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Netbooks Have Higher Failure Rate Than Laptops

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the get-what-you-pay-for-sometimes dept.

Portables 264

Barence writes "Netbooks are more likely to fail within the first year than their more expensive laptop brethren, according to new research. SquareTrade, an independent US warranty provider, analyzed the failure rates of more than 30,000 laptops covered by its own warranties. It found that 5.8% of netbooks malfunctioned within the first year, compared to 4.7% for regular laptops and 4.2% for premium laptops costing more than $1,000. The research also raises question marks over the legendary reliability of Macs. Three PC manufacturers — Asus, Toshiba, and Sony — boasted better reliability rates than Apple. Macs have a 17.4% malfunction rate over three years, compared to market-leader Asus, which has a 15.6% failure rate. HP was the worst of the nine PC vendors listed, with a malfunction rate of 25.6% over three years."

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264 comments

Cheaper = Worse? (5, Insightful)

ddrueding80 (1091191) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174546)

So you're telling me that something cheap isn't as well made as something expensive? Allow me to go re-evaluate my life...

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (4, Insightful)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174662)

It depends though. Something with a smaller screen, no dvd drive, etc. should be possible to make cheaper for the same or less money.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (4, Funny)

blueg3 (192743) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175148)

"For less money" is how "cheaper" usually works, yes.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (2, Informative)

Jared555 (874152) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175282)

What I was referring to is the fact that it doesn't necessarily have to be made with any less quality than something more expensive just because it is cheaper, since you are hopefully saving money just by the smaller screen/battery.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (1)

convolvatron (176505) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175460)

actually i'm really suprised the makers of the more expensive models actually used some
of that money to produce a product of marginally better quality

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (3, Insightful)

MonsterTrimble (1205334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174696)

I second that. Where the real money is spent on netbooks is the smaller form factor - not the mature hardware. Smaller keyboards, smaller screens, smaller cases. And with all the netbooks competing on price point I will guarantee that the cases are as cheap as they can get away with.

Value priced + Early in Life Cycle = Poor Quality

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175066)

It doesn't help that many users abuse them.

My company recently got some for the execs and marketing pricks to use. You wouldn't believe some of the stuff that has happened to these netbooks, and I'm not talking about understandable stuff like coffee or Coke spilled on the keyboard.

We had one marketing guy who brought us his netbook with the screen broken off, and the base split in two. He claimed that his young son threw it out of a window onto their driveway.

The most unusual was from a VP who brought it back with shit all over the keyboard. His claim was that he was working while defecating, and it fell into the toilet. We believed him up until we had to transfer the data off, and found several pictures of people in fecal acts.

People just don't treat netbooks well. They consider them disposable (which they are, in a sense).

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (1)

Dogtanian (588974) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175520)

The most unusual was from a VP who brought it back with shit all over the keyboard. His claim was that he was working while defecating, and it fell into the toilet. We believed him up until we had to transfer the data off, and found several pictures of people in fecal acts.

Is this for real? Are you seriously telling us that this VP- who we can assume earns a good salary- brought back the computer and asked you to recover the data even though he knew it had this material on it and you'd possibly find out- risking embarrassment at best and major career sabotage at worst?

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (5, Insightful)

Daniel_Staal (609844) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175044)

Also, given their size and portability, I'd expect netbooks to have harsher treatment than a laptop. Laptops are big enough you think 'expensive computer' when you are handling one, where netbooks are (intentionally) designed to feel like they are more of a 'mid-sized electronic device'.

It's not much, but it could well account for a 1% difference, IMHO.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (1, Troll)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175314)

Also, given their size and portability, I'd expect netbooks to have harsher treatment than a laptop. Laptops are big enough you think 'expensive computer' when you are handling one, where netbooks are (intentionally) designed to feel like they are more of a 'mid-sized electronic device'.

It's not much, but it could well account for a 1% difference, IMHO.

Don't forget the "Apple Effect". You pay about as much for an iPod Touch as you would for a netbook, but anyone who has an iPod treats it like their little savior of humanity, so incredibly important yet oh, so fragile...

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175074)

Price doesn't necessarily equal quality.

OTOH, these netbooks probably see more use than previous generations of laptops. They are seen as more useful as mobile devices and probably end up subjected to more use and abuse.

