Laptops

Acer makes the shoddiest laptops, according to IT professionals

TechRepublic recently polled its audience of IT professionals about which vendors make the best and worst laptops. One thing was nearly unanimous: Acer makes the worst. See the results.

TechRepublic recently polled its audience of IT pros about which vendors make the best and worst laptops. One thing was nearly unanimous: Acer machines are the worst.

It's no secret that as laptops have dropped in price in recent years -- dipping from an normal price tag of about $1500 just 5-10 years ago to roughly $500 for many of today's most popular models -- the quality and reliability of those laptops has decreased just as precipitously.

While it's still true that corporate IT departments don't typically buy the cheapest laptops on the market, the price of business-class portables have dropped as well. IT departments that used to pay $1500-$2000 for their laptops now typically pay $700-$1000 per machine.

The biggest difference is that IT departments are looking for laptops with the best reliability, so that they can service them as little as possible, since it's expensive every time an IT professional has to take the time to deal with a bad system.

TechRepublic recently asked its massive audience of IT professionals which vendors make the most reliable laptops and which ones make the least reliable laptops. Since most IT departments tend to use multiple vendors and/or switch vendors every 2-3 years in order to land the best deal, we thought IT departments would have a great perspective on this.

Plus, there's also the factor that most IT professionals tend to serve as the de facto tech support departments for many of their friends, family, and neighbors. So they tend to see a lot of different consumer laptops as well, especially the ones that have the most problems.

Not surprisingly, the results of our two polls in May had Hewlett-Packard and Dell at or near the top of both lists. Since those two vendors both sell so many machines, both offer drastically different levels of support, and both have very diverse products lines, we regularly hear from lots of happy customers and lost of disgruntled ones as well.

The most consistent data point on both polls was that IT professionals consider Acer laptops to be the most shoddy. Of the top seven laptop sellers that were asked about in the two polls, Acer ranked first (24%) among the least reliable laptops and last (6%) in the most reliable laptops. Check out the full results below.

About

Jason Hiner is the Global Editor in Chief of TechRepublic and Global Long Form Editor of ZDNet. He is an award-winning journalist who writes about the people, products, and ideas that are revolutionizing the ways we live and work in the 21st century.

171 comments
docplaster
docplaster

I find it confusing and annoying when attempting to research information on purchasing the best laptop. Every site rates computer manufacturers different. A laptop on one site will be rted highly, while another site will rate the same laptop average of not so great. Is there a site where professionals rate laptops without personal preferences being used? It appears that personal bias is presented in the evaluations, making it most difficult to make a cogent decision.

panda
panda

The best laptops are Lenovo and Apple. The worst, without any doubt is Acer. I am considering quality, reliability and service. Dell is good too.

uswah123
uswah123

nice impressive features have been introduced in this laptop Laptops in Karachi

hack
hack

If you look at the pie chart before reading the article, you will be confused by the article. The data is more market share, than failure rate, or popularity. The top 3 market leaders, HP, Acer, Dell are represented accordingly. Apple, with its single digit marketshare, is also represented accordingly. Article FAIL.

dbehnke48
dbehnke48

I have been in business servicing computers since 2003. In terms of laptops, I would agree with the survey. Acer support is lacking in the area of obtaining service manuals, or assembly instructions. Dell, I find is superior in this area. HP would be second to Dell. Acer laptops are built cheaply, and do not hold up, an example being their AC power connectors.

chelless
chelless

Poll is inconsistent. Why are there different ratings for "not worst" and "best?" Not a scientific poll, and more fodder for schoolboy, bar-hopping rant and raving and geekish mental masturbation.

jayohem
jayohem

A year ago Acer was touted as the best; now it's the worst. I guess it depends on which factory made the product. How does anybody know what is made where and whether it will be manufactured there next week? We've shipped our manufacturing overseas so we don't really know, do we? Mattel thought it did, but it was wrong. So how can we be sure that the "good" factory isn't making whatever is getting the best price this year, and the lower priced items aren't being assembled in the factory that isn't so hot?

brian
brian

My very worst experiences have been with HP/Compaq (100% design/manufacture-related failure and total loss in way less than 12 months from new and absolutely abysmal warranty/service) and very best with Acer - including this one, a 4736G that, for for more than 12 months and without missing a beat, has been on and busy - including with easily-accommodated X-Plane and Flight Simulator breaks - around the clock.

