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Consumer Reports Shocks, Says Microsoft Laptops Not Reliable

Following its annual survey of some 90,000 laptop and tablet users, the consumer watchdog publication Consumer Reports yesterday pulled its buying recommendations for Microsoft Surface devices, citing reliability issues.

Available only to subscribers, the study found that Microsoft laptops and tablets has breakage rates of 25 percent within the first two years of ownership, according to a statement on the Consumer Reports Web site. That put the company’s hardware in last place when compared to eight other device manufacturers, while Apple was ranked number one with a two-year breakage rate of 10 percent.

“Microsoft’s real-world return and support rates for past models differ significantly from Consumer Reports’ breakage predictability,” Microsoft said in an emailed statement published on the consumer site. “We don’t believe these findings accurately reflect Surface owners’ true experiences or capture the performance and reliability improvements made with every Surface generation.”

Problems with Freezing, Shutdowns, Touchscreens

Compared to the other companies reviewed by Consumer Reports, including Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, HP, Lenovo, Samsung, and Toshiba, Microsoft has been making its own hardware for only a short period of time. It released its first Surface tablet just five years ago.

However, the problems cited by the consumer publication appear to reflect software issues as much as hardware ones. Electronics editor Jerry Beilinson told Reuters today that common problems in Microsoft devices included freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and difficulties using touchscreens.

“If you are very concerned about how long your products are going to last, it might be better for you to go with a brand that has a higher predicted reliability,” Beilinson said in the interview.

After Apple, Consumer Reports ranked devices from Samsung (16 percent breakage rates after two years) and Acer (18 percent) highest in reliability. HP and Asus, ranked fourth and fifth, respectively, had breakage rates of 20…


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