Correlation != Causality (4, Insightful)

Life2Short (593815) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175104)

But correlation isn't causality. It may be that cheaper = worse, or it may be that cheaper = smaller form factor = more portability = more transportation and use = more wear and tear = more breakdowns. The article also says that Apple laptops are less reliable, but it could also be that Apple laptops are used more by their owners and again are subject or greater wear and tear. Or it could be that Apple makes crap laptops. With a correlation design, you cannot infer causality.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (4, Funny)

lena_10326 (1100441) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175244)

Maybe it's because Netbook motherboards have holes... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:MSI_Wind_MB1.jpg [wikipedia.org]

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (1)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175378)

I find it pretty clever the way they make something so effectively cheap yet powerful, but I do get a little worried every time I take my Wind apart to do something crazy with it when I'm lifting the motherboard out.

Still, I've taken it apart and put it together about 12 times now and it's still working perfectly fine.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (3, Interesting)

noidentity (188756) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175258)

It's not necessarily cheapness. Netbooks are named differently than laptops because they have different characteristics, ones which allow more convenient use in different environments. So my first guess was that the explanation is likely "Netbooks used in harsher environments than laptops". They're smaller, so a person might carry one around more, put more wear on it per unit time. To summarize: netbooks have higher failure rate than laptops, cellphones have higher failure rates than cordless phones, and desktop computers have a higher failure rate than museum-piece computers that are never turned on.

Re:Cheaper = Worse? (2, Insightful)

hrimhari (1241292) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175408)

That's right. If you pay 300% more, it will be 1.6% less likely to break in the first year. A bargain!

Aha! (2, Informative)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174548)

I thought my prejudice against HP laptops was just emotional or superstitious or something. 25.6% malfunction?? They really need to work on that.

Re:Aha! (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174746)

Huh, weird. I've found HP notebooks I've used (granted, a small sample size) to be extremely durable and reliable (though I probably wouldn't go near HP's desktops). But this was a couple of years ago, did they just slap the HP label on the lousy Compaq ones?

Re:Aha! (3, Interesting)

ground.zero.612 (1563557) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175228)

Seconded.

I used to work for a managed services provider and HP reseller. One of our bigger clients was Dunwoody College of Technology. One of my duties was refurbishing their HP laptops between semesters. They had a wide variety of issues ranging from Accidental Damage, wireless radio failures, to bad harddrives, etc... We even had one sent in that a drunk student vomited onto (we referred to that one as the "puke-top").

The overwhelming majority went through the refurbish process with little more than a thorough cleaning and re-imaging. HP's Channel Support was a pleasure to work with (I spent many unproductive hours on the phone with Dell Support at a previous job).

I now personally own an HP DV7 Pavillion laptop that cost me $1200 last February. It has better features than the Mac Book Pro had at the time and cost me $1400 less. Maybe I'm biased.

And? (3, Funny)

Aphoxema (1088507) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174560)

Sometimes insightful looks into popular things really makes me sit back and think...

This just makes me say, "So what?"

ASUS Will reliably run your crapware... (0, Flamebait)

nkcaump (1016816) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174568)

ASUS will run your bloatware and crapware for longer than other systems. Good to know.

Hmmm (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30174584)

Macs aren't more reliable, they just get less use (nothing important runs on them), so they take longer to wear out.

Re:Hmmm (2, Funny)

geeper (883542) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174710)

Macs aren't more reliable, they just get less use (nothing important runs on them), so they take longer to wear out.

Uhhh ho...you've done it now. *loud-whiney voice* C'MON [fan]BOIS, LET'S GET HIM!!!

Re:Hmmm (1, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174816)

I'm sure everyone's going to "fanboi" label me for this comment but here it is anyway. Apple tends to hang more on the bleeding edge, and is naturally going to run into more frequent hardware failures as a result. Things like mandatory cameras, backlit keyboards, ambient light sensors, 11N, drop-head-parking, DVI, etc. I suppose in that respect a lot of Apple buyers are comparable to other brands' "early adopters", and the tradeoffs that brings.

What's more important to most people is the support they get when they have a problem. (and then the tables turn, violently)

(I'd rather have my mobo go out twice and be covered both times, than for it to go out once and not be covered)

Re:Hmmm (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175486)

Apple tends to hang more on the bleeding edge, and is naturally going to run into more frequent hardware failures as a result. Things like mandatory cameras, backlit keyboards, ambient light sensors, 11N, drop-head-parking, DVI, etc. I suppose in that respect a lot of Apple buyers are comparable to other brands' "early adopters", and the tradeoffs that brings.

