Surface Laptop, Surface Pro and Surface Book were affected by the demotion. When the Surface Book 2 launched, it too was cast off with the lepers

Surface Book 2

What a difference a year makes. The Surface family has been re-evaluated and the publication has concluded that the products can now legitimately earn the "recommended" rating. “Microsoft’s reliability is now on-par with most other laptop brands,” said Martin Lachter, senior research associate for Consumer Reports.

The only member of the Surface mobile family that isn't recommended is the newly released Surface Go. The publication doesn't have enough data to factor in member survey responses with regards to the reliability and performance of the convertible, but its own lab testing has shown that the Surface Go falters with respect to performance.

Poor multitasking performance is cited as a big downside for the Surface Go, mainly due to its pokey Pentium-class processor. “We weigh processing power heavily when we’re evaluating laptops,” added Maria Rerecich, director of electronics testing for Consumer Reports. “A computer that doesn’t do well in performance testing isn’t likely to get recommended.”

surface go 3
Surface Go

Interestingly, not even doubling the RAM and the use of an SSD instead of eMMC was enough to improve the performance of the Surface Go, as both the $399 entry-level model and the $549 high-end SKU came up short.

With that being said, this is overall good news for Microsoft, which strongly took issue with the demotion last year. At the time, Surface GM Ryan Gavin said, "We thought it was unfortunate the report that Consumer Reports put out, partly used the methodology that is consistent with how you evaluate home appliances and applied it to laptops. That would be like [asking] 'Has your dishwasher behaved unexpectedly in the past two years?' and if the answer was 'Yes', you'd be deemed unreliable."

As for the Surface Go, we'll have to wait until the Surface Go 2 to see if it can provide enough processing muscle to achieve a "recommended" rating.