Which laptop brands are reliable, which are not?

In the last few years I’ve had several Hewlett Packard laptops. I had about 3 years out of the first before it failed, the second lasted only a few months, and now the third is looking questionable, again, after only a few months.

I’d be interested in other people’s experiences. Are there any laptop brands that are more reliable and likely to give a longer life than others?


Most manufacturers, including HP, Dell, and Lenovo, have two distinct product lines. I have had experience with many hundreds of HP and Lenovo business units and a small number of consumer models, but I don’t have a similarly large sample from Dell.

The consumer lines include the most “impressive” kit possible for the dollar, not the best engineered kit. The business lines are more expensive and have lower specs but are usually Very Reliable due to conservative engineering and perhaps a higher standard of certain parts.

A consumer product might last a day or forever. My son has a cheap HP. The first went for two weeks and failed. It was replaced not repaired. The replacement needed a new HDD at a year, but has been trouble free for about 2 years. My business model Lenovo needed a new motherboard (a recall issue) but otherwise never missed a beat in 5-years in service.

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Apple MacBooks are very reliable, I have my old 2005 one that still works excellent but I only occasionally use it nowadays for running some very old software that still need to use.
My son a daughter both have MacBooks they are from circa 2010 and 2012 and they still run great in everyday use.

The 2012 model my daughter still uses for her tertiary studies an it is still system current and highly capable and rugged enough to be lugged around in a backpack.


I have a friend who worked for HP and warned me to steer clear of them. My experience of one (bought before his warning) bore it out.

I’ve had several Acer laptops and never had a problem with any of them.

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Most cheaper laptops are built to a price point not to a quality point (this includes ACER, ASUS, Toshiba, HP, Dell, Sony, Lenovo & Samsung). HP split itself into two arms one for business and one for consumer products. IBM and Lenovo are a similar story.

However having said they are produced to a price some brands tend to have less issues than others. In my experience of repairing, replacing and recycling many brands, I find highest rate of failures do indeed carry HP branding and failures tend to be important hardware (Hard Drives not included here). Next would be ACER and ASUS but they fail at a much reduced rate compared to HP and failures tend to be the keys on keyboards rather than internal malfunctions. Dell and Lenovo would be next and finally Samsung, Sony and Toshiba seem to be the most reliable.

Cost ranges for the HP, ACER, ASUS, & Lenovo products are very similar with fairly similar features. Dell sits price wise somewhere in between as does Samsung. Sony & Toshiba have generally much higher price points for the same features you get in the other cheaper brands.

Samsung is not a common sight but it generally sits in a middle ground between Sony/Toshiba and the others and reflects that in a reasonable build quality, most Samsung are produced from Samsung produced components so QA is easier for them to maintain but it does lead to some items being only replaceable by Samsung components eg some Hard Disk Drives have propriety connectors.

So if buying I recommend that if someone is looking for price + features + quality they look in the middle order of ASUS ACER Dell and Lenovo. I would think most would find Dell is probably edging itself out due to the extra price.

Once you get your Laptop I do recommend that you run it often and make it work hard for a few weeks or months as most faults will rear their head early if the components have some stress applied. If you notice any issues starting to crop up eg loose or wobbly keys don’t hesitate to avail yourself of warranty service as getting things seen as soon as possible is a great way of avoiding tearing out hair moments when something fails at a very important moment. Also Back up, Back up, and Back up and do create the Recovery Software Disk using the tool on your Laptop if the Laptop doesn’t come with a Recovery Disk (a lot don’t these days). When I say Disk it nowadays is more frequently done using a USB stick.


I just stick to Apple. They have a good help service if you ring up and mostly stick with you till it is solved. Sorry they are bringing in so many new operating systems - getting as bad as the windows was. AT least they are free so far.


Bought an H.P. printer from Australia post when they were on special and put it away until needed. Over 2 years later the time came and it was faulty. Great assistance from H.P. who replaced it with a later model as the original was no longer available. Cannot speak too highly of them.

My personal experiences with laptops

  • Apple Macbook (early Intel 13" model), lasted for 7 years then failed due to motherboard, no prior issues except declining battery life
  • Dell (Studio 15 model) lasted for 8 years then failed due to motherboard, no prior issues except declining battery life
  • ASUS (17" G74 ROG model) almost 5 years old currently, battery life now only around 30 minutes but it was never good. Power supply failed after 2 years had to contact customer support at that time, found them absolutely useless (they requested I return entire laptop at my expense to confirm an obvious power supply issue) but owner community helped. Have had to replace the thermal paste to deal with over heating (very common issue with this series).

My in-laws have an Acer that has been running without issue for about 4 years now.

I have recently bought another Dell convertible model but 2 months is not enough time to comment about reliability.

In the past 10 years I have only once contacted customer support for a laptop, the ASUS above.

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Many feel Apple has a sterling reputation, but a young man in our estate bought a Macbook when he started uni and had so many problems (a classic lemon) and so little sympathy from Apple he swore off Apple forever.

It is not just how reliable, but also how a company responds when it isn’t.

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A very important point.

My daughter recently spilt a glass of water on her Macbook Air. Apple said that they couldn’t even look at it for a week and that it probably wouldn’t be repairable, offering to sell her a new one.

On the advice of a friend, she took it to the Chinese Guy Down The Street and 24 hours later had it back running perfectly with a 12 month warranty on the work.


