Best & Worst Laptop Brands

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best worst ltp brands 2016 full scorecard v2.5
Whether you're buying a car, a washing machine or a computer, brands matter. That's why, each year, we evaluate the leading laptop brands to determine which provide the best products and support. While even the lowest-ranked companies offer some quality laptops and the top brands have a few less-than-perfect entries, it's important to know about the manufacturer when you're considering your purchase.

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This year, Apple and Dell maintained their positions as the No. 1 and No. 2 rated brands, respectively, while Asus jumped up from seventh place to third, based on some very strong products. By the same token, HP fell from third to sixth, due to a series of mediocre laptops, not much innovation and weak support.

1st Place: Apple

Apple remains our top brand for the seventh year in a row, thanks to its combination of best-in-class laptops and industry-leading tech support. The Cupertino, California-based company also received top scores for its powerful preloaded software and convenient warranty coverage that lets you either mail in a defective product or bring it to a store for service.

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Full Report | Best Apple MacBooks

2nd Place: Dell

For the second consecutive year, Dell is the best PC (i.e., non-Apple) laptop vendor — and No. 2 overall — because of its strong laptop lineup and helpful warranty. The company offers the widest array of laptops, ranging from low-cost Windows systems and Chromebooks to high-end gaming rigs. The XPS 13 is our favorite notebook overall.

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Full Report | Best Dell Laptops

3rd Place: Asus

Asus climbed the ranks to third place this year because of its attractive, well-built products. Thanks to high-quality laptops like the Asus ZenBook UX305, the Taiwanese manufacturer took third place in the Reviews category. The brand also scored high for value, thanks to aggressively priced products like the Asus F555LA, a sub-$400 laptop with a 1080p screen.

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Full Report | Best Asus Laptops

How We Rate Brands

To evaluate the brands, we assign each company a score on a 100-point scale. The scores are broken down into seven categories: Design, Reviews, Tech Support, Warranty, Software, Innovation, and Value and Selection. Here's what each means:

Design (15 points): We absolutely will judge a notebook by its cover — and its sides, deck, bezel and base. Though no two notebooks look exactly the same, each brand has a design language that cuts across its product lines. We look at not only aesthetics but also the materials used and overall build quality.

Reviews (30 points): The most important aspect of any brand is the quality of its products. To determine a company's Reviews category score, we used the ratings we gave its laptops between Feb. 1, 2015, and Jan. 31, 2016. We added up the number of stars each laptop received (Laptop Mag grades on a scale of 1 to 5), add a point for every Editors' Choice award and count ratings below 3 stars, which we consider "not recommended," as minus 1. We then divide the score by the number of laptops we reviewed and multiply by 5 to reach our total out of 30 points.

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Tech Support (20 points): When you buy a laptop, you want to know that the manufacturer is going to stand behind it and help you with technical problems. We base this score on the ratings from our annual Tech Support Showdown, where we go undercover and pose questions to all of the companies, using their phone, Web and social channels. To reach our score out of 15 points, we divided the last Tech Support Showdown rating, which is out of 100, by 5.

Warranty (5 points): If something goes wrong with your laptop, how easy will it be to get it serviced? Most companies offer a standard one-year warranty; but some make you pay for shipping when you send in a product for repairs, whereas others absorb the cost. The best brands also allow you to upgrade your RAM and storage drive, without voiding their warranties.

Software (5 points): Most laptops come with a few first-party utilities, and many come with at least some bloatware. We give points for providing useful applications and steering clear of unwanted preloaded software.

Innovation (10 points): The laptop 2-in-1 market is moving fast, and if you stand still, you'll get rolled over. For the Innovation category, we award points based on the brand's ability to move the market forward by implementing or developing new technologies.

Value and Selection (15 points): Which market segments does the manufacturer address, and do the products provide a good bang for your buck? For this category, we award points for having a wide range of laptop types (budget, business, gaming, etc.) and for providing aggressive pricing. Providing the ability to configure your own system online is another plus.

