Laptops

Poll: Which PC vendor makes the worst laptops?

Enterprise IT departments like to gripe about laptops that have a high failure rate. But which vendors are considered the worst in 2010? Take this TechRepublic poll.

We regularly hear complaints from IT pros about laptop brands and models that have proven to be unreliable or had a high failure rate. In fact, a lot of the enterprises that we talk to tend to jump between vendors in order to find the best quality laptops at the best price.

However, a theme we hear again and again is that IT departments want laptops with a lower component failure rate so that they do not have to service them as often, keep as many spare parts on hand, etc.

Lots of IT leaders tell us which laptops they think are the wost, but we'd like to pose this question to the broader audience (we'll also follow up with a poll on which ones are the best). Below is a list of the global top seven laptop sellers. Vote for the one you think makes the least reliable laptops.

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.

217 comments
laptopsmumbai
laptopsmumbai

We have Laptop Repair center in Mumbai, We get daily all brands laptops for repairing. There are problem some or the other problem in all brands. So cant point on any

JustAnotherVictim
JustAnotherVictim

Had HD crash on new Sat Laptop, sent in for repair, told the MB had some liquid residue and would have to pay $240 to fix it. Laptop works fine with a friend HD. Just wanted that replaced. Calling Shennanigans on that, will never buy another Toshiba product again. Seem like scam Artists to me, ps wont fix HD unless I ay to "fix" MB -Josh

alkekahuna
alkekahuna

I purchased a Toshiba Satellite laptop in June 2009, that's only 2 years ago! And, since that time my laptop has crashed FIVE, yes, that's FIVE TIMES. I have had just about everything you can imagine happen with this stupied thing! My cursor jumps around, my hard drive has crashed, and even though I have had it replaced FIVE times, it is still on it's last leg. Also, their customer service SUCKS! I am writing this as my laptop is crashing, yet again. This is the most expensive PAPERWEIGHT I have ever purchased.

cougar.b
cougar.b

I bought a Gateway a number of years ago, and can't repurchase at this time in my life. The CD/DVD drive has never worked. It took me six months of sending it back when I first purchased it before I had a working computer. The SD card reader doesn't work and has never worked. The CD drive drawer pops open when I reboot and at odd times. The entire thing overheats and requires the consistent use of an external fan. A number of years ago, I got pleasure from Googling "Gateway Sucks" and reading the woes of other people who had been ripped off by this scammer company who hates its customers, but at the moment, I just suffer through and hope for the best. I do back up constantly. Friends don't let friends buy Gateway.

BWebLive
BWebLive

I have stuck with HP since the 80's and still run some 90's laptops for fun or specialized tasks. Currently I have 3 laptops, 1 net-book, one awesome desktop, printer, 4 screens and. Yes, I had problems but they were fixed quickly and I was given something as restitution. Yes they are not the cheapest although my loyalty has payed off recently and I had a 50% Discount on a 7I Desktop with all the luxuries. I have been a one man consultancy show since 1995 with internet businesses and HP was always a trustworthy part of my business. I tried some others but nothing was as good or lasted. 100 % HP fan via 30 years of using them?!

jleonard20
jleonard20

I have had little to no issues with Acer. I don't have a lot of clients with them, but the people that have them, don't complain. Dell is great for me. I fix them all the time, usually junk hard drives, usually within a year and a half of purchase. Dell's "customer service" is a frickin joke! I had a client call them because he could not get to his desktop. The short story is a new user forgot his password, but the part that kills me is that he was told by Dell to contact Microsoft because this was a Vista issue. As a MS partner, in the agreement, you basically say that you won't tell your customer to call Microsoft, as the OEM, you provide the support. Asus is what I own and most of my family and friends own. I have several clients with Asus, and they have been flawless. HP, within the past 3-4 years is producing absolute JUNK! Dell I can at least replace hard drives and ram, etc. When an HP comes in, it is usually a bad board, and HP offers a replacement for $400, by the way, that's a refurb that may or may not work. Sony, I have had little experience with because they, like apple, believe that their product is worth 40% more $$$. I've never cared for them, never found them very sturdy. Toshiba's have been good, the only Toshiba's I have worked on were user created issues. Apple makes the worst mac laptop. Nicely designed machines, there is one major flaw, it's a mac. Can't say much more about them.

