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Summary:

Last month, I reported the results of a study detailing notebook reliability numbers. Many commenters disagreed with the results of the study by U.S. warranty company SquareTrade, and provided excellent reasons for doing so. Today, another study reinforces the opinion unsurprisingly shared by many of our […]

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Last month, I reported the results of a study detailing notebook reliability numbers. Many commenters disagreed with the results of the study by U.S. warranty company SquareTrade, and provided excellent reasons for doing so. Today, another study reinforces the opinion unsurprisingly shared by many of our readers; namely, that Apple is indeed the top computer maker when it comes to reliability.

The new study, by Rescuecom, which is a U.S. firm specializing in computer repair, puts Apple at the top of the list when ranking computer makers. Previous studies by the repair franchise had seen Asus take the top spot, in keeping with the results of the SquareTrade study, but the most recent numbers (Q3 2009) show Apple with a commanding lead, according to Electronista.

Apple scored 374, which is more than double Asus’ 166. The PC maker scored third. Rescuecom’s rankings are based on the numbers of machines that it sees come in for repairs, as measured against the number of computers each company ships. The methodology for the study also includes factoring in things like system construction quality and manufacturer post-sale support, in order to bring some influence outside of Rescuecom’s operation to the table. Apple’s sales accounted for nine percent of the market in Q3, while only making up 2.4 percent of Rescuecom’s repair calls.

CEO David Millman suggests that Asus’ recent slip may be due to the growing presence of netbooks in its lineup of offerings. “Now that many of the netbooks by ASUS have been out for a while, there is obviously a higher need for service,” said Millman. It’s true that while Asus makes some of the most sturdy netbooks around, to achieve the incredibly low price points they offer to consumers, corners have to be cut in parts and manufacturing quality.

Lenovo also fared better in Rescuecom’s study, placing a strong second behind Apple with a score of 320. Toshiba and HP rounded out the top five with fourth and fifth place scores of 165 and 134, respectively. The common thread? All of these manufacturers offer at least one netbook-type computer.

There’s no way of saying for certain that low-cost netbooks are definitively affecting the reliability scores of computer makers, but it is beginning to look like Apple was wise to abstain from joining the fray, at least in this regard (though not in others). No doubt Apple’s introduction of unibody aluminum construction, which requires far fewer moving parts and better overall structural strength is also contributing to its increasing product dependability.

  1. “Now that many of the netbooks by ASUS have been out for a while, there is obviously a higher need for service.”

    Read: Our netbooks are crap. :)

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  2. And the haters say: “Hurr, they have the same parts.”

    I’m surely not the only one tired of hearing that illogical argument…

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  3. couldn’t this just be explained because people would be more likely to bring their macs into the Apple store for repairs instead of to this Rescuecom?

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  4. Um, yeah. Their methodology is pretty laughable. Do they even say anywhere how many calls they took?

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  5. This study can’t be close to credible. Why was it done by a repair shop and not say an agency or 10 different repair companies, including manufacturers that repair their computers. Then you compile the data from this broader findings.

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  6. @Random
    “The methodology for the study also includes factoring in things like system construction quality and manufacturer post-sale support.”

    The second part of that statement means that Rescuecom took into account the number of people who take their laptops to the Apple Store instead of bringing bringing them to Rescuecom.

    However, the data presented her is super vague. I have a hard time believing that one group could find company being more reliable, and another finding it to be half as reliable without some obvious externalities. That kind of change just simply does not happen over the course of a month.

    It would also be nice to see some more details on how they arrived at some of the numbers here.

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  7. I guess it really doesn’t matter if Macs are better as long as you have AppleCare which covers a multitude of sins. You’d naturally figure that really cheap computers would have more problems, but I suppose that can’t be proven from this report. I believe that Dell had reported that they were losing money on a large number of repair warranties and that might indicate something is amiss.

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  8. Consumer Reports has their members report on reliability, and according to them Apple’s desktops are significantly more reliable than any other brand, but their laptops are tied for fourth with Acer, behind Toshiba, Sony, and Compaq.

    The laptop difference between Toshiba (the best) and Apple is only three percentage points, which is barely significant according to CR. For the desktops, Apple is 5 points ahead of Compaq, the #2 brand.

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  9. Unibody or not, the chassis is not a moving part. The new MacBook Pros ditched the mechanical latch, but that’s still a ways from “far fewer moving parts.”

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  10. “doesn’t matter if Macs are better as long as you have AppleCare which covers a multitude of sins”

    The sort of funny thing is that you have already paid for 3 (but received 1) Apple notebook by the time you pay waay too much for your mac and then for AppleCare(?). While their marketing is good (as if brainwashing the weak minded into a subculture of ravenous, pretentious, brand loyalists can be considered good) their products are overpriced, really, they are over priced!

    And yes, odds are, you are going to take your Apple product back to Apple before some third party repair shop. The Apple store has all their neat little trendy hipsters running around who are so eager to help, with their 1980’s Nike shoes and 5 O’clock shadow, after all.

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