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Apple laptops, iPod top reliability survey

updated 06:45 pm EST, Thu December 15, 2005

PC Mag survey Winners

Apple again has been recognized for its notebook and iPod reliability PC Magazine's survey of over 35,000 subscribers. While being recognized as a "Winner" for both reliability and service/support for its notebooks and MP3 player, Apple received only an average rating for most , both Apple and Lenovo earned above average scores in overall reliability and satisfaction with reliability categories, while Lenovo additionally earned an above average rating in resolving any hardware or software problems.

In its report, PC Magazine said that Apple earned an above average rating for easy-of-use and satisfaction with reliability for its iPod MP3 players for the second year in a row. Of all the other MP3 manufacturers--including Sony, Samsung, Creative, iRiver, RCA, and Dell--only iRiver received an above-average rating in any category: the survey found iRiver had an above average rating for resolving any problems, but earned an below-average rating for its products' ease-of-use.

Once a leader in the reliability and service categories, Dell continued to show no signs of improvements, according to the editors.

"Our survey also confirmed the growing perception that Dell's halo is fading. Once known for its excellent reliability and service, Dell received scores for desktops and notebooks that were average overall and below average in some areas, including phone support hold time. Dell's overseas reps with thick accents also featured in many reader complaints. Recent changes by the company to shorten some warranties and alter delivery policies may tarnish its image as well."

by MacNN Staff





  1. Xiaopangzi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Not very representative!!

    Hmm, I guess that just goes to show you how unreliable surveys can be. I've been using Macs since they first came to market and have owned PowerBooks since the 170, before System 7 was released, but I have to say that the record of Apple's laptops has been atrocious, lately. I had eight logicbboard replacements on my iBook without any hope of having the actual iBook replaced, unlike the more vocal protestors. I've had a logic board on my iMac replaced for the same reason. Now, reports abound about very noticeable lines on the new PowerBook and white spots on the generation immediately preceding that. I'm scared to even take another chance on another Apple laptop—especially a PowerBook—but I'll have to do so eventually, because I'll never settle for a PC, as I prefer the Mac OS despite the recent trend of hardware failures. If PC hardware is even worse, that shows how poor the general design or quality assurance of laptops has become in recent years.

  1. chrissyboy

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I read this the same day the hard drive on my (14 month old) PowerBook has died...

  1. dave a

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Laptops happen to have relatively high problem rates. FWIW, I haven't had any problems...though I realize n=1 is no more significant than n=2. My forums at (or was it corolland?) show that Toyotas have problems, too...but they're still tops in quality, generally.

    I think the desktop issue is all those iMac G5s with the capacitor they break it out further I wonder? Probably not.

  1. scoop417

    Joined: Dec 1969


    pismo still doing fine

    I can't speak for the newer models, but my Pismo (G3 FireWire PowerBook) just hit its fifth anniversary. I've worked it hard, lugged it around the world, and never had a problem. I burned through two batteries, upgraded the memory and hard drive and put in an AirPort card, but never had occasion to call for support or send it in for repairs. It's running the latest version of Tiger, but I'll admit it's getting a little long in the tooth, so I just got a 20" iMac for everyday use. If only the new laptops held up so well ...

  1. LouZer

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Yep, on my third logic board. Plus, when I've mentioned the hardware problems in the past on these boards, I've gotten the "Oh, but apple's fixed those iBook issues!" responses. Except now i'm reading on Macintouch that the G4 iBooks are having the same problems the G3's had (OK, maybe not the same problem, but the same symptom).

  1. Xiaopangzi

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Pismo was good

    Yes, Pismo was one of the last reliable PowerBooks, although my WallStreet, which predates the Pismo by a few months, burned out three power adapters in a six-month period, and no dealer ever bothered to tell me that there was a special warranty coverage on it, so I should not have had to keep buying new ones.

    My iPod got scratched to heck within the first day (both the metal back and enamel front) even though I was totally babying it with special care.

    Apple has had such a bad record with laptops that I really don't know what to do. I guess buying Apple Care is the only safe thing to do with the next purchase to ensure a replacement laptop after repeated failure or a being numbered among the widespread problems such as those related to the displays. Shall we even mention the notable battery problems in recent products?

  1. Lo_Ruhamah

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Laptop Reliability

    Well i can't speak for anyone else, but having owned 7 Powerbooks (Starting with a Duo 230) I can honestly say I have never had a problem with any of them. I've found Apple products to be consistently more reliable than other companies, particularly in the laptop department.

        That said, being a computer consultant, I have dealt with some lemon Apples, and usually the problems, if any occur fairly quickly after purchase. Apple has always been very fast on the turn around replacing the bad parts (bad ram, HD etc.) A word of advice though, for those who have had multiple logic boards replaced: Perhaps the logic board failure was a symptom and not the problem. The chances for receiving so many bad replacement boards is remote at best, most likely something else is causing the failure (bad connectors, and power supply putting out just a bit too much power etc. I've found Apple employees often sympathetic to problem cases like this and have been known to completely replace the faulty computer in question.

  1. ender

    Joined: Dec 1969


    No Problems Here

    I've owned 5 Mac desktops and 2 laptops (including a G4 PB) and have not had a single failure of any components. The oldest one still in use is a 10-year old Quadra 630 followed by a 7-year old Beige G3, both still cranking away good as new. It's pretty obvious that the person who had 8 motherboard replacements has something else going on there. Bad power supply or more likely a peripheral that is causing electrical problems. The odds of getting 8 bad boards in a row are astronomically low!

  1. dynsight

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Rugged 17" Powerbook

    I have had my 17" PB for two years, and dropped it twice in an axio backback (bad clip) from a height of four and a half feet.

    Just to consider...I work in an IT group with a bunch of PC users and there are various compaq/Dell laptops here(30). Also Sony, Etc. 2/3rds of the PC laptops have been out for service within two years of ownership, and about half of those have been out twice.

  1. ClevelandAdv

    Joined: Dec 1969


    few hardware problems

    I have owned 8 Macs including 3 Powerbooks. The powerbook 5300 had several issues which after 4 trips in for service I got them to send a new book (after threat of a lawsuit). Other than that lemon all others were excellent performers including my 667 G4 Powerbook which I have used every day since it's purchace.

    Did anyone notice that they did not rate many categories because too few responses....this means very few problems to begin with, which I am sure cannot be said for other manufacturers.

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