Laptops

Poll: Which PC vendor makes the best laptops?

TechRepublic users told us which PC vendors make the worst laptops, now it's time to vote on which companies make the best laptops. Take the poll.

We asked the TechRepublic audience which PC vendors make the least reliable laptops and we got a huge response. Of course, the natural follow-up is for us to ask which PC vendor makes the most reliable laptops. That's the subject of today's poll.

You might rightfully ask, "Why do we need a second poll? The most reliable are the ones that got the fewest votes in the first poll."

We understand that logic, but there's a couple reasons why we need to run this second poll. First, because we're journalists we have to assume nothing and ask the obvious questions, even when they are, well, obvious. Second, I suspect that the results of this second poll will not turn out to be the exact inverse of the first poll, because several of the vendors that we're asking about tend to get the most attention (and votes), no matter what the topic is.

So let's prove that theory right or wrong. Answer the question and then jump in the discussion below to explain why you voted the way that you did.

Take the poll

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.

166 comments
shawnts
shawnts

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pjboyles
pjboyles

1. Panasonic 2. Toshiba 2. Fujitsu

laura.walker
laura.walker

Boxx makes the best Window 7 computer - LRW FL

arthur_edisbury
arthur_edisbury

HP at 18% really, We had more failures from HP than any other, and their corporate help line is rubbish got you spending hours on useless tests,when you tell them whats wrong they will not accept it,truly awful service.so much so that the company changed to Dell.

winkee
winkee

the best laptops are made by the choices you make. brands mean nothing as most are made from chinese manufactured parts anyway. if you want a good one, build it yourself. unfortunately, only ocz has a barebones that you can customize to your own specs. other vendors just mass produce the same junk-laden products with nearly identical parts except that they customize the board fits so you can't really customize like you can a desktop. i'd love to build a custom laptop like i did my desktop. i couldn't buy my desktop for under $2800, but i built it myself for under $1000. as for the ocz, the barebones unit cost is around $400, the processor, about $225, then add up to 2 hdd and ddr3. dpending on the amount of ram, and the cost of two (2) 1 or 2 tb hdd's, you'd have a $7000-8000 laptop for under $1300. beats the hell out of ANY vendor's laptop, don't it?

ukhan
ukhan

I've worked with and resold Dell, HP and IBM for the past 5 years. I've been promoting dell especially for the last 2 years as I've found them to be more reliable and they have better customer service.

john3347
john3347

I have owned 4 portable computers. A Winbook XL performed admirably for several years, then the screen began turning colors around the edges (about the time the battery completely died). A Toshiba with Windows ME (this OS dates this computer) refuses to die. Served satisfactory duty as a portable computer for a few years then served wonderfully as a network printer server for a few more years until the battery completely died. Currently serves as computer room wall clock . This was replaced with a Gateway, now more than 3 years old, and still in limited service. (Never have and never will forgive Gateway for replacing the PCMCIA slot with an express card slot, making my portable PCMCIA printer worthless). Bought a Hannspree Hannsnote less than a year ago and the Wifi adapter died after only a few weeks. Based on my experience of having a Toshiba with Windows ME still functioning normally (with the battery excepted), I have to vote for Toshiba. edit: My Gateway that is still in limited service runs VERY hot. I have to place blocks under it to allow increased air circulation and blow the dust bunnies out of it more frequently than any other computer I have ever owned or used to keep it from shutting down due to overheating.

geekware
geekware

As you may notice by looking at the two results (best & worst), this is not a poll of which laptops are the best or worst. It is simply a poll of which laptops are the most popular. Dell and HP are near the top of both lists. In reality people are only choosing between two or three laptops when they vote because that is all they know about. Now to taint my logic, I will throw in some bold prejudice. Apple is obviously the winner. I repair laptops and have gone through dozens myself. I have used all the brands except ASUS. And none of them have even come close to my current MacBook Pro. In fact it is so far superior, that I do windows software development in a VM on my mac. In this case I am not discussing the operating system, only the hardware. The design and quality of a MacBook Pro can't be beat. YOU GET WHAT YOU PAY FOR.

macgvr
macgvr

How is it possible for Dell and HP to have both the most and least reliable laptops? If you look at the poll for the least reliable you see HP and Dell at the top. This implies that this poll approach isn't all that accurate, nor is it very scientific. It would be nice to have a study that looks at failures per 1000 laptops, or some such, and looks at the quality of service and support. If support isn't there, even good quality laptops are not fun to own.

cyberfax
cyberfax

The vendor with the best marketing will always win this race, its just a matter of numbers. If marketing is supurb it doesn't matter how many complaints, they still sell more popular.

kch50
kch50

I have been using Thinkpads for years. Still perform great and love the trackpoint.

jburkett10
jburkett10

Hello, I noticed no one mention Fujitsu. I do computer animation, my Fujitsu desktop replacement handles my hard driving software very well. Anyone else like Fujitsu?

