Technology's most and least reliable brands in '09

We asked 45,000 readers and found out which electronics companies you can really trust

Laptop PCs

Again this year, notebook PCs were one of the most trouble-prone sectors of the high-tech world, with 30.9 percent of respondents reporting that they had encountered at least one significant problem with their laptop; the figure in our 2009 report was 31.8 percent.

Apple once again earned the top marks in our survey, with above-average ratings in five categories and no below-average ratings. But Toshiba took over the second spot in our rankings, after having posted unspectacular results in last year's survey (eight average scores and one above-average score). This time, Toshiba chalked up four above-average ratings, all in measures of product reliability. For its part, Acer again showed strong results, with three above-average ratings and none below par (up from two above-average scores last year).

On the other hand, Dell took a rather startling tumble this year, from an upper-middle-tier ranking last year (featuring two better-than-average marks and one worse-than-average mark) to a finish near the bottom this time around (with one above-average score and four below-average scores).

HP retains its hold on the bottom rung, due to subpar marks on six of our nine reliability and service measures. HP did improve its standing on the "problem on arrival" criter­ion (the company was about average on that measure this time around). Unfortunately, instances where HP tech support failed to resolve a problem increased, leaving the company below average on that important service measure.

Desktop PCs

In our desktop PC ratings, Apple received better-than-average ratings on every question we polled users about--perhaps the best showing by any company in any product category in our survey. Meanwhile, Acer and eMachines repeated their shared (distant) second-place finish of a year ago, but with one above-average rating each instead of three each.

The big surprise this year was the improvement by Sony, which had been the worst performer in our desktops category last year, collecting three worse-than-average ratings and no better-than-average ones. This year, the tide turned in Sony's favor: The company received average marks on every measure for which we received enough data, except on the "any core component problem" criterion. On that measure, Sony earned an above-average rating.

At the bottom of the list, CyberPower, Gateway, and HP had pitiful scores. Gateway concentrated its three subpar ratings on service and support measures, while both of CyberPower's negatives came on reliability measures (the vendor didn't draw enough responses on the service and support criteria to receive ratings on them). HP's problems were more general: It collected four below-average ratings on measures ranging from general reliability issues to excessive hold times.

Even though laptops have tricky assembly issues, limited space for components, and various risks associated with be­­ing carried around, readers in this year's survey rated desktops as being significantly less reliable than laptops. Overall, users had 15 to 30 percent more problems with desktops than with laptops, depending on which reliability metric we asked about; the disparity may reflect vendors' efforts to cut all possible corners to keep desktop costs at rock bottom.

Tags branding

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Christopher Null

PC World (US online)

Comments

Comments are now closed.

Latest News Articles

Most Popular Articles

Follow Us

GGG Evaluation Team

Kathy Cassidy

STYLISTIC Q702

First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.

Anthony Grifoni

STYLISTIC Q572

For work use, Microsoft Word and Excel programs pre-installed on the device are adequate for preparing short documents.

Steph Mundell

LIFEBOOK UH574

The Fujitsu LifeBook UH574 allowed for great mobility without being obnoxiously heavy or clunky. Its twelve hours of battery life did not disappoint.

Andrew Mitsi

STYLISTIC Q702

The screen was particularly good. It is bright and visible from most angles, however heat is an issue, particularly around the Windows button on the front, and on the back where the battery housing is located.

Simon Harriott

STYLISTIC Q702

My first impression after unboxing the Q702 is that it is a nice looking unit. Styling is somewhat minimalist but very effective. The tablet part, once detached, has a nice weight, and no buttons or switches are located in awkward or intrusive positions.

Resources

Best Deals on GoodGearGuide

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?