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Electronics fail eventually, and none of them are immune. This doesn’t mean that they are unreliable. But there is one saying that is most often true - you get what you pay for. So remember that with cheaper laptops or electronic devices, the better the chance that lower quality materials and processes were used, hence the greater chances of it failing.
Many people often associate brands with quality. This is because each one has different approaches to the manufacturing process and the quality of the parts that they use. That is why you often pay a premium for Apple products because of quality materials and engineering. They are way more expensive than an equivalent Windows-based PC, sometimes doubling in price.
A lot of people want to know which laptop brand is better between Asus or Acer, but the answer is not often very definitive. We can get a general view of which brand has the least reported failures. What we want to know are hardware failures, but statistics showing failure rates are often hardware and software failures combined. Software failures do not count against the brand’s build quality.
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Laptop Failure Rates
First, let’s look at the overall malfunction rates of all laptops regardless of the manufacturer. As you can see in the graph from Squaretrade.com, the farther from the time of purchase the higher the failure rates. Remember that this is the general population of laptops. This means that the general cause of failure is definitely age, and most especially wear and tear. It all really depends on how it is being used. But the truth behind it is that the older the machine, the higher the chances of it malfunctioning.
According to SquareTrade’s experience, this 31% failure rate of laptops is quite higher than other electronic devices. This is because laptops contain more sophisticated electronic and mechanical components than most other types of electronics. There are moving parts like hard drives and fans, mechanical parts like keyboards, and heat generating parts like the CPU and the GPU. You couple that with software problems like lockups and crashes that could potentially harm the hardware in the long run and you have a big combination for failure. The nature of their use also contributes to this rapid failure. They are usually run at long periods because of work or gaming.
If you are considering buying a used laptop, think again, or you can read this guide on buying a used laptop.
(Graph courtesy of Squaretrade.com)
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Malfunction Rate by Category
This line graph shows that netbooks fail more often than entry-level laptops and premium laptops. This simply verifies what I said earlier that it all boils down to the manufacturing process and quality of materials used. Since netbooks have to be sold cheaply, the process and materials used will definitely be of lesser quality, while in premium laptops, quality is the factor, and hence, you see them failing less. Again, you get what you pay for.
The bar graph is a projection of the overall percentage of failure for 3 years. This shows really that cheaper items fail more often than more expensive ones.
(Graphs courtesy of Squaretrade.com)
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Acer vs Asus vs Everyone Else
This is the graph that you are all waiting for. The long standing question of “Who is better, Acer or ASUS?" But the graph shows all the other top companies that sell laptops as well. The data is based on released manufacturer data.
It clearly shows that Asus and Toshiba are on top when it comes to reliability in the long run with HP coming out last, although HP was one of the top sellers of laptops. It is even a surprise that Apple came in only 4th in the reliability list, given their knack for putting premium parts and quality engineering in their Macbook line, and with the price premium on them as well.
(Graph courtesy of Squaretrade.com)
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Based on this data from Squaretrade, the debate of who makes better laptops between Acer and Asus states that Asus clearly wins by a large margin. But we can also see that there are a lot more brands better than Acer in this graph. So the question should have been between Asus and Toshiba. I always thought that Toshiba made the most reliable laptops, and it turns out I’m really close.
But this data is for 3 years, and laptops now are usually replaced between one to two years. In this case we will not see a lot of malfunctions since this data is spread between 3 years. But still, if you buy a less reliable brand, there is that chance of your laptop going out in the first year.
In conclusion, Asus is the brand to go for reliability, and they even put out laptops with decent specs. Here is a comparison between Toshiba and HP.
I wrote this article on an HP Compaq CQ40-416, that’s the AMD Turion X2 with ATI Radeon HD 4200. I recently had a series of BSoD’s which I could not understand why, so I decided to pull the thing apart as it was out of warranty (over 1 year old) anyway. I finally found out that the 2nd memory stick is causing it. I couldn’t figure out what brand it was as there are no markings or stickers, but this right here is your example of the high HP failure rate at work. However, it was a really cheap laptop for the specs.
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