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Service and Reliability
of Major Technology Companies: 16th Annual Survey
Rates the Best and Worst in Notebooks, Desktops and
July 12, 2003 -- A Ziff Davis Media publication surveyed
18,000 readers -- technology influencers and consumers
-- who evaluated companies in four major categories:
desktops, notebooks, servers and printers. Apple,
Dell, IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Toshiba are among the
top winners. The study evaluated everything from the
reliability of the products readers are using, to
the quality and frequency of repairs and technical
support. Companies are graded from A+ (highest) to
E (failing grade).
Overall Industry Analysis:
If the industry generally is moving
forward faster than a particular company, then that
company falls behind.
The Impact of Windows XP:
Overall, service and reliability has improved, due
in large part to the effect of Microsoft Corp.'s Windows
XP, which was introduced in late 2001. According to
testing in PC Magazine's Labs and reaffirmed by the
Service and Reliability Survey, Windows XP has brought
computer users the stability of Microsoft's corporate
operating systems - Windows NT and 2000. Michael Miller
says, "If an OS performs better, so does the
hardware it controls."
Dell, for the twelfth time in 13 years earns top honours
overall for desktop PCs, with an A+. This year Apple
joins Dell at the top, earning an A+. Sony moves up
in 2003 from a B to an A and newcomer ABS debuts with
Dell, Apple and Sony received high
marks in the work and home categories. Dell edged
both Apple and Sony with an A+, while those companies
Overall, consumers were generally
satisfied with desktops after their first-year in
the market. Dell, Apple and Gateway received the top
ratings, earning A's.
Among individual product lines, Dell's
Dimension, OptiPlex and Precision recorded significantly
better than average overall satisfaction scores.
IBM, Toshiba and Apple all retained top rankings overall,
earnings A's. Of the three "A" vendors,
IBM has impressed users the most with its tech support
and repair service. IBM rates better than average
on 14 of 15 measures. The three top vendors overall
also receive A's for home use, as Apple and IBM for
Overall, Dell followed close behind,
earning a B+ as with the case in 2002, respondents
liked Dell's laptops, except for more units needing
repairs. NEC, Sony and Toshiba were tops in the category
of having significantly fewer than average percentage
of units needing repairs. As a result, NEC improved
its overall score significantly from a D last year
to a B in 2003.
Continuing the dominance they've achieved for twelve
straight years, Hewlett-Packard earns an A+ for printer
satisfaction. It is closely followed by Samsung, which
entered the survey this year with an A on the strength
of its monochrome laser printers. Canon, third in
popularity among PC Magazine readers and rated a D-
last year, has improved significantly to a B-. IBM
returned to the survey this year, earning a B.
In the home printer category, Hewlett-Packard
gets an A+, while Epson and Samsung get A's. Hewlett-Packard
continues the trend in the work category, earning
an A+, followed by Brother and Epson, both earning
B's. Canon, Epson and Hewlett-Packard received A's
in the inkjet printer category. Epson and Hewlett-Packard
earned top honors among inkjet multifunction printers
Not surprisingly, more complex and
heavily used printers need more service:
* The industry average score for
the percentage of printers needing repair in the past
12 months is 13.6%. This is fairly consistent with
* Work printers are more than twice as likely to need
repair as home printers: 21.5% vs. 9.2%
* MFPs are half again as likely to need repair as
- 12.1% vs. 8.1% for inkjets
- 23.8% vs. 15.0% for lasers
* In the Desktops:Overall category,
Micron/MPC receives a Readers Report Card grade of
C, not D.
* In the Desktops: First Year category, the repair
method used by Gateway and HP are, respectively, Company
sent a new part (67% and 28%), PC was fixed on-site
(7% and 15%), PC was sent out for repair (20% and
37%), Company sent a new PC (2% and 16%). There were
not enough data to report on IBM's repair methods
in this category
* In the Notebooks: Work category, Sony receives a
C-, not C
* In the Printers: Networked Work Printers category,
HP receives an A+, not an A
These corrections have already been
reflected in the online version of the story at www.pcmag.com/sr.
The 16th annual reader survey of Service
and Reliability covers desktop PCs, notebooks, printers
and servers. Magazine asked respondents which types
of equipment they had used in the past year (desktops,
notebooks, printers and servers), based on information
provided by an initial screener.
About PC Magazine:
PC Magazine, the independent guide
to technology, delivers comprehensive labs-based reviews
and the most trusted recommendations for buyers of
technology products and services. Reaching more than
6.1 million highly engaged technology influencers,
PC Magazine provides product reviews, first looks
at emerging technologies and products, and opinionated
columns from renowned technology pundits. To meet
its readers' needs for buying information that is
as current as it is comprehensive, PC Magazine publishes
22 times a year in print and continually on the Web.
About Ziff Davis Media Inc.:
Ziff Davis Media Inc. is a special
interest media company focused on the technology and
game markets. In the United States, the company publishes
10 industry leading business and consumer publications:
PC Magazine, eWEEK, Baseline, CIO Insight, Electronic
Gaming Monthly, Xbox Nation, Official U.S. PlayStation
Magazine, Computer Gaming World, GameNow and GMR.
There are 39 foreign editions of Ziff Davis Media's
publications distributed in over 64 countries worldwide.
In addition to producing companion sites for all of
its magazines, the company develops tech enthusiast
sites such as:
ExtremeTech.com. Ziff Davis Media
provides custom publishing and end-to-end marketing
solutions through its Integrated Media Group, industry
analyses through Ziff Davis Market Experts and produces
seminars and webcasts. For more information, visit
Source: Ziff Davis Media Inc.
CONTACT: Randy Zane of Ziff Davis
Media Inc., +1-212-503-3535, or firstname.lastname@example.org"
Web site: "http://www.ziffdavis.com/"
Hewlett-Packard earned a B and Sony
earned a B-. Apple's PowerBook and Dell's Inspiron
received better than average overall satisfaction
scores for first-year products.
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