Best & Worst Laptop Brands

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312 comments
  • Chris Harris Says:

    What About Razer Laptops? They have the best color out of all of the laptops I've seen. They have the power of a desktop, in the portability of a 12.5 inch screen and they weighs only .5 lbs more than the MacBook Air... Razer By Gamers, for Gamers [Totally not sent by the company to review the product :D]

  • Janet Rooks Says:

    What about Sony in your ratings?

  • Barry Says:

    Once again, Apple is not compatible for the Real Estate Industry!
    Parallels is weak & not a solution.

  • Rufeo Says:

    OMGosh... how can you rate Apple Computers in the same category as a PCs? Apple users are like zealots, if the Mac is dead in their hands, they still swear by it, they will never admit they wasted money on junk… Mac users are like a cult they are right in their decisions and no amount of problems, failures and frustration will convince them they wasted money on a useless piece of junk… 6% of the market share does not even give them a vote in any kind of reality… Stop taking the “Phone giant’s bride money” to put their Mac junk on a list they don’t even belong on, much less on the top of that list that is so unrealistic.

  • Grace Main Says:

    I have a 2006 Dell Microsoft Inspiron EP with a 2010 Office Windows upgrade but still not compatible for all use. What do you recommend? Thanx for your great info. and ratings.

  • Renzo Says:

    Not an engineer but I have used apple (macs) and different windows laptops. Apple is completely overrated, with the price you pay for it you can get a extreme powerful windows laptop. You only pay for the name, totally stupid. I've had an Asus for almost 3 years now, and it still works awesome. It's speed has slightly decreased, but for people who knows a little more that could mainly be due to the hard drive. Also I have a really close friend who has had a Toshiba for almost 5 years now and it still in perfect working condition. Have read a lot good about dells as well so I would say top 3 : Asus, Dell and Toshiba.

  • Dale H Says:

    No way! I’m afraid you don’t know what you’re talking about. I have only owned Toshiba’s and have never had a problem with anything. I have worked on many other brands that are not even close to the quality and performance. I bet you’re getting a lot of hate mail about these results.

  • Raj kumar Says:

    No Way Dell can be in top 2, crap build quality and customer service is a nightmare.Just search for hinge issues and you will find how bad it is

  • David Peterson Says:

    A two year old Asus cannot accept the new Windows 10. This is a ripoff. Your ratings do not reflect real life value to ordinary, regular consumers who do NOT need a new computer every two years. No wonder every day citizens are angry.
    Medicare products and an entire industry and government that refuses to protect its citizens from crooks who steal our information and financial identity. Your generation does not understand the value of work and quality.

  • Derek Says:

    Does Microsoft make a laptop???? Never heard of it.
    Soooo..if Dell sold a million laptops vs Acer, who may have only sold 100K, this rating would be skewed, since reviews make up 30 % of your rating. by your point system, you are trying to say that tech support is less important than reviews
    I am a computer tech, and i will tell you that, i get more dell repairs than any other laptop. Never gotten an Acer, Samsung or MSI coming in for repair, only Upgrades......

  • macks Says:

    I am an engineer, apple is overrated, THAT' you won't find on any site, we think it's a rip off.

  • Barbara Says:

    Tell me more about Lenovo.
    I need a new laptop to run AutoDesk Revit and AutoCad LT

  • Chandra Says:

    Thanks from your research very useful indid 👍🏽

  • nitrofurano Says:

    how good System76 laptops are?

  • Errol Oake Says:

    I bought a hp notebook 15.6 15-ac116ni, April 2016, however quality very flimsy flexible plastic feels cheap, put in a cd everything rattles and vibrates, playing regional DVD picture very poor quality can't make colour of eyes or hair, no colour adjustment only bright and dim adjustment, rating for me is very poor no thank you! Made in China! Unhappy customer returning it back, only had it 1 hour!

