Monday, 21 August, 2017

Consumer Reports just un-recommended Microsoft's Surface range

CNBC Tech Surface Pro review 4 Jeniece Pettitt
Stacy Diaz | 11 August, 2017, 00:24

But after a new survey of thousands of subscribers, Consumer Reports is no longer recommending any Microsoft laptop or tablet, including the popular Surface.

The mag claims that the differences in estimated breakage rates between the devices of "most other brands" is "statistically significant".

Consumer Reports said the study was based on data from 90,741 tablets and laptops that subscribers bought new between 2014 and the beginning of 2017.

However, Microsoft told CNN Tech it doesn't believe the findings accurately reflect Surface owners' "true experiences". Common problems cited include freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and issues with the touchscreen, among others.

"The reality is that Microsoft has very little experience in some of the newer categories it's entering very rapidly, which may expose it to more risk of problems in manufacturing", said Jan Dawson, chief analyst at Jackdaw Research.

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Microsoft initially refused to service these systems at all, breaking a promise the head of Surface had made about MS offering a $200 battery replacement plan.

The four laptops losing their previous recommended status are the Microsoft Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and Microsoft Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions). In Consumer Reports' lab testing, the Surface series regularly earned high marks thanks to its performance and specifications.

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.

Ranjit Atwal at Gartner, who was not involved in the study, told The Reg that Surface devices have "evolved" since the originals and that they were only first or second gen devices, so comparing them to more established PCs is a little bit unfair.

In lab tests, though, many Surface products performed well. Traditionally, Microsoft had limited its involvement with laptops to providing Windows and left the hardware up to manufacturers like HP and Dell. Considering that Microsoft is making a big push into this space, a downgraded rating from Consumer Reports is likely going to impact sales.

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