allenguyton
allenguyton

I think that there are obviously good and bad units with every vendor. Any computer sold this day and age has the branding of the particular vendor who retails it but could be manufactured or assembled most anywhere in the world. Let alone, like all products anymore, are comprised of parts from all over the world and many different vendors. If you truly want to purchase a solid laptop, you must know and read about the problems and performance of the individual parts, hardware or software the laptop is comprised of, regardless of the end vendor who happens to be peddling it.

wgreer
wgreer

Fujitsu laptops are the best!

fordorg
fordorg

I have been in the IT for many years, amost 20 and many laptops have gone through my hands. HP used to be reliable but in the last 3-4 years, HP has gone bad, really bad. Last year I was at a HP event where they put tons of effort to present ACER in the worst possible light. Well, that might work for someone who has not serviced all kinds of laptops but not for me. Out of the thousands laptops our company has sold, the biggest return is HP! No question about it! I will never, ever buy an HP! On the other hand, the least return we have experienced is... ACER! Yeap! Of course, we have to take into an account the percentage of sold/returned laptops but HP beats them all in bad manifacturing. I have personally opened a few laptops from HP that were totally dead!

Dandroid69
Dandroid69

toshiba-two bought, two bad. never again

poppaman2
poppaman2

I would have to agree with those of you who have nominated Sony: they are among the worst PC's I've ever dealt with, right up there with Packard Bell...

leoklion
leoklion

I work doing repairs for a living so I see a lot of laptop brands. By far HP & Compaq are the worst! When you try to contact them they do nothing to help. Dell was once a great laptop and company, now they are no good either. Quality and support have taken a nose dive. I like the longevity of a Toshiba so I am now recommending those to customers as well as Lenovo (IBM).

elhijodelpeje
elhijodelpeje

Voted Apple because on a radio talk show sponsored by Mac, the host laptop crashed, and he mentioned it aloud.!!!

Steve.Sandy
Steve.Sandy

What you pay for is what you get!!! If you buy a cheap machine then it will break down before an expensive machine will. If a manufacturer is willing to give threes of garentee on the machine then you have some idea of their opinion of the machine. You have to pay for an extension to the one year garentee then it will probably fail before the three years is up.

wds21921
wds21921

I strongly disagree with HP being #2. I've used and serviced their products since 1997 and I would have to say that they are one of the most reliable manufacturers out there. Acer by far is the worst with their often times ECS mobos which are crap. Same ones installed in Gateways and E-Machines as well!

rsmastersjr
rsmastersjr

When my last Dell shot craps, I started looking around and figured $1500-$2000 would get me everything I wanted in a notebook. Of course, I remembered the same-day obsolescence of my previous higher-end purchases. I ended up buying an Acer and an Asus, spending $1600 for the two. The Acer has been back for warranty service--but that's why I bought two machines! I'm using SyncToy to keep everything similar; different security programs just in case. When one of these machines breaks--and I'm good at that no matter the cost--I'll get another one that's even more current. As an aside, I can't believe the number of people who take the time to tell me I've bought a piece of junk, no matter which machine they see me using. I'm ahead of the curve, in my estimation. Equipment is transitory; offsite data storage is forever.

robert_keith_w
robert_keith_w

HP stands for HORRIBLE PERFORMANCE or HELP PLEASE!!!

musicmandjch
musicmandjch

I read the question and responded wrong. I own an Asus K50I Laptop and am very happy with it. I also own a Compaq Evo N610c Laptop which I upgraded to 1GB of RAM and Windows 7 that also works well. I own a Compaq Presario S4000NX that is also very good. I have an IBM NetVista MT-M 8305 GAU that is also still working well. I would have to complain about Dell....that is a long story.

curioustechie
curioustechie

What about packard bell....they can be very problematic as well...same as fujitsu siemens...I had many problems finding drivers after restoring them for friends. One Acer did had a heating problem, but was quickly fixed by cleaning the fan outlet. But you get what you pay for I guess..I stick to Dell in the higher market segment.