  • The Fahrenheit Says:

    I have a Lenovo Ideapad 100 laptop. It works great. I love the design of it at the same time.

  • margaret Says:

    Would never buy another HP, they should be at the bottom of the list. My Pavallion worked for 2 yrs on and off for the 4 yrs. I had it,piece of junk!! Pick up my new Dell the beginning of May. my sons Dell has lasted 5 yrs. awesome computers.

  • Ajay sachdeva Says:

    At least now I have the idea of which laptop am about to buy.thanks for your research

  • kyalo Says:

    At least now I have the idea of which laptop am about to buy.thanks for your research

  • Margaret Says:

    Dell is the best to me. I have used this laptop for 6 years and still working very fine. Although slower now but the hardware is so strong. several times it has fallen,should have stopped working. Although would love if the battery life be improved upon. if i would get another, would still want it to be dell.

  • Sharon Says:

    I have had a lot of laptops. 3 dells, all pretty good, 2 that still work. I buy new when I want to upgrade. HP had good sound but the hinge broke and then the harddrive was shaking loose so picked up a Lenovo... it is working ok we will see how long it lasts with 10 hours a day use.

  • JJRam Says:

    I think you should add the life or "duration" i have a Lenovo Y510p and it works fine two years after that the warranty expires and some time later stops working, and not turn on...that was apparently a common problem in that laptop(i read it maybe was by lead reduction in Motherboard), i know that is hard to measure and that measure maybe not apply for current models, or can meassure also QUALITY i preffer a laptop that i not need send to support than a good warranty, i want a laptop for use it at least 5 years not only 2

  • Kaylynne Says:

    I honestly think that Toshiba should be closer to the top. I understand the way you graded which I honestly think makes Toshiba look bad but I love my Toshiba. I have had it for close to 6 years now and it is working pretty well. My parents have stepped on it before and it still works good meaning it is very durable. I sometimes put on loud music with it and the speakers still work perfectly. Every so often I will use it for about 7 hours straight (with a charger) for homework and it will get hot but all I have to do every so often is let it sit for a couple minutes. it has a really long battery and lots of fun already-installed apps.

  • student Says:

    I have had a TOSHIBA satellite S55 for 14 months. It went through 4 hard drives and they finally replaced the computer. The new computer lasted 30 days. I am 59 year old student taking online courses. The computer rarely leaves the house. I guess the ratings are accurate from my point of views

    My fix was to install an SSD drive which they would not do.So it was money out of my pocket.

  • mahadev kumar Says:

    whic brand is most popular i think apple

  • Julia Says:

    I bought 2 dell laptops 2016, both broken right out of box. 2 friends bought laptops same deal, and dell support is bad. The units sub ports, wireless, sd all did not work and with no cd or Ethernet no way to update or fix. Don't buy dell

  • Lee Reynolds Says:

    Sorry, but I find that report a load of rubish, I had no end of problems with Dell laptops and towers which where hardly a good design, the top 3 should be samsung, lenovo and acer for laptops as had all 3 and not had a single major issue, plus all were very nice designs

  • Eric Xu Says:

    Come on, LaptopMag. Stop framing Lenovo for the failed LaVie Z. Frame Lenovo for the great Yogas and ThinkPads and IdeaPads and Y series

  • Abenezer Says:

    Hp is one of best laptop companies in world so hp should have place in1 up to 3

  • Sachin Says:

    I read all comments in it . Everyone believes in
    dell , sony vio.
    Every one is commenting bad about
    Lenovo Apple hp.
    But friends tell me how is Samsung laptop?

  • jason Says:

    I have a asus and it dosent work good at all it poor working with cam and it is not a good brand if I had money I go get a dell or a apple

  • Taffles Says:

    According to your score board, dell should be on first place with 87 points and not 82. Either your numbers don't add up correctly or l missed something about your ranking system :)

  • Napaolm Says:

    Harold: Dell computers are not made in USA but in china.