Bill Day
Bill Day

You may be right. However, I was able to get an underpowered Acer for approximately $300, replace the OS with Arch Linux, and get a very serviceable laptop. Since computer hardware is essentially a disposable commodity subject to planned obsolescence in about 3 years, do I really want to pay 2.5 times as much for a machine I will probably replace in a couple of years anyway? Put another way, my father-in-law has one of the original AT cases manufactured by IBM with such loving care and perfect craftsmanship that it will probably outlast our grandchildren, just because that's how IBM did things in those days. I'd say it has been gathering dust for decades now. What's the point?

deathman_2000
deathman_2000

There is NO WAY that poll is accurate!! Post those same results against the number of units purchased or in use and you will see who has the highest failure rate and it won't be Acer!

zenmormon27
zenmormon27

I've had my Acer for about 2.5 years now and I've had no problems with it. I had the stock Widows Vista on it but swapped it out for Linux Ubuntu and it runs like a charm.

brewerda
brewerda

I use an Acer netbook and it is excellent, realiable and does everything it is supposed to do. No issues what-so-ever.

bhackbarth
bhackbarth

I've had nothing but trouble with my Acer laptop since I got it last spring. Finally had to remove a faceplate to keep it from pressing down on the wiring for the screen, because the screen kept going white on me. Still does it from time to time, but much less often than before.

macgvr
macgvr

What is strange is that Apple ranked so low in the ratings. I am not necessarily an Apple fan, but, they seem to be consistently reliable and have the best support. The other oddity, of course, is the way HP and Dell got nearly the same percentages for being the most and least reliable. I suspect the reason for Apple's dismal showing is because they are used far less in a business setting than the others. Still odd though. I had hoped to get some useful info from these polls but other than the fact that Acer is junk, already knew that, I don't find anything that helps me decide what the next laptops we purchase will be.

Alessi101
Alessi101

I agree with this. In my experience Acers have had a very high failure rate. Thinkpads in my experience have had the lowest failure rate.

wtr
wtr

As a technician we see more HP's than any other brand and the most common fault is heat damage.

jason.wienert
jason.wienert

We gave up on HP and Toshiba a long time ago. Acer business machines the Extensa and Travelmate's have been excellent. We have had one faulty machine, the hard drive actually died. Picked up and returned by Acer three days later with a new hard drive. All other machines have performed faultlessly.

unclebudus
unclebudus

My only problem with Acer is their support. It is severely lacking. Trying to find drivers and such for Acers can be a nightmare.

devlin_X
devlin_X

He was saying nothing about the other two brands you mention. His point was how reliable Toshiba's were. Having an x64 system with only 2GB's of RAM is not a reliability issue it is an ordering issue. The laptops are coming with the amount of RAM agreed upon. I work selling among other brands Toshiba's and have not seen a system the past 2 years with less than 3GB's of RAM unless you are counting their netbooks.I have from personal experience seen they are in the shop much less often than many others as well as I've seen other reliability reports that come to the same conclusion (and no they are not sponsored by Toshiba) that they are a very quality minded brand.Also I have a Toshiba Satellite 1735 (Pentium III 750mhz era) laptop that is still to this day working and all I've done to it is boost it to it's max of 192MB RAM and installed Ubuntu on it.

