The CHOICE Computer Reliability Survey is an important supplement to our own in-depth lab testing. It reveals how products actually perform over time by canvassing the experiences of our readers. We ran the previous survey in 2008 and this time, in addition to looking at desktop computers, laptops and printers, we’ve added monitors and external hard-drives.
The feedback from almost 3300 subscribers is mostly positive: over 97% of monitors, external drives and printers needed no repairs in the last 12 months, and desktops and laptops have improved since the last survey. A high proportion of users would happily buy the same brand again, with Apple leading the field in both reliability and customer loyalty. We found:
- Printers, monitors and disc drives are usually quite reliable
- Desktop PCs continue to be the most troublesome, but they’re improving
- Apple’s highly loyal users are rewarded with some of the most reliable products
- There are warning signs for some major manufacturers
Big name brands of laptops, desktop PCs and multi-function printers are in troubled waters. Though the quality of many of these electronic devices has improved since our last survey, some makers of computers and printers need to pick up their game.
- Across all products, nine out of 10 people would buy the same brand again
- Brand loyalty was highest for computer monitors.
- Most monitors are now 20 inches or larger, almost a quarter of respondents had a monitor 23 inches or larger.
- Windows XP is finally giving ground to
Vista and Windows 7, with almost half of all laptop users and a third of desktop users having the newer versions.
- More than 40% of desktop PCs purchased in the last three years came from just three manufacturers, and the top five brands account for three-quarters of laptops.
- The shift to laptops continues, with ownership of new desktops over five years falling from 67% to 63%, while ownership of new laptops has risen from 54% to 57%.
- Most users have some form of protective soft ware against viruses and other malware, but problems still exist.
How we survey
Our survey respondents are all subscribers to CHOICE Computer. Most are over 55, tertiary educated and professional or retired. Surveys are voluntary and we appreciate the time and effort our members put into them. Almost 3300 responses were received for this survey. All products in the survey were at least 12 months old and bought since 2006.