Consumer Reports no longer recommends Microsoft Surface devices, due to poor reliability

Microsoft disputed the study saying the company’s return and support rates differ significantly from the Consumer Reports study

Consumer Reports removes its "recommended" designation on Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Surface devices. In a statement emailed to USA TODAY, Microsoft said, "Surface is designed and built with performance and reliability in mind".

However, the move by Consumer Report affects more than just those four devices.

For its part, Microsoft does refute the findings, not that we would expect them to say anything different, and says that their return and support rates differ from the findings in the Consumer Report Survey.

Consumer Reports last pulled laptop recommendations in 2015, when ratings were removed for two Hewlett-Packard laptops and one made by Lenovo. 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.

While other brands also may have experienced reliability issues to some degree, the difference in how unreliable the Microsoft devices were was "statistically significant", the release said. Common problems cited include freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and issues with the touchscreen, among others.


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).

Of course, we have not heard a word from Microsoft so it is best to take it with a pinch of salt right now. Nonetheless, while it has great things to say - like much of the industry, ourselves included - about the Surface range in terms of performance, it argues it can't recommend the current models. Beyond its annual 65-year-old consumer survey, Consumer Reports bases its findings on actual product testing done by engineers and technicians with "years and sometimes decades of expertise in their field", the group explained on its website.

We'd love to hear about your Surface device problems, or the lack of them, and how Microsoft has responded if you've tried to get them fixed.

In most of these instances, issues consumers have reported are linked to software issues, and not hardware issues.

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