About three months ago, I purchased a new laptop from B&H Photo and decided to splurge a little and buy a $400 device instead of the typical Acer $190 throw-away laptops that I typically purchase. I chose this new model for several reasons: 1. It had a touch screen 2. It had a large hard drive. This, of course was to aid my research for my Unschooled Master of Theology Program as I needed a new bible software program (which I reviewed already), and I was really tired of running out of hard drive space for my off grid trips to Eden.
Anyway, lets take a look at some of the benefits of this new system, and also some of the problems that have developed (and also what B&H and Acer said about fixing them).
Three months is really not very long for a computer to start falling apart…
What I Liked
When I first got this laptop in the mail from B&H Photo I was a little frustrated (actually a lot frustrated) by the company’s insistence that I sign for the delivery. I get their rationale, but I cannot hear people at my door, and the UPS and Fed Ex drivers usually just drop off packages at my door and go on about their day. But, because B&H required a signature, I had to wait an extra day for deliver and then had to sit outside my front door all day until they arrived.
It was infuriating!
But, despite this, I really liked the laptop. I hoped the convertible option between a laptop and tablet would allow me to do math problems in tablet mode. I even purchased a stylus for the laptop, but, it did not work well at all. Maybe it’s just me, but I could not get used to writing on the screen, and could not rest my palm on the screen without activating it. Thankfully the stylus was only $10.
I found a different way to do math on my computer in laptop mode using a new software program, so it worked out. But I did discover I have little use for a touch screen laptop. Lesson learned.
I REALLY loved the large 1 TB hard drive. I purchased this configuration expressly so I could install the Accordance Bible Program, which, for whatever reason, hasn’t figured out how to install or operate from a thumb drive yet, despite having this technology for many years already.
But, with a large harddrive, I can download as many TV Shows and Movies I want, class lectures, audiobooks, etc as I want. I can download enough Youtube videos to last me all week at Eden now, which is really good since internet is rather spotty on the property.
What I Did Not Like
Now, let me talk about what I did not like. As I’ve already mentioned, I really found no use for the touchscreen, though, this is simply because I like using the keyboard rather than a touch screen. I did not use the conversion to tablet mode for reading ebooks as I thought I would. The laptop configuration works much better for me, as it allows quick access to the keyboard, while still displaying the book reader in large text.
The other thing I didn’t particularly care for was the weight. Apparently having that extra hard drive space comes at a cost. The laptop is heavy!
But, despite this, it does work well. It’s fast. It turns on quickly. It runs everything I need (including bloated software programs), and the fan actually works to my benefit in my hammock in warming me up a little.
The last thing I did not like was the FALSE advertisement concerning battery power. All the advertising and documentation boasted 14 hour battery use, which I knew meant it had to be stripped down and turned on the lowerest screen brightness possible. But, in my testing, even at the lowest setting, I can only get 9 hours out of it, consistently. If I actually close the lid for awhile with video or audio playing (say I’m cutting firewood down in my workshop and the laptop is up in the shelter, but I’m using bluetooth headphones), when I open the lid back up, the battery meter jumps up to 13 or 14 hours left. So, the screen really sucks the power, even on the lowest brightness setting.
But, it’s not 14 hours from regular operation. And who is going to use a $400 laptop as a glorified mp3 player? I have a smart phone for that.
Starting to Fall Apart Already
Now to the real problems that have developed over the last few weeks. One day, and I’m not exactly sure when, I noticed the screen was wobbling back and forth whenever I moved in my recliner. That drove my curiosity, and I quickly discovered one of the screws on the back of the machine had pulled through so the corner of the back case was no longer attached. This left a separation between the top case and the bottom, and also (I assume) caused the wobbling of the screen.
Warranties are Worthless
After I got back from Eden on Friday, I got online and connected with the Chat people for B&H Photo. They quickly swore off all liability and directed me to Acer for Warantee information.
I found Acer’s online Chat and quickly got someone to answer (I love chatting with customer service over calling on the phone). They were more than happy to help, but I would have to schedule a repair and ship the laptop to their service center which would take weeks before I got the unit back.
I tried to explain to the rep this wasn’t an option since I needed the computer every day and had no backup. I asked if they could just send me a replacement back case, which they quickly rejected, stating if I wanted it covered under warrantee it would need to be shipped in (which, I can only assume, is the racket, since they know most people don’t want to ship their laptop away for weeks at a time).
So, I started poking around online and quickly found a replacement bottom case for my model and ordered it for $20. I still have to wait the two weeks for the delivery to arrive, but at least I’ll be able to keep using the laptop while I wait.
Unfortunately, I don’t believe this broken bottom case is causing the wobbly screen. I think the hinges are faulty and have loosed (yeah, I know, only three months). I will see what happens when I replace the bottom case, but I don’t have high hopes.
No Recommendation Here
In the end, it is ridiculous that I’m having structural issues with this system only 3 months after I purchased it. Couple that with my realization that I have no use for a touch screen and all I really need is a beefed up hard drive to support offline use and software requirements, my next computer will hopefully be much cheaper.
The fact that Acer will not stand behind their products and uses their stupid and transparent catches to squirm out of fixing faulty parts is testimony to the reality that there is no actual warrantee support today. It’s all a sham. I’m hoping this laptop will last me awhile, but it’s pretty bad when a $169 laptop outperforms and outlasts their $400 version.
Until my next review….
Please consider supporting my writing, my unschooled studies, and my hermitic lifestyle by purchasing one or more of my books. I’m not supported by academia or have a lucrative corporate job – I’m just a mystical modern-day hermit trying to live out the life I believe God has called me to. So, any support you choose to provide is GREATLY appreciated.
Excerpt from Seeking Light Aurora:
Thomas opened the front door of the diner and leaned inside, holding himself up by the door frame.
“What’s the matter?” Terrance said, looking away from Peg and Carol. They were all huddled together at the counter.
“Her truck is still freaking out. I’ll try to keep her busy for as long as I can, but I’m running out of ideas.”
He looked over at Derrick who was quietly sitting at the back booth reading one of his books.
“You’ve got to keep her busy,” Terrance said. “We don’t have any other choice.”
“Look –” Thomas hesitated. “This isn’t all on me you know. I’ve already told you. I don’t know jack shit about trucks or engines. I’m sure as hell not a mechanic.”
“It’ll be fine,” Peg said.
“We all know there’s nothing I can do to fix that truck.” Thomas was shaking his head. “She’s going to figure out that something’s up. What if she starts asking questions?”
“Stall her,” Terrance said. “We just have to keep her busy for a little while. Remember, whatever it takes.”
“But, what about –” Carol had tears welling up.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves,” Terrance said. “We’ve all been through this before.” He looked at Thomas. “Just take a deep breath and relax.”
“Relax my ass,” Thomas said. “Save that bullshit for her, okay?”
“Just keep her occupied in the garage as long as you possibly can. She’s focused right now on getting her truck fixed, so use that.”
“Whatever you say.” Thomas pushed off the door frame and let the door close behind him.
“It’s not going to work,” Carol said. “She’ll figure out something is wrong and that will be it.”
Terrance put his hand on Carol’s arm, gently trying to reassure her.
“It’ll work, Carol,” he said. “Have faith. It’ll work. Whatever it takes.”
Buy my book Seeking Light Aurora to find out what in the world is going on at this strange, out of the way diner in the middle of the Alaskan wilderness!
But, you better strap in, because this is definitely not child’s play. People are getting hurt right and left – it just might be you next!