Illustration by Gary Neill

Asus and Samsung tablets top the iPad in satisfaction rankings

Conventional wisdom might tell you that the Apple iPad, with a devoted following that includes everyone from toddlers to CEOs, would sweep the satisfaction ratings in the tablet category of our tech satisfaction, reliability, and service survey, but surprises awaited us when we dug into the numbers.

Yes, Apple earned the best marks in touchscreen responsiveness, battery life, and speed, and very high marks in most ease-of-use measurements. But a number of competitors bested the company in other metrics. When we averaged the overall satisfaction scores, Apple wound up in third place.

Asus—maker of the popular Google Nexus 7—scored in the top of the range in virtually all satisfaction measurements. “This tablet is very fast, with a beautiful display, and fully capable of doing everything I could foreseeably want," said one Nexus 7 owner who answered our survey.

Market chaser Samsung also earned very high marks overall, matching the best score in operating system satisfaction.

RIM’s BlackBerry PlayBook has been widely considered a dud, but people who own the device seem pleased with it. RIM took fourth place among tablet makers in overall satisfaction with device features, garnering the top mark in display quality.

Users’ biggest complaint, in aggregate, is the dearth of ports on many tablets. Users seem most satisfied with display quality.

As for reliability, Apple claimed the top spot with flying colors: Only 4 percent of iPad users reported any significant problem within two years of ownership, while an average of 12 percent of owners of other brands reported problems.

For users who reported problems, operating system issues were the most common gripe across the board. Battery troubles followed, along with complaints of touchscreen failures.

About the survey

Despite Apple's narrow loss in the tablet category, other products from the company scored well in this year’s satisfaction survey. In overall satisfaction, Apple took top honors in laptops, desktops, and smartphones.

We launched our satisfaction survey in August and began tabulating the results in mid-November. We changed our approach to rating and ranking tech brands this year: Instead of rating products as below average, average, or above average, we simply report the average score (on a scale of 1 through 10) that brand owners gave to their devices in the survey.

We investigated five product categories in this year’s survey: laptops, desktops, printers, smartphones, and tablets. Overall, we found that tech users are satisfied with their products, as the numbers are generally positive and seem to be improving from year to year. Satisfaction levels with product reliability and durability in particular have improved considerably since 2011.

Asus, Samsung shine in tablet satisfaction

BrandDesignOperating systemBattery lifeOverall speedDisplay qualityTouchscreen responsivenessAvailable ports
Asus 8.8 8.6 8.5 8.5 9.1 8.7 7.8
Samsung 8.7 8.6 8.1 8.4 9.0 8.7 7.0
Apple 8.8 8.6 8.5 8.6 9.1 9.0 5.8
RIM (BlackBerry) 8.4 8.3 8.1 8.3 9.4 8.5 6.8
Acer 8.4 8.3 7.6 8.0 8.5 8.1 8.0
Toshiba 8.2 8.1 7.5 7.7 8.5 8.0 8.0
Lenovo 8.2 8.2 7.8 7.9 8.4 7.5 7.8
HP 8.1 7.8 7.6 8.0 8.5 8.1 7.2
Barnes & Noble 8.3 7.6 7.8 7.8 8.8 8.3 6.8
Amazon 8.1 8.0 7.9 8.0 8.7 8.3 5.9
Dell 8.0 8.0 7.0 7.7 8.4 7.9 7.3
Motorola 7.7 8.1 7.4 8.0 8.2 8.0 6.5

Chart notes: Each listed number is the average response on a 1-to-10 scale where 1 is “extremely dissatisfied” and 10 is “extremely satisfied.” Brand ranking is based on the average scores across all satisfaction measures.

iPads rank as the most dependable tablets

BrandAny significant problemSatisfaction with reliability
Apple 4% 9.2
Amazon 8% 9.0
Asus 12% 9.0
Samsung 7% 9.0
RIM (BlackBerry) 14% 8.9
Barnes & Noble 10% 8.8
↑ Above average ↑
↓ Below average ↓
Motorola 9% 8.7
Acer 12% 8.6
Lenovo 22% 8.6
Toshiba 8% 8.5
HP 14% 8.4
Dell 13% 8.4

Chart notes: A “significant problem” is one that stops or seriously impairs the operation of the tablet during the first two years of ownership. Based on satisfaction scores on a 1-to-10 scale where 1 is “extremely dissatisfied” and 10 is “extremely satisfied.” The average satisfaction score is 8.8.

For comprehensive coverage of the Android ecosystem, visit Greenbot.com.

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