Expecting perfect electronic devices? Don't hold your breath

vbimport

#1

Expecting perfect electronic devices? Don’t hold your breath.

[newsimage]http://static.rankone.nl/images_posts/2010/11/Ed6aWz.jpg[/newsimage]There seems to be increasing numbers of complaints in the media about popular name-brand consumer electronics products with serious operational flaws, especially notebook computers and smartphones. What’s going on here?


Read the full article here: [http://www.myce.com/news/expecting-perfect-electronic-devices-dont-hold-your-breath-36266/](http://www.myce.com/news/expecting-perfect-electronic-devices-dont-hold-your-breath-36266/)


Please note that the reactions from the complete site will be synched below.

#2

Sign hanging in engineering offices around the world:

On time.
No flaws.

(Circle one).

#3

As a purveyor of Electronics, I agree, the quality isn’t there anymore. But neither is the price! Blame yourselves living in your WalMart society.
Everybody wants CEAP, CHEAP CHEAP! That is precisely what you’re getting.
Consumer Electronics are built to a price point and you are getting exactly what you’re paying for.


#4

I am not someone who rushes out to buy the latest and greatest (except for software) electronics products, mainly because I would rather wait for the price to come down to a reasonable level, and also because I try never to buy version 1.0.

For this reason, I usually don’t encounter the types of problems described in this article, and I suspect that the majority of consumers proably don’t either (except for Game controllers, of course). Being locked into a 2 year cell phone contract doesn’t hurt either. By the time I am ready for a renewal, I can usually buy a product that may not be the latest and greatest, and most expensive, but that is a considerable upgrade from my last one.

In a perfect world, all new products would be without fault, but this is not a perfect world. Better to wait 6 months for the bugs to shake out, and you will be a much more satisified consumer.


#5

To some, it’s a good strategy to try to avoid the v1 beta versions of products, but sometimes I just can’t wait! Flaws in electronics products don’t really upset me unless the manufacturer is unwilling to admit that the flaw exists (hello Apple). If the company is receptive, understanding and works quickly to offer a fix or replacement for a flawed product, I think that establishes even more brand loyalty from their customers.


#6

If a product would be flawless, would you ever buy its upgrade?


#7

[QUOTE=olddancer;2555957]As a purveyor of Electronics, I agree, the quality isn’t there anymore. But neither is the price! Blame yourselves living in your WalMart society.
Everybody wants CEAP, CHEAP CHEAP! That is precisely what you’re getting.
Consumer Electronics are built to a price point and you are getting exactly what you’re paying for.[/QUOTE]

Please, there is a lot of really expensive garbage out there. Yes, I do pay more for higher quality, and regardless of what I pay I expect it to work as advertised and for the purpose for which it was sold. By accepting less we just perpetuate the problem


#8

For me, I usually also wait 6 months to a year after a product comes out, for a few reasons, some pointed out above:

[ol]
[li]The price will most likely have come down since its launch. A few good examples include digital cameras, hard disks and so on. [/li][li]By this stage, the manufacturer will have some feedback from its customers, so flaws will likely be fixed at this stage. Note that not all product faults can be fixed with a firmware update. :disagree:[/li][li]Unlike a just released product, you generally will not get a price shock where the price falls significantly just month or two after its launch. [/li][li]Most importantly, online shops that sell the product will most likely have a decent list of user reviews built up. While professional reviews give you an idea of what a product is like (compared to competing versions), only end user reviews will give an idea of what the failure rate is like. [/li][/ol]

There are a few obvious catches with this method:

[ol]
[li]You need to wait a while before getting your hands on it, unless you can borrow one during this period.[/li][li]The product will likely be discontinued or superseded right after you buy it. A very good example is PC components, especially motherboards and Solid State Disk (SSD) drives.[/li][li]If it is a popular product, there is a possibility that the product may be more cheaply made than it originally was, which means that it may not be as good as the original version that was released.[/li][li]Some products do not come down in price, especially when it comes to software, except games. For example, Windows 7 was much cheaper to pre-order before its launch than it is to buy today and I’m sure it will not come down in price until it is discontinued.[/li][/ol]

What I do miss is hardware built to last, especially electrical appliances. Our first toaster and kettle lasted at least 15 years. Now we seem to be buying replacements once every year or two.


