A reread shows that the total was 400. Hmmm.
Our recent poll of Reg readers on their perceptions of some of the most prominent brands in the notebook PC space provided some interesting food for thought for those looking to make procurement decisions in this area. While it is tempting to focus on specs and prices, it was clear from results that there is much more to it than …
I would add that the complexity of support is also increased by the level of technology incorporated within each device. e.g Apple machines all come with bluetooth and that adds an extra element to the support, that is not required on, say, an Asus. Premium machines will generally need more.
But good general analysis. Now I can rationalise getting the kids Dells while I splash out on an 'Air.
In order to evaluate any of your graphs, you needed to also show the number of respondents submitting opinions for each brand. That way the reader could see if, for example, the HP data was based on only 5 respondents but the Sony on 50. And even better graphical presentation of the data would have been to simply plot the individual respondent points. That would not only provide the sample size information discussed above, but would also show the sampling distribution. Both the sample size and the distribution are critical for evaluating this poll result. As presented, the graphs are useless. The author needs to learn about the proper handling of statistical data. Given the improper presentation of the poll data, the entire article's discussion is just an demonstration of intellectual masterbation - a lot of useless motion whose purpose is to make the person doing it feel good.
I maintain a network of about 45 client machines, majority are Toshiba laptops (various models) and have found them to be very reliable. I've had to use Tosh support once for a problematic machine and found that the customer service dept handled the issue well and arranged a repair.
Just got one of these. While the performance of the hardware is good enough for our needs, somewhere along the line, Apple have cut corners - something that I feel unfair considering that even at £719 this is a high price in today's market. (The aly Macbooks are way overpriced.) a) The casing is a bit flexy, even more so than our 2006 model Macbook Black. b) The keyboard feels cheap. c) The battery does not allign with the casing, in fact, it sticks out creating a ridge on the underside. We had considered getting a £500 Dell Studio as an alternative - that machine is built like a tank, has a super keyboard and many more I/O ports, including HDMI. Only reason we chose a Macbook was that OS X blows Windows away from every angle. Apple do need to bring out a touch SSD based 'throw it in your backpack' £500 Macbook. A combination of the tough ASUS EEE PC 901 and a 13" Macbook. And no CD/DVD drive. Who uses them anyway?
I always knew Lenovo were the best. I used to rate them higher when they were IBMs - but it looks like that hasn't made any difference as they still come out looking pretty excellent despite the name change. I've bought hundreds of IBMs over the years and my own laptops are always IBM too. Sony's are good but you always have to reload them as soon as you get them out of the box (get rid of all the shite software they load on) HP & Tosh are much of a muchness and both a bit lame but alright if that's what your stuck with - I have had a couple of HP shockers which were the worst laptops I've ever used. You know Dell's are cheap but they're alright too. Acers always break, I know so many people with broken Acers... basically, the results tie in pretty well with what I've seen working in the industry.
I know someone who gave his left kidney to get a really expensive bit of Steve Jobs chic and reading that bit at the end about Apple users being prepared to turn a blind-eye to the odd issue really made me laugh. I've been all over the MAC and I reckon it's like a PC but really annoying. Honestly, no contest compared with Windows on a PC laptop. With a Lenovo you get a proper keyboard that comes with a 'delete' key (I know, is that so much to ask, not present on an Apple though!) a proper two button mouse, an 'end' key and a 'home' key... all missing from the massive Apple that would have more than enough room for the extra keys but being too style conscious to be able to write something like 'End' or 'delete' on their keyboards - besides which, would an Apple user really know what to do with complicated keys like that? So there are lots of really useful things missing from the MAC and combined with all the hanging and crashing that it does really puts the Apple to the bottom of the heap for me... I have used Packard Bells before as well and they compare quite well with the Apple. No Joke!
I concur with "Stike Vomit". Never had any bother with Tosh lappies and their stuff has always been finished and assembled better than the equivalent HP and Dell fare. Both the latter two manufacturers have upped their game somewhat in the last five years, IMO.
