Consumer Reports: Mac Laptops Have Fewest Repairs; Best Tech Support

Appleis iBook and PowerBook portables have the fewest reports of repairs and the best technical support of any laptop PC on the market today, according to the March issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

Using data similar to that released last December in its desktop ratings report, the Consumers Union (CU) said Apple had the fewest repairs of laptops at 16%. Toshiba and Sony were second and third at 17%. Gateway had the worst laptop repair ranking among more than 57,000 CU members at 23%.

A similar survey of 69,000 desktop users gave Apple the best repair history at just 13%.

As for technical support for laptops, Apple got a readers score of 84, making it the highest of any PC manufacturer. It received a ibetteri ranking in problem solving by phone technical support, the shortest time waiting on the phone, knowledgeable phone staff and Web-based support. In second was IBM with a score of 69.

in December, CU gave Apple a score of 76 for desktop Mac support. Again, Apple received a ibetteri rating in all categories. No other PC company received a ibetteri rating in any category. Dell was second receiving a score of 57 and no better than an iaveragei rating in any category.

"Apple provides top-notch reliability and support," the desktop recommendation read. "Its computers are currently less vulnerable to viruses and spywere than Windows-based models. On the downside, however, the Apple has limited internal expandability. If you add an extra hard drive, it must be an external one."

In laptop ratings, Consumer Reports recommended Appleis 14-inch iBook with Combo drive as its top pick for reliability and support, giving it a score of 72 out of 100 -- a ivery goodi ranking.

The 15-inch, 1.33GHz PowerBook also received a score of 72, but was not as highly recommended. The iBook model received better scores for expansion and energy saving than the PowerBook, but the more expensive model got higher marks for its warranty and display quality.

Since December, Consumer Reports has updated its desktop PC ratings to reflect newer models. New to the rankings: The G4 1.25GHz eMac with a score of 76. Repeated from the December ratings: The 17-inch, 1.8GHz G5 iMac with an overall score of 80 out of a possible 100.

While good ratings, they were well below cheaper, Pentium 4 systems running at 3.2GHz which all received iexcellenti scores of over 91. The difference: better iconveniencei and iexpansioni ratings than Macs.

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