LAST YEAR, THE MICROSOFT SURFACE was unceremoniously stripped of its Consumer Reports "Recommended" status thanks to the slightly awkward discovery that one in four owners had experienced problems in the first two years of ownership.
Freezing, random shutdowns and iffy touchscreen response were frequently cited, and the problems were judged to be widespread enough for gentle tutting not to be considered a proportionate response.
Well after a year on the Consumer Reports naughty step, the Surface is back in the group's good books. Anyone hoping for a tearful reunion will have to make do with a somewhat more clinical statement: "Microsoft's reliability is now on par with most other laptop brands" - high praise indeed from Martin Lachter, a senior research associate at Consumer Reports.
There's an interesting question hidden in there: have Microsoft Surfaces got more reliable, or has everyone else just got less so? This is, after all, the first year that brand reliability has factored into Consumer Reports' overall score.
We've asked Consumer Reports for clarification and will update when we hear back.
In any case, the result is the same: the Microsoft Surface series is back as a solid choice in the eyes of Consumer Reports… well, most of them anyway. The recently released Surface Go is snubbed because it's just not powerful enough.
"We weigh processing power heavily when we're evaluating laptops," said Consumer Reports' electronics testing lead Maria Rerecich. "A computer that doesn't do well in performance testing isn't likely to get recommended." Burn.
The slight bright side to that snub is that Microsoft is far from alone in having its 10in laptops roasted. Their general lack of power means that Consumer Reports recommends just two: the Samsung Galaxy Book 10.6 and the Acer Spin 1 SP111-31-C2W3.
Presumably "catchiness of name" isn't a criteria that the group is currently considering when dishing out awards. µ
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