Old Timer 8080
Old Timer 8080

I'll be honest; I haven't played with much of the overpriced underperforming new stuff. I have played with older stuff that have been biased in different areas. Portability: my Averatec 3280. Properly handling the heat issue, this is almost netbook in size and weight, yet is full featured. Battery operation is acceptable and I/O is reasonable. RAW POWER: ECS actually made the MBs for several generic and OEM brands; the Winbook and GQ series comes to mind; being able to upgrade the socket 478 Intel CPU and the robustness of the battery makes this desktop power laptop useable. Too bad it only has a 1024x768 display; this could have been a sleeper gamer box. I can't compain about older Dell C and D series laptops in the video department. HDTV quality screens and the horsepower to stream video from the server makes my c840 good enough in the video department.

pgit
pgit

I voted for Toshiba, but that would be my # 2 in quality behind Sony. I am intrigued by the comments extolling Asus. I have begun the search for a replacement laptop and have been gravitating toward a few Asus models, they seem to have the best specs. BTW I have to laugh at the results, Dell the HP. Man! Most of the problem laptops I deal with are Dell and HP. (and Alienware, that is THE worst in laptops and desktops) In fact 100% of both Dells and HPs I have owned have had hardware problems early on. They've lasted 2 years max before some game-ending, horrific hardware failure. Seems to me the answer to the poll is really answering the question "who sells the most laptops."

cwineing
cwineing

Just purchased my third Tecra. Last one I used for 8 years! Can't ever complain about Toshiba, they just work!

darrylm1961
darrylm1961

The IBM Lenovo's perform great and stand up pretty well under wear and tear and also have a professional look. I've been working with them for a couple years now. Only getting better.

MidwestITLady
MidwestITLady

I've personally had experience with (both at work and home) HP, Dell and Toshiba. My worst experiences have been with Toshiba laptops. I'm on my second HP laptop at home, and except for running a bit hot on my lap, I've had no problems. The servers we buy at work are HP and have been very reliable. The Dells (we buy Dell for the end users at work and I have a Dell desktop at home) have been reasonably reliable. Honestly, I think it simply depends on what specific brands and models you've had experience with.

nealfred
nealfred

In my work environment with 350 laptops and 150 Desktops, and consulting experience I have found that Toshiba is most reliable, Fujitsu a close second.

alopez
alopez

I still dont see Sony up there. They, by the way, stink the worst. (bunch of apple wannabes)

wally@whitley4.com
wally@whitley4.com

I've managed roll-outs/help desk on Dell's, Compaq's, Toshiba's, HP's and others. I've had best experience with Toshiba. But with the continued-rapid change in technology and the 'need' to re-design a nameplate every few years, it really becomes a crap-shoot with sticking with a particular vendor. They have a habit of completely re-working models so that what you used to rely-on is no longer dependable.

netsecuritypro
netsecuritypro

Dell, quality components, excellent customer service, not to mention that my last laptop came with lo-jack installed for a year free. Plus the options are nearly limitless for you to design and build or upgrade to exactly what you need. I bought my first Dell Inspiron 6000 5 years ago and it still works well.

israel
israel

Any one else notice how Acer turned up on opposite ends of each poll? Things that make you go hmmmm...

imb
imb

With the exception of Asus I have used machines from all of the manufacturers in the lineup. I grew up on PC's I have used from the Comodore 64 on. I used MAC from the APPLE 11c. I used to swear by MICRON but now APPLE makes the most reliable laptops

gearond
gearond

Well, if you look at the review of Performance vs money, and reliablilty, you really cant go wrong with them. They buy/design second tier products, no fancy label. BUT, the mother boards in them have the BEST chipsets for the money. They even advertise how bad their site is, because they'd rather spend the money paying people to help you. LOTS of pre sale help. They will sell you a CHEAPER laptop than you thought you wanted, if they can. And they burn in all their laptops after configuring them. Ask around, if anyone you know has used them, as I have, they'll tell you how good a laptop they got for the money.

jiorjis
jiorjis

I cant believe sony is not listed. They are good AND pretty:P Regardless to how good they are they should have been listed

brucer
brucer

I have been using Dell computers for many years and have never had a problem

justmathew
justmathew

Surely both this and the previous poll are flawed. Common sense tells us that the manufacturers which produce the largest quantities of laptops will have places in both the least reliable and most reliable polls. Given your small selection of manufacturers to chose from, I believe anyone with an ounce of common sense (and real experience in the industry) could predict the results more easily than the Laws of Probability would expect. If you had allowed voters to add manufacturers to the very small list and further allow subsequent voters to also chose from these additions, you would have a much better idea of the real results. Your poll is Hobson's Choice, nothing more!

