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Netbooks Have Higher Failure Rate Than Laptops 264

Barence writes "Netbooks are more likely to fail within the first year than their more expensive laptop brethren, according to new research. SquareTrade, an independent US warranty provider, analyzed the failure rates of more than 30,000 laptops covered by its own warranties. It found that 5.8% of netbooks malfunctioned within the first year, compared to 4.7% for regular laptops and 4.2% for premium laptops costing more than $1,000. The research also raises question marks over the legendary reliability of Macs. Three PC manufacturers — Asus, Toshiba, and Sony — boasted better reliability rates than Apple. Macs have a 17.4% malfunction rate over three years, compared to market-leader Asus, which has a 15.6% failure rate. HP was the worst of the nine PC vendors listed, with a malfunction rate of 25.6% over three years."
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Netbooks Have Higher Failure Rate Than Laptops

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  • Cheaper = Worse? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by ddrueding80 ( 1091191 ) * on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:35PM (#30174546)
    So you're telling me that something cheap isn't as well made as something expensive? Allow me to go re-evaluate my life...
    • by Jared555 ( 874152 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:41PM (#30174662)

      It depends though. Something with a smaller screen, no dvd drive, etc. should be possible to make cheaper for the same or less money.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      I second that. Where the real money is spent on netbooks is the smaller form factor - not the mature hardware. Smaller keyboards, smaller screens, smaller cases. And with all the netbooks competing on price point I will guarantee that the cases are as cheap as they can get away with.

      Value priced + Early in Life Cycle = Poor Quality
    • by Daniel_Staal ( 609844 ) <> on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:02PM (#30175044)

      Also, given their size and portability, I'd expect netbooks to have harsher treatment than a laptop. Laptops are big enough you think 'expensive computer' when you are handling one, where netbooks are (intentionally) designed to feel like they are more of a 'mid-sized electronic device'.

      It's not much, but it could well account for a 1% difference, IMHO.

      • Re: (Score:2, Troll)

        by Aphoxema ( 1088507 ) *

        Also, given their size and portability, I'd expect netbooks to have harsher treatment than a laptop. Laptops are big enough you think 'expensive computer' when you are handling one, where netbooks are (intentionally) designed to feel like they are more of a 'mid-sized electronic device'.

        It's not much, but it could well account for a 1% difference, IMHO.

        Don't forget the "Apple Effect". You pay about as much for an iPod Touch as you would for a netbook, but anyone who has an iPod treats it like their little savior of humanity, so incredibly important yet oh, so fragile...

      • I'd consider that a 20% difference myself.

      • Re:Cheaper = Worse? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by piltdownman84 ( 853358 ) <piltdownman84@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:30PM (#30175600)
        Also because of their size people have a tendency to transport them in a bag that is less supported. Most people carry their Laptop in a proper bag or a Targus backpack, where as its not uncommon to see someone carrying their netbook in their purse or messenger bag.
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by sheehaje ( 240093 )

        I was thinking the same thing. People tend to look at Netbooks more as a toy. It's much lighter weight tends to lead to people throwing it around more, or putting it in a backpack with a bunch of other items, whereas a laptop tends to be carried around in it's own laptop bag.

        I wonder what the failure rate is of SSD models compared to regular hard drives, as not having any moving parts would seem to fair better, and be spec'd similar to a 'mid-sized electronic device'. I have a Dell Mini 9 with an SSD, an

      • Don't forget to add in the total lifetime of netbooks.
        For most new types of products it takes a while to determine exactly how they are used and what needs to be done to improve reliability.
        Laptops now have some features in them to help reliability that weren't there in the earlier years.

        Heck their are whole new products built to be 'tough' to handle rougher treatment.
        same thing for cellphones
      • Re:Cheaper = Worse? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by element-o.p. ( 939033 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:56PM (#30176006) Homepage
        Despite the sensationalist headline (this is /., after all), I thought a 1% failure rate between laptops and netbooks was pretty trivial.
    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      Price doesn't necessarily equal quality.

      OTOH, these netbooks probably see more use than previous generations of laptops. They are seen as more useful as mobile devices and probably end up subjected to more use and abuse.

    • by Life2Short ( 593815 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:04PM (#30175104)
      But correlation isn't causality. It may be that cheaper = worse, or it may be that cheaper = smaller form factor = more portability = more transportation and use = more wear and tear = more breakdowns. The article also says that Apple laptops are less reliable, but it could also be that Apple laptops are used more by their owners and again are subject or greater wear and tear. Or it could be that Apple makes crap laptops. With a correlation design, you cannot infer causality.
      • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:56PM (#30175992)

        The summary may say that apple laptops are unreliable, but the article doesn't. It's just yet another example of slashdot bias. What the article says is that the top 4 manufacturers are all within 2% reliability of each other. There's then a jump of a 4% drop in reliability before you get to any other manufacturer.