I don’t know if there’s any particular make that is always reliable, but I have had my Samsung SF311 for nearly 6 years now and never had a problem with it.

I generally use it with an Apple screen and Logitech keyboard and mouse because I find them more comfortable to use at my desk.


I have had Dell laptops for 13 years and they were fairly reliable. First was Inspiron 5150 with extra memory, 3 years later I had to upgrade RAM, then replace defective RAM, and replace the keyboard. It became too sluggish for engineering software and was getting tired after 3.5 years. Replaced with another Dell (didn’t record the model) in 2007. Not sure why I only kept it for a year, but I refurbished it to give to a relative, who declined because it looked too fancy, so gave it to a Senior who was tying to keep up with grand kids, she still has it but only the kid uses it now - not sure how reliable etc.

2008 I bought a Dell Studio 7 which lasted until 2012 when it started to exhibit annoying habits - failure to boot up, overheating (but not enough to stop), failure to recognise peripherals etc. Dismantled and cleaned etc, took to professionals, they rescued my files from a persistent failure to boot. After that is went OK. But it was enough to decide to replace. So far all these have had a hard life in the field, office and home.

2012 I bought a Dell XPS. Now part of the reason for sticking with Dell - they have an unusual power connector and I had kept one at work, one at home and one for travel - saved climbing under desks to retrieve it. The XPS has a different one. The old one will give you power but won’t charge the XPS battery. The XPS is starting to give me trouble. It sits on the desk and I take with me when travelling (no dusty field work any more). Getting hot (cleaned out fans etc), graphics card often reports a fail, seems to use lots of RAM (may have lost some?), problems with WiFi reception, these problems slow it down.

Now looking to buy a laptop/tablet & external drive, leaving the XPS to control the WiFi and non WiFi printer. It won’t be a Dell. Not sure that a tablet only will be sufficient for me. I need a full size keyboard with keypad - I do a lot of database and number crunching.

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Melbourne University, amongst others in Australia, had or have an Apple shop on campus when the home computer revolution hit … Many of my friends who attended Melbourne would eventually use Apple computers for personal use . That I don’t mind . When they start on about Windows computers being for the " masses" I find I do mind that . I game a lot .Their is no Apple product , at the moment , the meets the criteria that I need . If they did the cost would be prohibitive . Case in point . When I purchased my Asus ROG gaming laptop 4 years ago , replacing it shortly , I paid $2670 for it . The equivalent Apple product was nearly $5000 . Even the Apple shop in Melbourne advised me not to buy their product because it was grossly over priced . AS they say if you can’t live without a product go buy it but Apple will not get any money from me . Too over priced and “over hyped” .Heard that somewhere before .

Apple sells jewellery not technology :smiley:

In their earlier days and having substantial success and cash flow, Apple bought a Cray supercomputer.

The application for the Cray was closely guarded for years, but was modelling injection molding to assure the joints in the Apple cases would always be out of eye sight when in use and minimal in any case. Apple has always been as much or more about appearance with a carefully nurtured “customer experience” marketing plan that was brilliantly executed, hence the cult-like following today…

Seymour Cray later joked he designed supercomputers on an Apple and Apple designed their PC on a Cray.


@PhilT Very informative Phil as per usual . Re Apples pretty white caseing on their laptops . I borrowed an Apple laptop for some music arranging I had to do one afternnon from a friend . Another friend dropped in who is very high up and I mean VERY high up in the computer industry dropped in for a visit . He saw me using the Apple laptop and said " Don’t let it get too hot we have a lot of trouble with the cases cracking on that model " It was one of their biggest sellers at the time . Probably corrected issue now .
I must admit though that in the past , not now as much , that their music editing programs were far superior to anything available on Windows . If I went back to music teaching full time I could see myself using an Apple for editing and arranging music . Mainly because I have had more experience using them . I guess just a case of horses for courses .

Mike, I well remember how Apple took market ownership of music and desktop publishing including photo and video editing. That was illustrative of their focus on “customer experience”. In comparison the Microsoft world was laissez faire and left to market demands. There were few willing to invest enough for long enough to catch up in music, desktop publishing, and photo/video editing, but here we are in 2016 where every Apple announcement is a media event and every Microsoft announcement is a ho hum, but the products and capabilities are mostly a much of a muchness.

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I love my Acer. I will definitely be buying another when it expires.


I used an Acer Predator gaming laptop recently . Nvidia 980 4 gig graphics card etc . Bangs for bucks right up there . Very enjoyable gaming experience .


I am using an ASUS Transformer, which has a detachable keyboard so can be used as either a tablet or a laptop. Given I routinely use public transport and don’t always have enough elbow room to use a keyboard, having the tablet/touch screen option is very useful. It’s lightweight, a good size for my commute and very handy to have a device which runs the Windows operating system and apps. The touch-pad on the keyboard feels and sounds a little tinny but the unit has been working flawlessly for around 10 months so far. I am using it at the time of writing (during a protracted wait in a public hospital emergency waiting room!) The two reasons I chose ASUS this time are: (a) good price; and (b) I have an ASUS router which, for range, signal strength, reliability and functionality outperforms other high-end competitors, so I have confidence in the brand.


As or more important than reliability is the service network should / when a product fails. Google repair experiences on your preferred brand.