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Consumer Reports Says Microsoft Laptops Are Unreliable

August 10, 2017, 1:58 PM UTC

Consumer Reports pulled its coveted “recommended” imprimatur from all Microsoft laptops and tablets, including the Surface and Surface Book, saying the line up suffered from excessive reliability problems.

The problems cropped up when the magazine conducted one of its annuals surveys of reader experiences. Based on the results, Consumer Reports predicted that a staggering 25% of Microsoft laptops and tablets would have reliability problems in the first two years of ownership. Microsoft’s laptops have only been on the market for a few years, so this was the first year Consumer Reports had enough data on the brand to estimate predicted reliability, the magazine said.

“We’ve found that reliability is a major factor for consumers deciding on what tablet or laptop to buy,” Simon Slater, the magazine’s survey manager, said in a statement. “And our brand reliability findings have proven to be quite dependable over the years.”

The problems included laptops freezing at startup or shutting down unexpectedly, as well as issues with the touch screens becoming unresponsive, Consumer Reports said.

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Microsoft (MSFT) told Consumer Reports that its data didn’t support the survey findings, however. “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation,” the company said in a statement.

The company had largely gotten good marks from reviewers for its hardware devices. The touchscreen Surface tablet with a slender detachable keyboard was introduced in 2012, followed in 2015 by the Surface Book which was more of a laptop with a full keyboard that could be detached. Earlier this year, Microsoft introduced a traditional laptop design resembling Apple’s (AAPL) MacBook Air called simply the Surface Laptop.

Apple had its own run in with Consumer Reports last year. The magazine briefly removed its “recommended” tag from new MacBook Pro laptops after discovering unreliable battery life. A few weeks later, Apple said it found a bug that had affected the Consumer Reports test and the laptop line got the “recommended” label again.

The 2017 laptop reliability predictions were based on customer ratings of over 90,000 devices, the magazine said.