Independent US product review journal Consumer Reports has withdrawn its coveted 'recommended' status for all Microsoft Surface devices. The non-profit organization said that the removal of that designation followed a survey of 90,000 tablet and laptop users, which found that an estimated 25% of Surface owners would experience "problems by the end of the second year of ownership".
Among the real-world issues with Surface products reported in the survey were touchscreen failures, freezing problems, and system crashes, while some said they had encountered problems just getting the devices to reliably boot up.
Unsurprisingly, Microsoft rejected Consumer Reports' assessment; in a statement to Reuters, the company 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.
In a more detailed statement to USA Today, Microsoft added:
Surface is designed and built with performance and reliability in mind. We extensively test hardware and software to ensure that customers can be confident in their Surface devices.
Every generation of Surface surpasses its predecessors in performance and in reliability. 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.
Consumer Reports' electronics editor, Jerry Beilinson, 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."
He added that the large volume of reported reliability problems with Surface devices made Microsoft a 'statistical outlier' relative to other manufacturers, and that Apple's devices are the most reliable.