#9

[QUOTE=Blu-rayFreak;2555975]To some, it’s a good strategy to try to avoid the v1 beta versions of products, but sometimes I just can’t wait! Flaws in electronics products don’t really upset me unless the manufacturer is unwilling to admit that the flaw exists (hello Apple). If the company is receptive, understanding and works quickly to offer a fix or replacement for a flawed product, I think that establishes even more brand loyalty from their customers.[/QUOTE]

My words exactly, also, your post count is 777.

Though I agree with you completely, I have to say that it seems even when something is faulty with a product and it relies on the manufacturer, it ends up being out of warranty and for me, it’s always right out of the warranty no matter what, such as my M-Series Compaq, it was actually more my dad’s but I added on to it for him and one month out of the warranty, the CPU chipset goes bad, and it’s a big problem with that exact model but Compaq will only cover it if it’s under warranty, which does steam me a bit seeing as it’s a manufacturer fault.

But because of things like this, that’s why I trust mostly Dell PC’s for whole setups.

Unless I’m building a custom PC.


#10

[QUOTE=loanstar744;2556387]But because of things like this, that’s why I trust mostly Dell PC’s for whole setups.[/QUOTE]
Hmm, here I tell people to avoid Dell. I have seen a few cases where someone’s laptop failed within warranty. When I had a quick check, sure enough it was the hard disk at fault, so I would tell the person to call Dell. About a week later, the person would call me back saying the Dell person would absolutely not believe that the HDD was faulty, saying it was just a corrupt OS and got him to go through the recovery CD procedure. Of course a few days later, the laptop would fail again and all Dell support would do is put the person through yet another recovery CD procedure saying they didn’t do the recovery procedure right the first time. :doh:

I have also seen two cases where a Dell computer completely failed just outside of warranty (i.e. PC would switch on, but no activity, no beeps, etc.) For Dell’s quoted repair cost, it was much more worth while just buying a new computer or building your own and reusing the HDD, RAM, CPU, DVD Drives, etc. (where possible)


#11

I have also seen two cases where a Dell computer completely failed just outside of warranty (i.e. PC would switch on, but no activity, no beeps, etc.) For Dell’s quoted repair cost, it was much more worth while just buying a new computer or building your own and reusing the HDD, RAM, CPU, DVD Drives, etc. (where possible)

I’m convinced that modern electronics have a ‘Warranty Switch’ that starts ticking when you activate the device and is set to turn off a few days after 90…:wink:


#12

[QUOTE=Seán;2556389]Hmm, here I tell people to avoid Dell. I have seen a few cases where someone’s laptop failed within warranty. When I had a quick check, sure enough it was the hard disk at fault, so I would tell the person to call Dell. About a week later, the person would call me back saying the Dell person would absolutely not believe that the HDD was faulty, saying it was just a corrupt OS and got him to go through the recovery CD procedure. Of course a few days later, the laptop would fail again and all Dell support would do is put the person through yet another recovery CD procedure saying they didn’t do the recovery procedure right the first time. :doh:

I have also seen two cases where a Dell computer completely failed just outside of warranty (i.e. PC would switch on, but no activity, no beeps, etc.) For Dell’s quoted repair cost, it was much more worth while just buying a new computer or building your own and reusing the HDD, RAM, CPU, DVD Drives, etc. (where possible)[/QUOTE]

Yeah, I had HDD problems with older Dell’s, but I would always upgrade them to Hitachi Travelstar’s most of the time 40-60GB range.
But the reason I recommend Dell, is because I still have a Dell Latitude CPx from 2000 and it still works after being dropped, yanked off a table, battery being fried and it still works though it needs a new battery still.

I know a few people with newer Dell’s who like them and haven’t had many problems, but I’m always being told how bad customer service is.

