Late last year, there was a slight uproar when the new MacBook Pro line failed to achieve Consumer Reports' "recommended" rating due to inconsistent battery life test results. However, in January, Consumer Reports revised and upgraded its rating for MacBook Pros to "recommended" after Apple issued software updates that apparently fixed the battery issues.
This shows that Consumer Reports can modify their recommendations and ratings depending on how a reviewed gadget performs over time.
While the MacBook Pro laptop ratings were "upgraded" by Consumer Reports, this rival company's gadget line is going the other way and its "recommended" status is being stripped away.
Consumer Reports is taking away the "recommended" rating for Microsoft's line of Surface devices because the hardware was deemed as "significantly less reliable than most other brands."
The publication said that its new annual survey of 90,000 tablet and laptop owners who bought their gadgets new between 2014 and the start of 2017 found that an estimated 25 percent of Microsoft Surface device owners were presented with "problems by the end of the second year of ownership." These Surface issues include freezing problems, unexpected shutdowns, and irresponsive touch screens.
According to Consumer Reports, Microsoft's estimated breakage rate was higher than other brands and the differences were statistically significant hence the reason for the revised rating.
The four Surface laptops that are being stripped of their recommended ratings are the Microsoft Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and Microsoft Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions). However, the overall "not recommended" decision applies to all Microsoft devices with detachable keyboards including the well-reviewed Surface Pro released in June, and even the clamshell Surface Laptops.
"Consumers tell us that reliability is a major factor when they're choosing a tablet or laptop," stated CR's survey manager Simon Slater. "And people can improve their chances of getting a more dependable device by considering our brand reliability findings."
This is a bit of bad news for Microsoft as the company is positioning its Surface products as premium hardware offerings that can compete with comparable Apple products. With stellar reviews garnered by both its Surface Pro and the Surface Book, Microsoft appeared to be on its way in, at least, matching Apple's "coolness factor."
In response, Microsoft told Consumer Reports that "Microsoft's real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from the publication's breakage predictability" and they don't believe that that the survey does not "accurately reflect Surface owners' true experiences."
What do you think? Did Microsoft's relative lack of hardware manufacturing experience lead to these issues? Drop us a comment!