ngiacona
ngiacona

Greetings All! Well I have two of the Acer AOA 150 series netbooks, For me they work great, But I own them! I have seen in the past that people whom are using company equipment to suport there job tend to respect there supplied equipment less than if they own it.. I have alot of people that ask me when did I get my computer, when I tell them it's a year old they complement me about how it operates and looks! Then I see the rock they are using, and they say " hay it belongs to the company " I'll get another one next year.. excuse me I just spilled coffee on my keyboard! later Nicholas

marketcity
marketcity

Lenovo have a superb built quality, while HP machines are delicate and has heating issues. Hp makes laptops to ensure their life is not above 2 years to enhahce sale. Another brand worth mentioning is dell. They have delivery issues but really good notebooks and relaible too. Acer is ok for personal notebook segment,students and light / first time users. Not really for corporates. But their high end model with low cost as compared to competitor will see their market share grow with time. and in that time they will built on the quality and the technology as well to compete. Subhomoy

rajatrusia
rajatrusia

Maybe acer is making the shoddiest laptops but one think we all will notice that ACER makes the cheapest laptops too, which due to their low cost are comfortable to lower middle class families.

Ozzie Don
Ozzie Don

Where does Sony Vaio come in?????? Doesn't seem a very well thought out poll.

mem1
mem1

Not that this is by any means scientific, but if you subtract the least reliable percentages from the most reliable, Lenovo takes 1st place as best at 9 and Apple a close 2nd at 8. Perhaps this spread could serve as a "relative" indicator of quality. I have an IBM Thinkpad R51p, and it has been a solid performer. But for a laptop reliability survey to be really useful, I think if would have to be manufacturer and model specific.

donw1248
donw1248

My 2 year old Acer is fine and has better built in webcam and audio than most other brands. Vista os is the worst part.

Weird Fishes
Weird Fishes

I've never posted a comment on TechRepulic because i just like reading and not spending too much time posting my opinion, but your reply to puckster970 was pretty rude and imature and by what you have written in your reply it sounds like your not in the position to have a respectable opinion anyway.... If your stripping down every laptop to the last screw your probably working in a company with less than 50 users or maybe you're a guy that changes screens, motherboards and PCI slots as a vendor support techy (or prove me wrong wich will just show how bad your communication skills are) stripping down a machine doesn't make you and expert, having a very large user base doesn't make you an expert but gives you a better idea of reliability on a larger scale which is my case. Dell in general are good, we have hundreds of users on latitude D630's E6400's E4300's and are pretty reliable though we also have many users on D430's which are atrocious mahines. Not many issues with server hardware. We have been on lenovo for a year or so, better reliabilty over all models comparing to Dell. very ugly machines though... I think HP's are little bit less reliable than Dell but i'm saying they are bad. No good experiences with Acer unfortunately PS: Geekynerd, apologies if i came across as rude but someone has to tell you that you behave and communicate like a 12 year old, if you're lucky you might even learn from this and learn how to have healthy debates and arguments without getting personal... or did toshiba cheat on you with another dude haha PS1: installing X64 on 2Gb has nothing to do with hardware reliability...

dcse4968
dcse4968

According to your pie chart, Dell ranks third least reliable while ranking as the second most reliable. That's confusing. I think the survey should be ranked according to how easy, how quickly, and at the least cost the laptop can be repaired. I'm sure Dell would rank the highest. I repair all makes. I could replace 4 Dell mobo's in the same time it would take me to do one Mac Book Pro, at two thirds the cost.

yvrif
yvrif

i think acer makes the best i never have a problem with mine

dawgit
dawgit

My Toshiba is over 10 years old, and is still working trouble free. And service is only a few miles (

bf.j.hospenthal
bf.j.hospenthal

Since April 2010, my Acer TravelMate 290 Notbook works 8 hours per day, 7 days per week, 50 weeks per year, outdoor between 14?F (-10?C) and 97?F (36?C), and humidity between 30% to 99%, and all that in rather a dusty air environment. Because never cleaned, the notbook is really dirty, but it works.

rondadams
rondadams

Instead of attacking and being inflamatory, why not offer your own opinion of the worst and best. Personally, my last 7 laptops were Dells. Only one, a refurb Inspiron, did I have a problem with. The case for the screen was far too flimsy and I cracked the LCD one day closing the lid. Other than that, I haven't had any trouble with them. I've also owned a couple of HP laptops, and not had any problems with them either. My wife currently has an eMachine Netbook we picked up at Wal-Mart for $228. It's small and weak, but suits her needs. The only problem we've had with it is trying to get customer service to help us order a bigger battery. Other than that, it's been okay.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Ill take my laptop as an example. One site said it was too heavy and too power hungry and not a good buy. Another site applauded its performance and utility and durability From those two reviews, you can get an idea of what kind of laptop it is.