But I also owned a few older Toshiba Satellites, one from about 2000 and the other from 2002 I still have both of them but they have there fair share of problems such as the backlight switch on the older one was bad, but the newer one got too hot cause of a Pentium 4 CPU and the internal wireless stopped working right after the warranty was up.

But a brand I won’t knock, is IBM, still have my IBM ThinkPad from 1999 with a 700MHz CPU and 1GB of DDR ram, with a 60GB Hitachi Travelstar and an 8MB ATi RAGE Mobility M1.
My sister cracked the screen, but it still works up to this day with no other problems. Same with with my IBM ServerPC, so one brand that I will always stick to, is IBM.


#13

[QUOTE=loanstar744;2556406]But the reason I recommend Dell, is because I still have a Dell Latitude CPx from 2000 and it still works after being dropped, yanked off a table, battery being fried and it still works though it needs a new battery still.[/QUOTE]

I forgot about the old Latitudes and Optiplex’s, as I remember those things did last. I remember dealing with a call out around that time (probably around 2000) where the person said that his modem was not working. I opened up his PC and to my surprise, the modem was completely fried (I mean as if it was blow-torched) and there were scorch marks on the sound card and on parts of the motherboard. He said that that a day earlier, there was a thunderstorm and his caller ID also stopped working and a puff smoke had risen from around that area where his PC was also located. When I checked the caller ID, sure enough, where the phone cord plugs into was all scorched, so obviously this meant he had lightning down the phone line.

One thing I can say is that I’ve never seen any other electronic item survive a power surge like that, especially with physical burn marks inside, including the soundcard which was also scorched. On the other hand, the PC lasted just a few more months as he did the mistake of leaving it plugged in during the next thunderstorm and that was the end of it. :doh:


#14

[QUOTE=olyteddy;2556400]I’m convinced that modern electronics have a ‘Warranty Switch’ that starts ticking when you activate the device and is set to turn off a few days after 90…;)[/QUOTE]

In a way this is true.

The companies use flawed components that barely make the lifespan of the promised warranty.

It is no wonder that while trying to mainatain quality (and thereforce less garbage) the EU has decided every device has at least two years of warranty. Even my € 9,99 toaster comes with two years of full warranty.

Now it’s no use repairing that a cheap toaster yourself, but back in the time of CRT televisions i had a handful of televisions repaired by technical experts.

On all of the malfunctions, there was a single electronic component (usually a diode) that was fried. This was a very cheap component.

When they repaired it with the more expensive (about 10 cents more expensive!) component, all repaired televisions never ever malfucntioned again. I could still use them today if i wanted to. Some of these televisions are well over 30 years old.


#15

[QUOTE=Seán;2556436]I forgot about the old Latitudes and Optiplex’s, as I remember those things did last. I remember dealing with a call out around that time (probably around 2000) where the person said that his modem was not working. I opened up his PC and to my surprise, the modem was completely fried (I mean as if it was blow-torched) and there were scorch marks on the sound card and on parts of the motherboard. He said that that a day earlier, there was a thunderstorm and his caller ID also stopped working and a puff smoke had risen from around that area where his PC was also located. When I checked the caller ID, sure enough, where the phone cord plugs into was all scorched, so obviously this meant he had lightning down the phone line.

One thing I can say is that I’ve never seen any other electronic item survive a power surge like that, especially with physical burn marks inside, including the soundcard which was also scorched. On the other hand, the PC lasted just a few more months as he did the mistake of leaving it plugged in during the next thunderstorm and that was the end of it. :doh:[/QUOTE]

Ah, they just don’t make’em like that anymore. The battery on mine would still be operational BUT, when the laptop was yanked off the table, the power adapter didn’t come out of place, instead the wires ripped out and sent a surge through the battery, the cells were fine but the board inside of the battery case was gone, it was scorched but there was a heat shield around the batteries which saved the laptop, I can’t imagine how bad that could have been if the batteries had exploded.
Also older Compaq Presario laptops, MAN, those things are like bricks, I have an 1997 Compaq Presario that was used for work such as running Diagnostic software for Vehicles and whatnot, but having it in the working bay meant it got dropped and banged a lot. Even to this day the case isn’t even cracked and it still works, just needs an HDD and a fresh OS.