Apple isn't the only computer company selling systems with those features. Backlit keyboards, ambient light sensors, and accelerometers have been found in non-Apple notebooks for years, but often only in the "business" models.

What's more important to most people is the support they get when they have a problem. (and then the tables turn, violently)

Other manufacturers sell extended warranties too - sometimes with better terms than AppleCare. In general, you do need to buy a higher quality/more expensive "business" system and warranty though. As an individual, I can go to Dell's website and order a Latitude laptop with next business day service. With AppleCare and a laptop, I have to take it to an authorized repair shop (luckily, there are more of these than just Apple owned retail stores.)

Apple might have better service options available, but they don't seem to be marketed online...

Re:Hmmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175500)

I'd rather have my mobo go out twice and be covered both times, than for it to go out once and not be covered

Isn't that point kind of moot when you could completely replace a non-Mac twice and it would STILL cost less?

HP - more like HA (1)

Monkeedude1212 (1560403) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174590)

HP was the worst of the nine PC vendors listed, with a malfunction rate of 25.6% over three years

In order to malfunction it first must function, something HP's don't do very well, especially with all the nice bundled packages I have pre-installed.

hp netbook (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30174596)

my hp netbook broke in less than 2 months and took them 2 months to fix..

You think? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174600)

Considering how cheap they are I'm not surprised. My Aspire One's fan unit failed within the first 5 months and (since I voided the warranty) I can't get service on it. I tried to find a replacement heatsink/fan unit, unfortunately the only suppliers I could find wanted $90 for the damned thing.

Speaking of which, anyone here know where I could get one (or at least, a 30x30x7 (mm))? Surely Slashdot has people in the know.

Re:You think? (3, Informative)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174780)

A Google search for "Aspire One fan" shows multiple vendors selling the fans for $20 or so, and a couple selling 'thermal modules' for about $40.

Re:You think? (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174982)

Then they must have cropped up in the last few weeks, as the last several times I searched there was nothing regarding that in the first twenty pages of hits.

Re:You think? (2, Informative)

tftp (111690) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175498)

anyone here know where I could get one (or at least, a 30x30x7 (mm))?

Don't know about x7, but here is 30mm L x 30mm H x 6mm W [digikey.com] fan. This is a 5V part without tachometer. There is also 259-1327-ND which produces higher airflow (and is noisier, I'd guess.)

what do you expect? they are consumable devices (1)

digitalsushi (137809) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174632)

They're made to be chucked in a dumpster at the airport when they fizz out. This just sounds like a vector to complain about something that's junky cause it's cheap being junky.

Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (5, Insightful)

fuzzylollipop (851039) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174634)

They are cheaper and lighter and more portable and get handled a lot rougher than a $1000+ laptop. Nothing about this is news.

Re:Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (1)

godrik (1287354) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174740)

exactly, my gf used to put a eeepc in her purse and run in the crowd to get her subway. I am not surprised if it breaks quickly.

Re:Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (1)

LarrySDonald (1172757) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175138)

This was my first thought as well. They're also big with teens, a market group where I could easily see the non-techies accidentally breaking a cockpit voice recorder (I don't know how dad! I was just putting it on my bedstand and it broke! GAWD!). Sure, tech has gotten flimsier since the bulletproofs of yesteryear but people take their tech much more for granted as well, not giving the TLC we used to show it.

Re:Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (1)

Joce640k (829181) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175210)

And when something is that small/light/portable the gyroscopes in the hard disk are going to take a lot more stress when they're spinning.

Re:Netbooks get handled a lot rougher . . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175240)

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MISPWOSO (5, Funny)

twofishy (1658233) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174670)

What is this? A report from the Maximegalon Institute of Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious?

They are cheaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30174676)

so people are less careful with them. Ooops, dropped it again...

Surprised but it makes sense (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174684)

After all, one of the things driving interest in NetBooks is their price. For makers to make money on them, they have to make them using lesser standards than their more expensive units. After all, a great deal of the same stuff goes into each and to keep the prices down, something had to give.

Besides, when the price is that low, people tend to start thinking of these netbooks as "disposable" and worry less about problems.

