Reliable computers

FRESNO, Calif. So buying a reliable computer from a company that offers good tech support can save you time, money, and a lot of hassle.

The people in this apple store have a long list of reasons why they like their apple computers.

"I've had it about four years and it's been great and I haven't had a single problem."

"Pretty bulletproof. Intuitive. Reliable. Good support."

Turns out apple's tech support is tops in consumer reports' survey on the "best and worst for tech support." The survey asked about online support, as well as phone wait time, whether the staff was knowledgeable and communicated clearly, and of course, whether the problem was solved.

"Acer, which owns Gateway and eMachines, got the lowest marks by far. They rated much worse than others for solving problems," Donato Vaccaro said.

When it comes to computer reliability, another consumer reports survey covered more than 137-thousand computers bought in the past five years. With desktops, apple shined again - needing the fewest repairs of leading computer makers. But when it came to laptops, no company excelled.

"About one in five laptops needed a repair within five years of ownership. And that underscores why having good technical support is so important," Vacarro said.

If you use your laptop on the go, consider an extended warranty plan. As a guide, consumer reports says don't spend any more than about 10 percent of the purchase price for each year of the extended warranty.

And while apple's tech support is a standout, be aware its free phone support lasts only 90 days.

But if you can get to an apple store, you can get unlimited tech support at its genius bar. However, you may have to pay for hardware.

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