Jerry Beilinso of Consumer Reports said "we survey our subscribers every year about numerous products they own".
For Consumer Reports, it's not the first time the outlet has made waves with a major hardware company.
A Consumer Reports spokesperson told The Reg that using the data it collected, the mag made a prediction of the breakage rate for Microsoft devices without a service contract using some "statistical models" that account for the number of hours devices are used per week.
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.
"Every generation of Surface surpasses its predecessors in performance and in reliability", a Microsoft statement claims.
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 line of mobile devices has a lot of fans, including our own Bruno "morphine" Ferreira.
What's hugely important to point out here is that Consumer Reports' retraction of its recommendation appears entirely dependent upon subscriber survey answers. Considering that Microsoft is making a big push into this space, a downgraded rating from Consumer Reports is likely going to impact sales.
However, many shoppers care as much about reliability. This year we looked at more than 90,000 responses from subscribers about laptops and tablets that they had bought. Common problems cited include freezing, unexpected shutdowns, and issues with the touchscreen, among others.
The case is created to meet U.S. Military drop-test standards, a goal that UAG prefers for most of its products. A few commented that their machines froze or shut down unexpectedly, while several others told us the touch screens weren't responsive enough.
Apple remains the most reliable laptop and tablet brand, according to Consumer Reports' survey.