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Laptop Mag: Apple Has Best Tech Support

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 37 comments

Apple ranks at the top, Dell slumps at the bottom of tech support.

While many of you Tom's Hardware readers are usually savvy enough to troubleshoot problems on your own, even if it's store-bought computer, many consumers out there heavily factor into their purchases in the quality of tech support.

Most research into tech support quality finds that the large computer makers Dell and HP rank near the bottom, while Apple consistently scores at the top. Laptop Magazine today published its report after conducting its independent tests on Acer, Apple, Asus, Dell, Fujitsu, Gateway, HP, Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba.

Laptop Magazine tested the computer makers by making two phone calls to each company's tech support lines, both times asking how to alter power management schemes and how to enable an external monitor.

Apple scored top marks with its North American-based tech support workers, well put-together website and availability of the Genius Bar. Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba also did well with knowledgeable phone support.

The worst of the bunch were Acer, Dell and HP, which was plagued with long hold times and/or tech help that wasn't very helpful at all.

Read the full report from Laptop here.

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Top Comments
  • 16 Hide
    dman3k , August 6, 2009 9:47 PM
    Here lies the problem. Who are these people who require support?

    There's a huge difference between Apple users and regular PC users.
  • 11 Hide
    Aoster87 , August 6, 2009 11:15 PM
    But wait! Apple doesn't need tech support because their products are flawless.

    Hmm.
Other Comments
  • 4 Hide
    hallic7 , August 6, 2009 9:45 PM
    Surely they receive the most dumb(and easy fix) questions from hardware ignorant customers... Easy to attend and everybody happy!! LOL !!! (joke)
  • 16 Hide
    dman3k , August 6, 2009 9:47 PM
    Here lies the problem. Who are these people who require support?

    There's a huge difference between Apple users and regular PC users.
  • -1 Hide
    Stihy , August 6, 2009 9:55 PM
    Also if you want to know how to use pc, find instructor, go to training class, RTFM
  • 4 Hide
    cabose369 , August 6, 2009 9:57 PM
    use their tech support... then they should say this.

    Their tech support is AWFUL. We paid for expedited shipping of leopard recovery discs (next day) and after 4 days we STILL didn't have it. We then had to wait another 2 days to finally get them.

    There are so many other stories about how bad their customer service is that I have don't have room to list it all here.
  • 9 Hide
    homerjay , August 6, 2009 10:20 PM
    Ever been to the iStore with an issue? "I'm sorry, you don't have an appointment we can't help you." But I build my own computers so what do I really care?
  • 3 Hide
    ckthecerealkiller , August 6, 2009 10:20 PM
    Those are some heavy questions. How do I modify my power settings and how do I change to an external monitor?... If they took more than 15 seconds to answer the question that is an automatic fail. How about they ask some real questions and we can talk.
  • 1 Hide
    Honis , August 6, 2009 10:26 PM
    The last time I needed DELL tech support was 4 years ago and it was as great an experience as finding out your motherboard is fried could be.

    The guy I talked to (had an Indian accent) walked me through troubleshooting finally coming down to "Lets send it in" DELL shipped me an empty box, I dropped the laptop in, applied prepaid shipping sticker, called DHP, they came to my door and picked it up. Six weeks later I had it back and have had zero problems hardware wise since.
  • 3 Hide
    pharge , August 6, 2009 10:34 PM
    hmm... that reminds me the experience from HP for my laptop w/ GeForce 8400M GS. It was before HP release their BIOS update to make the graphic chip cooler to prevent NVIDIA's famouse graphic chip defect. After the long wait and all sort of selection on my phone pade... the HP customer service representive located on the otherside of the earth asked me to formated my HD and reinstall my windows vista to fix my graphic freez up problem.... even after spend more than 20 min to tell him very clearly about what is known about the graphic defect on that chip.... oh well.... they just don't want to fix it....

    I sorted of gave up and took the once for a while graphic freeze up... till the problem was solved by HP is BIOS update which turned my fan to the max most of the time....

    I am not surprised that HP's CS is rated at the bottom.
  • 11 Hide
    Aoster87 , August 6, 2009 11:15 PM
    But wait! Apple doesn't need tech support because their products are flawless.

    Hmm.
  • 1 Hide
    nicodemus_mm , August 6, 2009 11:22 PM
    Granted these are questions that tech support receives (akin to "Can you just send me the Internet on a disk because I don't want to pay a monthly fee for it."), let's try something where tech support is really needed. Example: a failed mobo, DIMM, CPU, HDD, i/o panel, inverter, etc. With Apple... good luck. With Dell, and possibly the others, you may go through some diags and the next business day (assuming your warranty features this) you have a tech at your door with parts in hand. If it's a server it's there in less than 4 hours.
    As far as hold times... When you're #1 and #2 in the market (and use an OS that supports much wider variety of hardware and software) the support queue is going to be a little longer. Duh.
  • -2 Hide
    tektek2000 , August 7, 2009 12:12 AM
    Half of apples problems are solved by ISP techs.... (as bad as they are)... my internet is down.. and btw .. my ipod wont sync up.. "go ahead and reboot your Mac" and boom free time for APPLE TECH SUPPORT!!