Re:Surprised but it makes sense (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175142)

...yeah, because it doesn't have anything to do with the slower CPUs, previous generation GPUs, smaller screens, less memory, smaller hard drives or components that might be MISSING ENTIRELY.

SquareTrade (1)

Whorhay (1319089) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174688)

1.1% to 1.6% doesn't seem like that huge of a difference especially when we are talking about a device that is smaller and obviously more fragile than it's beefier compatriots. Not to mention the lower standards of quality when manufacturing a practically disposable mini computer.

Completely offtopic, but I remember almost getting scammed by someone on Autotrader.com years ago that wanted to use a third party company to hold my money while I test drove the car in question. The supposed third party was actually the scammer and was calling their "service" SquareTrade.

While I have no doubt this is true... (3, Insightful)

slaker (53818) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174690)

While I have absolutely no doubt that $300 netbooks die more often, there's no way I'm going to trust the numbers from a company that primarily offers warranty service to computers sold on Ebay.

I strongly suspect that a lot of the Apple, Dell and (especially) Lenovo notebooks they're servicing are several years old and are probably used or lease return models to begin with.

Re:While I have no doubt this is true... (1)

Happy Nuclear Death (911893) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175326)

Not necessarily. There have been thousands of refurbished Acer Aspire One netbooks sold on Woot.com just in the past month or so, and the vast majority - maybe all - have 2009 manufacturing dates. Not everyone who buys a refurb netbook from Woot gets the Square Trade warranty, but those who do are getting warranties on essentially new gear. The refurbed D150 I bought a month ago has a March 2009 manufacture date. I don't know how something so new ends up as a "refurb," but there you are.

Re:While I have no doubt this is true... (2, Funny)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175414)

Knowing most consumers of netbooks, it probably fell in the toilet...

Re:While I have no doubt this is true... (1)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175438)

I strongly suspect that a lot of the Apple, Dell and (especially) Lenovo notebooks they're servicing are several years old and are probably used or lease return models to begin with.

They claim none of the laptops in the study are refurbished or used models. That said, they do provide warranties for used items and I'm not sure I trust them until they release the raw data. More importantly, they claim to report failures bad upon the purchase date of the laptop. Apple, for example, provides a full year of free hardware coverage for all systems, but their data does not show any jump at the one year point, which it should, even if Apple were the only company to offer such a warranty, which is doubtful. Frankly, I don't see how their numbers could be correct. I'm also curious about some of the sample sizes for companies like Apple and Dell who provide warranties by default.

Re:While I have no doubt this is true... (5, Informative)

Macman408 (1308925) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175562)

I'll defend them a bit - they say in their paper [squaretrade.com] that they exclude computers that were purchased as either refurbished or used.

But that's where my defense of their methodology ends. They say the total sample size was 30,000, and they analyzed 9 brands that had over 1,000 units each. IMHO, that's still a pretty small sample size. The margin of error on at least some of those numbers would be around ±3%; that would be enough for the "top 6" manufacturers to be roughly indistinguishable. Keeping that in mind, I'd say there are two groups of manufacturers, reliability-wise: Asus, Toshiba, Sony, Apple, and Dell are more reliable, and Lenovo, Acer, Gateway, and HP are less reliable - but only by a couple percent.

Also, I'd object similarly to their comparison of netbooks against the larger notebook market; they say in their paper that netbook market share was 10% of all laptops until Q4 last year, so I have to assume that their 1-year data is probably similar, meaning 10% of their 30,000 samples are netbooks. That means a margin of error around ±2%. However, the difference between netbooks and "premium laptops" in reliability at 1 year is only 1.6%.

Finally, I almost missed this, but all their 3-year reliability numbers for all laptops are "projections" from their 2-year data (their 3-year reliability numbers for netbooks are projected from just 1 year). So take any error they had at 2 years, multiply it by 3/2, and you're off even further - I suppose that means the margin of error on some of these numbers is probably closer to 4.5%.

All in all, I'd say their paper is a little light on numbers. There are a whopping 11 actual data points that they base all of their data on in the paper - the other 13 data points are projections (all but 1 is a projection from data that is not quoted in the paper). Add to that my general sense of distrust in anybody that sells an extended warranty, and, well, you get the idea.

