Apple is fairly reliable, but not the most reliable company of all when it comes to notebooks, according to a new study by research firm SquareTrade. The top honor goes to Asus, which surprised me, but I suppose shouldn’t have when I consider the build quality […]


Apple is fairly reliable, but not the most reliable company of all when it comes to notebooks, according to a new study by research firm SquareTrade. The top honor goes to Asus, which surprised me, but I suppose shouldn’t have when I consider the build quality of my fairly inexpensive Eee PC. Toshiba and Sony rank next most reliable, with Apple coming in a close fourth.

I remember a time not too long ago when IBM and Apple would top the list every time, with other manufacturers coming in a fair distance behind them. IBM sold its hardware business to Lenovo, which seems to be having some effect on quality, but is Apple also slipping as it grows? I don’t think there’s enough data to identify a trend, but it is a little worrying.

Still, at least Apple is still under the 20 percent mark for three-year laptop malfunction rates, which is the measure that indicates reliability in the study. Dell is the only company below it, also under 20 percent, with 18.3. After that, things take a significant turn for the worse, with HP coming in ninth place at 25.6 percent. That means Apple is still showing better-than-average performance overall.

Electronista suggests that the reason for the divide between top-tier manufacturers and those that fall below the average is that the companies with greater than 20 percent malfunction rates tend to do much of their business in the budget laptop and notebook categories, which see higher failure rates overall than premium-priced laptops, where Apple exclusively does its business. It’s possible NVIDIA-gate accounted for some of those failures, although SquareTrade doesn’t go into detail about malfunction causes in this report.

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  1. i work for apple authorised service provider and we have one or more aluminium (pre-unibody) macbook pro with nvidia issue a day. they get all fixed under extended warranty provided they’re less than three years old but i can imagine they would drive the reliability down a lot.

  2. Steve’s gonna be pissed!

  3. I expect the page view whore cut and pasters at Engadget to present
    such data uncritically but I expect more from this site. These numbers
    are meaningless. They come from a vendor who probably sells next to
    zero extended warranties for Macs that has a vested interest in the
    results. Apple has consistently ranked #1 far ahead of the pack in
    real data sets. Get it together.

  4. In case its not clear..Square Trade is NOT a research firm. They sell extended warranties. Google is your friend.

    Sheesh. I need to take you clowns out of my RSS reader.

  5. @ Darwin

    So your unsupported and anonymous accusations about the vendor are more
    meaningful? LOL. Unless you can support your claims, I’ll take their documented study which they put their name to.

  6. Consumer Reports just published its ratings and reliability survey, for what it’s worth. In their ratings, Apple was in the top slot. But in reliability, it was ranked 5th= (with Acer) – but all 5 were within 3% of each other, so the differences were described as too small to be statistically significant.

    They sid:
    “No one brand stood out as the most reliable among laptop brands. That’s what we found out when we asked more than 75,000 readers who bought a laptop between 2005 and 2009 about their experiences.

    This graph shows the percentage of brands that have ever been repaired or had a serious problem. We’ve adjusted the data to eliminate differences due to age or whether the computer was covered by an extended warranty. Differences of fewer than 3 points aren’t meaningful.” (source: consumerreports.org)

  7. First off, Apple is essentially even with the top 3 for the previous 2 years (I’m assuming that’s what the plain “2” means.) Same with Dell. Secondly, the red bar is “projected”. Who knows how they calculated that.

    As zpjet noted, the nvidia problems have really bit them in the ass the last year, and probably accounts for the downward trend. Regardless, 10% seems a pretty high malfunction rate for the top of the class.

  8. What?? Toshiba’s ranked 2nd?

    My school required us to buy a Toshiba laptop at the start of the school year last year. And there were problems after problems. From stuff ranging from software issues(BSOD, even while just copying files) to hardware issues like the fingerprint hardware doesn’t work. I really hated that laptop. It was slow, and very very unreliable. To add insult, I could have bought 2 Macbook with the money saved had I not bought that lousy lapyop. Since that experience I tell everyone I know not to buy Toshiba laptops.

  9. @Paul

    Apparently you have not check the link Darwin provided, check it and eat your plate of crow.

    The Appleblog should be renamed Applecrunch, anyway well done guys and take care.

    1. @AdamC

      There is NOTHING on that link page that the missing link Darwin provided. It is a login page for Square Trade! You need a account/password to enter it. Something MOST people reading your comments are NOT going to even bother with. Link is totally worthless just like your post!

      Sheesh. You and that clown Darwin need to PLEASE find the resource on a open link! Or post your login so we can all enjoy are plates of crow. Idiots!

    2. Sorry, but the link works. It’s taking me to the start site where I can read information about extended warranties.

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