Maybe it's that Tosh have always been up to this latter standard, it's simply that "Lionel" is a relative newcomer and has never experienced the appalling shite that HP (prior to swallowing Compaq) used to churn out...?
/General ramblage follows/
Lenovo fit and finish has not decreased since they took over IBM's Thinkpad brand; IBM having always made solid (if sometimes quirky) lappies.
Acer? Meh. None of their stuff sets my trousers alight, but their products do seem to be good vfm.
Sony's stuff seems nice but their aftersales support is shocking.
Packard Bell? You deserve everything you get, you cheapskate.
As for Apple... Pfft... All filler, no killer, IMO.
Mine's the one with the Libretto 75 in the pocket.
... for people making procurement decisions, unless "what other people who may or may not ever have used a laptop in their lives remember of XYZ manufacturer's media-driven reputation from a piece they read in a magazine once" ranks highly on the check list. Say, above the REAL value for money, support costs and battery life of the REAL laptops that these companies produced. Perhaps if you could actually evaluate the products, instead of the perceptions of 400 people ... oh wait, sorry, how Paris of me.
@Improper Data Handling - FAIL!
Thank you, while I was reading this article I was pulling my hair out at these horrible charts.
@comparability of kit
My 4 year old Acer has Bluetooth support. Regardless of the manufacturer all laptops have the same basic components be it duel video cards, SIM card, SSD HDD, touchscreen. These are all basic laptop components that all vendors support (except maybe Packerd Bell... they just suck), so complexity of support really doesn't change only the service quality changes. As much as I dislike the juggernaut that is Dell, they do have some fantastic customer support.
Still no new information here, Toshiba and Lenovo still best for personal use and Dell is still best for Corporate use.
One of the reasons Lenovo rank so high is that Thinkpads are built with part replacement in mind. Replace the hard drive: one screw. Change a DIMM: one screw. Replace the optical drive: it's hot swappable, just pull it out. Wireless/bluetooth daughter cards are generally easily accessible too.
I guess Apple and Sony don't want their customers (mostly non-business) to tinker with the hardware, so their laptops are a pain to service.
And yes, Acers always seem to break.
Umm, bluetooth? You use Bluetooth as an example of something apple has and others don't?
Even my eee 901 has Bluetooth!
On the general stuff, well, I only use Lenovo or Sony kit, other than the netbook (lenovo have got one now though). Build quality on both is excellent. VFM I feel is excellent as well. But then, in the case of Sony, I'm willing to pay for equipment that is not only cutting edge but pretty looking, compact and ultra-light.
(Why yes, I did re-image my vaio as soon as I got it, boy do PC manufacturers love to pile on the trial offers and other crapware these days!)
Tux because he loves them all.
As one who filled out the poll, I guess you're all lucky that I'm an HP1000 fanboy. RTE forever, etc. etc.
I've had the misfortune to support all of the brands mentioned, and the survey is generally representative.
However the survey is flawed in that there is no distinction between consumer and business brands. In the case of Lenovo and Fujitsu Siemens the business brand is very classy kit, and quite fairly priced compared to the "poser" brands. But the Lenovo and FS consumer kit is sub-Dell in quality.
Tosh, HP, and Dell tend to have better budget machines and business machines that perhaps fall a bit short of Fujitsu Siemens.
