Consumer Reports: Laptop problems – WLS-TV

If you’ve got an older laptop, prepare for it to stop working. Consumer Reports’ latest survey finds laptops that are more than 3-years-old are much more likely to break. And once they’re 5-years-old, 25 percent have had a serious problem – often catastrophic. But one brand tops the rest when it comes to reliability.

Apple laptops are far less likely to need repairs than other brands, according to Consumer Reports’ survey of more than 58,000 of its subscribers.

After the third year of ownership, there’s just a 10 percent chance Apple laptops will have a problem. That’s significantly less than Samsung, Gateway Acer, Lenovo, Toshiba, HP, Dell and Asus.

“Well, our survey finds that the more you use your laptop, the more likely it is to break. However, with Apple, people use them quite a bit, yet they still have a very low failure rate,” said Karen Jaffe, manager, survey research, Consumer Reports.

Nonetheless, if you buy an Apple computer, Consumer Reports does recommend buying Apple Care, Apple’s service contract.

“Although Apple laptops are less likely to break, when they do break, the problem tends to be more severe,” Jaffe said.

And repairing an Apple laptop is usually more expensive – often costing $300 or more.

Still, Consumer Reports rates Apple’s tech support the best in the business based on a separate survey of 3,000 subscribers.

“With many PC manufacturers, you have about a 50-50 chance of actually getting your problem fixed if you call tech support. Dell and Lenovo tend to be a bit better, but even with them, only about 61 percent are going to get fixed,” Jaffe said.

Apple’s success rate is much higher – solving the problem 83 percent of the time.

If your laptop stops working, Consumer Reports says before you seek help, you may be able to solve the problem yourself. First close any apps you’re not using, which strain resources. Try restarting your computer, which can clear out temporary files and free up the system’s memory. And research the problem on Google. You might find a quick fix at a user forum or on an expert site.

All Consumer Reports Material Copyright 2015. Consumers Union of U.S. Inc. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Consumer Reports is a not for profit organization which accepts no advertising. It has no commercial relationship with any advertiser or sponsor on this site. For more information visit


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