        If you want reliability, buy one of:
        Apple, Dell, Sony or Toshiba.

        I have to admit, I'm surprised by Toshiba in that list, but the other 3 don't surprise me at all.

        The other surprise in there is that the often-touted-as-super-reliable Thinkpads fare very badly.

      • by jabithew ( 1340853 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:59PM (#30176050)

        To insert some unscientific anecdotal evidence; I've had my MacBook back in for repairs three times since I got it two years ago. But the issues I've taken it back for (some faint marks on the screen, and two cracked palmrests) I would have (and indeed have in the past) tolerated on a cheaper laptop with a manufacturer without a highstreet presence. My willingness to complain (and therefore register a failure) is raised because there's someone I can walk to and yell at who will fix it quickly and for free.

    • by lena_10326 ( 1100441 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:11PM (#30175244) Homepage
      Maybe it's because Netbook motherboards have holes... []
      • I find it pretty clever the way they make something so effectively cheap yet powerful, but I do get a little worried every time I take my Wind apart to do something crazy with it when I'm lifting the motherboard out.

        Still, I've taken it apart and put it together about 12 times now and it's still working perfectly fine.

    • Re:Cheaper = Worse? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by noidentity ( 188756 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:11PM (#30175258)
      It's not necessarily cheapness. Netbooks are named differently than laptops because they have different characteristics, ones which allow more convenient use in different environments. So my first guess was that the explanation is likely "Netbooks used in harsher environments than laptops". They're smaller, so a person might carry one around more, put more wear on it per unit time. To summarize: netbooks have higher failure rate than laptops, cellphones have higher failure rates than cordless phones, and desktop computers have a higher failure rate than museum-piece computers that are never turned on.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by hrimhari ( 1241292 )

      That's right. If you pay 300% more, it will be 1.6% less likely to break in the first year. A bargain!

    • by sconeu ( 64226 )

      Linux = cheap (dollar-wise).
      Windows = expensive (dollar-wise).

      Pick one.

      • by abigor ( 540274 )

        If I need to run a variety of Windows-only desktop apps, as most people who use Windows do, then Linux is worthless to me at any price.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

      Very often a less expensive product is indeed equal or even superior to the more expensive one. Whenever anyone says "you get what you pay for," hold on to your wallet. You usually pay for what you get, but you don't always get what you pay for.

      Generic naproxen sodium costs 1/4 as much as Aleve, but they are identical except for price. Only fools waste their money on brand name drugs when there is a generic equivalent; naproxin is naproxin regardless of whose brand is on the bottle.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        Not necessarily. []. Particularly with wimpy stuff like over-the-counter painkillers, the expectation effects that people experience in response to brand names may well make a significant difference, even though the chemistry is identical.
        • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) *

          Well, the placebo effect works without any drugs at all. Might as well package M&Ms as painkillers. Anyone who realises that the generic an the name brand are identical will have the same effect for either.

  • Aha! (Score:3, Informative)

    by sneakyimp ( 1161443 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:35PM (#30174548)

    I thought my prejudice against HP laptops was just emotional or superstitious or something. 25.6% malfunction?? They really need to work on that.

    • by nomadic ( 141991 )
      Huh, weird. I've found HP notebooks I've used (granted, a small sample size) to be extremely durable and reliable (though I probably wouldn't go near HP's desktops). But this was a couple of years ago, did they just slap the HP label on the lousy Compaq ones?
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)


        I used to work for a managed services provider and HP reseller. One of our bigger clients was Dunwoody College of Technology. One of my duties was refurbishing their HP laptops between semesters. They had a wide variety of issues ranging from Accidental Damage, wireless radio failures, to bad harddrives, etc... We even had one sent in that a drunk student vomited onto (we referred to that one as the "puke-top").

        The overwhelming majority went through the refurbish process with little more than a tho

      • Huh, weird. I've found HP notebooks I've used (granted, a small sample size) to be extremely durable and reliable (though I probably wouldn't go near HP's desktops). But this was a couple of years ago, did they just slap the HP label on the lousy Compaq ones?

        Maybe the latter. Where does the HP Pavilion line come from? The Hitachi-branded hard disk in my HP Pavilion dv5 failed in less than one year.

