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Report -- Love for personal computers on the decline

American Customer Satisfaction Index report shows customers are happier with tablets than with desktops and laptops, but satisfaction level for PCs in general is down from one year ago.


Tablets have a small edge over laptops and desktops when it comes to customer satisfaction, but consumer love for PCs in general is down, according to a new American Customer Satisfaction Index report.

Released Tuesday, the ACSI's Household Appliance and Electronics Report 2013 measured the satisfaction levels for personal computers (including desktops, laptops, and tablets) based on interviews with more than 2,700 customers.

On a 100-point scale, tablets grabbed a score of 81, slightly outpacing laptops and desktops, which earned 79 points each. PC devices in general saw a 1.3 percent decline in satisfaction from last year, with a total score of 79.

"ACSI research shows that consumers have high expectations, and companies are under a good deal of pressure to keep up with demand for faster, more powerful devices that offer new and improved features," ACSI founder and Chairman Claes Fornell said in a statement. "Companies that can innovate while maintaining high levels of customer satisfaction are the ones that will win."

Among device makers, Apple took the lead with a score of 87, outshining Windows device makers by anywhere from 8 percent to 12 percent, according to ACSI. HP came in second with 80, followed by Dell with 79, Toshiba with 78, and Acer with 77.

"Microsoft's revamped Windows 8 operating system does not seem to have provided a bounce in sales or in customer satisfaction for these manufacturers," ACSI Director David VanAmburg said in a statement. "Moreover, the vast majority of devices offered by HP, Dell, and other smaller PC makers are desktops or laptops -- a category that consumers find less gratifying than tablets."

Tablets, desktops, and laptops all received high scores for their features, with consumers happy about their sizes and visual appeal. Owners also found their devices reasonably easy to operate and relatively free from crashes. However, processor speeds, operating systems, memory, and storage all received slightly lower scores.

The ASCI's report is based on interviews conducted via telephone and e-mail between April 6 and May 22. Customers were asked to evaluate their experiences with recently bought products made by companies with the largest market shares. Data was also formulated from an aggregate of smaller manufacturers.