Tech News: 22 Big Tech Brands Ranked from First to Worst

AddThis Social Bookmark Button
AFP / Stringer / Getty Images

When you hear the name of a popular tech brand, you’ll naturally have a gut reaction. Perhaps you love Sony’s game consoles, but can’t stand its headphones. Or maybe you buy Samsung exclusively, whether it’s a smartphone, tablet or refrigerator.

Maybe you’re married Apple products? And then there’s Casio—which you might associate with decent cameras, bad smartphones and cheap-but-passable wristwatches.

Some of this comes from actual product experience, but more often, it’s all about the marketing. Microsoft spends millions trying to win over young professionals. Every Apple ad tells us they have superior design. Even that $20 drug store Casio watch is in your head for a reason—a timepiece advertised as the go-to option for people on a budget.

But which brands truly measure up to the marketing? At SpecOut, we rated thousands of products across dozens of product categories, from smartphones to tablets, cameras to headphones, televisions to washing machines. We then determined the average rating for each brand within each product category. Finally, we created an overall ranking based on each brand's performance across all product categories.

After we reveal the overall rankings and explain our methodology, we’ll chart the ratings for a few key brands in greater detail.

The Methodology

How did you determine the product ratings?

Each product received a Smart Rating, based on expert reviews, benchmark performance, specifications and features. To take smartphones as an example, we factored in expert scores (CNET, Laptop Mag, PC Magazine, PC World, WIRED), over a dozen tech specs (battery life, video resolution, pixel density, etc.) and a variety of performance benchmarks (Geekbench, Basemark OS II, CamSpeed, DxO Mark, GFXBench, Broswermark).

How did you settle on these 22 brands?

We only included brands that sell products in at least four of the product categories we cover.

Which product categories did you include?

We covered a total of 22 product categories.

  • Digital cameras
  • Digital pianos
  • Dryers
  • E-readers
  • Fitness trackers
  • Game consoles
  • Headphones
  • Laptops
  • Motherboards
  • Processors (CPUs)
  • Printers
  • Refrigerators
  • Smartphones
  • Smartwatches
  • Solid state drives
  • Streaming media players
  • Tablets
  • Televisions
  • Vacuums
  • Video graphics cards
  • Washing machines
  • Wireless speakers

Most brands make products in just five or six of these categories. In contrast, Samsung, Sony, LG and Panasonic cover at least 10 each. The following chart breaks down the number of relevant categories for each of the 22 brands.

Why did you use standard deviation in the final ranking?

Some product categories (like tablets) feature a huge diversity of options, features and quality, leading to a wide range of ratings, from terrible (20/100) to phenomenal (100/100). Meanwhile, other product categories (like processors), have hundreds of similar offerings, with only minor differences in speed and performance, leading to a clump of close ratings.

As such, standard deviation allows us to determine which brands truly stand out (both positively and negatively), regardless of how clumped or widespread the ratings in each product category tend to be.

Key Takeaways

Amazon

Amazon emerges as the surprise winner, the brand with the most consistently high quality of the pack. The company’s secret? Restraint. Amazon doesn’t bother making products in categories where it can’t compete, which means few products drag down the brand’s overall score. The company is better than average across all categories, from e-readers (best in the business) to streaming media players (top tier) to wireless speakers (solid).

Yes, the Fire Phone was a verifiable sales flop, but the device wasn’t nearly as terrible as the tech world likes to remember. The handset can’t compete with the Samsung's Galaxy S6, but the Fire Phone is still a lot more capable than many of Samsung’s other devices, an assembly line of bloated hardware at basement pricing.

Apple

Apple checks in at No. 2, with stellar ratings in the categories you’d expect: phones, tablets, smartwatches and laptops. But the brand stumbles with streaming media players (the Apple TV) and headphones, enough to knock the Cupertino titan out of first place. Perhaps the new Apple TV can boost the company’s media player ratings.

Samsung

In contrast to Apple and Amazon—companies that carefully pick which product categories to pursue—Samsung pursues just about every market in the industry, from washing machines to printers to wireless speakers.

Here, Samsung’s home appliance bonafides stand out, with dryers and refrigerators ranking among the company’s most stand-out products.

For several other categories, Samsung’s hits (ex: the Galaxy S6) are weighed down by flops (ex: the Galaxy Grand Neo), typical of a company that follows a quantity-first mentality. But only when it comes to vacuums does Samsung truly stumble, coming far below average in an industry ruled by Dyson and Electrolux.

Hewlett-Packard

Near the other extreme of the spectrum is HP, the Palo Alto tech giant that just announced a 33,000-employee layoff. While HP’s products remain around average in two classic segments—printers and laptops—the brand has stumbled with smartphones and cameras. When your very best products are still only middle-of-the-road, that's not a good sign. As a result, HP winds up among the bottom three of our ranking.

Intel

When it comes to processors, Intel remains better than average—good news, given that so many mainstream laptops use Intel chips. Unfortunately, the brand falls short across other segments, from motherboards to solid state drives. Sometimes, it’s better to stick to what you’re good at, even if that’s just one thing. To Intel’s credit, they stopped producing motherboards in 2013.

The Most Crowded Product Category

At least among these 22 brands, the most crowded category isn’t smartphones or laptops, but tablets. The tablet industry appears to be a middle ground of sorts, a place where multiple tech titans can meet to compete in an enigmatic, unpredictable business. For now, Apple remains on top, while classic PC makers like Dell and Toshiba continue to struggle.

