In total, the company surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners, but it's unclear how many of them were Surface holders. Nonetheless, with the contentious history of the Surface line and long-term reliability, one would be hard-pressed to fault Consumer Reports for not awarding the Surface Laptop "Laptop of the Year" just yet. Consumer Reports bases its predictions for reliability on historic reports from older devices, then uses that to project how new hardware will hold up. "We found that those made by Microsoft were significantly less reliable than most other brands". The surveys are conducted annually.
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Microsoft disagrees with the report, saying in a statement "real-world return and support rates 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. Of course, the nature of consumer tech is that something will probably go wrong for a subset of devices over the course of their typical use. In Consumer Reports' lab testing, the Surface series regularly earned high marks thanks to its performance and specifications. It takes much more data, collected in aggregate, to make those predictions. "And our brand reliability findings have proven to be quite dependable over the years". According to the details provided, Consumer Reports states that it is hard to give a recommendation to this product due to the number of reliability complaints received from it. Within the Surface product family, Microsoft also sells the Surface Laptop, which features a traditional clamshell laptop design. Others said the touch screen was not responsive enough or that the devices froze or shut off unexpectedly.
Still, the predicted reliability statistics, which are built on the survey responses, are important to users, the release said, and are a major factor in buying decisions.