Consumer Reports says it no longer recommends laptops and tablets by Microsoft

Researchers at Consumer Reports announced Thursday they no longer recommend any laptop or tablet made by Microsoft. (Photo: Consumer Reports)

Researchers at Consumer Reports announced Thursday they no longer recommend any laptop or tablet made by Microsoft.

This may seem an odd about-face, since the Microsoft devices got 'good' ratings from Consumer Reports earlier this year.

Back in February, CR testers gave strong ratings to several Microsoft devices, including the Surface Pro laptop and the budget-priced Surface 3 tablet.

Since then, Consumer Reports said it's been able to review what actual customers have said about reliability.

In recent reliability surveys for laptops and tablets - Consumer Reports said some owners reported their Microsoft devices froze or shut down. Others said they had problems starting them up.

"We survey our subscribers every year about many of the products they own," explained CR Electronics Editor Jerry Beilinson. "This year we looked at more than 90,000 responses from subscribers about laptops and tablets that they had bought. We found that those made by Microsoft were significantly less reliable than most other brands."

Consumer reports said based on the customers who shared feedback about their experiences, the Microsoft devices had more problems than other brands and the laptops and tablets that came out on top for reliability were made by Apple.

Based on the survey data, Consumer Reports said it predicts one in four Microsoft tablets and laptops will present problems within two years of ownership.

In a statement released by Microsoft today, the company specifically defends it's Surface Pro laptop:

“Microsoft Surface Pro is designed and built with performance and reliability in mind. Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability. While we respect Consumer Reports, we don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or captures the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation. We’re proud of the high performance and versatility marks Surface Pro received in Consumer Reports’ laptop lab evaluations.”

Consumer Reports provided the following additional information about it's decision to stop recommending Microsoft laptops and tablets:

"This is the first year, we've had enough data to include Microsoft in our brand reliability evaluations for laptops. Our practice has generally been to recommend a laptop if it scores high enough even if we don't have the reliability data. Once we have sufficient data, we will publish the reliability results and if the data show a brand is statistically worse than most other brands, it can cause a product to lose its recommendation, which is what is happening with the four Microsoft laptops we call out. We will re-assess Microsoft's reliability for its tablets and laptops next year and see if there has been enough improvement to recommend their products."

Consumer Reports further said the new studies of laptop and tablet reliability leverage data on 90,741 tablets and laptops that subscribers bought new between 2014 and the beginning of 2017. Predicted reliability is a projection of how new models from each brand will fare, based on data from models already in users’ hands.

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