16oct techreliability hero1 default

Tech reliability

We’ve had over 15,000 survey responses for products covering more than 60 brands. The tables below show how reliable the brands are and how satisfied the people who own their products are with their purchase. Brands were also rated on value for money.

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Cameras

These results are from our 2017 survey.

Canon and Panasonic dominated the numbers, accounting for more than half (59%) of all the cameras in our survey. Another 27% consisted of Sony and Nikon. All these brands scored above 95% reliability.

While no brand was significantly above-average, Olympus was significantly below average.

Canon owners were less likely to say their camera was poor value for money and, correspondingly, were significantly more likely to repurchase. Nikon owners were significantly more likely to think their camera was excellent value for money.

Due to the high reliability (in total, only 4% of cameras needed repair), it’s hard to focus on any particular fault. There was no significant difference in when they broke, meaning if you’re one of the unlucky 4%, your camera could fail at any time.

Compact cameras were the most popular type in our survey. They were also significantly less likely to need repair. Despite this, owners of compact cameras were less likely to feel very satisfied with their purchase or consider it excellent value for money, or to buy the same brand again. Perhaps they’ll feel better after seeing our reliability results?

Compact system cameras were the least common type and rated significantly below average for reliability.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Other (30) 100% 73% 63% +/- 0%
Nikon (179) 97% 84% 79% +/- 2%
Canon (491) 96% 84% 76% +/- 2%
Panasonic (257) 96% 75% 69% +/- 2%
FujiFilm (59) 95% 78% 75% +/- 6%
Sony (167) 95% 84% 71% +/- 3%
Olympus (79) 85% 77% 65% +/- 8%
OVERALL (1262) 96% 81% 73% -

For more information, see our test of cameras

Desktops

These results are from our 2017 survey.

Apple’s reliability dominance continued with its desktops. Apple was the only brand to score significantly better-than-average reliability (92%). Of those that required repair, no issue stood out. This may be the reason Apple owners are more likely to be very satisfied and very likely to repurchase. PB Tech desktops had significantly worse than average reliability. Acer was the brand more likely to have motherboard issues, while PB Tech was significantly more likely to have power issues.

Desktops in our survey were split between all-in-one models and “traditional” desktops (a PC with a monitor attached). Only 5% of models were mini-PCs. All-in-one models have the additional issue of potentially suffering from screen issues. Problems with the screen accounted for 25% of the faults with all-in-ones.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Apple (252) 92% 90% 72% +/- 3%
Lenovo (35) 92% 71% 66% +/- 9%
Asus (59) 90% 80% 75% +/- 8%
Dell (81) 88% 73% 70% +/- 7%
Other (41) 88% 73% 78% +/- 10%
Custom-built (186) 86% 85% 76% +/- 5%
HP (283) 86% 75% 71% +/- 4%
Acer (85) 83% 66% 65% +/- 8%
PB (62) 74% 81% 73% +/- 11%
OVERALL (1084) 87% 80% 72% -

For more information, see our test of desktops.

External hard drives

These results are from our 2017 survey.

Only 4% of external hard drives (HDDs) needed repair, but more than half of these needed repair in the first year. No particular issue happened more than any other, and no form factor or storage size was more susceptible to failure.

Three out of every 4 HDDs in our survey were made by Seagate or Western Digital (WD). However, when it came to reliability, all brands were in the same range.

Despite no difference in reliability, there was a difference in consumer perception. Seagate owners were more likely to be dissatisfied, while WD owners were more likely to be very satisfied and to think their HDD was excellent value for money. It’s not surprising WD owners would be more likely to repurchase.

On an interesting note, this was the only category that included Apple where it didn’t dominate. In fact, a significant number of Apple HDD owners were unsure if they would buy another.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Toshiba (80) 97% 76% 65% +/- 3%
WD (Western Digital) (651) 97% 80% 74% +/- 1%
Apple (43) 96% 79% 60% +/- 6%
Other (213) 96% 69% 67% +/- 2%
Adata (84) 95% 76% 69% +/- 5%
Seagate (806) 95% 76% 68% +/- 1%
Transcend (59) 95% 73% 63% +/- 5%
OVERALL 96% 77% 70% -

For more information, see our test of external hard drives.

Headphones

These results are from our 2016 survey.

61% of headphones reported in our survey are over-ear models, 24% were earbuds and the rest were on-ear models. Over-ear models were the most reliable (95% not needing repair), while earbuds had below-average reliability (88%).

