Tech Support Showdown 2012


Acer Tech Support Results
Average Call Length 14 minutes and 41 second
Phone Grade 2012 C
Web Grade 2012 B
Overall Grade 2012 B-
Overall Grade 2011 C+
Overall Grade 2010 D+

Last year, Acer finished sixth out of eight, due in large part to inaccurate answers and a propensity to push the company’s paid support service, Answers by Acer. This year, Acer rolled out new teams. The Customer Insights Group actively monitors the retailer site’s comments sections to answer user questions directly. The higher-level Customer Experience Team uses analytics tools to scour users’ emails and chats to solve the most common customer complaints.

For our testing we asked how to set up AcerCloud software on an Aspire S5 Ultrabook, in addition to our standard battery life and multi-touch gesture questions. Unlike the rest of our test systems, the S5 doesn’t support three-finger scrolling, so we asked how to enable four-finger swiping. Note: We’ve rolled Gateway — owned by Acer — into this section.

Web & Social Networking

Acer’s support Web page lets you search for your specific system, ask a question via email, chat online or contact Acer’s free phone support. You also can access Answers by Acer, a fee-based support service. Customers can access how-to’s on software programs this way, but a single 15- to 20-minute session will cost you $19.99.

The Top Answers section of the S5 support page offered 14 pages of easy-to-understand answers, including help on improving our system’s battery life. But we couldn’t find anything about enabling four-finger swiping. Acer’s site also features a dedicated section on AcerCloud with straightforward directions. Finding that information, however, took us nine clicks.

We received an email response from Acer in about 4 hours. Unfortunately, Sathish couldn’t answer our AcerCloud question, because our warranty precluded such assistance. Instead she told us self-help articles could be found online, and she suggested we sign up for Answers by Acer. Our Web chat experience didn’t go much better. We were incorrectly told our S5 didn’t support four-finger swiping.

Acer’s Facebook page offers a host of frequently asked questions and answers. Clicking one took us to an appropriate Facebook post explaining how to fix our problems. After we tweeted our battery life question to @AcerAmerica, we received a helpful reply within an hour.


We called Acer’s tech support at 4 p.m. EST and spoke to Philip after a 2-minute wait. He asked us for our full name, phone number and email address, which he needed to create a case file before we could ask about setting up AcerCloud. During subsequent calls, each support technician continued to ask for our information, but did not reference this case file.

At first, Philip, who was slightly hard to understand due to his thick Indian accent, told us that Acer doesn’t provide how-to’s for users. However, after a 4-minute wait while he looked up information, he told us how to set up the software anyway. Our call lasted 11 minutes and 14 seconds.

During our second call, at 11:30 a.m., with Janet, who was significantly easier to understand, we asked how to improve our S5’s battery life. Janet put us on hold for 3 minutes to gather information. She said a few hours of life would be considered good endurance for our three-cell battery. During our review, however, we got 5 hours and 26 minutes of battery life. Janet then offered a few tips, including not multitasking while running on the laptop’s battery and completely discharging the battery before recharging it. It would have been better if she told us to adjust our display brightness and turn off the Wi-Fi radio when not using it. Our call lasted 5 minutes.

We made our final call to Acer at 2 p.m. After 2 minutes on hold, we asked Farajeed how to enable four-finger swiping. Following about 12 more minutes on hold, Farajeed escalated our call. Shane, who had a slight Southern accent, put us on hold for another 3 minutes before walking us through the process for switching on multi-gesture swiping on a Synaptics touchpad. When we informed Shane that our system came with an Elan touchpad, she told us to check Elan’s website for driver updates for the touchpad. She then incorrectly told us that the touchpad probably didn’t support four-finger swiping. In the end, our call lasted 27 minutes.


On the whole, Acer’s technical support was helpful, but not without its flaws. The company has made huge strides in improving its social media responsiveness on Facebook and Twitter.

Both email and Web chat support personnel were quick and accurate as well. Phone support specialists were also generally responsive, but couldn’t answer our touchpad queries and offered little advice on improving the laptop’s battery performance. If Acer can improve its representatives’ knowledge base, the company will find itself closer to the top of our tech support rankings.

