Thursday, April 29, 2010

Laptop Reliability

Anyone in the market for a new laptop should take into consideration reliability in addition to other subjective ergonomic factors.  I'm a bit surprised to see HP and Gateway trailing the pack.  I know Asus makes a solid machine, and have had my share of issues with Dell PC's I used both at work and at home, a number of wacky motherboard problems.

This study published by warranty-provider SquareTrade tracks the failure rates for over 30,000 laptops covered by their warranties. Some highlights of the study:
  • Looking at the first 3 years of ownership, 31% of laptop owners reported a failure to SquareTrade. Two-thirds of this failure (20.4%) came from hardware malfunctions, and one-third (10.6%) was reported as accidental damage.
  • Netbooks are projected to have a 20% higher failure rate from hardware malfunctions than more expensive laptop computers.
  • ASUS and Toshiba were the most reliable manufacturers, with fewer than 16% having a hardware malfunction over 3 years.
There's nothing worse than buying a new PC and having it malfunction immediately after purchase.  They call this infant mortality in the biz.  Realibility is a fickled thing, but should play a part in the new purchase decision.


  1. Imagine if there was a manufacturer with much lower malfunctioning rates-5% say for 2 years and 10% for 3 years. I assume it would be pretty expensive for companies to get down to this rate given the complexity of the laptop.

  2. I thought the failure rates would be a little lower. But laptops are increasingly becoming a commodity, and users tend to be rougher on them than desktops. Just wait until that rollup laptop design hits the market. Lots of potential for breakage there.