updated 07:50 am EST, Tue November 17, 2009
Reliability study has Apple 4th place
A new study published by SquareTrade revealed that the smaller name brand notebook manufacturers are usually more reliable than their larger rivals. Of the top nine, ASUS has the lowest tracked breakdown rate with fewer than 10 percent of its notebooks failing in the past two years. Toshiba, Sony and Apple also have better-than-average performance and are either just over or under the same figure.
The higher volume companies largely see significantly worse long-term prospects. While Dell is only slightly less reliable, failure rates jump significantly for Lenovo, Acer and its sub-label Gateway. HP fares the worst with about 16 percent of its portables breaking down.
Researchers project that failure rates should go up for many of these systems over a three-year span but that the rankings should remain consistent, if exaggerated: where 15.6 percent of ASUS' systems are poised to fail after three years, more than a quarter of HP's PCs (25.6 percent) should suffer the same fate.
Some of the reason for the gap in failure rates is attributed to the quality of the systems themselves. Netbooks, which are normally made of cheaper materials to push the price below $400, not only face the highest first-year failure rate but are disproportionately more likely to break down in three years; about 25.1 percent should stop working in the period, the analysts say. Budget but full-size notebooks, which dominate the lineups of Acer, Gateway and HP, are also more likely to break and face a 20.6 percent failure rate. Premium notebooks over $1,000, like many of those from Apple and Sony, face the best chances with a lower initial failure rate and an 18.1 percent anticipated malfunction rate.
It's nonetheless mentioned that notebooks as a whole are historically unreliable compared to other electronics as their nature leads not only to abuse of hard drives and other components but also accidents. Over three years, it's believed as much as 31 percent of notebooks will either fail of their own accord or suffer drops that render them inoperable.