Tech Support Showdown 2012

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  1. Not Phil Says:

    Dell service stinks. They also don’t stand behind their equipment. I’ve had nothing but problems with Dell and will never purchase another.

  2. don Says:

    then if the sony is the top 1 at tech support..

    what is the brand that is best for gamings..

    i mean which brand is best for gamings..

    including the price the kind of specs the kind of products.

    which is the best brand of laptop that is good for gaming..

    mostly and surely about durability and performance through out the year.

  3. Al Says:

    “Acer Tech Report Results” is shown as the title on the Sony page.

  4. Karen Says:

    I have to agree with Not Phil – I’ve never in my life encountered such appalling “service” as I just did from Dell! Will never buy from them again (not that they care).

  5. graham (australia) Says:

    ive got a couple of asus notebooks and also a netbook, over the yrs ive had a couple of minor warranty issues and asus support has been brilliant, the asus techs seem enthusiastic about there products and are more then happy to take the time to show u little things or answer questions,

  6. Cappy Says:

    I’m with Karen and notphil…….. Dell is terrible. Half the time they give you the wrong information and if you have continuing problems… too bad.

    I say this as a person who has purchased 4 computers from them in the past, and will not in future.

  7. a person Says:

    the thing about dell is their consumer products suck they have for a long time and they probably always will. That said buy the same computer relabled vostro, pay the extra for pro support and your phone wait time is 2 minutes max and they’ll have a US based technician solving any problem have and they’ll drop off the part you need within 4 hours. but if you expect to pay $400 for a laptop that costs $375 to build ship and market. you’ll get crap support.

  8. Steve Says:

    I’ve had had Dell XPS’s since 2004. That came with a dedicated phone line only for the XPS line, it was India sometimes but not all. The support was decent.
    Prior to that I had Dell Dimension’s 8400 and their tech support was as good as dealing with monkeys.

    Recently I bought a Lenovo Desktop. Tech support is located in the U.S. for my model and I just read yesterday that all tech support is coming back to the states. I also bought a 5 yr. Priority Service upgrade so I am good till 2018 if I still even have this them?
    Having U.S. support is one of the reasons I bought this system. I liked another one a bit more, same price.. more of a gaming system with support in India and no Priority Support like I do here in the states. I do get next day service with this one too and they will only warranty it for 3 yrs max, (what’s that tell you?)

    I am still within the time frame of returning this system exchanging it for the other and dealing with India.

    Also, Lenovo does not use refurbished parts when repairing your computer, completely new parts are always used.

  9. Dom Says:

    Let me just say that I will NEVER EVER buy a DELL product again! I just had the worst experience with tech support. I have had continuing problems and they said pretty much what I have already heard on here…too bad. I told them that you all just lost another Dell customer and it didn’t really phase them too much. I was supposed to get a new laptop from all the problems I had with this one and they told me “it won’t get approved from all the departments here and plus we need more information.” Really?? Like you don’t have a ton already with all the problems I’ve had??

  10. sam Says:

    Let me just say that I will NEVER EVER buy a DELL product again! I just had the worst experience with tech support. I have had continuing problems and they said pretty much what I have already heard on here…too bad. I told them that you all just lost another Dell customer and it didn’t really phase them too much. I was supposed to get a new laptop from all the problems I had with this one and they told me “it won’t get approved from all the departments here and plus we need more information.” Really?? Like you don’t have a ton already with all the problems I’ve had??
    and then i took help from axes pc care they are the genuine people their number is 1-877-509-8360

  11. JDE Says:

    I’m stunned to see Sony get first place in tech support. That doesn’t reflect my experience at all, and I’ve been on the phone with them as recently as a few months ago. I think they’re no better than any other manufacturer, and they’re all terrible.

    I also think that Apple’s tech support, while probably better than everyone else’s, is overrated. I’ve had at least two negative experiences with them over the past couple of years, one of them requiring intervention on the part of a supervisor who was embarrassed by the ignorance and unprofessionalism of his subordinate.

  12. She Says:

    When will Laptop Magazine release the showdown results for 2013?

  13. Anna Attkisson, LAPTOP Managing Editor Says:

    We are putting the finishing touches on this story now. It will be coming in the next couple weeks. Stay tuned!

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