70% of headphones in our survey could only be used wired. The connection didn’t make much difference to reliability, all were average.

Overall, 94% of headphones needed no repair. When they did go wrong, most reported faults were a physical break, connectivity problems (including wired or wireless connections), and sound problems.

Headphone type[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
On-ear (208) 95% 63% +/- 3%
Over-ear (876) 95% 72% +/- 1%
Earbuds (341) 88% 65% +/-3%
OVERALL (1425) 94% 69% -

More than half of the headphones in our survey came from Bose, Sony, Sennheiser and Philips.

70% of Bose headphones were over-ear models and 85% had noise-cancelling. Bose headphones had above-average reliability, while their owners were the most satisfied: 92% said they were very satisfied and 91% would buy the brand again.

Sony headphones also had above-average reliability. However, fewer Sony owners were very satisfied (62%). Fewer were also very likely to purchase the brand again (65%).

Sennheiser owners were second to Bose in satisfaction (79% “very satisfied”) and likelihood to purchase the brand again (80% “very likely”).

Philips owners were least likely to be very satisfied (50% “very satisfied”) or buy the brand again (50% “very likely”).

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Logitech/UE (40) 100% 65% 63% +/- 0%
Panasonic (79) 99% 61% 67% +/- 2%
Bose (216) 97% 92% 66% +/- 2%
Plantronics (40) 96% 78% 70% +/- 6%
Sennheiser(200) 96% 79% 64% +/- 3%
Sony (206) 96% 62% 64% +/- 3%
Philips (156) 94% 50% 58% +/- 4%
Audio Technica (38) 92% 66% 53% +/- 9%
Beats by Dr. Dre (61) 91% 74% 46% +/- 7%
Other (306) 88% 61% 60% +/- 4%
Skullcandy (49) 77% 63% 61% +/- 12%
Jabra (34) 74% 68% 74% +/- 15%
OVERALL(1425) 94% 69% 62% -

For more information, see our test of headphones.

Laptops

These results are from our 2017 survey.

In an opposite trend to printers, almost half the laptops in our survey were purchased in the past year. Apple and HP garnered the most responses, at a combined 49%.

In terms of reliability, Apple was out on its own. At 93% reliability (and with only a 2% confidence interval), it was the only brand significantly above average.

People who bought an Apple laptop were significantly more satisfied and more likely to purchase another. This is borne out by our retailer survey data. On the other end of the spectrum, Acer owners were significantly dissatisfied with their laptops. Acer and Lenovo owners were also significantly less likely to repurchase the same brand.

Hybrid laptops that can convert from a clamshell-style machine to a tablet, are increasing in popularity. They rose from 7% of laptops purchased in 2014 to 17% as more people looked for smaller laptop options for school and home.

The bad news is hybrids are significantly worse than average for reliability (for example, they are more likely to suffer charging issues). This may be why their owners were significantly less likely to say their purchase was excellent value for money. When we drilled down into the different types of hybrid – detachable and fold-back – we found fold-backs were significantly more likely to suffer screen issues.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Apple (592) 93% 90% 65% +/- 2%
Samsung (44) 85% 64% 66% +/- 11%
Acer (275) 84% 60% 60% +/- 4%
HP (740) 83% 64% 61% +/- 3%
Lenovo (188) 83% 63% 61% +/- 5%
Asus (193) 82% 67% 64% +/- 5%
Microsoft (163) 82% 78% 45% +/- 6%
Dell (166) 79% 69% 63% +/- 6%
Other (60) 79% 72% 60% +/- 10%
Toshiba (280) 78% 67% 63% +/- 5%
OVERALL (2701) 85% 71% 61% -

For more information, see our test of laptops.

Mobile phones

These results are from our 2016 survey.

Roughly 4 in every 5 of the nearly 5000 phones in our survey were either Samsung or Apple models. Huawei, Nokia/Microsoft and Vodafone made up almost half of the other brands.

Only Sony recorded lower-than-average reliability, with 18% of phones needing repair. It was also one of the brands with fewer very satisfied owners (56%). Alcatel, Nokia/Windows and Vodafone were the other brands with owners less likely to be very satisfied.

Of the big two, 85% of Apple owners were very satisfied, beating Samsung (72%). Samsung wins out in value for money though: 61% of Samsung owners thought their phone offered excellent value compared with 50% of Apple owners.

