Microsoft Surface devices fail on reliability, tending to freeze and shutdown

Microsoft disputed the study saying the company’s return and support rates differ significantly from the Consumer Reports study

Consumer Reports is withdrawing its recommendation for four Microsoft Corp. laptops and tablets after a survey showed that a quarter of them pose problems for their owners after only two 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.

The non-profit publication surveyed 90,000 tablet and laptop owners and found that an estimated 25% with Surface devices would be presented with "problems by the end of the second year of ownership", according to a study published today.

Consumer Reports pulled recommendations for the Surface Laptop (128GB and 256GB versions) and Surface Book (128GB and 512GB versions).

While other brands also may have experienced reliability issues to some degree, the difference in how unreliable the Microsoft devices were was "statistically significant", the release said.

But as Consumer Reports notes, the reliability of Apple's laptop and tablet products are consistently the most highly rated by its readers.

During Apple's Fiscal Q3 financial conference call earlier this month, Apple's CEO Tim Cook was proud to say that "Mac revenue grew 7% year over year driven by the strength of the MacBook Pro and iMac despite IDC's latest estimate of a 4% unit contraction in the global PC market.And with the refresh of nearly our entire Mac lineup in June we're off to a great start for the back to school season".

To be fair, there has indeed been a fair share of issues with Microsoft Surface devices. So whether you believe that MacBooks and iPads are innovative, they are indeed the most reliable products of their kind.

The consumer group says Microsoft machines have performed well in laboratory testing.

"Microsoft's real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports' breakage predictability", Microsoft said in an emailed statement to Consumer Reports. This includes the new Surface Pro.

In most of these instances, issues consumers have reported are linked to software issues, and not hardware issues.

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