Laptop Mag: Apple Has Best 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.

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.
  • hallic7
    Surely they receive the most dumb(and easy fix) questions from hardware ignorant customers... Easy to attend and everybody happy!! LOL !!! (joke)
  • dman3k
    Here lies the problem. Who are these people who require support?

    There's a huge difference between Apple users and regular PC users.
  • Stihy
    Also if you want to know how to use pc, find instructor, go to training class, RTFM
  • cabose369
    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.
  • homerjay
    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?
  • ckthecerealkiller
    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.
  • Honis
    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.
  • pharge
    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.
  • Aoster87
    But wait! Apple doesn't need tech support because their products are flawless.

  • nicodemus_mm
    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.