2012 reader satisfaction survey

Apple MacBooks lead in laptop features and reliability

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The world of laptops continues to be dominated by Apple, which had the highest scores in almost all satisfaction measurements in our 2012 reader survey of satisfaction, reliability, and service. With a mere 6 percent of those polled reporting any significant problem with their Apple machine, users also gave top marks to almost all aspects of their MacBooks. Only in design, the number of ports, and performance for the price did readers award Apple-like scores to Windows PC makers.

Outside of Apple, numbers were fairly consistent, with most satisfaction scores bunched in the 7-to-8 range. Asus, Lenovo, and Sony had slightly higher satisfaction numbers on average; Acer, Dell, and HP for Business fell slightly below the curve.

Universally, consumers reported high satisfaction with their laptops’ display quality and said that they were generally satisfied with the port selection on their machines. At the other end, poor speaker quality remained a common complaint, and we also heard gripes about lousy laptop touchpads.

Interestingly, surveyed readers generally said their laptops were quite reliable, giving higher reliability scores to the machines than the overall satisfaction ratings they awarded. Again, Apple led on reliability, with Dell for Home and HP for Home scoring slightly lower than average.

Laptop reliability problems didn’t stray far from two major issues, regardless of the computer manufacturer. Hard-drive failure was by far the biggest reported problem on laptops, followed by issues with the operating system. A smattering of other items, from graphics boards to keyboards, rounded out the list of components most commonly requiring repair.

Apple laptop owners praise features and reliability

BrandDisplay qualityKeyboardTouchpad/ pointing deviceDesignPortsPerfor- mance for the priceReliability
Apple 9.2 8.9 8.8 8.6 8.2 8.6 9.3
Sony 8.9 8.5 7.7 8.3 8.1 8.3 8.8
Asus 8.7 8.1 7.6 8.6 8.2 8.6 8.7
Lenovo 8.5 8.5 7.8 8.4 8.2 8.4 8.7
Samsung 8.7 8.3 7.7 8.6 8.0 8.6 8.7
Toshiba 8.7 8.2 7.7 8.5 7.9 8.5 8.7
HP for Home 8.6 8.1 7.5 8.3 8.1 8.3 8.4
Acer 8.5 7.9 7.5 8.5 7.9 8.5 8.5
Dell for Home 8.6 8.2 7.6 8.2 7.9 8.2 8.4
Dell for Business 8.5 8.2 7.5 8.1 7.9 8.1 8.6
HP for Business 8.4 8.1 7.4 8.0 8.0 8.0 8.5

Chart notes: Each listed number is the average response from surveyed readers on a 1-to-10 scale where 1 is “extremely dissatisfied” and 10 is “extremely satisfied.” Brand ranking is based on the average scores across all feature-satisfaction measures. Dell for Home includes the Inspiron, Studio, and Adamo lines; Dell for Business includes the Latitude, Vostro, and Precision lines. HP for Home includes the Pavilion, Mini, TouchSmart, and Envy lines; HP for Business includes the EliteBook, ProBook, and Mini lines.

Apple support: ‘Winning’

BrandProblems left unresolved by customer support
(lower is better) 1
Overall satisfaction with service
(higher is better) 2
Apple 4% 8.3
Dell for Business 7% 7.0
Asus 9% 6.7
Lenovo 17% 6.5
Acer 33% 6.3
Toshiba 26% 6.3
Dell for Home 16% 6.2
HP for Home 26% 6.2
Sony 22% 6.1

Chart notes: We omitted HP for Business and Samsung due to insufficient data. 1 Percentage of brand-owning respondents who answered “yes, somewhat” or “no” when asked whether customer support fixed their problem completely. 2 The average response on a 1-to-10 scale where 1 is “extremely dissatisfied” and 10 is “extremely satisfied.” The average score is 6.6.

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