If there’s one company that seems to be building momentum, it’s Microsoft. Once a mobile outsider, the Redmond corporation has found a few new footholds with the Surface. That said, time will tell whether consumers actually start making the association. Sometimes, great products can be made in a year or two. But coaxing a positive gut reaction from consumers? That can take decades.

Compare Thousands of Tablets on SpecOut

Haute Tease

  • San Francisco Family Friendly Art Festival Celebrates Diversity

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Common Grounds, the free multi-week celebration of the arts celebrating our diverse city, held in the San Francisco Chronicle Parking Lot, and presented by Intersection for the Arts is proud to spotlight FAMILY DAY.

     
  • Beltway Insider: Trump/Saudi Sanctions; Khashoggi Ambushed; Brexit Redux; China Builds A Bridge; Crimea Erupts; Paul Allen

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Donald Trump, since the news Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had Washington Post journalist Jamel Khashoggi murdered, has skirted a hardline position reserving his usual assertive and uncompromising stance for mild rebukes while the world demands justice.

     
  • Eighth Journalist Murdered in Four Months as Drug Cartels Move to Control Media

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Javier Valdez, 50, an internationally recognized and award winning journalist covering drug trafficking in Mexico was gunned down, May 15, outside the Riodoce Newspaper office in Culiacan City, Mexico, marking the eighth journalist murdered in 2017 as tensions escalate.

     
  • HL Miami Pictures: Celebrities Join SunTrust International Center To Celebrate Multi-Million Dollar Relaunch

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Crocker Partners celebrated the re-launch of the SunTrust International Center on Thursday, October 15, where more than 150 commercial real estate brokers, local tastemakers and celebrities were introduced to the properties new world class facilities with a lavish invite-only cocktail party.

     
  • Nearly 400 Accidents in Four Hours As Rain Snarls LA's Morning Commute

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Over a four hour time period, Southern California Highway Patrol reported 365 car accidents were called in by shell-shocked LA drivers as the forecasted torrential rains disrupted the Thursday morning commute snarling the already bumper-to-bumper traffic.

     
  • Money News: DOW, NASDAQ, S&P; Top Ten World Markets Close Up

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The DOW Jones Industrial followed an identical trading pattern set in the early opening Asian markets to begin the week fluctuating with deep declines and by mid-week gaining strength and momentum to end the trading week up.

     
  • UPDATE: Fourth Victim, Cousin of Shooter, in Washington State School Shooting Dies;Brings Total to Five

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    The fourth student victim of the deadly shooting at Marysville-Pilchuck High School in Washington State, has claimed its fifth victim as parents and survivors are returning to school while trying to cope with the senseless tragedy.

     
  • Bridgegate Resurfaces with the Resignation of Jeff Smisek

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Jeff Smisek, the Chairman and CEO of United Airlines, stepped down yesterday amid the ongoing investigation into United's connection with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Former chairman of the Port Authority, David Samson, is known to have voted on United's projects at Newark Airport.

     
  • DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox Are Making Holiday Gift Giving More Fun

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    DreamWorks Animation and 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment is sending a sleigh full of gift giving ideas as the newest titles, hottest box office hits and all the familiar favorites hit the store shelves in time for shoppers to get a head start on the mad holiday rush.

     
  • Actor Scott Patterson Evokes Americana Diner Culture With Launch Of Scotty P's Big Mug Coffee

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Paying homage to the Americana diner culture and the universal liquid medium of family and friendship, actor/entrepreneur Scott Patterson, best-known as diner owner Luke Danes on the hit television series "Gilmore Girls," has launched Scotty P's Big Mug Coffee.  

  • I Am The Night Review - Palpable Intrigue As Secrets Become Exposed

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    I Am the Night, the upcoming TNT limited series directed in part by Patty Jenkins, tells the story of the infamous Los Angeles gynecologist, Dr. George Hodel, his family and the sinister secrets that bind them together.

     
  • Beltway Insider: UK Elections, Cameron Remains; ISIS Migrates to US; VE Day; Job Numbers; Ebola

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama, in response to tensions in Saudi Arabia, will meet this week at a Camp David Summit with Gulf Corporation Council partners for intense consultations on a wide range of issues including coalition support, security, and regional assistance.

     
  • Beach Bag Essentials for Your Staycation or Tropical Destination from Whole Foods Market

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Finally, summer is upon us and it is time to brighten up your beach tote even if it’s just for a day at the pool. Here’s a short list of Haute-Lifestyle.com’s favorite new beach bag essentials to help prepare you for sizzling summer days!

     
  • Beltway Insider: Russia Grants Snowden Asylum; Syrian Rebel Package; Global Terror Alert; July Job Numbers

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    President Obama saw a glimmer of economic hope last week as July Job numbers were released which showed a significant drop in the overall unemployment situation and slight gains in job creation and growth.

     
  • Four Day Old Baby, Two Toddlers Found Alive Among Ohio Execution Slaughter

    AddThis Social Bookmark Button

    Eight members of a rural Ohio family were found dead, early Friday morning, shot execution style as they lie sleeping, in multiple locations across a small area of Pike County. None of the victims appear to be the shooter.

 

Login Form