portable
portable

I have had 2 Acers in a row, with no problems so far. I didn't like some of the "features", and turned them off, but the machines performed very well. HP and Compaq are WAY too proprietary to use. I had a customer with an HP where the HD went bad. Looking at it, it was a SeaGate. HP said they were out of drives and it would be 2-3 weeks before they could ship one. I asked if we could simply install a SeaGate model since that was what was in it, and his business was DOWN. Reply: "No way, that will void the warranty!", but he's down! Losing business! "Absolutely not!" The guy waited for HP, and lost enough business he went Out of business. Oh, yeah, HP sticker on the SeaGate drive DOUBLED the price. Wouldn't have and HP if you gave it to me.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Every Toshiba I have ever had has had stupid issues, and these Tecra's are the worst inventions ever, always overheating, battery lasts 30 minutes new, and RAM frequently dies (probably due to heat). The internal fan doesn't actually start up till it reaches 70C and doesn't reach full speed till the main CPU reaches 95C and it can maintain at best, a temperature of 90C under heavy work, 50 while idle, 70 during minor work. This is pathetic! Half of our Toshibas, high end models, have broken speakers. They just crackle away. We got two with dead monitors, right from the box. In fact, the only working Toshiba we have is the one I am using as I have already replaced the parts, and I took the bottom of the laptop off and cut holes into it for airflow. And even it is marginal.

john3347
john3347

If small (10") portable computers are included as "Laptops", Hannspree Hannsnote has to be at the top of my bad list. I have one that the Wifi adapter conked out on after just several weeks and Hannspree wants me to ship the computer to the only US repair center in California (from Georgia) for repair. Ain't gonna happen with a computer with critical personal information saved on it. Otherwise I have never had a laptop failure on any brand (including Winbook, HP, Toshiba, Gateway, & Hannspree) within the warranty period or while the computer was new enough that the hardware would run current software. edit: spelling

maxbialystock
maxbialystock

It would be helpful if the compared the poll results with market share. Statistically, one would expect more complaints about a very popular brand than complaints about a brand with fewer sales. In simple terms, though lots of people have had problems with a Chevrolet, and very few people have had problems with a Ferrari, the Chevy is more reliable on a day to day basis.

LdyontheNet
LdyontheNet

Gateway- Have used these systems for several years and hands down they are the most problematic. Lots of issues with the fans. In my personal experience I've purchased Sony Vaio's and found them to be very reliable.

0waste
0waste

Hey Why you did have option for Sony VAIO??

george.hickey
george.hickey

Over the last 8 years that I've been looking after the area, we've had a fleet of laptops servicing the same user base - first they were all Toshibas which were pushing 6 years old when they were replaced by Dells which are now pushing 5 years old. Both sets of laptops were issued with hard-shell cases to protect them and are getting the same level of use from essentially the same people. Out of a fleet of approximately 65 Toshibas, we had in the region of 5 motherboard failures in the 5 years I was looking after them. In the last 3 years that we've been using the Dells, out of 72 laptops in service we have had to replace motherboards in 50 of them, 49 of those replacements were for failed AC ports. Luckily we had extended the warranty and Dell service is actually pretty good. At first I was blaming the users but the toshibas would have gotten the same level of wear and tear (more in fact - they were in service longer). Unfortunately we're a public service company and bound by the rules of public procurement and so cannot use this as a reason to exclude Dell from tendering for their replacements, if we ever get the money to do it... Ah the joys... ;o(

ejazmazhar
ejazmazhar

The results are based on personal experiences as not everyone has used all brands, so really can't give a true picture, also market share of a particular brand may be a factor.

Imperius
Imperius

Does this poll factor in the market penetration of each brand of laptop...from what I see so far HP is in the lead for worst laptop...perhaps that is because there are more HP laptops out there and therefore there will be more users stating that HP is the worst due to there current laptops being HPs and not another brand...as for my own personal experience lets just say for now "the jury is still out".

ra.kish
ra.kish

Why was Gateway left off of this poll? Hands down, they are the worst!

geofer50
geofer50

Toshiba - bought one brand new and it worked for a week then had boot up problems... sent it back for repair 3 times (2 times to Toshiba) and it had the same problem when returned. Finally went back to store where purchased from and bought an Acer. This is the third Acer we have had (one for mom, bro and sis all in college) and have had great service from all 3. Their tech support staff was not proactive, as they just seemed to lack the technical skills and their customer support was greatly lacking.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Fujitsu-Siemens... A company once burned for corruption, and with the record to explain the need for it. Writing on one right now, if it doesn't overheat before I finish this. :p

Snak
Snak

I have had trouble with every Vaio I've seen. Alternatively, I've been buying Acers for 14 years and only ever seen one go wrong - and a new keyboard (?75!!!) fixed that.

