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13 August 2017, 02:20 | Casey Mitchell
A Surface Phone concept
Microsoft asserts that the Surface Pro 4 and Surface Novel rank high in customer satisfaction based on commissioned research from IPSOS, but that may do little to alter Consumer Reports' recommendation.
"New studies conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center estimate that 25 percent of Microsoft laptops and tablets will present their owners with problems by the end of the second year of ownership", Consumer Reports said.
The problem here is that Consumer Reports and Microsoft each have their own data supporting their respective conclusions. It claims that the data used by Consumer Reports is not the overall return and fix rates of the Microsoft Surface devices, with the 25 percent breakage rate nothing more than an estimate.
Microsoft, however, has denied Consumer Reports' findings of poor Microsoft Surface reliability, claiming that the results do not accurately reflect the true experience of owners and the real-world performance of the devices. Electronics editor Jerry Beilinson told Reuters today that common problems in Microsoft devices included freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and difficulties using touchscreens. "And that, contrary to that, my Surface Pro 4 has never had any issues at all". And a black mark can be a massive cause for concern which is why there will be a bunch of people at Microsoft HQ panicking at Consumer Reports' dumping the Surface from its recommended product list.
All this matters because Consumer Reports has a strong reputation for being rigorous, thorough, and fair. The laptops losing their "recommended" designation are Microsoft Surface Laptop (both versions: 128 GB and 256 GB) and Microsoft Surface Book ( both versions: 128GB and 512GB).
Noting that Microsoft is "relatively new to the hardware business", the publication said this was the first year it has had ample data to calculate reliability figures for the company's Surface devices.
The revelation of internal software incompetence caused Microsoft to cancel or delay more ambitious products past year, resulting in the current boring generation of slightly upgraded Surface Pro (tellingly without the driver-nightmare USB-C/Thunderbolt ports) and the even more boring Surface Laptop. The reports reliability is based on older model's performance to predict new models' future reliability. "And people can improve their chances of getting a more dependable device by considering our brand reliability findings".
In a post, Panay claims the Consumer Reports poll is unsatisfactory.
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