Perception surveys like this are pointless unless you can ensure it is a sample group who have had a good amount of usage of a particular make, and maybe even of the particular line within a make – as Vision Aforethought says his/her white 2009 Macbook isn’t of the highest quality, whereas the even more stupidly overpriced aluminium ones really are of impressively superior workmanship, for those people not suffering from the credit crunch! I must admit to liking the Vaio but only because you can have a very high powered machine in such a small, light and sturdy package (for admittedly high price) which is ideal when you have to travel for work, and for the AC up there, the advantage of these small machines coming with optical drives is apparent when you arrive at a client site and they hand over some CDs of data that you are meant to be working with, and don’t allow USB sticks nor unknown machines on their LAN…
I found Toshiba to be rubbish too, but I only used one for a month or so before I changed to a different brand… so my perception of them is an old, beaten-up corporate machine on its last legs tiding a new contractor over until they decide to keep me on for my exceptional skills. However, even though I haven’t used one properly since, I’ve fiddled with ones in shops and the newer ones seem to be decent enough… but not left enough of an impression for me to add them to my empire of evil robotic henchmen though.
I’ve found them most useful for browsing, to get to the top where the menu is quickly, etc. However, I’m one of those folk who navigate folders with tab and arrow keys and think the alt-up feature of Vista is one of the best things ever, so I’ll probably be counted as a weirdo by this generation of youngsters!
It's me again. Don't forget the Apple is also missing the ' delete' key. If you want to remove a word from a document or a blog or your facebook entry while working on an Apple then you have to laboriously scroll to the end of the sentence and then use the backspace key and remove all of the letters after your mistake.... either that or use the mouse to position the cursor 'after' whatever it is you want to remove and then press backspace. This also means you can't highlight a word and then press delete... you have to press the backspace key 4 times or hold it down for 4 typematics to get rid of a 4 letter word. Having no right-click facility means you also can't delete a word using a right-click context menu. Right-clicking is available but you need to press the 'apple' key and the big one-handed mitten button at the same time to get the context menu to show. This is how you delete files from the desktop ect...
End and Home allow you to get to the beginning or end of a sentence with one keystroke. This is a brilliant feature and will save you a lot of time once you get used to using it. I can't even count the number of times already used it while typing this reply - for example!
I'm pretty sure Page-up and Page-down are also missing from the MAC. They are part of the same group of keys.
The MAC crashes all the time as well. Wireless turns off and does not come back if you shut the lid... well actually... it does come back... but you have to wait for a minute! No good when you've paid so much and you're expecting so much too. It's enough to make you go all white & fruity in a terrible rage.
Stick with Lenovo is my advice to anyone considering buying a laptop. There was that tragic range known as the R-series which was their cheap line... to be avoided if you have any sense.
The chart shows that the two brands most praised for build quality and reliability are also those that people perceive as being overpriced. Which suggests to me, that the consumer isn't picking up on the costs involved in making laptops that are reliable. Maybe the marketing people at Apple and Sony need to take a leaf out of BMW and Audi's books to see how to sell a premium product and make reliability and build quality a real part of their promotions.
My experience? My latest MB is rock solid and well screwed together and a nice change from the previous laptops I've had from Apple. My Acer appears to be made from the same grade of plastic used to make yogurt pots but is surprisingly solid to handle.
I have bought or encouraged family and friends to buy tosh laptops (from Morgan normally) and they have all been very happy. My company tend to use lenovos - the old stinkpads. Not only impressive build quality but surprisingly tolerant of knocks, drops and even spills. Not that *I* treat *MY* laptop that way, of course, but I know colleagues have got away with taking amazing liberties with their hardware.
I know a lot of people have opined that 400 respondents is a too small sample size but my response represents knowledge of dozens of machines and I should think some respondents response is based on experience of hundreds of machines: asking El Reg readers is a bit different from an owner survey.
Please note that surveys where respondents are self-selected rather than randomly selected aren't really worth the electrons used in making them. So 40, 400, or even 4000 respondents, if the people weren't randomly selected from a suitable sample it's no more than meaningless drivel of the type I'd expect to see in a marketing brochure rather than any kind of supposedly independent publication.
Self-selecting surveys are generally used by dodgy politicians and marketing firms to "prove" a particular point, rather than to provide any statistically valid information. So although the "results" of this survey might be entertaining for some, I for one wouldn't make any real decisions based on it.
