Consumer Reports recommends Surface laptops but uses different metric to snub Surface Go

Kareem Anderson

Here we are again with Consumer Reports offering its two cents on whether or not the trusted ratings and review firm would recommend Microsoft’s Surface devices.

The good news this year is that CR has come around on its recommendation of what it classifies as Microsoft’s Surface “laptops” with the firm now putting the devices under its “recommended” status.

CR includes the Surface Pro, Surface Laptop and Surface Book 2 in its recommended status after evaluating surveys of its members.

Reliability evaluations are based on surveys of our members. We now have results from our latest survey. “Microsoft’s reliability is now on par with most other laptop brands,” allowing its products to be recommended, says Martin Lachter, senior research associate at Consumer Reports.

While this might be viewed as a bit of redemption for Microsoft’s chief product officer Panos Panay and his hardware team, not all is rosy between the Surface team and Consumer Reports.

CR now has an issue with Microsoft’s latest Surface entry, the Surface Go, but not for the traditional reasons. Instead of relying on consumer feedback to fuel its consumer focused rating and review process, CR is not recommending the Surface Go based on the results of lab testing.

Why did the Surface Go fall short of being recommended? Mainly because its performance falls below what consumers can find in a number of other laptops, which can result in some lag when performing tasks such as cycling through different windows. “We weigh processing power heavily when we’re evaluating laptops,” says Maria Rerecich, who oversees all electronics testing for Consumer Reports. “A computer that doesn’t do well in performance testing isn’t likely to get recommended.”

For its part, Microsoft isn’t alone in getting snubbed in the 10 to 11-inch laptop category. According to CR own assessments, most 10 to 11-inch devices fall short on a combination of power and processing at that size.

CR admitted that part of the reason it changed its recommendation for the Surface laptops was in part to their new classification of the devices.

“we are testing and rating these devices as laptops; last year we considered some Surface products separately as laptops and as tablets.)”

So, it seems reasonable to see another change of heart this time next year after actual users chime in with their experiences with the Surface Go.