The brands offering the best value are Motorola (81% said “excellent”), LG (75%) and Huawei (71%). In the end, though, 4 in 5 Samsung and Apple owners would buy the brand again (81 and 84%) – significantly more than the next best (Huawei and LG with 68%).

All but 35 of the 1367 phones in the survey bought in 2016 were smart. “Feature phones” aren’t quite dead, but they occupy a tiny niche of the market. Three-quarters of phones were bought outright. Apple iPhones were more likely than other brands to be part of a contract plan.

Between 2013 and 2016, the proportion of large phones in our survey (with screens bigger than 5.5”) doubled to 20%. At the same time, the proportion of smaller phones halved to 9%. There was no difference in reliability between different sizes, but owners of smaller phones were less likely to be very satisfied.

The most reported fault with a phone was battery and charging (a third of all reported faults). This was followed by broken or cracked screens and software problems.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Microsoft/Nokia (146) 97% 58% 62% +/- 3%
Doro (33) 97% 64% 64% +/- 6%
Huawei (202) 95% 65% 71% +/- 3%
Vodafone (170) 95% 54% 66% +/- 3%
Motorola (89) 94% 75% 81% +/- 5%
Other (106) 92% 61% 68% +/- 5%
Apple (1721) 92% 85% 50% +/- 1%
Samsung (2093) 92% 72% 61% +/- 1%
Alcatel (91) 89% 31% 45% +/- 6%
LG (104) 89% 77% 75% +/- 6%
HTC (45) 87% 62% 62% +/- 10%
Sony (115) 82% 56% 51% +/- 7%
OVERALL (4915) 92% 74% 58% -

For more information, see our test of mobile phones.

Monitors

These results are from our 2017 survey.

If you’ve decided on a reliable desktop computer that needs a monitor, then which one should you get? According to our results, they’re all good. Even with 100% reliability, Acer and AOC weren’t significantly different from the other brands.

Only 2% (18) of monitors needed repair, which means we can’t give you reliable information on what issues are more prevalent.

We can say AOC owners found their purchase extremely good value for money, while Dell owners were significantly more likely to repurchase.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Acer (32) 100% 81% 81% +/- 0%
AOC (95) 100% 85% 87% +/- 0%
HP (63) 98% 76% 73% +/- 4%
LG (99) 98% 81% 79% +/- 3%
Viewsonic (66) 98% 88% 82% +/- 4%
Asus (64) 97% 81% 75% +/- 4%
Dell (106) 97% 89% 82% +/- 3%
Philips (63) 97% 79% 78% +/- 4%
Samsung (143) 97% 83% 78% +/- 3%
Other (61) 96% 80% 69% +/- 5%
OVERALL (792) 98% 83% 79% -

Printers

These results are from our 2017 survey.

The general rule is that the more moving parts something has, the more likely it will break down. However, despite being a piece of technology filled with moving parts, printers are very reliable, averaging 94% overall.

Three brands – Brother, HP and Canon – made up 85% of printers in our survey and all had average or above-average reliability. The most reliable was Canon on 96% , significantly better than average.

On the bad side of the ledger, HP printers were more likely to need repair in the first year after purchase.

Almost half (47%) of the printers were purchased in 2014-15. Despite being more than 2 years old, only 8% needed repair.

While there were a lot more inkjet than laser printers, there was no significant difference in reliability between the 2 types.

Of the 6% of printers that needed repair, 68% required fixing in the first year. The main issues were ink cartridges (30% ) and printheads (25% ), with the mysterious catch-all “stopped working (unknown cause)” (30%).

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Other (29) 98% 83% 72%         +/- 5%
Canon (708) 96% 60% 65% +/- 1%
Brother (901) 94% 67% 71%         +/- 2%
Epson (328) 93% 59% 66%         +/- 3%
HP (817) 93% 66%         71%         +/- 2%
Fuji Xerox (35) 91% 71%         77%         +/- 9%
Samsung (30) 83% 63%         77%         +/- 13%
OVERALL (1936) 94% 64% 69% -

For more information, see our test of printers.

Smartwatches and fitness trackers

These results are from our 2016 survey.

61% of wearables reported in our survey were Fitbit fitness trackers. Fitbit also recorded the worst reliability, the only brand below average with more than a quarter (27%) of products needing repair or replacement. Its impact is so great, that if you took Fitbit out of the picture, average reliability across the other brands soars from 78 to 86%.