...we actually compared like-to-like, or detailed the survey into categories as well as generalizations. I mean, if you're going to compare a brand in general, then we're really not talking about the hardware at all, we're talking about general user perspective, skewed dramatically by the large number of people who are A) cheap, B) are given a likely improperly configured or supported machine by an employer, C) who are not technology minded and understand little of what's in their hands, and D), who have only used a small fraction of the manufacturer's systems personally.
Lets have a survey comissioned to ask this information first of all to a group of 10,000 minimum. Next, itentify what systems people have and have not ACTUALLY used. next identify seperately how system admins feel, pro users, light users, and general consumers... I'm sure this will cause huge variances in opinion alone. Next, let's also segregate this by consumer class (high end and low end seperately), business class, and professional class systems. Apple would only play in the top 3 classes, some would only play in the bottom 2 or 3 classes.
What's the value proposition of a high end Dell notebook compared to a Mac 17" pro notebook? I'm sure most will say the Apple is the better value (mostly because it's cheaper than the dell at that level). Statistics can be used to show either side of an argument simply depending on how you state them. This is an example of bad journalism at its best.
I have to say that some of the posters should actually try using an Apple Mac. Having stuck with Windows for years I finally got fed up with all the hassle and although the support when I had an IBM Thinkpad was fairly good, the support from Sony for my VAIO was hopeless and often seemed to consist of the tech guy reading the same website as me. I tried a Mac laptop 5 years ago and have now changed all our machines (11) to Macs. The support from Apple is stellar and the machines far far cheaper than anything a PC manufacturer can produce due to the total absence of aggro. I had a motherboard go on my MacBookPro whilst in the BA lounge at Heathrow. On arriving in Seattle a call to the Apple store got it replaced and up and running in just over two hours.
To those who complain about delete keys and such like, try actually using a Mac (hint: Delete is fn-backspace). The other 'missing' keys are there too.
Best of all though, no viruses etc and they don't crash, you just get your work done without the machine getting in the way-as I was told before I went over to Macs, 'they just work' and it's true... they do.
To expand further - the role of the machine and the role the user requires it to fulfil really needs to be considered too...
Your 17" MBP may be cheaper than the equivalent XPS but say you are getting a gaming machine, then the Dell would be your choice (out of those two at least!). But for the road warrior either are a complete waste of time compared to a Portege or Vaio, or SCC for those not needing as much grunt. As in most things consumerish, different companies have different priorities and thus dominate different markets.
You sir, do not know what you're talking about. I'm sitting here on my Mac (I have sony, HP, acer and toshiba laptops in my flat as well, so I've actually used more than one type). My MBP has Home, End and Page UP/Down keys clearly marked on the keyboard (albeit not as dedicated keys, you need to use the apple key and appropriate arrow key, but they're there).
As for Delete, I can press function backspace for that (I can also press alt-backspace to delete last word, or apple backspace to delete to beginning of line). Just because you, as someone who it would seem hasn't ever used a Mac can't do it, doesn't mean it can't be done (please also, stop fully capitalising the word Mac, I know you've read the word MAC capitalised on other web pages, but they were likely talking about Media Access Control addresses, these are different things).
As for the highlighting thing, you don't (even on a PC) have to use the Delete key, you can use the backspace, or simply type your new word in (the highlighted section being replaced by the first key you press.
Finally... on the crashing front, well, all I can say is the Macs I use are very stable, I close the lid, they sleep, and when I open the lid, I continue where I left off, no problems. I've never been able to do that quite so easily with a Win or Linux PC (the number of PC's I've pulled out of my laptop bag at home or work that are cooking themselves because they haven't entered sleep mode properly is... well, a lot. That doesn't happen with my Mac, close it and put it away, ready for when I need it again.
