One important thing to consider is reliability. You can get a great price on a computer, but if you have to sink a lot of money into repairs, it’s really no bargain. So here’s some info about repairs, based on the just-in results of our latest desktop computers reliability survey from the Consumer Reports National Research Center. It includes findings for 8,007 computers purchased between 2009 and 2012.
The headline is that Apple computers (which make up 30 percent of the market share, FYI) typically require fewer repairs than PCs. In fact, just 7 percent of Apple computers purchased between 2009 and 2012 required repairs. Among PCs, the figures are 10 percent of HPs, 11 percent of Dells, and 13 percent of Gateways. So you’ll pay more for a Mac, but you may wind up saving over the long run.
In our survey, 64 percent of repair costs came out of owners’ pockets, while the other 46 percent paid nothing because they were covered by a standard manufacturer’s warranty. For those who did have to shell out money for repairs, the median cost was $158.
In our back-to-school computers roundup, in the September issue of ShopSmart, our fave Apple desktop was the Apple iMac 21.5-inch, $1200. Among PCs, we liked the Dell XPS 8500 i5, $750, and the HP Touchsmart 520-1165XT, $1,000. To find out our top laptops, tablets, and printers, plus good advice for figuring out if you or your kid really needs a new computer, check out the article on page 73.
And for more back-to-school computer info, click here.