Microsoft has denied that its Surface devices are less reliable than those made by other brands, stating that they respectfully disagree with the findings of Consumer Reports. On Thursday, Consumer Reports removed the “recommended” designation from Microsoft Surface devices, saying it cannot recommend them because they are less reliable than devices made by other brands.
Microsoft Surface devices less reliable
Consumer Reports surveyed over 90,000 tablet and laptop owners before concluding its report about the Microsoft gadgets. According to the study, over 25% of the laptops and tablets witnessed some kind of issue by the second year of ownership.
Jerry Beilinson, electronics editor at Consumer Reports, said, “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.”
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Beilinson told Reuters that the Microsoft Surface devices in the survey either froze unexpectedly or shut down. Some of them also had issues with the touchscreen.
In the survey, Consumer Reports stated that four laptops that fall into the “not recommended” category are the Microsoft Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and Microsoft Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions). Consumer Reports admitted that Microsoft is relatively new in the hardware business but said it had enough data to compare the hardware with devices made by other brands.
Following the report, Surface chief Panos Panay said the company believes firmly in the quality and reliability of the Surface family of devices. At Microsoft, the team tracks quality constantly with the help of metrics which include failure and return rates, the executive said in a blog post, adding that both the “predicted 1-2-year failure and actual return rates for Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book are significantly lower than 25 percent.”
CNET also disagrees
CNET also differs from Consumer Reports and has cited several reasons for it. For example, Consumer Reports’ data is not overall return or repair rates for Surface laptops or tablets. The tech site said that the CR survey is based on its subscribers; therefore, it might not reflect the general laptop buying public.
CNET also questioned the sample size, saying that though the sample included 90,741 tablets and laptops that subscribers bought between 2014 and the beginning of 2017, the survey was conducted across nine brands, including Asus, HP, Dell and Apple. Therefore, the number of respondents who actually own Microsoft Surface devices is not clear.
Further, CNET said it has “tested and reviewed every Surface product since the original Surface RT in 2012. Our experience with Surface products has been a mostly positive one, especially in the past few years, as Microsoft has refined and improved the product line.”
Last year, Consumer Reports released a similar report for Apple laptops, raising concerns about battery issues. However, it did not last long, as Consumer Reports reversed its decision in just three weeks after a software update. At that time, however, the decision was based on its own testing, not a reader survey.
On Thursday, Microsoft shares closed down 1.46%.