It is that just working thing that I think _is_ value for money... I've used windows, and it just wasn't flexible enough for me. I used Linux, it's _far_ better, however, I'd have to spend too much time getting my laptop to work. Desktops are better for linux IMHO, I just didn't like the amount of time I had to invest to get a new laptop, with unsupported hardware (because the laptop used a new chipset, and the vendor didn't offer good linux/open source support), etc up and running. My Mac gives me the power of unix, and the simplicity of an integrated solution (and a more realistic product than a SparcBook!). It ticks the boxes for me, saves me my time, which I value.
mac machines... "the machines far far cheaper than anything a PC manufacturer can produce " mauahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha NO. Tell that to 2 iBooks that died from know issues with motherboards that were still not replaced. Apple support is poor.
The Dell laptops I've had on the other hand have lasted until children have dropped them down the stairs or me from on top of a ladder. We support hundreds of Dells and Gateways. The Dell's have been very good on average. The Gateways were fine also up until MPC bought them out, then went under. Now if you're a business stay away from them. Toshiba's have been almost as good as Dell, but I'd rank them down with Asus and Acer. I think their quality comes and goes, depends on the model. My friends report success with their HP/Compaq lappies.
I've been a great fan of Thinkpads for years. However, Lenovo have been trying too hard to compete on price, and no longer do as well as they used to on providing a really excellent machine. The thinkpads are still pretty good, but Lenovo needs encouraging!
Also, please please will someone make a laptop with a proper full-height LCD again? 15",1600x1200 was the best I ever used.
I never saw the original survey, but it's good to know I wasn't wrong with my IBM/Lenovo Thinkpad choices. I'm on my 2nd. The first one only died because I broke the screen by treading on it (whoopsie!). It still works, but only on an external monitor.
Spares and drivers are easily available from the website. Replacing a keyboard I destroyed with a pint of beer was a doddle, plus the keyboard under tray design saved the motherboard from getting a wash.
I'm about to buy a new one (need more power - Call me Clarkson!). My only complaint (which can be directed at the entire laptop world, is the annoying tendency for everything to be widescreen. I love my current 1400x1050 screen, and would really prefer not to have a hugely wide monitor with a load of space I'll never use on each edge, whilst lacking vertical pixels...
We run numerous notebooks including Toshiba, Dell and Apple at work.
The Toshibas have mostly been trouble free over the years, it's very rare to need to send one in for repair. The only black mark against them is we had a few Tecra A2s lose their screws, otherwise all the rest have been pretty solid. We had one that survived a deluge when water collected in the ceiling overhead caused the ceiling to collapse and flood the computer with water, a couple of days near a window in pieces and it worked flawlessly.
Apples, well we've had many G4 iBooks with discs getting stuck in the optical drive at least 15-20 in the last 12 months (fortunately the extended warranty covers it). We've also had a few MacBook Pros whose batteries have swollen up, and one or two Macbook Pros with charging issues.
The Dells we've only had for a year so far, but we haven't had any trouble with them yet.
We've also just got some HPs in so we'll see how they fare.
My personal favourites that I've used/supported over the years are Thinkpads, haven't come across one since it became Lenovo, but the ones they were making for IBM were solidly built, compact and built with mobility in mind (The lack of a Windows key was a bit of a pain though).
Also quite like the Toshiba Portege R500, a very nice piece of kit and prefer it much more than the MacBook Air we had on loan, can't stand the "chicklet" keyboard on the new model MacBooks.
Ok, OK, OOOOKKKKK
Dell easy to support.... HMMM!!!!!!! This survey has missed the point of the Survey itself..
I am a hybrid user... Office wise, I AM FORCED to use a PC, Home and as a consultant I use Apple.
So Hard to support for Apple, hmm Since I moved most of my Clients to Apple, I lost almost
40% Instantly in Support that I used to give for PC Laptops.
So what this survey does Highlight is dell NEEDS MORE SUPPORT, Granted, when APPLE needs support there are less skills in the market place, BUT GONNA CHANGE...
1) Apple = Savings on Virus and Spyware.
2) Apple = Hardware Last longer, see above point 1.
