Electronics: What Breaks, What Doesn't And What Holds Its Value; List Of Best And Worst

In the age of consumerism, and a disposable lifestyle, do you ever wonder if the electronic gizmo your about to buy will work after a few years? Or how much it will be worth if you try to sell it used or broken?

Well Consumer Reports has come out with its list of "What Breaks, What Doesn't?" in a report released recently.

Putting aside brands, laptops usually fail the fastest with 36% breaking within three years, while digital cameras last the longest with less than 10% needing repair after eight years. Riding lawn movers and side-by-side refrigerators also appeared near the top of the "break/fail" list.

Laptops, says Consumer Reports, are “among the most repair-prone products you can buy”, but that title is not shared equally across all brands. Apple was at the top of the list of most durable, along with Acer and Toshiba. At the bottom were Dell and Gateway. HP was somewhere in the middle. For resale value, used or broken, Apple's Macbooks fetched the highest value, followed by Acer. Nearly everyone else was competing for the worst spot.

TV's are in the middle of the failure list. But again, brand quality varies greatly. Panasonic, Sanyo and Sylvania had a very low repair rate while Westinghouse, Polaroid and Mitsubishi needed repair at about the same rate that you'd change a baby's diaper. Also TV's fetch some of the worst resale values of any type of electronic, meaning, don't buy any brand of TV for it's perceived resale value, you will always loose.

Digital cameras were among the least likely to fail of any category or brand. The overwhelming majority last more than eight years, but again, the resale value is pretty close to nothing, if it's more than six months old. This is for consumer digital cameras, not for professional DSLR's.

Next up, smartphones. Smartphones in general rank in the low-to-medium range for durability with overall failure rates somewhere near televisions. Topping the list as least likely to break was Apple's iPhone, with a failure rate of 24% after 3 years. So if your salesman is trying to sell you a phone based on reliability or resale value, don't bite. Again depending on the brand, the results vary greatly.

The iPhone is the undisputed champion in terms of reliably, and resale value either as used or broken. Followed by Samsung for reliability but not necessarily for resale value. HTC previously had a high ranking, but has slipped to 39% failure rate after three years, making it as reliable as a Westinghouse television and its resale value as good as a broken Gateway laptop. Nokia brings up the bottom of the pack for resale value, but oddly, didn't show up on the rate of failure list. Ranking in the medium zone was LG, but at least is comes with a medium price.

Motorola came in at the low-to-medium range for the failure rate, and its resale value helped HTC feel not so alone.

Game Consoles fared pretty well. The overall failure rate was about 20% after four years. The Wii came in on top with a rate of 9% failure rate, while Xbox was the least reliable overall. Handhelds such as the PSP and Gameboy came in somewhere in the middle.

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