Things are going to loosen up financially for me in a few months. I am already eyeballing some much needed technology. First is a new computer. Now I have a bit of experience with PCs and I have to say that I'm a fan. However, I am not a fan of the PC industry and my particular bone of contention has to do with technical service. I have owned two Dell computers. A desktop and a laptop. In both instances, I purchased expensive, long-term service plans. What I have found when I attempted to contact Dell for technical service is a frustrating, nearly infuriating conversation with an undertrained representative who cannot: A) deviate from a script despite all attempts to get them to THINK, and B) deal with a problem that doesn't fit the mold. I have sworn more times than I care to remember that this will be the LAST DELL I EVER OWN. My laptop has had its screen replaced, the mother board replaced (2X), and every bit of it's internal goodies (except the DVD drive) replaced. When you can finally get them to send out a technician, they basically rebuild your computer so they never have to come back.
So yeah, I guess service support is pretty important to me. So which companies are better than Dell? Turns out none of them are. Dell, HP, Acer, Sony. When it comes to customer service, apparently they have all farmed their work to India and have opted not to employ technicians but customer service employees who can't help you. All of them. I mean, I flat out can't find a maker of personal computers with what I consider to be a minimally acceptable level of technical service.
There's Apple. Apple has skyscraper customer service satisfaction.
Have you seen what a f*&@#$ng Mac costs? I'm getting a raise, not an AIG bonus.
So what then? Well, beats me.
On the one hand I have a rarely used HP desktop sitting in my rarely used "office". I could take that computer to work and free up a room for...well, whatever. Maybe I should go without a laptop. Maybe I should de-emphasize my non-professional computer use. Maybe I should get a life outside of this little box.
Without this shining connection to a digital world, I'd have a freakin' panic attack. So, I've been toying with the idea of purchasing a small, inexpensive, technology-light laptop for little more than blogging, internet cruising, and DVD watching at home. The watchwords being: cheap and portable. No more dedicating a room to a machine. No more carting a machine back and forth to work. Just buying an inconspicuous little notepad of a computer and calling it done. And (hold your breath, friends and neighbors), not buying the extended service contract at all. Treating this little new toy as ....disposable (gasp).
OK, I can hear all the environmentalists gripping their armchairs as I speak. But what else am I to do? They have backed me into a corner by making their customer service so atrociously abhorrent. Do you hear that Dell? And HP? And Sony? Listen up all you PC makers. Your customer service is so bad that I am now treating your product with as much deference as a disposable camera. Do not expect me to purchase on the high end of your product offerings for this reason and this reason alone.
Given that I have just knocked customer service out of my buying decision, I am now looking at product quality. Longevity. Problem free.
Well, there's the Dell Inspiron 15. Approximate cost $550. Cheap bastard version.
15.6" screen. 4G memory. 250G hard drive. DVD player. 6 cell battery and a one year limited warranty that I am sure isn't worth the paper it's printed on. I can save myself $60 by scaling back to 3G memory and a 4 cell battery, but that is just tethering yourself to a wall socket.
Apple MacBook. Exact cost: $1299.00. Pretentious bastard version.
I don't care what you have inside the box. If I can't drive it home at that price, it ain't coming home with me.
HP Pavilion Mini. Approximately cost: $600. They killed Kenny--You bastards! version
Intel Pentium Dual Core Processor T4200. 1GB memory. 160GB hard drive. DVD. Nothing said about the battery.
Sony VAIO NS Series Notebook. Cost $780. Whoa. There was a reason I bought from Dell, you overpriced bastards! version
You know, I'm really rather disappointed in the Sony price. I would actually be willing to try that computer. Maybe I'll get lucky and the price will plummet just before I'm ready to buy. But don't you hate when your set yourself up for a disappointing finish? I said that cheap and dependable were the deciding factors and since I can't tell diddly about dependability, that leaves price. And Dell beats the pants off them all. Damn. I hate that company.
Please. Someone. Tell me there is an alternative. Tell me Sony is so much more that I will never dream of buying another Dell. Save me from Dell Hell.