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

Acer is not the only one to have problems with the power connector. My Compaq Evo N610c Notebook (HP) was functioning perfectly under XP SP3, until, 2 1/2 years ago, the connector started to behave erratically, (so battery charge was erratic as well) and then bluntly refused to do anything more. Meaning that a perfectly working PC that still did a good job on what I was using it for, died on a stupid connector issue. Repair? Change the motherboard! Not an issue for a more than 8 years old machine. for an end user a new one (an Acer ;-)) might even be a cheaper option ...

creisert
creisert

You are comparing a consumer based company with business ones. Acer is a consumer, HP and Dell are both. Service is always better for businesses than consumers I have found this in all companies especially when dealing with HP. I have had nothing but luck with the acer but I buy them as throw away units, price lets me do that. I have had problems with certain Dell laptops and bad motherboards with HP. Depends on model purchased.

geoff
geoff

I have a 7730 that has run various flavours of Linux/windows with no hardware issues at all. (well except it needs a new battery, more an inconvenience really) I look after it and do not abuse it which can account for many "Hardware failures". We had a Home worker bring in a top end Dell that was constantly giving him problems only to find it had been so physically and logically (software)abused that we had to report him to the IT Director!

Bill Day
Bill Day

The real problem is that we have no indication of the degree of accuracy of the survey, because the methodology is not described in the article.

Bill Day
Bill Day

Ditto for me, except mine is running Arch Linux at at the moment.

error60
error60

I buyed my Acer Travelmate 290 (!) in 2004 and still use it everyday in a Mediterranean climate (although with laptop cooler and often by directing a ventilator on it). Yes, it looks cheap, it is too. In Turkey, I found no visible customer service then, and still they have only one service office in the country (and believe me, with over 300 thousand sq miles it is not Liechtenstein!). In the same timeframe people around me have departed from their Dells, Toshibas and IBMs. But does it mean, these suck? I expect from your site more than just another opinion on shaky ground. In Turkey at present private users hold high hopes on Asus. Let's see in several years, if they really did deliver.

pcteky2
pcteky2

I used to be highly critical of people who don't write with correct grammar, spelling, and punctuation. I guess I've mellowed a bit over the past few years and I fully realize that every now and then even the brightest and most intelligent people slip up. There is no reason to call someone out on it anymore. Yes, spellcheck is integrated into many apps now, but TR is not one of them. By the way its which and not wich. LOL

maizenbluedoc
maizenbluedoc

I am totally confused when reading most reviews and/or evaluations. Most seem to be personal likes and dislikes, not true scientific evaluations. Why would acer machines be classed by many as the worst laptops, yet Consumer Reports ranks them the best for reliability. Someone is not giving the consumer the true picture. Personally, I am considering Asus, Lenovo, and Toshiba, but would also go for Dell if I could ever find one to test in the B&M stores. Just wish there was a site that offered side-by-side comparisons. I suppose dream on is the answer.

jams772
jams772

need is the mother of invention as need as supply. Acer emachine notbook suites Or staisfies someones wife's need thats the end point of everything my company provided me a dell laptop with Dual core 2.1 Ghz, 2GB RAM + win 7 installed its bit slower than my laptop with Dcore 2.1 Ghz 3 GB RAM. I don't see any problem with acer machines but one issue is common everywhere with across the world is " its Crstal eye webcam" which is ot very clear.