    • by miknix ( 1047580 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:26PM (#30176504) Homepage

      My two year HP pavillion dv6535ep laptop exibited the following behaviour during time:

      * After two months:
        - A lcd pixel near the bottom right corner stoped working, it is red all the time.

      * After four months:
        - Maximum battery capacity lowered to less than half.

      * After a year and couple of months:
        - The integrated (USB) camera stopped working due to bad contact on wiring near screen hinge. The camera starts/stops working everytime the screen is tilted.

      * After two years:
        - The power supply adapter stopped working (it shorts the mains when it gets too hot).

      My previous laptop was a Acer Aspire 1520:
      * The battery capacity didn't go below ~80% after four years.
      * The nvidia graphics card failed after one year and something.
      * The power supply adapter failed with a lot of white smoke after two years and something.
      * A SMD transistor popped up from mainboard after five years. After soldering it myself, the laptop continued working perfectly until today.

      And yes, I'm carefull with laptops, I take proper measures to preserve battery life and my house's electrical mains are not faulty.

  • And? (Score:4, Funny)

    by Aphoxema ( 1088507 ) * on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:36PM (#30174560) Homepage Journal

    Sometimes insightful looks into popular things really makes me sit back and think...

    This just makes me say, "So what?"

  • HP was the worst of the nine PC vendors listed, with a malfunction rate of 25.6% over three years

    In order to malfunction it first must function, something HP's don't do very well, especially with all the nice bundled packages I have pre-installed.

  • They're made to be chucked in a dumpster at the airport when they fizz out. This just sounds like a vector to complain about something that's junky cause it's cheap being junky.

  • by fuzzylollipop ( 851039 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:40PM (#30174634)
    They are cheaper and lighter and more portable and get handled a lot rougher than a $1000+ laptop. Nothing about this is news.
    • by godrik ( 1287354 )

      exactly, my gf used to put a eeepc in her purse and run in the crowd to get her subway. I am not surprised if it breaks quickly.

    • And when something is that small/light/portable the gyroscopes in the hard disk are going to take a lot more stress when they're spinning.

  • MISPWOSO (Score:5, Funny)

    by twofishy ( 1658233 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:41PM (#30174670) Homepage
    What is this? A report from the Maximegalon Institute of Slowly and Painfully Working Out the Surprisingly Obvious?
  • by erroneus ( 253617 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:41PM (#30174684) Homepage

    After all, one of the things driving interest in NetBooks is their price. For makers to make money on them, they have to make them using lesser standards than their more expensive units. After all, a great deal of the same stuff goes into each and to keep the prices down, something had to give.

    Besides, when the price is that low, people tend to start thinking of these netbooks as "disposable" and worry less about problems.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      ...yeah, because it doesn't have anything to do with the slower CPUs, previous generation GPUs, smaller screens, less memory, smaller hard drives or components that might be MISSING ENTIRELY.

  • 1.1% to 1.6% doesn't seem like that huge of a difference especially when we are talking about a device that is smaller and obviously more fragile than it's beefier compatriots. Not to mention the lower standards of quality when manufacturing a practically disposable mini computer.

    Completely offtopic, but I remember almost getting scammed by someone on years ago that wanted to use a third party company to hold my money while I test drove the car in question. The supposed third party was actual

  • by slaker ( 53818 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:42PM (#30174690)

    While I have absolutely no doubt that $300 netbooks die more often, there's no way I'm going to trust the numbers from a company that primarily offers warranty service to computers sold on Ebay.

    I strongly suspect that a lot of the Apple, Dell and (especially) Lenovo notebooks they're servicing are several years old and are probably used or lease return models to begin with.

    • I strongly suspect that a lot of the Apple, Dell and (especially) Lenovo notebooks they're servicing are several years old and are probably used or lease return models to begin with.

      They claim none of the laptops in the study are refurbished or used models. That said, they do provide warranties for used items and I'm not sure I trust them until they release the raw data. More importantly, they claim to report failures bad upon the purchase date of the laptop. Apple, for example, provides a full year of free hardware coverage for all systems, but their data does not show any jump at the one year point, which it should, even if Apple were the only company to offer such a warranty, which

    • by Macman408 ( 1308925 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:27PM (#30175562)

      I'll defend them a bit - they say in their paper [] that they exclude computers that were purchased as either refurbished or used.

