"A number of survey respondents said they experienced problems with their devices during startup", Consumer Reports says.
But as Consumer Reports notes, the reliability of Apple's laptop and tablet products are consistently the most highly rated by its readers.
Microsoft's Surface family of hardware products have generally been lauded by the press for their seemingly high-quality designs, first-party status, and for getting most of the details right with regards to ergonomics and functionality (often times, later being copied by third-party manufacturers).
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Consumer Reports is not specifically fingering the Windows 10 software that runs the Surface machines (and obviously numerous other laptops), but rather issues with the laptops themselves. That prediction is based on surveying the company's own subscribers who own current Microsoft hardware, and collating details on any issues they might have encountered.
In a statement to Reuters, Microsoft (of course) came out swinging, saying that their return rates and customer support rates differ greatly from what Consumer Reports survey found. However, Consumer Reports says it also applies to the Surface Pro released earlier in the year. "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.
The testing process involves those individuals living with the products for several weeks, putting them through a string of tests using scientific measurements, as well as subjective tests that mimic the user experience.
Though it shouldn't go down without a fight, Microsoft is up against some pretty stiff competition with this Consumer Reports study. Recommended ratings have been pulled for both the 128GB and 256GB Surface Laptop along with the 128GB and 512GB Surface Book. "Due to its comparatively higher breakage rate, Microsoft laptops can not be recommended by Consumer Reports at this time", the publication notes.