So your new laptop computer died in inside of a year. “I’ll never buy a computer from [insert manufacturer name here] again!” I’ve heard the protests time and time again.
Yeah, maybe you got a lemon, but no matter which brand you bought, you truly are not alone in this situation: An analysis of 30,000 new laptops from SquareTrade, which provides aftermarket warranty coverage for electronics products, has found that in the first three years of ownership, nearly a third of laptops (31 percent) will fail.
That’s actually better than I would have expected based on my experience and observations on how people treat their equipment.
SquareTrade has more detailed information (the full PDF of the company’s study is available here) on the research on its website. But here are some highlights about how, why, and which laptops fail:
> 20.4 percent of failures are due to hardware malfunctions. 10.6 percent are due to drops, spills, or other accidental damage.
> Netbooks have a roughly 20 percent higher failure rate due to hardware malfunctions than standard laptops. The more you pay for your laptop, the less likely it is to fail in general (maybe because you’re more careful with it?).
> The most reliable companies? A shocker: Toshiba and Asus, both with below a 16 percent failure rate due to hardware malfunction.
> The least reliable brands? Acer, Gateway, and HP. HP’s hardware malfunction rate, the worst in SquareTrade’s analysis, is a whopping 25.6 percent.
None of the numbers are overly surprising. As SquareTrade notes, “the typical laptop endures more use and abuse than nearly any other consumer electronic device (with the possible exception of cell phones),” so failures are really inevitable.
Want to keep your notebook running for longer than a few years? Ensure your laptop is as drop-proofed as possible (use a padded bag or case, route cords so they won’t be tripped on, lock children in another room), and protect it as best you can from heat and dust.