Manufacturer with best notebook service.

We are a meduim size business. We have almost exclusively used Gateway laptops. Their service has turned from great to awful in the last 6 weeks. We are looking to go with another manufacturer that has decent laptops in the $1800 - $2000 range. (for this price, the extras like extra AC adapter and extra battery are included). So my question is, does anyone know of a 3rd party source of information on the business class service of Dell, HP, IBM, MPC, Toshiba and any other that I left out. I want to know "real world" experiences of a tech trying to send in a laptop to these companies. I've tried some PC magazines but they don't really write about "business class" service.

In my opinion, most every laptop is going to break down when handled roughly by salesmen always on the move so I want to find a manufacturer that handles these problems quickly.
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DELL: DELL:s service is great, but their laptops aren't too good. At the company I worked before, we had to send back som 30% within 3 months!!! Often small details on those laptops won't work.

HP: HP's computers are OK, but I've had several cases where they've given back unrepaired computers twice and at the third time you get a brand new, much better computer. Since my friend work for HP, I buy all private stuff for me and my friends from them.

IBM: IBM's service is not as good as DELL's, but they have the advantage of not breaking down so fast. I'm right now at a school and the laptops are treated like rented mules, still the returnfrequency within a year, is less then 5%.

Best regards,

Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
3 months ago I left a job I'd been at for 9.5 years.  For 8 of those years, we used Dell.  In my opinion, their server support has gone from great to fair.  Mostly because their "spare parts" when they replace something, are all refurbished - even if the same part fails 3 times, they still don't seem to send a NEW part.  That said, I've had two personal notebooks, and the company ordered MANY notebooks from them (I'd say 15-25 a year - maybe more).  In my experience and from what I've heard Dell notebooks - and Dell service - is generally VERY good.  Parts (depending on the level of warranty purchased) are delivered between 4 and 48 hours after the phone call - and that may include a technician (if warranted and that level of support purchased with the laptop offered on site technicians).

Even the return to depot had the notebook back to me repaired within 72 hours (usually within 48)  (excluding weekends of course)
I have had good luck with dells.

My friend sold his dell laptop to a friend and even transferred the warranty to them.  (disclaimer, i do not know if that is still possible or not anymore).  When the friend that owns the laptop dropped it and damaged the case, she called dell support, they then sent their local subcontracter out and he had the laptop completely fixed (plastics and hinges replaced) at dell's expense within 3 days if i remember correctly.

They are the only company i have ever had direct knowledge with in regards to the service of them in recent times (last year or 2) so that doesn't mean that I dislike other companies.

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I agree.  The school I worked for used Dell exclusively, around 1200 pc's and 600 laptops.  There were at most 2 or 3 laptops that I worked on in a month and that was usually something the kids did to it. On a batch of around 60 laptops, the batteries went bad within a year, Dell replaced them all with better batteries without question. (Dell's warranty on laptop batteries is one year regardless of service contract.)  

They generally have someone out the next day to fix your problem.  I had no problems with their service or their products.  And to cut off the person that says don't get a dell because their call center is in India, they've moved it back to the states.
Everything but Dell !

Interventions are done correctly, that's true ... when you manage to get one.
Unless you suscribe their expensive corporate maintence contract, expect to spend hours on the phone before having the great pleasure to receive the visit of a technician .
You'll have to upgrade drivers, firmwares, bios, ... by yourself before being allowed to receive a service. Even/mostly when the hardware failure is obvious.
With the corporate maintenace contract, the tech will come asap BUT, you'll have to perform problem diagnostic/troubleshooting by yourself and, if the diagnostic is not correct, dell will double charge you by after.
I never have to complain about post-intervention problems but it appears that it's not always the case, in fact it changes according to the contractor where dell outsourced hw maintenance .

Somebody spoke earlier in this post of battery problems, I could mention touchpads and modems as well but, speaking of batteries, I remember beiing asked to flash a bios in order to make sure the battery was dead.
You have 60 dead batteries, no problem we'll change them ! Could you just please make sure it's a battery problem by upgrading all bioses of the concerned PC to the highest release ? Cool !
I installed +/- 40 so called 'updated drivers' in order to solve a well-known touchpad issue on laptops. In the end, we found the problem could easily be avoided by isolating a few cables under the keyboard with 2 inches of ducting tape .

You can buy what ever you want, Dell will certainly be the cheapest one, guess why ...
peerlesspumpAuthor Commented:
I appreciate everyones experiences but I was hoping to find a place where someone has compared all of the computer companies service for businesses. I can't tell the people in charge of spending a ton of money on computers that we should go with this company because I know a couple of people who said this or that. I need to find a resource like PC Magazine or something that has done a fair rating of 4 or 5 companies.

Now that I read what I just wrote, it sounds mean. Sorry that is not at all what I intended.
Lee W, MVPTechnology and Business Process AdvisorCommented:
I stand by my post.  Keep in mind that at least two of the comments were not by a single person telling of his personal experience with his/her or their friend's notebook.  It was an example of their COMPANY's experience with dozens - or more - of Dell Laptops.

If you want a completely unbiased review (or as completely unbiased as you're likely to find), check - you'll need a subscription - but they don't accept advertising from anyone and periodically rate things.

In my experience, you don't wait very long for support - corporate or home - when calling dell (possibly exception is if you call at 3am - which I've done - but whenever I've called during "normal" hours - even on a weekend (like 9am to 9pm) I've rarely if ever waited more than 20 minutes, getting straight through probably 50% of the time.

What everyone must understand is that even the top rated computer company has lemons - the same way top rated car companies have them.  And every now and then you'll get one.  My company that I had worked for used Gateways when I started.  a year and a half later, we started ordering Dells and felt that our desktop problems immediately decreased - when we used the OptiPlex line.  Likewise, Dell has 3 lines of notebooks - Inspiron (don't recommend even though I've had some good experiences myself), Latitude (they are the business line, more thoroughly tested and with longer sales lives - and I do recommend - most systems the company bought were this class), and Workstations (rarely saw them.  Would generally consider them like the Latitude line).

If you are concerned about support, call Dell support.  See what happens.  When the tech answers, tell them "thank you, I was calling to see how fast a response I'd get as I'm considering buying Dells." and hang up.

I will say IBMs have a fantastic reputation and those I've worked on (not many) have been great.  Only problem is that while Dell is typically the cheapest of the major brands, IBM is typically the most expensive.
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