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    Soluto's PC Purchasing
    Guide for Small Businesses

    Monthly Report, April 2013
    We're glad to present our first PC purchasing guide for
    small businesses, focusing on Windows laptops.


    How is this report different from any typical PC comparison list?
    This report is based on Soluto's big-data frustration analytics. It is unique because it is based on long term, ongoing analysis of a huge number of PCs, taking into account events such as application crashes, application hangs, blue-screens-of-death, long boot times and excessive number of background processes.

    Review sites and other top-PC lists are usually based on a combination of hands-on review for a few days and/or benchmarking software that stresses the PC to its limits. In this report, on the other hand, we bring you real data about ongoing PC performance “in the field” - used by real people under real conditions.

    For example, the sample for constructing this report included 224,144 crashes and 84,251 blue-screens over a course of 3 months (this sample is a small subset of the Soluto data set, see our full methodology below).

    How can I get these reports?
    This report and future ones will be served to our Business Pro subscribers on a monthly basis, each time with a slightly different focus. Since this is the first of our reports, we decided to make it special and share it with the public as well.

    Thank you for being a Business Pro. Future monthly reports will include more and more valuable data, such as comparisons within price groups or performance groups, operating systems, etc.

    Our reports inventory is accessible at http://www.soluto.com/reports.
    Enjoy, and we're always happy to hear ideas and suggestions at feedback@soluto.com.

    Not a Business Pro yet? click here to Join Soluto.

    The Soluto Team
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    Create a Free Account
    The sample used for this report contains:
    224,144
    crashes
    250,791
    hangs
    84,251
    BSoDs
    1,346,000
    boots
    62,476
    hours spent on boot
    See below our full methodology

    The Top 10

    Soluto Best Performing Windows Laptops Apr 2013
    Starting at Soluto Score*
    1 Apple MacBook Pro 13, mid-2012 MacBook Pro 13, mid-2012 $1,199** 1.05
    2 Acer Aspire E1-571 Aspire E1-571 $429 1.12
    3 Dell XPS13 XPS13 $979 1.28
    4 Dell Vostro 3560 Vostro 3560 $569 2.09
    5 Acer Aspire V3-771 Aspire V3-771 $699 2.44
    6 Apple MacBook Pro 15" Retina MacBook Pro 15" Retina $2,199** 2.51
    7 Dell Inspiron 14z Inspiron 14z $549 2.54
    8 Dell Latitude E5530 Latitude E5530 $519 2.90
    9 Dell Vostro 3460 Vostro 3460 $539 2.95
    10 Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Carbon Thinkpad X1 Carbon $1,169 3.20

    • Crashes/wk
      0.88
    • Hangs/wk
      1.06
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.01
    • Avg. background
      processes
      60
    • Average
      boot time
      151s

    Starting at
    $1,199
    Windows license not included
    • 13.3"
    • 4GB-8GB
    • 7hrs
    • i5/i7
    • 500GB-750GB
    • 4.5lb / 2.06kg
    The MacBook Pro is the most expensive PC among the top 3, but if you're looking for top reliability - the data is clear. MacBook Pro is the best Windows PC on the market.

    A main factor in this machine's metrics is the fact that every Windows installation on it is clean. With PC manufacturers loading so much crapware on new laptops, this is a bit of an unfair competition. But on the other hand, PC makers should look at this data and aspire to ship PCs that perform just as well as a cleanly installed MacBook Pro. One could argue that we should not compare a cleanly installed MacBook Pro with an OEM-imaged PC from Acer or Dell. There's sense behind this claim, and one of our next reports will include a separate comparison of only cleanly-installed machines. But – for this first report we simply compared the real PCs in the field, some with original images and some reinstalled by their users. We believe it's more representative of reality.

    There are definite disadvantages to using Windows on Mac. First – there's more work to do (buy windows, set-up BootCamp, install Windows, etc). Also, the keyboard is not optimized for Windows (e.g. no Del key), and there may be driver issues. But on the other hand, the Mac has an amazing trackpad unparalleled by any PC, and has a very solid build.

    And some people think Mac users look smarter. So if you've ever looked for an excuse to buy a MacBook – now you have it.

    • Crashes/wk
      0.74
    • Hangs/wk
      0.4
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.06
    • Avg. background
      processes
      66
    • Average
      boot time
      155s

    Starting at
    $429
    • 15.6"
    • 4GB-8GB
    • 4.5hrs
    • i3/i5
    • 500GB-750GB
    • 5.5lb / 2.5kg
    Our data has long shown that Acer machines are very stable and well-performing, but to find the E1-571 so high on the list was surprising even for us. The reason is that Acer's E series are considered more entry level vs other series, like the V series (which you can find in the 5th place).

    You could buy almost 3 of those for the price of one MacBook Pro 13”3, so this is a superb option for budget-minded businesses who like big laptops (15”6).

    To clarify, price was not taken into account when calculating the score (see full methodology details below), this machine is in the 2nd place purely because of its performance and stability.

