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Dell – Your favourite notebook supplier (or is it Sony?)

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Register Reader Research It's been a while since we gave an airing for Reg Reader Research, our joint venture in online opinion polls with our partners Tom's Hardware and Metafacts, the market research firm.

We've been beavering away in the background, refining the methodology, figuring out what works and what doesn't, and we have been doing some surveys too with cross-sections of our 8,000-strong reader panel.

Late last year, we conducted a survey on perceptions towards mobile devices with 547 panel members. Here are the highlights from the notebook section. Coming up soon are handhelds and mobile phones.

Dell tops user chart

Dell is the top notebook brand for Register Reader Research panel members, with more than 20 per cent of respondents reporting that they use a Dell laptop. IBM and Tosh come in second and third places with almost 16 per cent apiece, while Compaq takes up fifth slot with 11.5 per cent.

And 31 per cent of users would opt for Dell if they bought a new notebook, even though many competitors outstrip the company in terms of panel perception.

Notebook makers have a fairly solid market image overall, polling favourably on this score, with most respondents. Sony is rated top for popularity, belying its comparatively small market share (5.7 per cent).

Technical competence, quality of products, brand image and up-to-dateness are rated fairly uniformly among the different manufacturers, with none rating below 80 per cent approval.

Ability to innovate is the key differentiator: this is where the image of notebook makers varies the greatest. With our panel, Sony has the best image for innovation while Dell and Compaq are considered least innovative.

When notebook users are asked for their reasons for buying a new mobile device, they often express their need for more functions, greater mobility and performance (e.g. wireless networking). Purchase decisions for notebooks seem to be much less service driven than those for other mobile devices.

I can't no overall satisfaction

Notebook makers are closer to each other in user perception and the ratings tend to be lower than for, say, mobile phones. For overall satisfaction, IBM is earns top slot, getting a panel rating of 79%. Dell and Toshiba score 73.3 per cent respectively, while Compaq props ups the list with 69%.

When it comes to price and specific product characteristics, the manufacturers stand even closer together, with the exception of Compaq. Its weaker
weaker overall satisfaction standing comes down to lower satisfaction ratings for running time/standby qualities; storage capacities, interface and keyboard properties.

On the priceing front, Toshiba is rated slightly better than the rest, with Compaq doing worst on this score too. Compaq is also last on the product scale - IBM is the top rank here.

Notebook makers by panel user share

Dell 21.2%
IBM 15.8%
Toshiba 15.5%
Compaq 11.5%
Sony 5.7%
Hewlett Packard 5.1%
Apple 4.3%
Fujitsu Siemens 4.0%
Acer 1.4%
Gateway 1.1%
KDS 0.3%
Micron 0.3%
NEC 0.3%
Sceptre 0.3%
Tiny 0.3%
Others 12.9%

Reg Reader Research - who are the members

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