Which Computer Brand is Best?

Which Computer Brand is Best (or the most reliable)?

Perhaps it’s not the right question & not the one you should be asking…

People will often ask which computer brand is best (whether it’s a desktop or laptop/ notebook) they should now buy to replace their existing computer which might be old, failed or ailing. “Should I buy a HP, or a Toshiba, or ….?” they ask; or,

“What about (brand x or y) … what’s your opinion about them?” “Which brand would you recommend?”, or the question we get asked the most (which is actually more of a statement of intent rather than a question) is: “My next computer is going to be a Mac because they never break down, do they?”

The simple answer to that question is that there is no simple answer. We get to see and repair a wide range of brands and models and there really isn’t one brand that in our view stands above the rest.  No, not even the Apple Mac, but more about that later.  For the moment let’s stick to PCs.  It is worth remembering that these are mass-produced electronic devices comprising many different components.

Most Reliable Computer Brand?

Any computer may at some point experience component failure of one kind or another. In the case of notebooks or laptops, it can include hard drives (or solid state drives), batteries, keyboards, cooling fans, motherboards and even power adapters are just some of the examples and often occur in the first 12 months of ownership (during the manufacturers’ statutory warranty period).  By the same token, a lot of people will get 3, 4, 5 or more years of trouble-free service from their computer, irrespective of brand.  Of course it helps if you look after your computer and don’t mistreat and abuse it.

HP, Toshiba, ASUS?

So is your average HP branded computer any more or any less reliable than your average Toshiba or ASUS equivalent? In our view, that’s not necessarily the case.

For example, we see a higher than average number of particular HP models (some dv6 and dv7 models) with cooling issues, where the fan has to be replaced, along with the original thermal paste removed from the heat sink and then reapplied using a better, higher quality thermal compound. But this problem isn’t exclusive to HP or any other brand in the market.

By comparison, we see a higher proportion of Toshiba branded 2.5 inch SATA hard drives of varying capacity requiring replacement, than competing hard drives from Western Digital or Seagate. These hard drives aren’t just found in Toshiba notebooks but also in a wide range of notebook computers from other manufacturers, including Apple MacBook and MacBook Pro (pre-2013 models). Not every Toshiba computer comes with a Toshiba branded hard drive, but many do.

Repair or Replace your Computer?

So when things go wrong – as they might – you should be asking whether you repair or replace and if you decide on the latter, replace it with what?  It all depends on a number factors that you should take into account. For example:

  • How old is your existing computer?
  • How reliable has it been since purchase?
  • Is it hardware, software/ operating system failure or both?
  • What needs to be replaced? Is it a display panel (screen), hard drive, keyboard, AC (charging) port and at what cost (parts and labour)?
  • What is the likely replacement cost (including the cost of data transfer from the old computer and setup of the new system) and how does it compare to the cost of repair?
  • Are the parts available and how long will the work take?

Once you start undertaking this analysis, you can start to assess the merits of repair verses replacement.

You should bear in mind that an increasing number of notebook computers are designed to make repair or replacement/ upgrading of the system either problematic or impossible. Compare a typical notebook computer of today to one from 5 or 10 years ago.  Where previously you could upgrade or replace the RAM, the hard drive or battery, this may no longer be the case for the computer you recently bought or are about to buy.

Apple MacBook, MacBook, MacBook Pro?

You have to conclude that manufacturers appear to be more focused on pushing you to the replacement option rather than the option of repairing your computer. Even a perfectly good computer may no longer give you the option to upgrade the RAM or hard drive.  This is increasingly the case for owners of recent models of Apple MacBook, MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. We have covered the issue of Mac repair in an earlier blog.

The situation is a little different when deciding whether to repair or replace PC desktops. Here, you have a little more flexibility about what can be repaired or replaced and at what cost as many computers adopt a one of a small number of widely used form-factors like ITX, ATX and mATX.  Some desktops can be more problematic than others.  For example, anything with a slim-line case – a quite popular option within the Acer, Dell and HP product lines – can create problems if you ever require a new power supply unit or a video card due to limited supply and availability. All of them may also pose difficulties if you ever need to replace a motherboard, where the inclusion and placement of connectors for various devices and power may preclude the use of generic, commonly available replacement parts.

Again, the situation is a little different if you own a recent model Apple iMac desktop. You soon discover how limited your options for upgrade and repair really are, not unlike the owners of Acer, ASUS, Dell or HP all-in-one desktop system.

Declining Sales of PCs

The PC market – both for desktops and notebooks – is in decline. According to data from research firm Gartner, world-wide PC sales have declined by 9.6 per cent year-on-year from Q1 2015 to Q1 2016, despite the fact of growth and demand in two-in-one or hybrid PCs (ie. thin and light notebooks with detachable keyboards) for business users and consumers and gaming notebooks in some markets.  It is hardly surprising that some manufacturers like Sony have exited the market and others, like Samsung and Toshiba, are undertaking restructuring of their product lines and market operations. The decline in sales is partly as the result of changing consumer behaviour (where consumers are now spoilt for choice from a bewildering array of devices, including tablets) and vendors failing to make a compelling case for consumers and businesses to upgrade their existing hardware until they have to.

As consumers, our choices may be narrowing as smaller brands exit the market, whilst our options as to the type of computer or computers we buy grows.

So, Which Computer Brand is Best?

I realise that this does not answer completely the question as to which computer brand is best because the simple answer is, none.  However I do hope that the information provided above does allow you to make a more informed decision in relation to which brand’s to avoid and which brands are more reliable.

This information concerning which computer brand is best and which is the most reliable computer brand is provided to you by Affordable Computer Repairs and Service, a trustworthy and respected computer repair and IT solutions business in Brisbane.  You can contact us on 3397 1215.

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