    • Crashes/wk
      1.46
    • Hangs/wk
      1.38
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.03
    • Avg. background
      processes
      72
    • Average
      boot time
      67s

    Starting at
    $979
    • 13.3”
    • 4GB-8GB
    • 9hrs
    • i5/i7
    • 128GB-256GB (SSD)
    • 2.99lb / 1.36kg
    The Dell XPS 13 is a high-end PC laptop with superb performance. It's the smallest, lightest and has the longest battery life of the top-3.

    If you put some effort into it, you could also find a Windows-7 based model for ~$740, and on the other hand the XPS 13 reaches $1499 for its highest-end model (i7, 8GB of RAM and 256GB of SSD).

    One point to mention about the Dell XPS 13 is that it has almost no bezel, using the entire upper shell area for the screen. This makes it the size of your average 12” laptop, which is really cool. Unless you have huge fingers, that is.

    The Dell XPS 13 is a noble specimen among PCs, we at Soluto really love it. But it's definitely a premium model when compared to the excellent budget Acer Aspire E1-571.

    To return to the OEM vs non-OEM debate for a second, 32% of Soluto users reimaged their XPS 13 to a clean installation of Windows.

    • Crashes/wk
      1.34
    • Hangs/wk
      1.23
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.04
    • Avg. background
      processes
      67
    • Average
      boot time
      142s

    Starting at
    $569
    15"
    4GB-6GB
    7hrs
    i3/i5/i7
    500GB
    5.75lb / 2.6kg

    • Crashes/wk
      1.07
    • Hangs/wk
      0.59
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.10
    • Avg. background
      processes
      73
    • Average
      boot time
      165s

    Starting at
    $699
    17.3"
    6GB-12GB
    3.5hrs
    i5/i7
    750GB-1TB
    7.5lb / 3.4kg

    • Crashes/wk
      2.05
    • Hangs/wk
      0.78
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.20
    • Avg. background
      processes
      65
    • Average
      boot time
      57s

    Starting at
    $2,199
    Windows license not included
    15"
    8GB-16GB
    7hrs
    i7
    256GB-512GB (SSD)
    4.46lb / 2kg

    • Crashes/wk
      1.17
    • Hangs/wk
      1.04
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.04
    • Avg. background
      processes
      71
    • Average
      boot time
      179s

    Starting at
    $549
    14"
    4GB-8GB
    5hrs
    i3/i5/i7
    500GB
    4.12lb / 1.87kg

    • Crashes/wk
      1.22
    • Hangs/wk
      1.33
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.02
    • Avg. background
      processes
      79
    • Average
      boot time
      173s

    Starting at
    $519
    15.6”
    2GB-4GB
    N/A
    i3/i5/i7
    320GB-500GB
    5.25lb / 2.38kg

    • Crashes/wk
      1.05
    • Hangs/wk
      1.53
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.05
    • Avg. background
      processes
      73
    • Average
      boot time
      170s

    Starting at
    $539
    14”
    4GB-6GB
    7hrs
    i3/i5/i7
    500GB
    4.92lb / 2.19kg

    • Crashes/wk
      1.69
    • Hangs/wk
      1.38
    • BSoDs/wk
      0.09
    • Avg. background
      processes
      85
    • Average
      boot time
      103s

    Starting at
    $1,169
    14”
    4GB-6GB
    8.2hrs
    i5/i7
    128GB-180GB (SSD)
    2.99lbs / 1.36kg

    Methodology

    Background and Methodology
    Our servers hold data from millions of machines. We chose a sample of 150,000 laptops and analyzed their data between January 1st, 2013 and April 1st, 2013, and analyzed application crashes, application hangs, blue-screens-of-death, boot time and number of background processes to try and come up with a comparison that represents the real user experience when using a PC.

    We will share lots of details about our methodology here. Some of the scoring decisions we've taken are obviously open for debate, we tried to elaborate on it so people can change the scoring algorithms and reach their own conclusions.

    Building the Sample
    Our servers hold frustration data from millions of PCs, but you need much less to reach statistically significant results. We started by choosing 150k PCs that 1) are of a laptop form-factor, including ultrabooks and netbooks; and 2) their OS was installed in the past 12 months (because we wanted to focus on laptops available for purchase on the market today).

    We then removed every PC model that is either 1) not offered anymore for purchase or; 2) exists in insignificant amounts within our user base.

    One could naturally argue that our user base doesn't perfectly represent the world, but regardless of the level of overlap with real-world, the data is there and is interesting to look at.

    We were left with 37k laptops, spanning 49 models (“relevant models”). Vendors represented are (in descending order of how many models they have represented): HP, Lenovo, Dell, Samsung, Asus, Acer, Toshiba and Apple.

    The Data
    We took all the frustrating events these PCs experienced between January 1st, 2013 and April 1st, 2013. The data included 224,144 crashes, 250,791 non-responsive events and 84,251 BSoDs. Non-responsive events (aka Hangs) are cases where an application becomes non-responsive for over 5 seconds.