3) Apple = Style, Quality, Advanced, secure OS, without annoying popups, and always click yes..
4) Apple = Slight price premium
Apple Performance, sorry again PC guys, With Apple you Pay NOT ONLY For style, and ease of use, but generally for latest break through technologies, clearly quality, and performance to put the icing on the cake.
So if the survey stats were also based on Numbers, Apple doing well, others struggling..
We say you Cannot Bake the best cake without the best ingredients.
Thks Apple for loosing 40% of my earnings... :)))
Love em, never had one break down and pretty Linux friendly in my exp too, just wish we had a proper (and sensibly priced) web configuration shop thing like the US, or Dell UK. It's very frustrating having to wade through a million hardware variations at Insight, and still not find the model you KNOW exists.
Hardware / software surveys, they've long been tainted by a very strange breed of crusader. Sony owners trying to justify excessive cost, Apple owners trying to 'belong', boys that have managed to boot an Ubuntu live CD considering themselves hardcore UNIX. Worst of all, weirdos that haven't even tried the product and are just brainwashed by the life-style marketing. Seriously, it's like walking in to a school yard circa 1985 and asking 'Spectrum or Commodore'?
Course, I didn't see the the survey in the first place, it was probably burried amongst stories 'bout jesus shaped dog shit, celebrities with fannies, and of course all the other reader surveys.
I worked closely with Dale in analysing the data for this study and would like to point out to M. Burns that the percentages shown on the charts are percentages of the full 400 respondents, so for example in figure 1, 16% thought Apple were High Quality and Good Value this equates to 64 respondents. I would like to apologise if this is too difficult to work out for some readers.
The reason the bars do not add up to 100%, (see comment by Anonymous 16.20 GMT), is that not all respondents had an opinion on every brand therefore the plots show only those who did have an opinion.
Re the total number of respondents, while it would have been great to have had a few thousand, some polls attract more readers than others, and it wouldn’t be right not to report back results of polls just because response are lower than we would like. Having said this, 400 (it was actually 402) is not a bad sized sample to get a flavour of what’s going on provided you bear in mind the caveats mentioned in the article.
Just because it is shiny does not mean it is good quality. Steve jobs could take a crap, put it in a box slap an apple logo and people would line up for days to buy it.
Their products are BASIC quality premium price their stupid iphone can't even handle email attachments FFS. Sony just keeps producing proprietary BS with pathetic after sales service.
Oh and BTW reg, this (news) story seems to have been made by Apple - shiny but full of stevejobslog.
My ASUS laptop (a real laptop, not a netbook) is easily the best I have ever used, it was a good price for the spec, and the reduction in performance over my desktop PCs is very small, less than I expected, and the touchpad is well designed so I don't accidentally keep clicking it with my wrist while I type. No experience of their support though because I can fix any problems myself, the only negative I could say about it was it had vista on it, so I had to format it and install XP+Linux. Also very nice styling, much better than most, and easily the best keyboard design I have seen on a laptop outside the huge ones with a full keyboard, it has no weirdly sized or mislocated keys, and the Fn key is to the right of the left ctrl rather than left, many laptop keyboards put it on the left so it always gets hit instead of ctrl. Although obviously it is limited by the fact it has a mobile CPU and GPU, I found gaming performance to be surprisingly good too. Obviously it isn't going to run anything really recent at maximum settings, but it runs relatively modern games at decent settings and a playable framerate.
I suppose I might also mention the fingerprint reader, not really a negative as its presence doesn't cause problems (except maybe increase price a small amount), but just a useless extra which is useless for security (some can be defeated with a photocopy of a fingerprint, or you could just use a bootable CD or take the HDD out of course)
Apart from that and the OS choice (not really much of a choice I suppose though...), an amazing laptop.
Other than that, most brands ended up where I rate them, although Apple scored too high (although at least people recognised them as overpriced)
Also, I wonder how I missed this survey...