Tech Support Rating: Apple, Dell, Lenovo Top List

While many Tom's Hardware readers are used to doing their own troubleshooting and support of their own computers, the quality of post-sale support is often a huge differentiator between a good computer experience and a bad one.

Consumer Reports, an independent and non-profit publication, released its latest ratings for computer tech support for laptops and desktops. The magazine's findings were based on an annual survey of over 7,000 desktop- and laptop-owning subscribers to Consumer Reports from January 2009 to January 2010.

Respondents were asked to review a manufacturer's ability to solve their problems, the communication and knowledge of phone support staff, how long they were placed on hold, and the quality of the company's online support.

Based on responses from owners of 3,685 laptop computers, Apple scored 86 points out of 100. Second place Lenovo earned a 63; third place Toshiba had 60; fourth place Dell has a 56; and HP/Compaq has a 53. Trailing far behind was Acer/Gateway/eMachines with 39.

The running selection for desktop brands was narrower with only four brands. Based on responses from owners of 3,711 desktop computers, Apple took top spot at 87 points out of 100. Dell scored 55 for second place; HP/Compaq scored 53 for third; and Acer/Gateway/eMachines grabbed another 39.

Read more about the rankings from Consumer Reports.

Marcus Yam
Marcus Yam served as Tom's Hardware News Director during 2008-2014. He entered tech media in the late 90s and fondly remembers the days when an overclocked Celeron 300A and Voodoo2 SLI comprised a gaming rig with the ultimate street cred.
  • Shadow703793
    What about ASUS, Gigabyte, et el or is this just mainstream PC/laptop manufacturers?
  • Atranox
  • jacobdrj
    I am glad to see Dell make a commitment to return to the top of the reliability list. However, I find their proprietary BIOS, system restore, and chassis to be a huge hindrance, without the proprietary benefits of some sort of idiot proof OS, like Apple...
    Dell, you have GOT to loosen up. You are not Apple.
  • What is best though is when you don't have to call in the first place.
    I think Apple should get points off for their weak 90 day free phone support.
  • lostandwandering
    Shadow703793What about ASUS, Gigabyte, et el or is this just mainstream PC/laptop manufacturers?
    CR generally just sticks with the mainstream. I don't think Asus was reviewed. Anyone got their last Gadgets Magazine?
  • Nik_I
    i think asus came out on top in a survey of how many calls their customer service center got. Apple finished second in that one because 95% of its tech support is done at the apple store, eliminating almost all of their phone support, so their result wasn't very accurate.
  • frozenlead
    I'll bet they didn't factor in the percent share of computers by brand - Apple may be scoring an 86 on their scale, but if it's an average of 100 or fewer customers, the data is worthless.
    Does anyone subscribe to them and have more numbers?
  • freename
    Disclaimer: this may be seen as flamebait and is pure opinion based on message boards & people I've met..

    The stereotypical Apple customers are a lot more rabidly supportive of Apple as a company and will give Apple higher praise than, say, an owner of a Laptop from a different company.

    Asking loyal Apple customers to rate Apples support is like asking priests to rate their religion. Some will give a frank appraisal, but most love what they've bought into and won't knock it when asked questions by a stranger.
  • falchard
    Shadow703793What about ASUS, Gigabyte, et el or is this just mainstream PC/laptop manufacturers?There usually isn't a need to use their tech support.
  • rmmil978
    It's a good thing Asus tech support isn't needed that often, because they do make superior products...HOWEVER, if you DO need to ever use it, good luck ever getting a resolution. I have had to use it, and after multiple emails I got a canned response, no follow-up, and the tech support call line leads to individuals who have absolutely no idea what they are talking about.