Trashhack
Trashhack

I fix or trash at least 6 dells a week between screens and plugin connections they are junk. But I also think it depends what all crap you leave on a laptop when you first get it how long it will last if you totally wipe all the garbage trial crap and put your own operating system on and get rid of the junk that has spyware built in any laptop will last longer I swear they have something built into them to make them break my laptops I wipe clean never seem to have a problem... Hum

joeasare
joeasare

I think they are all as bad as each other. Never heard of lenovo before so they might not be very good.

jkameleon
jkameleon

It still hasn't recovered from Fiorina, and probably never will.

syed77
syed77

what do you guy's thing of MSI laptops

snaveen_333
snaveen_333

According to my contacts, I have seen failure of Dell Laptops in the long run.

microrepublic
microrepublic

I think the poll is flawed because its generally understood that Dell and HP have higher laptop sales and therefore the poll results may reflect a higher dissatisfaction percentage. As for Acer, I would guess that it can be bought cheaply and essentially marketed to the greater population of low income people.

paulprivate
paulprivate

Funny you mention ECS, who do you think makes some of HP's motherboards? Can't quote chaper & verse but I know desktop boards made by ECS sold under their own brand (ECS) are usually quite 'reliable' The OEM ECS boards supplied to HP on the other hand (Pavilions) have a dreadful reliablity record. Curious how the HP spec boards are the problem ones. As for my personal opinion, HP has to be the worst, just returned 'another' dead motherboard HP Laptop to their crestfallen owner this morning. DV series, the one's HP has been very quiet about how bad they are. FWIW

wds21921
wds21921

I've used HP and serviced them since 1997 and they are still one of the better mfg's and their customer service is still heads and tails above Dell! You want crappy service? Call Dell Cutomer Services Support who use offshore support technicians in Bangledesh and Cairo with people who can barely speak English!

paulprivate
paulprivate

HP is doing a scam on those Seagate drives. HP's warranty here is 12 months period, the same Momentus drive on Seagate's website has a 2 or 3 year warranty. So you would think an out of warranty HP Laptop Momentus would still be covered by the Seagate 2-3 year warranty advertised on their website. Nope! when you put the serial number in Seagate's website says 'refer to OEM' for warranty. Bastards!

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

I mean, this is a classic hack; get the durned fan to be on full power, all the time. And in any other kind of machine it'd be the first thing to pop into one's mind. But with a computer it's somehow not. But a fan is simple technology, I bet it's just a question of fixin the wires up.

dgalbreath
dgalbreath

Left Sony and Gateway years ago because of service and support failures. Dell Latitude's are good machines. When failed we get parts in a day or two and they work. Most issues are software which is always fixed by a reload. When a battery wears out, replace it. These are rock solid but not exciting designs. Fujitsu Lifebook series is garbage. We have 3 and all have been major problem childs and reloads don't touch the video issues.

wdewey@cityofsalem.net
wdewey@cityofsalem.net

The gateway business division was sold to Micron which went belly up. The retail division was purchased by Acer, so while there still is a Gateway brand name it really isn't an independent company. Bill

sonicsteve
sonicsteve

Really Sony worst and Acer best? Holy Carp!!! I've need seen an acer laptop last past the 4 year mark. Most I've seen die within 2.5yrs. Their tech support line literally is the worst I've ever worked with. Once your product is out of warranty getting through to their techs is dang near impossible. They ask you to enter your product # and serial # and if you are past your date you simply cannot get through to a live person. It's the one and only brand on the poll that I would actually sell immediately even if it was given to me. In my mind they're the worst 10 times over, if their support was better I would reduce it to 2 times over, but a bad piece of hardware with totally incompetent support is 5 times worse. Sony in my experience makes good hardware but is too proprietary. Everything is sony this and sony that, give me a break. I wouldn't buy sony for that reason only.

Slayer_
Slayer_

If it were possible to force the fan always on (probably need a mobo flashing to do this. It will make the system last longer but it will still overheat under load. Even now if you hold the CPU at 100% for a few seconds it quickly reaches 90+ C at max fan.

Snak
Snak

.... the worst after sales 'service' I've had has been from Dell. It seems I've been lucky with Acers because I can point to several still going strong that are older than six years. Compare 2 similar spec laptops: Acer & Sony. Same technology but the Sony one will be ?100 more expensive. To have 'Sony' on it seems to cost ?25 a letter. My DVD player is a Sony one - worst purchase I ever made. It wont play anything I've burnt myself and even turns its nose up at some commercially available CDs and DVDs. Like you, I'll never buy anything with 'Sony' written on it.

AnsuGisalas
AnsuGisalas

Sucks, but if it's what it takes to get them working well enough to retire them (if they overheat doing a backup or drive image, f.ex.)... then a dude's gotta do what a dude's gotta do.