Service & Reliability Survey 2010: Notebooks

Service & Reliability Survey 2010: Notebooks

Summary: We asked our readers whose notebooks they buy, what goes wrong with them, how good is the technical support the receive, and more.



Which vendors do you use for notebooks?
We received information on notebooks from 65 respondents. On average, the organisations they worked for used between two and three (2.5) notebook vendors each, giving a total of 160 responses. HP and Dell dominate the scene, followed by Toshiba:

Which operating systems are installed on your notebooks?
As with desktop PCs, Windows XP is the most prevalent operating system in the survey: 15 respondents (27 percent) reported XP on 'all' of their notebooks, while 22 (39 percent) ran it on 'many'.

Notebooks are never sufficiently powerful for our needs, so we tend to replace them before they have a chance to wear out

Windows Vista is slightly more visible in the notebook survey than it was on desktops, and four times as many respondents reported Windows 7 on 'all' of their notebooks compared to desktops. This makes sense if notebooks are generally replaced on a shorter cycle than desktops.

Which notebook form factors are deployed?
Netbooks may be selling like hot cakes in consumer-land, but they're a yet-to-be-acquired taste among the businesses in our survey. The same goes for more expensive and functional — but similarly lightweight — ultraportables. The notebook population in our survey consists largely of mainstream (3-4kg) systems, with a side order of thin-and-light (2-3kg) and desktop replacement (>4kg) machines.

What are the points of failure on your notebooks?
Notebooks generally receive more physical punishment than desktops, and are more likely to be repeatedly turned on and off, all of which means there's plenty of chances for things to go wrong.

We asked about 15 points of failure and found that the battery, software and drivers, the hard disk and the AC adapter headed the list.

With PCs, changing a part is like fitting a new ashtray; with laptops, it's like sending your car to a mechanic

Other components that rated at least one mention in the 'very common' failure category were the screen hinge, power input, cooling system and wireless (Wi-Fi and/or Bluetooth):

Less often seen as points of notebook failure — at least in our survey — were the keyboard, screen, slots, ports, case, motherboard (CPU, RAM, chipset) and solid-state disk (SSD):

Topics: Laptops, Hardware, Reviews


Charles has been in tech publishing since the late 1980s, starting with Reed's Practical Computing, then moving to Ziff-Davis to help launch the UK version of PC Magazine in 1992. ZDNet came looking for a Reviews Editor in 2000, and he's been here ever since.

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