HAL 9000
HAL 9000

Well actually the correct answer is [b]None of the above[/b] The absolute Best NB Computers are made by Clevo and currently I believe that these are sold under the Dell Logo for their High End models thought hat could have changed recently. The other good makes are Benq and MSI both of which are very good and are again sold under different makers logo's. However as of December last year Gigabyte got into the NB Form Factor and have a good range of 15 inch NB's which look great but as no one will let me play with one to see when it self destructs I'm not sure just how good these are. But if they have the same build quality as their Net Books they would be up there with the Clevo Offerings. ;) Col

JCitizen
JCitizen

quality issues change with the wind, so even my single experience with HP is obsolete. Mine was a 17" built at the end of 2005, and has taken much abuse, including being nuked by lighting; the battery took the damage. But it still keeps kicking even though I have to use a paper clip to open the CD/DVD tray. I never use that part of it anyway. I now use it as my Skype phone mostly.

vince_p9
vince_p9

I been almost decade for a laptop technician, i GO for ASUS and second IBM base on their performance and durability.

BrianMWatson
BrianMWatson

As a neutral person who is intimately familiar with how laptops are designed, enigineered and made, I can tell everyone that while individual experiences with brands like HP and ASUS (I like ASUS myself) may be good, the absolute best designed and built laptops are Lenovo. Hands down, and without question. That aside, in my experience managing a fleet of many thousands of laptops of varying brands, failure rates (and hence perceived reliability) have much more to do with the user than the laptop (brands like Sony aside - their laptops just don't hold up at all). I was able to trace failures in virtually all circumstances to user habits and behaviors. Without failure, users who treated their laptop well were rewarded with excellent reliability. Those who were rough, or had other bad habits invariably had HDD failures, hinge problems, broken LCDs, and more. I was even able to trace premature fan failure back to users stuffing the laptop into a bag while it was still on. I can see some of you rolling your eyes, but hopefully you get my point - the user matters much more than the laptop (and again, that's not to say the laptop is irrelevant).

binarypc
binarypc

When going business or business personal, I vote for Dell,they make solid machines and offer decent pricing and discounts when you throw in the 3 year warranty. The pluses there? That warranty goes with the machine, there is nothing like having a notebook for 2 years, selling it with the value of a warranty attached and then having a decent amount to put down on your next notebooks. Originally I would have pushed the XPS notebooks as nice gaming machines, but the Alienware integration has stepped up nicely.... however, be willing to trade an arm or a leg for the support & hardware combination. In the end, your buying a brand, a name. So, why ASUS? Well, they've been doing a bang up job at selling solid performance hardware with a reasonable price. When you buy an XPS or Alienware you pay a pretty penny for the high-end support & machine & a name that will be dated in 2 years or less. With ASUS, you can get the warranty & the hardware from a mfg who has been doing motherboards & video cards right for years... at... a... reasonable price; and, they are building a name & a brand. That usually equals better customer support and higher quality

bheite
bheite

Gateway! I don't know if they are still in business but I have had 4 Gateways for myself and parents and all worked just fine with no issues. My current laptop is a 2.0 Ghz dual core Intel chip unit, with a 17" screen I got "refurbished 4 years ago. The only thing I didn't like was Gateways abominable support for XP with drivers after Vista came out, which was inexcusable BP like mentality. Other than that, they have been excellent for cost and performance.

Ken Cameron
Ken Cameron

Best user experience was my original IBM Thinkpad ($11,000). Best vendor experience has consistently been Dell (useability good). Horrible experiences with Compaq, Acer, Sony, Toshiba.

walshlg
walshlg

Sager, now why wasn't that one of the choices??

