Business Choice Awards 2017: Laptops & Desktops – PC Magazine
PCMag has been surveying readers about PCs for 30 years. Back in the 80s, when all PCs were more business oriented, it stood to reason that coverage was all about office use. At the turn of the century, things got even more personal in the personal computer industry. So, while we’ve always asked during the survey how you feel about your work laptops and desktops, it wasn’t until last year we really broke the office computers out into a separate Business Choice award. And there is no reason to stop now.
The results are in and there may be a surprise or two. Yet for every shock, there will be the usual suspects. Find out below which brands win the best score overall and how well they do for service, tech support, and likelihood to recommend.
You can be part of Business Choice! Sign up for the Readers’ Choice Survey mailing list to receive invitations in the future.
Laptops for Work
Just like last year, Apple currently has three laptop models: the light MacBook Air, the MacBook, and powerhouse MacBook Pro, the latter in new 15- and 13-inch versions. Those are enough to make plenty of PCMag readers quite happy at the office. Apple scored an impressive 8.8 overall score, just slightly behind last year’s 9.0.
It also kept its reliability rating at the same high of 8.2 as in 2016, but did see a drop in its likelihood to recommend score of 8.7 (down from 8.9). Apple’s worst score of the year: a full 24 percent, almost one-quarter, of all the survey takers had to get tech support from Apple for their business laptops—that’s way up from the 13 percent score it had last year.
Like last year, Apple shares the spotlight with a Windows-based system maker: Microsoft. Its line of Surface Pro and Surface Book hybrids are incredibly popular with readers, scoring 8.6 overall; it’s only Windows laptop maker in the 8s—everyone else was 7.9 or lower. Microsoft also has the lowest number of users needing tech support (15 percent, well down from last year’s 23 percent) and a very positive recommendation score of 8.6. Apple and Microsoft are both at 6 percent for how many of their office-based laptops actually needed repairs, the lowest in the survey.
Rounding out the survey are big names like Dell, Lenovo, and HP in the 7s, which is still pretty good; that’s a solid passing grade. A lower survey turnout saw Asus and Toshiba drop from the results; last year Asus was the only other Windows laptop manufacturer to get an overall score in the 8s (8.4) along with Microsoft.
At work or play, or playful work, MacBooks of all shapes and sizes are the laptops that PCMag readers adore most. We won’t say they always will, as the scores dipped a little this year, but Windows PCs have a long way to go to catch up to the Apples in the eyes of those taking our survey.
Microsoft has always made nice hardware, but it has gradually graduated from mice and keyboards to tablets and hybrid laptops and has done quite well. Readers handed the award for best work laptops to Redmond without hesitation.
Desktops for Work
A C+ is not the worst score in the world, even if you helicopter parents out there disagree. It’s why this year—with a lower survey response dropping some of the vendors from the list—we have a winner that scored a 7.9. The award for Business Choice desktop this year goes to Dell.
That’s right, we didn’t get enough people with Apple desktop systems like iMac or Mac Pro taking the survey. Apple isn’t even on the list. But Dell certainly is worth a look. Its 7.9 is the same overall as well as in likelihood to be recommended, but it did well for ease of use (8.7) and reliability (8.3). Stacked against just Lenovo and HP, it managed to do a very good job of standing out. Dell’s scores are up from last year (when it came in dead last); it had an overall and likelihood to recommend of 7.5 then, and required fewer tech support calls and repairs as it did in 2016.
Dell’s peaks are in areas of the survey that are truly all-important in any office setting: a desktop PC that’s easy to use and reliable. That’s certainly what you’ll get with this year’s winner.
We email survey invitations to PCMag.com community members, specifically subscribers to our Readers’ Choice Survey mailing list. The surveys are hosted by Equation Research, which also performs our data collection. This survey was in the field from January 6, 2017 through January 31, 2017.
Respondents were asked to rate their laptops and desktops for work use using multiple questions about their overall satisfaction with the solution, as well as experiences with technical support within the past 12 months.
Because the goal of the survey is to understand how the email marketing solutions compare to one another and not how one respondent’s experience compares to another’s, we use the average of the email marketing solutions’ rating, not the average of every respondent’s rating. In all cases, the overall ratings are not based on averages of other scores in the table; they are based on answers to the question, “Overall, how satisfied are you with your laptop (or desktop)?”
Scores not represented as a percentage are on a scale of 0 to 10 where 10 is the best.
Net Promoter Scores are based on the concept introduced by Fred Reichheld in his 2006 best seller, The Ultimate Question, that no other question can better define the loyalty of a company’s customers than “how likely is it that you would recommend this company to a friend or colleague?” This measure of brand loyalty is calculated by taking the percent of respondents who answered 9 or 10 (promoters) and subtracting the percent who answered 0 through 6 (detractors). (For more, read PCMag’s Top Consumer Recommended Companies for 2016.)
If you would like to participate in PCMag’s monthly Readers’ Choice surveys and to be eligible for our monthly sweepstakes promotion, please sign up today.