Competition leads to failure rates (1)

Dadamh (1441475) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174720)

Look, the reason these machines are failing more readily really isn't that complex. The market for netbooks is effectively a competition to see who can produce the cheapest functioning computer that can connect to the internet quickly. That's all it is. When companies aim to reduce retail cost of their products, they begin cutting corners. They buy cheap parts, they rush production, they slap things together that they know don't work as well. It's nothing amazing or surprising. Netbooks are just cheap.

Things that make you go, hmmm. (1)

ardyng (973980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174722)

The data are fishy. Do they fail because people buy a netbook because they can take them more places, and thus have a higher incidence of failure because they're being carried and used in more places? My own experience with a netbook vs laptop is that the Asus EEE PC I purchased nearly two years ago is still going strong without a single hardware issue, vs the cheap Dell that lasted a year before developing critical power issues (right after my warranty expired, of course) and the Fujitsu Lifebook likewise failing with hinge death at about a year and a half, after a long run of problems. My Asus netbook seems to just be more rugged than your average PC. Also, I take the thing everywhere, where my last laptops were left home a lot more because they weighed so much more.

Re:Things that make you go, hmmm. (1)

ardyng (973980) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174738)

more rugged than your average PC.

More rugged than your average notebook, that is. (At least, the ones that I've been lugging about)

Price and Care (0, Redundant)

iron spartan (1192553) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174732)

It couldn't be because they are cheap and small that Netbooks are more likely to get abused than their high dollar counterparts?

I know that I don't take near as good of care of my $300 netbook as I do of my $2000 laptop.

What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (1, Insightful)

Zenin (266666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174768)

Practically everyone I've ever known with a Mac has had major hardware issues with it, especially laptops with things like weak power plugs breaking off at the motherboard requiring a full main board replacement.

Apple's service has always seemed outstanding, issues get resolved well and quickly, but the basic hardware... When there's a choice to be made between looks and function or reliability, Apple takes looks each and every time. Apple sells style, not quality.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (2, Insightful)

Kenja (541830) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174868)

Power-books have had magnetically power connectors for a long while now. Gona have to call FUD on your post, sorry.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (3, Informative)

samkass (174571) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174880)

especially laptops with things like weak power plugs breaking off at the motherboard requiring a full main board replacement.

Mac laptops don't have "power plugs" attached to their mainboard-- they all use MagSafe adapters which suffer extremely little wear and tear. And the new unibody laptops are extremely rigid construction. I'm not sure your information is up-to-date...

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (5, Informative)

SunnyDaze (1120055) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174980)

And the reason for the MagSafe adapters is because in the old Mac books the Weak Power plugs were breaking off when someone hit them requiring a full main board replacement :D

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (3, Informative)

smidget2k4 (847334) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175264)

Absolutely true, the old power connectors were a nightmare, and replacing that part in the older Powerbooks was awful, as you had to remove about 80% of the components inside the book to get to it.

That being said, the MagSafe connectors are wonderful and I have never seen a model with that connector having power issues. The only issue I've seen on newer Mac laptops are broken screens, usually from dropping on concrete.

(Disclaimer: I work in an all Mac laboratory with huge ranges in the ages of all the Macs we have.)

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (2, Informative)

yurtinus (1590157) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175094)

The models prior to MagSafe didn't, I've repaired to of them for family members. However in that case it still isn't attached to the motherboard-- the power board is a separate circuit card which could be had for about fifty bucks from resellers. I actually can't recall the last Mac notebook I dug into that had the power plug soldered to the motherboard... I'm fair certain they existed at one point, but it's kind of moot now.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175288)

whoa mac lover in the house

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (0, Redundant)

Blakey Rat (99501) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175432)

Hey Einstein, they added the MagSafe adaptors specifically because the power cord kept snapping off at the mainboard.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (5, Informative)

Anonymusing (1450747) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175042)

As someone who professionally provided tech support for Macs for more than 15 years, I have to disagree with you. I do think that when Macs have problems, they have BIG problems, but overall they have proven (to me anyway) that they are generally much more reliable than systems made by Windows PC vendors.

As for this SquareTrade article, it wouldn't surprise me if Apple fell a few points behind other manufacturers, though I cannot possibly imagine why someone would buy a new Mac and get a SquareTrade warranty instead of Apple's excellent 3-year warranty. Makes me wonder if the Macs covered by SquareTrade are largely used? You can't buy them at Target.

