by LAPTOP Staff on March 14, 2012
The cumulative scores add up to 100 points possible.
UPDATE: Check out the Best and Worst Notebook Brands of 2013 to see how the leading notebook-makers fared this year.
Examining the overall performance of a company's notebooks, the reviews score is weighted heavily to reflect the average star rating for the notebooks we tested by a brand. Extra points were awarded for each Editors' Choice given to a company.
Beyond a notebook's performance, the lines, colors, materials and overall design of a machine can make or break it. For these 15 points, we look at each company's aesthetics and build-quality.
A successful, comfortable and effortless interaction with a laptop is absolutely essential. The pads, buttons and keys have to be placed conveniently, sized adequately and generally feel good.
A brand is also only as good as the technical support it offers. For this reason, each brand's performance on our annual tech-support showdown is worth 15 percent of its final grade.
Beyond how you interact with a laptop, of high importance is how you experience the audio and video content. These points are awarded based on a brand's overall ability to deliver quality sound and pleasing displays across all their systems.
If you can't afford or find the laptop you want, it doesn't matter how good it is. For these 10 points, we look at a brand's range of systems, ability to build to order and overall value of the machines.
For this category, we evaluate the preloaded and branded utilities that each company adds to its laptops. Are they useful or annoying? Do they needlessly bog down your system or add functionality?
The most powerful recommendation of a company (short of its laptops' performance scores), comes from word-of-mouth. To determine these five points, we took into account the company's score from Rescuecom's annual reliability report, as well as the Better Business Bureau (BBB) score. We also weighted your praise and complaints on Laptopmag.com, as well as Facebook.com/laptopmag.
Which companies are first and smartest about implementing new technologies into their laptops? Thinking outside the box matters, but so does execution.