Consumer Reports stops recommending Surface mobile devices

Kelley Robertson
August 11, 2017

Consumer Reports specifically mentioned four laptops in its report - the Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and the Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions) - but said its decision applies to all Microsoft devices with detachable keyboards as well as those with conventional clamshell designs. And based on those studies they determined that an estimated "25 percent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will present their owners with problems by the end of the second year of ownership".

The problems experienced by users included issues at startup, freezing, and random shut downs, the release said.

This finding is contrarian to that of Consumer Report's lab testing, which found that many of Microsoft's products performed "well" in CR labs. However, Surface is a small part of Microsoft's overall revenue, and Surface revenue has declined year-over-year for the past two quarters.

At the heart of the issue is "poor predicted reliability" according to Consumer Reports, which says it has concerns as to how the Microsoft notebooks and tablets will hold up in comparison to rival hardware. "We're proud of the high performance and versatility marks Surface Pro received in Consumer Reports' laptop lab evaluations".

Microsoft's new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro may well prove to be reliable in the future, proving that Microsoft has solved its reliability issue as I believe they have.

"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. "We survey our subscribers every year about numerous products they own".

Worth noting here is that this is not the first case where Consumer Reports has pulled recommendations.

When Microsoft held an event past year, everybody thought that they were going to announce the Microsoft Surface Smartphone but that did not happen. Frozen computers, unexpected shutdowns and unresponsive screens were noted as complaints.

Consumer Reports recently conducted a survey of almost 91,000 people who bought new laptops and tablets between 2014 and the beginning of 2017. Of course, a Microsoft representative provided Consumer Reports with a public statement via email.

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