I also find it very odd that this year's SquareTrade report is almost entirely the reverse of last year's [marketwire.com], when HP came out on top. Also, Lenovo is calling shenanigans [bit-tech.net] on this year's data.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (1)

nxtw (866177) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175278)

I do think that when Macs have problems, they have BIG problems, but overall they have proven (to me anyway) that they are generally much more reliable than systems made by Windows PC vendors.

Apple isn't the only vendor that makes relatively high quality laptops; other major vendors sell systems of various quality. The Dell Latitude, Lenovo ThinkPad, and HP Compaq (business) lines are generally much higher quality than each manufacturer's consumer lines. But only the consumer models are sold in US retail. Typically one doesn't even see the business models on the vendor's website unless going into the business section.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (1, Flamebait)

Zenin (266666) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175054)

Meh to both of you and the moronic mod.

It was an example of history, challenging the story's claim of "legendary reliability of Macs". One of dozens. The point being Apple has never had great hardware in their Macs, the entire idea is a complete myth from their fanboi armies. And really, why should they? Their entire business model is to sell you the new shiny and they've fought tooth and nail to prevent anyone from being real competition that might try to compete with build quality. It's the reason you'll never see authorized Mac clones, the risk of quality hardware that's still a "Mac" would be death to Apple.

Re:What "legendary reliability of Macs"? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175430)

It's the reason you'll never see authorized Mac clones, the risk of quality hardware that's still a "Mac" would be death to Apple.

Funny that you say that, because when Apple did license clones before, the build quality of the clones was quite a bit lower than Apple's. Sure, Power Computing and UMAX offered faster computers for a cheaper price than Apple did, but the actual quality of the components and machines themselves was on the lower end.

HP has the highest failure rate indeed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30174778)

25.6% it is, and it can be actually proven by just asking people you know that have HPs less that 4 years old. My dv6t has 3 different malfunctions after 6 month of regular use: Faulty battery, a hard disk that crashes once a month and a cooling fan that sounds like it's breaking ice. Nothing is built as it used to be anymore...

Jive with anyone else's experience. (3, Interesting)

MSG (12810) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174800)

I saw this the other day. What struck me most is that Sony and Apple have historically had the highest failure rates in the industry (maybe other than HP), and Dell has had among the lowest. Toshiba appears to have consistently low failure rates. I'm glad to see that Apple and Sony have improved (assuming the accuracy of the report), and very disappointed at Dell's slide.

Still, as an IT support guy, those numbers don't jive with what I see. Apple laptops need warranty service far more often than this study indicates, in my experience. I'd like to know more about the methodology of the survey.

Re:Jive with anyone else's experience. (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174990)

The large numbers involved probably mean that the users of each brand are pretty much the same as the users of any other brand, but it would be interesting if someone were able to figure out if a given brand suffered from the 'hammer hands' effect, where their users generally treated the computer more roughly.

Re:Jive with anyone else's experience. (1)

BetterSense (1398915) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175016)

Plus, it's not a drastic difference. 4-some percent versus 5-some percent. Personally, I think 4 and 5 percent is high failure rates for an flavor of laptop...so we're talking netbooks have a very very high failure rate compared to the 'merely' very high failure rate of normal laptops.

Re:Jive with anyone else's experience. (3, Informative)

99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175536)

I saw this the other day. What struck me most is that Sony and Apple have historically had the highest failure rates in the industry (maybe other than HP), and Dell has had among the lowest.

According to consumer reports, the opposite has been true for a long time. Dell used to have terrible rates, and as of the last study, was doing poorly for desktops, but near the top for laptops. Apple consistently scores the highest for laptop reliability among all companies.

What's the Math on These Failure Rates? (1)

mpapet (761907) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174814)

If you are squaretrade, the independent warranty provider, does their business model work at these failure rates? I was too lazy to go figure out what SquareTrade would do with a laptop that qualifies for their warranty coverage.

If they replace it, it seems to me these failure rates would bust their business compared to the price of the warranty. Maybe it's like American Health Insurance. It looks like it provides protection, but the details say otherwise.

I could be totally wrong though.

Nvidia? (2, Interesting)

whoever57 (658626) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174886)

I wonder how much of the failure rates is due to problems with Nvidia chips?