  • -4 Hide
    Maxor127 , August 7, 2009 12:14 AM
    So you're putting down a whole operating system because it's user-friendly and easy and also includes a UNIX command line for hardcore users? That makes sense. And all PC users are brilliant? I'm sure 90% of the PC users I know will love to hear that, when they don't even know what a browser is or how to find a file on their computer or how to save to JPG or even what version Windows they're using or how much RAM or HD space they have or how to clean out temp files. I grew up with Macs, and I still probably knew more about PCs than most people who used them. Your logic implies that only computer illiterate people buy Macs and computer savvy people buy PCs, when PCs hold a dominate market share and 90% of the people who use them are retarded. In reality, people buy PCs because they're cheap, not better. People who don't know the difference between Mac and PC and just want a computer will buy whatever they see that's cheap. And people who want to play games and get the most for their money will build their own computer and completely skip the middleman. Lack of game support and the inability to install OS X on non-Apple systems is the only real disadvantage Macs have since for people who like games, the choice is a no-brainer. And high system prices are common with EVERY computer manufacturer.
  • 5 Hide
    tektek2000 , August 7, 2009 12:20 AM
    Maxor has a point about cheap...but that also brings up.. a large ratio of PC users vs Mac.. which also means higher demand in tech support.. its harder to support 200million users compared to 2 million (example here)..
  • -1 Hide
    IzzyCraft , August 7, 2009 12:30 AM
    It's part of the apple premium everyone knew this already, but in a tech forum can't say too much love for paying extra for something you probably wont use.
  • 0 Hide
    matt87_50 , August 7, 2009 12:39 AM
    agreed, dell tech support ftl.
  • -1 Hide
    Anonymous , August 7, 2009 1:09 AM
    Those are tech support questions?
  • -4 Hide
    Anonymous , August 7, 2009 1:13 AM
    The three correct responses to those questions
    1)That will be 49.99. What's your credit card number?
    2)Please go buy a book or take a class.
    3)Sorry you're too stupid to have a computer please
    return the unit ASAP. Some please have real tech issues.
  • -1 Hide
    Spanky Deluxe , August 7, 2009 1:16 AM
    Maxor127So you're putting down a whole operating system because it's user-friendly and easy and also includes a UNIX command line for hardcore users? That makes sense. And all PC users are brilliant? I'm sure 90% of the PC users I know will love to hear that, when they don't even know what a browser is or how to find a file on their computer or how to save to JPG or even what version Windows they're using or how much RAM or HD space they have or how to clean out temp files. I grew up with Macs, and I still probably knew more about PCs than most people who used them. Your logic implies that only computer illiterate people buy Macs and computer savvy people buy PCs, when PCs hold a dominate market share and 90% of the people who use them are retarded. In reality, people buy PCs because they're cheap, not better. People who don't know the difference between Mac and PC and just want a computer will buy whatever they see that's cheap. And people who want to play games and get the most for their money will build their own computer and completely skip the middleman. Lack of game support and the inability to install OS X on non-Apple systems is the only real disadvantage Macs have since for people who like games, the choice is a no-brainer. And high system prices are common with EVERY computer manufacturer.


    Here here. Unless you're a heavy gamer, OS X is an absolute dream to use. Its incredibly easy to use and is, on the whole, harder to break than Windows. Sure a 'pro' user can do whatever they want with Windows and have no problem, but that's true with any OS. OS X's UNIX underpinnings is superb for any pro user wanting to do some more technical work. As an example, the number of astrophysicists that use OS X vastly outnumbers those using Windows.
  • 3 Hide
    nukemaster , August 7, 2009 2:15 AM
    Why does this always turn into a Apple VS PC thing.

    First off, I have never had a real bad tech support problem(Well, logitech was a pain since they did not have my address in there system, but yeah).

    Lets see, Call HP.

    Me: Hey, my battery does not hold a charge anymore.
    HP: Ok, try this, this and this.
    Me: Ok, still no good.
    HP: Ok can i have your address, We will send you a new battery and you just put the old one in the box and send it back to us.

    ~~2 days later~~
    New higher capacity batter. YAY

    Next time, For some reason they shipped a computer with the partitions backwards. So little system partition and big recovery one.

    Call,

    ME: The partitions are messed up windows is the size on a recovery and the recovery is the rest of the drive.
    HP: Ok, Is it a raid system?
    Me: Nope
    HP: Ok address please so we can send you a CD with will fix it for you.

    ~~3 days later~~

    New recovery CD's so if they ever change the drive, its easy to get it back to HP a HP factory state. In the meantime, I just used partition magic to fix it. This was more to make sure they new this may be a problem for others.

    Not sure I would call that a bad tech support.

    Since HP,Dell,ect have many more support reps, there may be more variation is support. That said, so far they have been just fine for me and others.

    My friends who have Dells had good stories, One of Dell coming right to the house for a dead board and other similar situations. Once again, depends on who you get.
  • -1 Hide
    Shadow703793 , August 7, 2009 2:20 AM
    No they don't. Falcon NW does. :D  I always root for the underdog. Falcons are ~ the same price as the Apple Macs.
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