More than half of those Fitbit problems surfaced within the first 6 months of ownership. The most commonly reported problem was “construction” (16% of all Fitbits), followed by “battery and charging” (5%) and “connection” (5%). The poor reliability likely contributed to low owner satisfaction (51% were “very satisfied”), value for money (42% said “excellent”) and intent to repurchase (50% said “very likely”).

The next most popular fitness tracker brand, Garmin, fared better with higher-than-average reliability for a wearable device. Like Fitbit, construction was the main problem reported, but, unlike Fitbit, this type of problem affected just 5% of Garmin products.

Apple was streets ahead in wearables reliability, with just 3% of its products needing repair or replacement. 79% of Apple owners were very satisfied and 83% would buy the brand again. Just 54% thought the product was excellent value for money though.

Of the 1025 fitness trackers reported in our survey, just 17% were bought in 2013 or 2014. It’s even lower for the 255 smartwatches, with just 11% bought in 2013 or 2014. Wearables is a tech category that has exploded in the past couple of years.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Apple (89) 97% 79% 54% +/- 3%
Samsung (41) 89% 63% 46% +/- 10%
TomTom (36) 88% 61% 50% +/- 11%
Garmin (187) 84% 58% 50% +/- 5%
Other (149) 80% 48% 56% +/- 6%
FitBit (778) 73% 51% 42% +/- 3%
OVERALL (1280) 78% 54% 46% -

For more information, see our tests of smartwatches and fitness trackers.

Sound bars and home theatre

These results are from our 2016 survey.

One brand, Sonos, achieved 100% reliability. Unsurprisingly, it also managed the highest number of “very satisfied” owners of any brand (92%) with the same proportion very likely to buy the brand again.

All other brands achieved average reliability. However, there were some notable differences in owner satisfaction. It takes more than reliability to make an owner very satisfied. A product needs to meet or exceed performance expectations and avoid any ease of use frustrations. After Sonos, Yamaha and Bose products had the most very satisfied owners (82% and 79%), whereas fewer Philips and Panasonic owners were very satisfied (29% and 51%) despite the products having similar reliability. This is also reflected in the likelihood of buying the brand again, with 84% of Yamaha owners very likely but just 53% of Panasonic owners and 42% of Philips owners.

Sound bars and home theatre systems achieved good reliability: 94% did not need repair. Satisfaction wasn’t great though, just 65% of owners said they were very satisfied and 60% said they got excellent value for money. Many members commented about dissatisfaction with connection to their TV and the ease of setup and use.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Sonos (36) 100% 92% 67% +/- 0%
Yamaha (73) 97% 82% 68% +/- 4%
LG (70) 96% 67% 54% +/- 5%
Sony (131) 96% 58% 61% +/- 3%
Onkyo (33) 95% 55% 52% +/- 7%
Other (149) 94% 79% 72% +/- 4%
Philips (38) 94% 29% 45% +/- 7%
Panasonic (186) 93% 51% 52% +/- 4%
Samsung (140) 93% 62% 61% +/- 4%
Pioneer (36) 92% 69% 67% +/- 9%
Bose (96) 91% 79% 53% +/- 6%
OVERALL (988) 94% 65% 60% -

For more information, see our tests of sounds bars.

Tablets

These results are from our 2016 survey.

In our survey, 4 in every 5 tablets bought in the past 3 years were Apple (50%) or Samsung (31%) models. Microsoft came in a distant third with just 5%.

Apple was the only brand to record above-average reliability. Microsoft, HP and Nextbook were below the 93% category average. If problems arose, HP tablets were most likely to go wrong in the first 6 months (90% of HP tablets that needed repair).

The most common problems were with batteries and charging (31% of faults) and software. Samsung owners reported a disproportionately high number of battery and charging problems.

Overall, 3 quarters (76%) of tablet owners were very satisfied. Apple owners were most likely to be very satisfied (86%) while HP (33%) and Nextbook (19%) owners were least likely.

Despite the brand’s lower-than-average reliability, 70% of Microsoft tablet owners were very satisfied. However, 10% were dissatisfied – perhaps reflecting those owners who had faulty tablets. Bringing up the rear was Nextbook: a quarter of owners were dissatisfied and more than half (56%) said they wouldn’t purchase the brand again.