      But that's where my defense of their methodology ends. They say the total sample size was 30,000, and they analyzed 9 brands that had over 1,000 units each. IMHO, that's still a pretty small sample size. The margin of error on at least some of those numbers would be around ±3%; that would be enough for the "top 6" manufacturers to be roughly indistinguishable. Keeping that in mind, I'd say there are two groups of manufacturers, reliability-wise: Asus, Toshiba, Sony, Apple, and Dell are more reliable, and Lenovo, Acer, Gateway, and HP are less reliable - but only by a couple percent.

      Also, I'd object similarly to their comparison of netbooks against the larger notebook market; they say in their paper that netbook market share was 10% of all laptops until Q4 last year, so I have to assume that their 1-year data is probably similar, meaning 10% of their 30,000 samples are netbooks. That means a margin of error around ±2%. However, the difference between netbooks and "premium laptops" in reliability at 1 year is only 1.6%.

      Finally, I almost missed this, but all their 3-year reliability numbers for all laptops are "projections" from their 2-year data (their 3-year reliability numbers for netbooks are projected from just 1 year). So take any error they had at 2 years, multiply it by 3/2, and you're off even further - I suppose that means the margin of error on some of these numbers is probably closer to 4.5%.

      All in all, I'd say their paper is a little light on numbers. There are a whopping 11 actual data points that they base all of their data on in the paper - the other 13 data points are projections (all but 1 is a projection from data that is not quoted in the paper). Add to that my general sense of distrust in anybody that sells an extended warranty, and, well, you get the idea.

  • Water Found to Be Wet!

  • by MSG ( 12810 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:47PM (#30174800)

    I saw this the other day. What struck me most is that Sony and Apple have historically had the highest failure rates in the industry (maybe other than HP), and Dell has had among the lowest. Toshiba appears to have consistently low failure rates. I'm glad to see that Apple and Sony have improved (assuming the accuracy of the report), and very disappointed at Dell's slide.

    Still, as an IT support guy, those numbers don't jive with what I see. Apple laptops need warranty service far more often than this study indicates, in my experience. I'd like to know more about the methodology of the survey.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume ( 22995 )

      The large numbers involved probably mean that the users of each brand are pretty much the same as the users of any other brand, but it would be interesting if someone were able to figure out if a given brand suffered from the 'hammer hands' effect, where their users generally treated the computer more roughly.

    • Plus, it's not a drastic difference. 4-some percent versus 5-some percent. Personally, I think 4 and 5 percent is high failure rates for an flavor of we're talking netbooks have a very very high failure rate compared to the 'merely' very high failure rate of normal laptops.
    • by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF ( 813746 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:26PM (#30175536)

      I saw this the other day. What struck me most is that Sony and Apple have historically had the highest failure rates in the industry (maybe other than HP), and Dell has had among the lowest.

      According to consumer reports, the opposite has been true for a long time. Dell used to have terrible rates, and as of the last study, was doing poorly for desktops, but near the top for laptops. Apple consistently scores the highest for laptop reliability among all companies.

    • by King_TJ ( 85913 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @04:07PM (#30176182) Journal

      Not sure what type of I.T. support you do, but could your experiences be a bit limited because you work in corporate I.T. where only certain brands and models were purchased in any quantity?

      I've done quite a bit of on-site service for people, and my experiences line up fairly accurately with some of this. I definitely see a *lot* of HP notebook failures out there. Dell always seemed to me like they build "hit and miss" products. It's a crap-shoot with them, essentially. They've produced some of the most durable and reliable laptops out there, and turned around and produced some total duds that practically ALL had failures in a 2 year time-frame. You can't really make blanket statements about Dell because depending on when you analyze the data, they're going to look really good, somewhere right in the middle, or really bad.

      I used to like Toshiba products, but I've come to realize that they have a pretty high long-term failure rate. Satellites, especially, seem to suffer from a large number of motherboard issues. (Ever run across one that lets you power it on but powers right back off after 2 seconds or so? Usually a bad motherboard, and I run into it pretty often.) A buddy of mine had a Toshiba Qosmio (high-end media centric model) that died like that just out of the factory warranty period. Luckily, Toshiba had a "silent recall" on that one, which we found out about online. He was able to call in, demand they repair it under said recall, and get it fixed free -- but only after getting past a 1st. level tech. on the phone who wanted to charge him for the repair and denied knowledge of any recall.....

      I haven't had real good experiences with Sony laptops either, all in all. It seems like they build really attractive and sleek machines, but they break fairly easily.