rindi1
rindi1

Particularly with HP I can't agree with it's business or consumer support. In my point of view their consumer support is generally better than the business support. For example if I need support for a product that was built for businesses, their live-chat usually doesn't include that product in their list, and so I'm forced to phone them or use email. But when I phone them, I can only do that during business hours, 5 days a week (or less if there is a public holiday in between). At least they have it that way in switzerland and germany. If I could use the live chat as with their consumer products, I can do that 24 hours / 7 days per week. If I cheat and use a consumer product to start the live chat, then ask about the business product, they usually don't know much about the product and say they can't support it through that channel. If I use email support it's again restricted to business hours, and usually very slow.

pgit
pgit

Yep. No scientific data here, it's all just people's experience. In the original I posted a reply to someone that suggested a truly scientific poll, I suggested some kind of standardized form to fill out, so as people report info such as how long a particular product lasted, can be automatically averaged somehow to come up with a rating. It could be a rating based on manufacturer, general properties such as a few classes of screen size, whatever would help people make the better choice. I can't believe someone hasn't already done this.

yves
yves

By the way, it's "it's", not "its".

Weird Fishes
Weird Fishes

I always miss that one!! but i obviously know that its "which"... and that's how we have become so lazy at spelling because of spellcheckers.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The poll shows the opinions regarding Acer from August 2010. If you're reading a recent CR, then the quality has likely changed since then.

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Different people require different things in a car and a computer so of course polls like this are subjective and all fall back on the individuals experience who participate in them. Then you have to consider the people who actually participate as well. One may be a Earthmover who wants a NB to live in their excavator on a dusty Work Site and then without turning it off clam it up and throw it into their truck and drive home with it. When a NB of any brand dies under those conditions they get a bad reputation by the person who was using it. Or another customer wanted a easy to use computer and bought an Acer and without any modification was complaining about it's performance. They returned it to the Acer People several Times and on every occasion it was returned with the message that it was working as it should. The fact that it took 45 minutes to reboot after applying Windows Updates didn't matter they all took that long. When I looked at it I was promptly told by it's owner that I wanted to wipe Vista and load XP to which I replied I can if you like but as a first option I would suggest increasing the RAM from 1 GIG to the 4 GIG that it can actually carry. The owner didn't believe that it was the same computer when he got it back as it's performance was drastically better. It was a Underspecified design which should never have been made in the first place but as it was built to a price it did what it was supposed to do. Most people buying a computer think that all that they have to do is walk into the Big Shop hand over their money and walk out with a computer that will do everything that they require. Sorry but despite what the sales people say that is not correct every system needs to be bought with what the user wants/needs to do with it and buying on price alone will never get the right system for most peoples needs, just what is cheapest in most cases. When that happens the users are unsatisfied with their NB's and when asked answer accordingly, if their new NB is slow and falls over a lot they say it's Crap and not worth the time & effort in using it. The same as those who buy Apple Mac NB's they pay 3 times what they could buy a Windows NB for and because of the high price believe that it's good even if it doesn't do what they require. You need to match the NB with it's user to get the best User Experience and just relying on Price Points Alone never gives a satisfactory User Experience unless you are so over the top in pricing that the customers are too scared to complain as they are unwilling to accept that they messed up and wasted their money. Some will complain that their unit was way too expensive but the reality is that most will not and will never consider that they bought something that is unsuitable for their needs hence the Expensive ones tend to get better reviews than the cheap throw away ones which under perform. Just as an Aside here though contributing to a 2 year old Discussion and asking questions is very unlikely to get you any answers as most TR Peers do not look at the old discussion threads like this. Col

francisvandenplas
francisvandenplas

And in the title it should be we're, not were, which makes the sentence hard to understand. BTW, the browser's spell-checker (this is one of the suggested spellings for... spellchecker in Opera!) does work in TR. If you're fluent in French, take a look at one of the most popular sites, 01Net. No punctuation, totally misspelled words and no grammar at all, are far more common than understandable French... Although I'm only a little Belgian (Flemish native language - not Dutch ;-) I try to write contributions that are as correct as what I'm able to achieve...

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