Apple led the way with brand loyalty: 84% of owners were very likely to buy again. Samsung was next best at 79% and also offered the most value for money (68% thought it was “excellent”). Of the others, only Microsoft (68%) and Lenovo (63%) recorded more than half of owners very likely to buy the brand again.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Apple (1435) 96% 86% 62% +/- 1%
Lenovo (54) 96% 57% 76% +/- 5%
Samsung (887) 93% 74% 68% +/- 2%
Asus (64) 91% 52% 55% +/- 7%
Microsoft (144) 85% 70% 53% +/- 6%
Other (174) 85% 55% 60% +/- 5%
Acer (39) 83% 51% 49% +/- 12%
HP (54) 81% 33% 48% +/- 10%
Nextbook (32) 75% 19% 19% +/- 15%
OVERALL 93% 76% 63% -

For more information, see our test of tablets.

TVs

These results are from our 2016 survey.

TVs are reliable, averaging 95% overall. There wasn’t much difference between the big 4 brands - LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony all had average reliability.

The Warehouse’s Veon brand wasn’t quite up with the big names, but still managed average reliability. If things did go wrong, they were more likely than any other brand to go wrong quickly - 79% of Veon TVs that needed repair or replacement, needed it in the first 6 months. Veon TVs in our survey were more likely to be smaller HD models: more than 60% of them were under 42” and just 18% 4K/UHD.

A similar pattern was seen in satisfaction, with 81 to 83% of big brand owners very satisfied with their TV but just 66% of Veon owners very satisfied. When it comes to bang for buck, Veon displayed the top marks with 81% of owners saying their TV offered excellent value for money. While it might be seen as great value, fewer Veon owners were “very likely” to repurchase the brand (65% vs 85% for the top performer, Samsung).

The number of large TVs, bigger than 55'', being bought doubled between 2013 and 2016 to 15%. Our results showed no difference in reliability between TV sizes.

Just over 21% of TVs bought in 2013 were 4K/UHD models. By 2016, this had grown to 65%. 4K/UHD is becoming the new “norm”, while HD is becoming the new SD. There was no difference in reliability between displays, but 4K/UHD owners were more likely to be very satisfied with their TV.

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
Panasonic (810) 96% 83% 75% +/- 1%
Sony (539) 96% 81% 75% +/- 2%
LG (371) 95% 82% 76% +/- 2%
Samsung (1044) 94% 82% 73% +/- 1%
Other (87) 94% 72% 72% +/- 5%
Veon (157) 91% 66% 81% +/- 4%
OVERALL (3008) 95% 81% 75% -

For more information, see our test of TVs.

Wireless speakers

These results are from our 2016 survey.

Half of the wireless speakers in our survey were from Logitech/Ultimate Ears (34%) or Bose (16%). While 72% of responses related to just 6 brands, models from more than 100 brands were purchased.

Wireless speakers are a reliable product, with only 3% needing repair. When they do go wrong, the most likely problems are with connectivity or power and charging. And if they go wrong, the problem is most likely to appear within 6 months of purchase (59% of all wireless speakers).

Bose and Sonos owners were most likely to be very satisfied (91% and 90%) and very likely to purchase the brand again (87% and 90%). Owners of less common wireless speakers, those with fewer than 30 models in our survey, were less likely to be very satisfied (64%), very likely to purchase again (63%) or think they got excellent value for money (62%).

Brand[width=20%] Reliability[width=20%] Very satisfied[width=20%] Excellent value for money[width=20%] Margin of error[width=20%]
JBL (49) 99% 80% 69% +/- 3%
Sony (80) 99% 75% 65% +/- 2%
Logitech/UE (327) 98% 79% 69% +/- 1%
Marley (36) 98% 72% 67% +/- 4%
Sonos (48) 98% 90% 71% +/- 4%
Bose (159) 96% 91% 73% +/- 3%
Other (275) 95% 64% 62% +/- 3%
OVERALL (974) 97% 77% 67% -

For more information, see our test of wireless speakers.

About our survey

In 2017, we asked members about products they’d bought new since 1 January, 2014. In 2016, we asked members about products they’d bought new since 1 January, 2013. We wanted to know the brand, the year the product was bought, and whether it had needed repair. We also asked respondents if they were satisfied with their product and whether they thought it offered value for money.

We only analysed brands that got more than 30 responses in a category. For each brand, our reliability score was the percentage of its products that had never needed repair. We asked about satisfaction and value on a 0 to 10 scale, where a score of 8 to 10 reflected “very satisfied”, “very likely to repurchase” or “excellent value”.

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