      I was a bit surprised that Lenovo didn't rate better. I know their quality has gone downhill from back when IBM owned the Thinkpad line (and they weren't assembled in China). but they still seem to take a lot of design cues from the IBM days, and as a result, seem fairly well-built. They tend to have fewer "bells and whistles" than some models too, so less stuff to go wrong.

      And Apple? I have a lot of experience with their notebooks. They do need warranty service occasionally. The idea that "they practically never break!" is kind of a myth. I mean, they do use the same hard drives and displays as everyone else .... But I've had better than average results getting an Apple notebook serviced by Apple while under warranty, and I think more people buy the AppleCare warranties on them up-front. If you have an issue and Apple overnights you a return mailer box to put it in, fixes it in 1 day, and overnights it back, how annoyed are you going to be about the problem vs. the guy with some other laptop that has to wait WEEKS for a repair? That's what helps Apple keep in the lead with "customer satisfaction", even if they don't have the absolutely least likely to break systems.

  • If you are squaretrade, the independent warranty provider, does their business model work at these failure rates? I was too lazy to go figure out what SquareTrade would do with a laptop that qualifies for their warranty coverage.

    If they replace it, it seems to me these failure rates would bust their business compared to the price of the warranty. Maybe it's like American Health Insurance. It looks like it provides protection, but the details say otherwise.

    I could be totally wrong though.

    • by WaXHeLL ( 452463 )

      Squaretrade first tries to repair the item, and if it's not repairable, they will reimburse you up to the cost of the item (assuming no repairs have been made so far). Note that repetitive repair attempts diminishes the total value of your warranty, so the most they can spend is the cost of the item (so if it's repaired and breaks unrepairable, you only get the remaining balance).

  • Nvidia? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by whoever57 ( 658626 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:53PM (#30174886) Journal

    I wonder how much of the failure rates is due to problems with Nvidia chips?

    Before I get downmodded as a troll or for flamebait, please note that Nvidia has had well documented problems with reliablility, due to materials used in the chip bumping and finishing processes.

    • Almost all netbooks on sale today with are intel-inside with cheeeep atom-chipsets with integrated graphics...

      Nvidia ION-netbooks are just hitting the shelves now (not available until recently), and we'll see, but there aren't likely any historical failure rate number for any of the Nvidia ones yet.

  • They just don't make them like they used it. I'm sure most of us still have beige computers from the early nineties that are still crunching while the shiny computers they make today will die after a few years, if not sooner. I believe the common assumption that Apple computers last longer should also be questioned; I haven't seen much evidence to say that they do. Macs do retain their resale value better than commodity stuff, but that doesn't matter so much if what you're trying to sell doesn't work; it
  • by nine-times ( 778537 ) <> on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:54PM (#30174924) Homepage

    This isn't too surprising, really. Whenever you go for the cheap end of things, you get poor quality.

    Now don't understand me-- I'm not saying that it's good. I think it'd be great if we could make cheap things also be good quality. Like I imagine someone could manufacture netbooks and still sell them relatively cheaply just by virtue of the fact that they use fewer components and less materials. However, the tendency in a situation like this is for the manufacturer to say, "These are cheaper products with tight profit margins. These are also budget products, and people who buy budget products will tend to buy the cheapest thing available. Let's just cut every corner, make them as cheap as possible, and not worry too much about quality." It's the same reason we get $5 blenders at Walmart that break after a year.

    Of course, the problem is often that it's hard for consumers to tell the difference, so companies sometimes don't provide a good middle ground. Like you might find yourself in a situation where you can find a cheap $5-10 blender that will break in the next year, and the next step up is a $1000 "luxury" blender with a built in toaster oven, speakers, and iPhone dock. I guess simple, high quality, economical goods don't sell.

    • by jedidiah ( 1196 )

      ...except these are all cheap crappy PCs. Their components are coming out of the same Chinese factories.

      There is NO differentiator when it comes to "quality".

      HELL, some of the netbooks are little more than older generation Mac mini's rebuilt as laptops.

      This is why they are popular with the Hackintosh crowd to begin with.

      The same will happen with ION netbooks.

  • by joeflies ( 529536 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @02:55PM (#30174938)
    The whole selling point about netbooks is that you take it with you wherever you go, including the bus, the plane, and as such it's stuffed in backpacks or bumped around all the time. The average laptop probably spends more time in one location and isn't transported as often, since a large portion of people are using them as replacement desktops that could be taken home if needed, but often aren't. Myself I leave my laptop locked up at work if I don't need to do any work at home.
  • Failure rates are within 2-3 percentage points. Who cares. What really makes a difference is the SUPPORT you get from a vendor, not what percentage of the shipments fail over time.