Before I get downmodded as a troll or for flamebait, please note that Nvidia has had well documented problems with reliablility, due to materials used in the chip bumping and finishing processes.

probably intel's fault, not nvidia (1)

slew (2918) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175398)

Almost all netbooks on sale today with are intel-inside with cheeeep atom-chipsets with integrated graphics...

Nvidia ION-netbooks are just hitting the shelves now (not available until recently), and we'll see, but there aren't likely any historical failure rate number for any of the Nvidia ones yet.

Re:Nvidia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175528)

I second this! I have had 2 HP Laptop failures, both due to the failure of the nVidia chip, requiring a MB replacement. I have a number of friends with Powerbooks that also had video failures. In all cases, both with the HP Laptops and Powerbooks, the same nVidia chip was the issue. This is not to knock nVidia, just that series of chip! I've had NO failures with other nVidia products.

new computers suck, generally (1)

onefriedrice (1171917) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174912)

They just don't make them like they used it. I'm sure most of us still have beige computers from the early nineties that are still crunching while the shiny computers they make today will die after a few years, if not sooner. I believe the common assumption that Apple computers last longer should also be questioned; I haven't seen much evidence to say that they do. Macs do retain their resale value better than commodity stuff, but that doesn't matter so much if what you're trying to sell doesn't work; it will always be worth a lot less.

I suppose it's not too shocking (2, Interesting)

nine-times (778537) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174924)

This isn't too surprising, really. Whenever you go for the cheap end of things, you get poor quality.

Now don't understand me-- I'm not saying that it's good. I think it'd be great if we could make cheap things also be good quality. Like I imagine someone could manufacture netbooks and still sell them relatively cheaply just by virtue of the fact that they use fewer components and less materials. However, the tendency in a situation like this is for the manufacturer to say, "These are cheaper products with tight profit margins. These are also budget products, and people who buy budget products will tend to buy the cheapest thing available. Let's just cut every corner, make them as cheap as possible, and not worry too much about quality." It's the same reason we get $5 blenders at Walmart that break after a year.

Of course, the problem is often that it's hard for consumers to tell the difference, so companies sometimes don't provide a good middle ground. Like you might find yourself in a situation where you can find a cheap $5-10 blender that will break in the next year, and the next step up is a $1000 "luxury" blender with a built in toaster oven, speakers, and iPhone dock. I guess simple, high quality, economical goods don't sell.

Re:I suppose it's not too shocking (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175236)

...except these are all cheap crappy PCs. Their components are coming out of the same Chinese factories.

There is NO differentiator when it comes to "quality".

HELL, some of the netbooks are little more than older generation Mac mini's rebuilt as laptops.

This is why they are popular with the Hackintosh crowd to begin with.

The same will happen with ION netbooks.

Aren't netbooks more likely to get transported? (2, Insightful)

joeflies (529536) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174938)

The whole selling point about netbooks is that you take it with you wherever you go, including the bus, the plane, and as such it's stuffed in backpacks or bumped around all the time. The average laptop probably spends more time in one location and isn't transported as often, since a large portion of people are using them as replacement desktops that could be taken home if needed, but often aren't. Myself I leave my laptop locked up at work if I don't need to do any work at home.

Re:Aren't netbooks more likely to get transported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175146)

Agreed. When I take my laptop out of my house (which is not too often), I put it in a nice padded laptop bag.

I imagine that people with Netbooks toss them in carry-on bags, backpacks, etc. where they are more likely to be damaged.

Re:Aren't netbooks more likely to get transported? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175406)

This is a really good point to note. Didnt RTFA, but I think this could be a very important insight. I have a laptop and it mainly just sits on my desk all day. Its also fairly expensive (over $1000) and I'm very careful with it as such.

surprise (1)

thehostiles (1659283) | more than 4 years ago | (#30174940)

and why is this not surprising in the least? you're trying to pack a processor and all the necessary components for a real computer in a netbook not much room for error

Failure rate? What about Support of failures? (1)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175010)

Failure rates are within 2-3 percentage points. Who cares. What really makes a difference is the SUPPORT you get from a vendor, not what percentage of the shipments fail over time.

Hardware fails. Especially portable hardware. It's a fact of life, and engineering builds that in. It's impossible to build a machine completely immune to failure without spending astronomical amounts of money. And it's also not reasonable.

What makes Apple an attractive vendor is Apple Care. You get your circuitboard replaced for $0 that normally cost a thousand dollars. Hard disk failure? $0 replacement. Optical disk drive failure? $0 replacement.

Dell and other vendors have similar programs. In the end, you cannot look at pure failure rates because failure rates are part of the design of hardware. You also need to consider support costs.

Re:Failure rate? What about Support of failures? (2, Insightful)

Azureflare (645778) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175084)

I just RTFA and I have to reply. This article is a pure shill piece for an independent warranty company. What idiot would buy an independent warranty when there's a more comprehensive plan available from the vendor?

Just goes to show you, there's a sucker born every minute, and that company takes advantage of them.

Re:Failure rate? What about Support of failures? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175162)

Wrong. "Apple Care" is an insurance scheme much like any insurance - it is there to MAKE money for Apple. You may as well be praising your insurance company how great it is for paying for your house if it catches on fire due to faulty construction, or whatever. But it sure is not for free!

Re:Failure rate? What about Support of failures? (1)

arb phd slp (1144717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175222)

What makes Apple an attractive vendor is Apple Care. You get your circuitboard replaced for $0 that normally cost a thousand dollars. Hard disk failure? $0 replacement. Optical disk drive failure? $0 replacement.

Given that, how many Macs are covered by SquareTrade warrantys instead of Apple's? Their data may be skewed by selection bias (but I can't say which way).

Environment? (1)

hawguy (1600213) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175040)

I wonder how much of the difference is due to the environment they are used (and transported) in.

My laptop spends most of it's time on my desk, and it travels in a laptop bag. But my netbook gets tossed in my backpack and I take it with me more often. Likewise, my gf takes hers to work in her (big) purse.

My track history (1)

British (51765) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175254)

ASUS EEE PC - 7 inch 4 gig SSD model: Screen's flakey in less than a year. You have to sometimes bend & twist the display, otherwise it shows just pure gray for an image.

Acer Aspire One: Windows died randomly on one occasion(reinstall fixed that). Bios died a few weeks ago, but took only 5 minutes to fix.

Extended warranties cause failures (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175276)

What these people fail to understand is that buying an extended warranty causes failures. I never buy the extended warranty and my gadgets experience negligible failure rates. The last thing I've had fail was a 12 year-old TV set.

The alternate explanation is that people who buy extended warranties are people whose experience indicate that it's a good investment--the klutzes.

They are used in different ways (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175358)

People are more compelled to chuck a netbook into their backpack, and take it places where they wouldn't take a laptop. It probably sees more general abuse because it feels less delicate and more like a toy.

Dell? (1)

228e2 (934443) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175380)

Did anyone else find it odd that Dell was not listed or even mentioned? Or that data seemed to be missing?

Give us a spiffy little graphic or something. What was all tested?

probably because people bang on them harder... (2, Interesting)

Phizzle (1109923) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175422)

Anecdotal evidence based on practical experience: I dragged my Samsung NC20 all over Europe and obscure parts of Russia and before that I had a well travelled Samsung NC10 and abused the crap out of it and they are both working just fine. These units went through customs time after time, banged around, exposed to -10c temperatures, countless flights, and copious exposure to the funky Soviet Era power wiring with no ill effects!
I had much worse luck with my HP DV9000 laptop (something happened to the freaking hinge and the LCD would just cut out from time to time and reboot the system) and my Lenovo G530 (two functions keys mysteriously stopped working). The funny thing is I treated the laptops much better than the netbooks - go figure.

Sample Data? (1)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175440)

The sample data is based on laptops using SquareTrade's extended warranty coverage. What's the profile of SquareTrade users?

I was surprised by Levono's ranking (6th) since ThinkPads usually have a solid reputation which makes them popular among corporate users.

I'm thinking that if SquareTrade's audience is nearly all consumers, the sample for Levono may be relatively quite small.

I Fail To See The Problem... (1)

thepropain (851312) | more than 4 years ago | (#30175490)

1: You get what you pay for, and these boogers are practically disposable. 2: I got the granddaddy of 'em all, the Eee PC 701, the split-second they hit the market. Aside from some case damage from taking it apart w/o a guide, still runs like a dream.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#30175530)

lol@ HP,
i used to work in this POS company and i can testify, most of the products they sell now are CR4p.....

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