In a time of spiralling costs it’s good to know that, on average, people are paying less for laptops and desktops. And according to our latest survey, you needn’t pay through the roof to get reliable computing products.
Compared to our survey in 2009, you’re now paying an average of £79 less for a laptop. Our 2011 survey of 10,600 Which? members found that people are spending on average £590 for a new laptop, £680 for a desktop PC and £270 for a netbook.
It’s great to see that prices are falling, but they still vary wildly by brand. People are spending £1,013 on Apple laptops, and £1,062 for an Apple desktop – both considerably more than their respective product averages.
Apple sits atop the reliability tree
However, our survey found that spending more doesn’t mean you’re necessarily getting a more reliable product.
Sure, Apple does sit at the top of the laptop reliability table, but it’s joint first with four other brands. And these four brands’ laptops are priced significantly lower – the average spend on a Compaq laptop is £377, for an Acer laptop its £450, £456 for Packard Bell and £503 for Samsung.
It’s a similar story for desktops. Apple tops the table for reliability, with HP in a close second. But again, there’s almost a £500 price gap between those two brands’ computers.
Only last week, Patrick Steen wrote a Conversation about how Apple is the tech brand closest to people’s hearts, and it wins our survey’s popularity contest too – its customer satisfaction score is way ahead for both desktops and laptops. And its reliability performance shows that Apple fans are making a good choice, even if they’re paying more for it.
How long should a computer last?
We found that just one in five surveyed members have needed to have either their desktop or laptop repaired, so manufacturers seem to be doing a good job at making them last. And they better keep it up, as most of our members expect their computing products to last around five years.
Often we’re told that ‘you get what you pay for’, but in the case of computing products, falling prices hasn’t meant that reliability has suffered. At least, according to our survey.
Apple products continue to come at a premium but – as our survey shows – many are happy to pay the higher price. For everyone else, it’s worth shopping around for a cheaper buy, as reliability seems to be on a par. Have your computers lasted as long as you expected them to, even if they weren’t terribly expensive?