Jaqui
Jaqui

that not many will pick Toshiba. ;) I have had fewest issues ever with a Toshiba laptop. of those I have had. [ until it got walked on, snapping half the circuit boards. :( ]

paulprivate
paulprivate

The problem with both survey's is no seperation of Pro and Consumer Laptops. This is why HP/Dell are top in both survey's. My reading & research suggest's HP does in fact make very good Pro Laptops (Pro/Elitebook) so someone working in an all Probook environment is going to vote HP as the best. Whereas HP's Consumer Laptops are the absolute pits/bottom of the pile so for those using/working with those HP is the worst. Hence the confusing results. So TR should repeat the survey only this time listing each brand twice eg HP Pro - HP Consumer, Dell Pro - Dell Consumer. My guess is that in the Pro range there would be little difference between brands reflecting the better build/quality of the Pro models. In the consumer models though I think it will be 'very' obvious just how bad certain consumer models have been over the last few years. Note. As if to confirm this, I've just got of the phone to a client that has an experience base of 12 -15 Laptops over the last 7/8 years. All of the Laptops are still working 'except' the two HP consumer grade Laptops. One of these needed repairing 3 times under warranty for the same fault. Needless to say both finally died 'just outside of warranty' mmmm.

jwmartin
jwmartin

I had 6 customers have the same problem with HP and AMD and NVIDIA chips. They got so hot that it melted the solder away from the video card. Seems like they all went bad 2 months after the warranty ran out. HP = Junk

danekan
danekan

+ they often now sell laptops at rock bottom prices, but they'll come with a mere 30 day warranty and no support. I have a hard time recommending Dell notebooks to anyone anymore I think Gartner research agrees and rates HPs over Dells in terms of quality for both desktop and notebooks.

fcabanilla001
fcabanilla001

Bought 3 HP's. All had probs within 6 years. HD, LCD screen & keyboard. Bought a Gateway, going 4 years strong, no problems. My wife has an Apple. She uses my laptop most of the time.

netsecuritypro
netsecuritypro

Asus have always been hit or miss even with their motherboards. You spend your money and then pray you get a good one that wont have to be returned DOA three times.

BrianMWatson
BrianMWatson

I agree they probably should have been listed, along with several other vendors. However, I disagree that Sony is pretty good. Their laptops simply do not hold up well. They are made mostly of plastic and either weak metal or too little metal (I haven't taken one apart to find out). They do look good, although personally I'd rather have one that works!

bobp
bobp

Hardware is the determining factor. Users can screw up the software, get viruses, etc. I fix machines, but mostly software issues. The only laptops with hardware issues were compaq (2), HP (1), Sony (1) and dell (2). One of the Compaqs had a design flaw that made the motherboard eventually warp. The only way to make it run was to push down with a narrow object neat the L key. It was too old for a repair to be economically feasible. The other Compaq was a non-working power connector (Dell too). Those were the same user which makes me suspect user abuse. The HP was trashed by a teenager (user abuse) and the Sony kept getting BSODs with new memory that had the proper specs. I temporarily re-installed the old memory which worked fine (same specs exceot size).

Papa_Bill
Papa_Bill

if you have but only recognized that some people can destroy a civil war cannonball with a rubber mallet, and blame the cannonball. On the other hand, I've also learned that those who got the best "mileage" from their equipment just rarely used it.

NexS
NexS

Though I don't know the engineering intimately as you do, but I can only imagine. IBM have been in the game for longer than most of the competitors.

Michael Jay
Michael Jay

A laptop is not a brick, it is an easily damageable unit and should be treated with a great deal of respect, I have been deploying a number of Lenovo 410's and find that they hold up well against the peoples need to damage them, that said, I have had a number of hard drive failures that do not seem to be related to user damage, perhaps just a bad lot of drives.

Jaqui
Jaqui

I wouldn't expect any laptop other than a Panasonic Toughbook* to function after being walked on. :D * The laptops that the Police Departments use in the cruisers.

NexS
NexS

You still have a toshiba! My (most recent) personal laptop - as opposed to business laptop - was/is a toshy, and i've only just had a problem with it. Well, I'm thinking there's a few roblems with it... After 4 years - 2 years post warranty. I think the RAM is dead (unfortunately, because if I can't fix it, I've lost about 2 years of work!) and the battery is shot. Other than that, it served me well.

NexS
NexS

Had a laptop setup in a hardcase-briefcase. I think that would take some punishment.

Jaqui
Jaqui

Toshiba's are very reliable. and the quality of components for things like USB ports [ known to break on Dell laptops ] is excellent. even though this one was only a 1000 MHz p3 it ran very well. The ram, is sticky to seat properly on them though. triple check the chips when you put them in to make sure they are in. I thought ram was toast and it wasn't seated quite completely so the system said it was dead.

Jaqui
Jaqui

about what the toughbook is, hard aluminum shell instead of brittle plastic.

NexS
NexS

I swapped the two chips over and it worked, though the battery was ratsh!t, so I had it in the wall. After I realised my word doco was on there *before* I did a backup & format/reinstall, I turned it off, and viola, it wouldn't turn back on. So now I've just gotta find the dollars and will to purchase new sticks.