    Scoring
    We looked at 5 parameters, here are their average, min and max among the relevant models:
      Parameter Average Min Max
      Application crashes per week 1.85 0.74 3.24
      Non-responsive events per week 1.18 0.4 2.16
      BSoDs per week 0.08 0.01 0.2
      Background running processes 78 60 94
      Boot time 167s 57s 251s
    We gave parameters the following weights:
       Crashes per week Taken as is: one crash per week equals 1 point.
       Non-responsive events per week Taken as is: one non-responsive event per week equals 1 point
       BSoDs per week Multiplied by 10. So 1 BSoD per week is like 10 crashes per week
       Background running processes The average of background processes is 78. The points' contribution of a model with X running processes was calculated as: (X-78)/25. This means that from a frustration perspective, we defined 25 more running processes as equal to another crash every week, and 25 less running processes as one less crash every week (a model with few background processes gets a positive bonus).
       Boot time The average boot time is 167s. The points' contribution of a model with boot time X was calculated as follows: (X-167)/60, based on the same rationale described in the background processes.
    For example, let's take Dell XPS 13 and run the calculation:
       Parameter Value Calculation Points contribution
       Crashes/w 1.4626 = 1.4626 1.4626
       Non-responsive/w 1.3791 = 1.3791 1.3791
       BSoDs/w 0.03134 = 10*0.03134 0.31
       Background processes 72.6595 = (72.6569-78)/25 -0.213
       Boot time 67.0709 = (67.0709-167)/60 -1.6655
    SUM:      1.276
    Alternative Scoring
    There is no right or wrong way to measure crashes against boot time. We took a weighing decision that made sense to us. Each model in the top has all those values mentioned: we invite you to play with the numbers yourselves and reach alternative decisions.


    What is Soluto?

    Soluto is a PC management service that allows small business IT and IT service providers to manage all their PCs over the web.
    Soluto lets IT pros see all of the PCs they manage in one place, remote access into PCs from any device, receive email alerts when things go wrong, and remedy them with one click from any web browser - even when the PCs supported are shut down (magic!).

    Soluto is designed for both the IT pro and the co-worker or customer receiving support - resulting in a service that makes people appreciate their IT managers and understand their work. In this sense, Soluto changes a paradigm in the market, shifting the design focus to a beautiful service for everyone, not just IT.


    Soluto is proactive, meaning that Soluto notifies IT pros automatically when there's a problem, rather than them having to constantly check the status of things. Soluto's alerts are actionable, they carry action buttons inside them you can click wherever you receive them - on any PC, Mac or smartphone, saving tons of time and reducing frustrations.
    Not using Soluto yet?
    Create a Free Account
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    Disclosures - All rights reserved to ©2013 Soluto, Ltd. and/or its subsidiaries and affiliates. Soluto and PC Genome are trademarks of Soluto, Ltd. (“Soluto”). All other product names and trademarks are the trademarks of their respective owners. The data, reviews, criteria, “Soluto Score”, technical information, measurements and other information contained in this document (the “Information”) is gathered and processed by Soluto, based on certain criteria, publicly available data, sampling and processing methodologies, used and learned exclusively by Soluto, is not based on any representation and/or warranty made by any other third party (other than publicly available technical data), and are believed by Soluto to fairly reflect the results of such process; however, Soluto does not represent that the Information is error free and disclaims all warranties as to the accuracy, validity or completeness of the Information, and shall have no liability for any errors, omissions or inadequacies related to the Information. Further, you hereby acknowledge that any reliance upon such Information shall be at your sole risk. THIS DOCUMENT AND THE INFORMATION, ARE OFFERED “AS-IS”, AND SOLUTO SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING ANY IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY OR FITNESS OF ANY PRODUCT AND/OR SERVICE DESCRIBED AND/OR PRESENTED IN THIS DOCUMENT, FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE. This document and the Information contained herein is not intended to be taken as authoritative statements of fact, or an advertisement of any product, company or service. Soluto is the sole author of this document, which has not been authorized, sponsored, or otherwise approved by any third party.
    IN NO EVENT SHALL SOLUTO AND/OR ANY THIRD PARTY SHALL BE LIABLE FOR CLAIMS, LOSSES OR DAMAGES ARISING OUT OF THE INFORMATION (OR ANY USE THEREOF), OR OUT OF SOLUTO'S TESTING AND PROCESSING PROCEDURES OR METHODOLOGIES, NOR SHALL THEY BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, LOSS OR DAMAGE IN ANY WAY RELATED TO THE CREATION, PUBLICATION AND/OR DISTRIBUTION OF THE DOCUMENT, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION, ANY CONSEQUENTIAL, INCIDENTAL, PUNITIVE, SPECIAL, EXEMPLARY OR INDIRECT DAMAGES (INCLUDING LOST PROFITS OR SAVINGS), EVEN IF SOLUTO WAS ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.
    Credit Notices - Apple, Boot Camp, Mac, MacBook, MacBook Pro and Retina are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. ACER and ASPIRE are trademarks of Acer Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. DELL, INSPIRION, LATITUDE, XPS and VOSTRO are trademarks of Dell Inc. Lenovo and ThinkPad are trademarks of Lenovo in the United States, other countries, or both.