But from what I’ve seen, even HP is a somewhat reliable brand, I’m actually using an HP (Forgot ID) Sub-Form compact from 2006, and I have never had a problem with it for four years. Hell, even it’s included 19in LCD Monitor hasn’t given me a problem.
Just that, it’s severely outdated.


#16

[QUOTE=olddancer;2555957]As a purveyor of Electronics, I agree, the quality isn’t there anymore. But neither is the price! Blame yourselves living in your WalMart society.
Everybody wants CEAP, CHEAP CHEAP! That is precisely what you’re getting.
Consumer Electronics are built to a price point and you are getting exactly what you’re paying for.[/QUOTE]

Oh the other hand, devices with a bit more quality are ridiculously overpriced, and no “longer-lived” than cheaper ones…


#17

Reminds me of the ‘good old’ Curtis Mathes TVs. They came with a 4 year guarantee. They were actually pretty poorly designed sets, but some marketer figured out how much the average 4 years of repairs cost, padded it by 25% and added that to the upfront cost. A lot of people fell for that.


#18

[QUOTE=loanstar744;2556406]
But a brand I won’t knock, is IBM, still have my IBM ThinkPad from 1999 with a 700MHz CPU and 1GB of DDR ram, with a 60GB Hitachi Travelstar and an 8MB ATi RAGE Mobility M1.
My sister cracked the screen, but it still works up to this day with no other problems. Same with with my IBM ServerPC, so one brand that I will always stick to, is IBM.[/QUOTE]

I just gave away my similar vintage T20 notebook, still working…

But before I gave it away I did a fresh OS install (XP-pro sp3)
on a low hour HDD.

Think pads are pretty rugged…

AD


#19

[QUOTE=AllanDeGroot;2556977]I just gave away my similar vintage T20 notebook, still working…

But before I gave it away I did a fresh OS install (XP-pro sp3)
on a low hour HDD.

Think pads are pretty rugged…

AD[/QUOTE]

Dell won’t fix my Laptop … less than 2 months after I received the damn thing, I noticed the case has cracked on one of the corners, near the hinge (separate to the structural plastic supporting the hinge though).

Dell have said I’m too rough with my laptop and refused to fix it for free, because it’s not covered by their $300+ “Total Warranty”.

I must be the gentlest bloke with my laptop … the damn thing only sits on my desk, and coffee tables at home, and is transported in a padded messenger bag otherwise. The other two laptops I had both survived 3 years of me hauling them around and whipping them out on planes & trains, and this fragile hunk-a-junk only does light duty.
Some of my companies electricians, which are rough as guts, have 3 yr old laptops which have been through hell … I’ve seen them dropped of tables onto concrete, buried under old light fittings & cable, and good old plaster dust being blown from the vents … and they keep on chugging along OK.

However, following a string of adapter breakdowns ( 3 adapters died in less than 2 months after purchase), a few laptops with non-working components on arrival, dells change of policy regarding shipping operating CD’s with systems, and generally garbage support, on my advice my company has reviewed our laptop purchasing policy. We really only buy about 6 laptops year, and 1/2 of them had broken components on arrival, or were unusable within a few months. FFS.

The new dell laptops need to come with “FRAGILE” written across the cover. It’s just the recent laptops which appear to be garbage. Previous dell laptops (purchases upto July 2009) have pretty much been robust and rarely had DOA components.


#20

It has been two years since I last bought a cellphone. I’ve never had a hardware issue with any of them, so this must be a relatively new problem. That, or you guys are just buying the wrong products. My first phone lasted for years; a Motorola product that went through numerous drops onto asphalt, snow, ice and into water. Same with the others and none of them ever failed. Perhaps I should hold off on any upgrades until the industry gets back on track.