Tech Support Showdown 2013: Winners and Losers

Tech Support Showdown 2013
Average Call
Sony1st Place B+ A 9:36 A A A (95)
Apple2nd Place A A- 6:00 A- A A (93)
Samsung1st Place A- A- 9:00 B+ B+ B+ (89)
ASUS B- B- 27:39 A- B B+ (88)
Acer C+ B- 6:41 B B+ B+ (87)
Dell A- C- 21:34 B- B B (82)
Toshiba C+ C+ 23:30 B C- C+ (78)
Lenovo B+ B 49:18 B- C- C+ (77)
HP B B 26:00 B F C- (75)

Remember when good tech support meant not getting passed from one rep to another during a call? That’s still the case, but today consumers demand faster help from multiple avenues, whether it’s through a live chat or even via Facebook or Twitter. Our 2013 Tech Support Showdown takes a holistic approach to rating nine major brands to suit the modern-day customer, and the results should very much inform your next notebook purchase.

Who Wins, Who Loses

Based on our testing, Sony is the best at tech support. Thanks to knowledgeable reps, quick live chat and social help, and an easily navigable website, Sony offered the winning combination for the second year in a row. Perennial favorite Apple was a very close second, followed by Samsung. Sadly, not everyone fared as well during our testing. HP brought up the rear after two straight solid B years.

How We Test

As is the case every year, our goal is not to stump tech support, but to gauge how the average user might fare when seeking answers. Armed with three specific questions, we went undercover to look for quick and friendly assistance through various channels, as well as a breadth of knowledge.

We posed two questions to each laptop maker over the phone: how can I set up a new user account and how do I connect my laptop to Bluetooth speakers. Then we asked a question uniquely tailored to each brand. For example, we asked Acer how to set up AcerCloud software on our Aspire V3, but we asked Apple how to reverse the default scrolling direction of our MacBook Pro’s touchpad.

Because you may not want to rack up minutes on the phone, Web support should be available as well. So we explored each company’s website for answers to these same questions. We looked for ease of navigation and live chat options.

And what could be more social than asking someone for help? That’s why we examined each notebook-maker’s social presence and responsiveness. While it is true neither Facebook nor Twitter is part of a company’s warranty coverage, the average consumer has started to expect some level of attention through these mediums.

Tech Support Showdown 2013

Mark Spoonauer
Mark Spoonauer
Responsible for the editorial vision for, Mark Spoonauer has been Editor in Chief of LAPTOP since 2003 and has covered technology for nearly 15 years. Mark speaks at key tech industry events and makes regular media appearances on CNBC, Fox and CNN. Mark was previously reviews editor at Mobile Computing, and his work has appeared in Wired, Popular Science and Inc.
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