    Hardware fails. Especially portable hardware. It's a fact of life, and engineering builds that in. It's impossible to build a machine completely immune to failure without spending astronomical amounts of money. And it's also not reasonable.

    What makes Apple an attractive vendor is Apple Care. You get your circuitboard replace
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Azureflare ( 645778 )
      I just RTFA and I have to reply. This article is a pure shill piece for an independent warranty company. What idiot would buy an independent warranty when there's a more comprehensive plan available from the vendor?

      Just goes to show you, there's a sucker born every minute, and that company takes advantage of them.
    • What makes Apple an attractive vendor is Apple Care. You get your circuitboard replaced for $0 that normally cost a thousand dollars. Hard disk failure? $0 replacement. Optical disk drive failure? $0 replacement.

      Given that, how many Macs are covered by SquareTrade warrantys instead of Apple's? Their data may be skewed by selection bias (but I can't say which way).

  • So how do Asus Netbooks fair, then ? :)

  • ASUS EEE PC - 7 inch 4 gig SSD model: Screen's flakey in less than a year. You have to sometimes bend & twist the display, otherwise it shows just pure gray for an image.

    Acer Aspire One: Windows died randomly on one occasion(reinstall fixed that). Bios died a few weeks ago, but took only 5 minutes to fix.

  • What these people fail to understand is that buying an extended warranty causes failures. I never buy the extended warranty and my gadgets experience negligible failure rates. The last thing I've had fail was a 12 year-old TV set.

    The alternate explanation is that people who buy extended warranties are people whose experience indicate that it's a good investment--the klutzes.

  • People are more compelled to chuck a netbook into their backpack, and take it places where they wouldn't take a laptop. It probably sees more general abuse because it feels less delicate and more like a toy.

  • Anecdotal evidence based on practical experience: I dragged my Samsung NC20 all over Europe and obscure parts of Russia and before that I had a well travelled Samsung NC10 and abused the crap out of it and they are both working just fine. These units went through customs time after time, banged around, exposed to -10c temperatures, countless flights, and copious exposure to the funky Soviet Era power wiring with no ill effects!
    I had much worse luck with my HP DV9000 laptop (something happened to the freaki
    • Agreed. My NC10 goes everywhere I do, it's a champ. And I could buy three or four of the Sammys for the price of my big Toshiba.
  • The sample data is based on laptops using SquareTrade's extended warranty coverage. What's the profile of SquareTrade users?

    I was surprised by Levono's ranking (6th) since ThinkPads usually have a solid reputation which makes them popular among corporate users.

    I'm thinking that if SquareTrade's audience is nearly all consumers, the sample for Levono may be relatively quite small.
  • These are in my experience the most reliable laptops I've ever owned.
    These things never break.
  • Are they comparing all netbooks to all laptops? Is this a hardware failure rate or software/os failure rate? Are they comparing SSDs to HDDs? Price ranges? Are these "sent back for repair" rates or "actually needed repairs" rates? At least they did mention that netbooks are new to the field so at least some of it is understandable there. Whenever percentages and statistics get thrown around I get very leery about the interpretation of the results. Lies, damn lies, statistics, etc.

  • Many notebooks had failures related to faulty nVidia chips, including Mac's. I wonder if that is inflating these stats?

  • Is this really a quality issue?

    Or, do people who buy more expensive products tend to be more computer-literate or take better care of products?

  • Does this survey actually look at the failure of each unit across the board or just those units that have had a SquareTrade warranty purchased? And, following that line of thought, are those that paid extra for a third party warranty more likely to abuse their hardware knowing that they will have a free replacement on the way if something breaks? And finally, does this sampling error completely invalidate the thesis of their study?

    If you are going to reply with "you can still assume the failure rate is hi

  • Question the source (Score:4, Interesting)

    by greyhueofdoubt ( 1159527 ) on Friday November 20, 2009 @03:47PM (#30175910) Homepage Journal

    Another /. story brought this to my attention and I did some digging. It turns out that the entire tech-blog-sphere is basing their articles on a 'study' done by Squaretrade, a company that sells extended warranties for computers and phones. I won't get into the ethics of selling warranties for brand-new computers that already carry OEM warranties.

    The problem is that Squaretrade is in direct competition with Apple's Applecare. A few quick searches on their website shows that their plans cost more than applecare and that they lack some of the features of applecare (phone support, apple store support, ups dropoff service, etc).

    So my advice is to take that bar graph with a grain of salt.


Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun