Month: November 2004

Just how hard is it to buy a laptop?

I’ve been looking around trying to find a laptop, as cheap as possible but with a decent spec – probably around the £500 mark (plus the dreaded vat) and £100 for office. I had shortlisted it down to a dell, acer or samsung and Hi-grade. I’ve only had favourable experiences on the samsung, having used 2 of other peoples, heard horror stories of dell (but they are so big,disasters are likely to occur occasionally) and acer, a reseller friend says they are a lot better than they were 6 years ago when we purchased 4 and all 4 had to go back for repair (and only 1 still works). Higrade won a recent laptop comparison in PcPro. And scarily, this is the narrowed down selection. I know Neil commented about the Ferrari Acer and said it was really expensive, but like the car and the rest of the fashion world you are paying for the name (and in this case the bright red flash and a prancing horse).
Anyway, I sent an email to higrade, querying the price and a week and a half later I’ve not heard anything. Trying to determine which of the acer laptops are cheap is impossible when you look at their laptop site.They have 22 models all with buzz/marketing words describing them, but none telling you which are the budget laptops or the differences between them without looking at the individual pages, 1 by 1. Could you tell the difference between “advancing the innovation of ultraportability”, “widening multimedia connectivity”, “unwired innovation”, “streamline your unwired world” and “mobilize your workplace”? At least 4 of those imply wireless networks and not a lot else to choose between them.
So I settled on the Samsung and saw two good deals on the simply website. However both descriptions say that wireless is an option but don’t really say whether it is included(it does if you look closely) and both say that you can have xp home OR pro but the price is only for home. A quick email to [email protected], their published contact and email address, asking for more details returns the response “Thank you for you email and thank you for choosing Simply Computers. Unfortunately we are unable to answer sales enquiries via email. ” I’ve left the spelling mistake in on purpose. What I really can’t understand is why publish a sales@ email address if you are not going to answer the queries and if you are going to send back a form letter, then at least make sales@ an autoresponder so that I don’t have to wait 2 days to get the reply! They do then give me the option of ringing their (national rate) phone number to place an order. Sorry Simply, but thats simply not good enough customer service.