Twitter complaint-tracking bot reveals most griped about tech products

A bot that tracked complaints on Twitter about best-selling laptops, tablets and other tech gadgets revealed the ones people most loved to hate. But an analyst says to take the results with a grain of salt.

A bot tracking Twitter complaints about electronic products found the Google Pixel 6 smartphone, HP laptops, and Apple’s iPad 6 were among the most groused-about tech products.

Electronics Hub, a products review website that also offers project information to electronics do-it yourselfers, said it used a “complaint detection tool” to analyze the sentiment of tweets about best-selling tech products. The review site published a report, “The Most Complained About Tech Products in Every Country," about its findings.

Electronics Hub's complaint-detection bot analysed thousands of tweets mentioning popular tech products and gave each a score based on the percentage of tweets that featured a complaint.

Among laptops, HP’s models accounted for 29.1 per cent of negative tweets, Lenovo was second with 28.8 per cent, and Dell  laptops, third, with 25.5 per cent of gripes. Apple laptops appeared to have faired relatively well, with just 17 per cent of complaints.

Under the heading, “Americas Most Hated Tech Products,” Apple’s iPad 6 topped all other tablets with the highest percentage of gripes. “Eight of our top 10 most complained about tablets are from Apple iPad Series, the report stated. “But, it is the sixth-generation iPad that causes the most distress with 33.3 per cent of all tweets about the product.”

The seventh-generation iPad came in a close second with 27.9 per cent of negative tweets.

“Venting about a gadget may save you from destroying that gadget. Yelling on social media might even win sympathy from a real, live human – and warn them from investing in the same pricey tech product,” Electronics Hub said in its report.

Other products topping the gripe list included: Microsoft Xbox Series X gaming console; Realme Buds headphones; Fitbit Charge 4 wearable; GoPro Hero8 Black camera; and the Philips Hue Bridge smarthome device.

Realme Buds headphones drew 33.8 per cent of complaints, while OnePlus Earbuds drew 22.8 per cent of gripes. Bose headphones came in third with 21.2 per cent.

The bot garnered data from Twitter users in 22 countries, and found Apple iPhones or Airpods also drew the ire of some. “Alongside claims of poor sound quality and crackling, Airpod wearers have grips with the products design – with pods simply falling out of wearers’ ears, especially when running,” Electronics Hub said.

Electronics Hub curated its list of the most popular and best-selling tech products from sites such as Forbes and TechRadar. It then gathered tweets for each product using a Twitter API.

“We designed a complaint detection tool that can be found on Github that determines the percentage of likelihood of a tweet about a product being a complaint,” Electronic Hub said on its website.

Jack Gold, principal analyst at research firm J. Gold Associates, said he takes reports like Electronic Hub’s with a grain of salt for several reasons, one of which is people upset about something are more likely to comment, making it a self-selecting group.

Additionally, reports like Electronic Hubs “are totally unscientific.”

“There is no control over who the tweeters are, neither is there any way to see if they are just prone to complaining or have a legitimate gripe,” Gold said. “And…many people take to twitter to complain, while very few take to twitter to praise.”

While Gold didn’t necessarily disagree with some of the report’s findings, (in fact, he feels HP laptops are the most troublesome), Twitter hardly represents a realistic view of all laptop buyers, he said.

“It also doesn’t necessarily represent the most tech savvy users,” he said. “So, that weighs down the results as not the average consumer.”

Finally, market share plays a role. For example, while iPhones may have garnered a larger group of complaints, they also represent largest market share of smartphones.

“It’s actually surprising that the Pixel had so many complaints, given its relatively small share of the mobile market,” Gold said. “It would be more meaningful if the number of complaints was analysed as a percentage of market share.”

In other words, if Apple has 10 times Google’s share, essentially each complaint would be equal to one-tenth of that of a Google complaint.