  • Satish mittal Says:

    Asus is the best brand now no one like asus colourfull

  • FanBoy Says:

    Lot of hate for Apple in comments. To correct some things referenced below:
    * Apple does get a low score for price and range. Stop moaning about bias!
    * Apple consistently tops customer satisfaction surveys (not even mentioned in chart)
    * The commenter who berated Apple for lacking OS compatibility should be aware that Apples can run Windows, Mac OS and Linux.
    * Watch any video by a Facebook or Google developer and he or she will be using a Mac.

    And now for the opposition:
    * Yes Apples suck for gaming. But then you're not going to use any of the brands mentioned if you're a hard core gamer are you?

  • Jon F Says:

    Christine: Sony exited the PC business in 2014, and the stand-alone company (VAIO) doesn't have many products or a long history.

  • Christine Says:

    What about Sony laptops? I have had my Sony Vayo for 6 years and never had any problems with it!

  • Eric Xu Says:

    Is there a 2016 edition coming out? Would love to know what LaptopMag thinks a year later.

  • Ringo Says:

    Lenevo is the shittiest laptop brand ever it should be below 9th place.

    For some reason every now and then the brightness level locks into the lowest possible value and you have to install vga drivers again to get it back to work. Very annoying....

  • Jaden Says:

    What about the brand ThinkPad? are they good?

  • Thomas rosset Says:

    Bought go computer 2 says ago and it crashed already took it back to walmart

  • Apple Says:

    This laptop list is complete joke/bias/stupidity.
    This list is created by obvious PC ignorant.

    This score system are so unbalanced that gives me cancer already.

    Apple's innovation should been 1/5 for all their product looking the same through out apple history. Their price should've been 0/5 for how expensive their product is for their performance.

    HP should be at the bottom of the list because HP simply don't know how to make laptop properly.

    If anything, MSI/ASUS/Lenovo/Dell(Alienware only) should be top of the list and Acer and Samsung cathcing them up slowly.

    Toshiba and HP should be very bottom of the list and apple should not even be on the list.

  • Diablo Says:

    This list is a joke!!! I'm guessing it was created by someone with no enterprise computer experience.

  • 05candyman Says:

    The Apple bias is so real. I have never in my life ever seen products as overrated and over priced as Apple products. Will never purchase anything with an Apple logo on it. Full boycott.

  • Alireza Says:

    Lenovo Is very Affordable Brand,In Midrange Laptop.Designe is medium,But Performance is Good,And Software is very Compatible.Asus Is very Beatifull And Strong In N Series But In midrange Is Not Various And Affordable

  • Jose Jayant Says:

    I bought asus rog gl522jx and it had a defective screen.I sent my laptop for warranty but the problem didn't got fixed. I have sent my laptop again hoping to get repair. Asus is worst the brand,never buy it.

  • Carla Says:

    I had bought an asus laptop 3weeks later the motherboard quit working I sent it to have replaced they mailed it back,a day later it did it again mailed it again and this time they didn't give me back my charger back a week later it did it again so I sent it to a place and it's the product key they put the wrong product key so I got stuck with a defect laptop omg I will never buy it ever again I was robbed for my money those people at asus don't care all they want is to rob you blind do not ever buy this product EVER!

  • Sharon Says:

    Lenovo ..... I purchased this laptop for my daughter in Dec. returned the laptop back to Bestbuy in Dec. the worst laptop the webcam is back in the 50 do no buy and customer service is awful

  • arafat Says:

    this review for laptops is just an advertisement for Apple, apple laps are dinos compared to the rest....the only way they keep alive is thank to the iPhone and very much like the US industry who is on life support with taxpayers monies.
    You just have to see that even apple laps use windows over their original OS's.

  • Arlene Says:

    Dell customer service is in India. I ordered and then canceled my appointment because my order was on delay and there was a language barrier. It was hard getting a refund. I filed a complaint with BBB. Dell has no US customer service.

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