What was once great, is Becoming one of the Worst.
We’ve all got our favorite type of computer, whether you’re a Mac User, Laptop, Desktop User, Custom gaming builder, or what have you, but there are some brands out there that just don’t make the cut for a lot of users. Today I’m going to tell you about one that I’ve noticed has dropped in quality over the last several years…that I actually used to recommend to people!
When you think of Cheap What Brand Comes to Mind?
Typically when I think of a cheaply made PC there are a few brands that come to mind. These days everyone has a differing opinion of what PC or device in general is not worth buying, or is cheaply made. You have your loyal apple crowd, and you have your PC crowd. It’s of course not just computers that I’m talking about in this instance, but for the sake of today’s topic, it will be. Thinking back over the last 20 years, the PC market has seen manufacturers come and go. There have been really good computers, and really cheaply made computers. When I think cheaply made I think back to the “Blue Light” computer my dad bought at K-Mart, claiming it was the “Same Kind of Machine they used in the store!” I remember even at a young age, he had so many problems with that computer, in comparison to my mom, who bought what was hot at the time, and got herself a Compaq Presario 5000T(This of course was back before Compaq was acquired by HP). Fast forward ten years from that point, and you have different manufacturers dominating the market, but how can you tell a good computer from a bad one in store? There’s not an easy answer to that unfortunately. Even some of the most well made machines used to come with cheap components that would fail after a few years, and that earned them a bad reputation, but computers are a necessity for many, and as such people keep buying them!
What are the best brands today?
It’s crazy to think in over the 10-15 years I’ve been doing this type of work, that my opinion has changed so many times on what the best brands of PCs are. I used to despise Dell because of their poor choice of hard drive component, but they’ve gotten over that hump, and are now putting out really good, solid machines. HP used to be my favorite, because they installed high quality components in their machines, and if well cared for, a machine could last you 10+ years if we’re talking about the laptop form factor. Even Lenovo, who was acquired from IBM, used to be one of my absolute favorites, and today…they’re just not making the cut. If I had to pick the two best brands to buy today, I’d probably recommend you to a Dell, or an HP, provided you stay within certain criteria, and in some circumstances, I’d even point you towards ASUS, a PC manufacturer that is now booming, and doing quite well in today’s market for good reasons.
So what is the worst Brand?
In my opinion one company that has suffered a fall from grace, and no longer makes machines worth purchasing is Lenovo. Lenovo used to be a fantastic manufacturer back when the collaboration with IBM made their computers strong, resilient, and still appealing to the eye. They had machines like the IdeaPad, the ThinkPad, and more that, while they were business class PCs, held up really well alongside Dell, and HP in that market. So, what’s the problem now? Well, it’s pretty simple. The product is just not the same. In terms of components put in the machines, Lenovo offers better than most, boasting powerful SSDs and a suitable amount of RAM, with generally the latest CPUs on the market. However these are not the only factors to be considered when deciding your next PC purchase. Most of the Lenovo PCs I’ve had poor experiences with all have one thing in common. The part of the machine that fails, is usually a part that’s manufactured by Lenovo themselves. In several instances I’ve seen the actual casing of the PC that houses the motherboard (with laptops) crack, and break, due to flimsy materials used to build the palmrest, and bottom cover. I’ve seen lids of laptops be the reason that the screen is cracked, because the rivets used to hold the Display housing break out of the plastic, forcing the screen to flex in a way it shouldn’t. I’ve noticed display cables failing, power supplies failing, and so much more. Now it is not unusual to see a PC in for service every now and again for something that’s broken, because life happens. You may drop your laptop, spill something on it, or have the dog run through to chase a ball, and yank it onto the floor shattering the case, or breaking the screen…as I said, it’s just life. However the issues that I notice with Lenovo concern me because they’re relatively consistent, and I’ve seen an uptick in recent days of laptops, and desktops alike that are have similar problems.
You could read above and probably think I’m complaining, but you wouldn’t have even heard that half of it. Sometimes I feel sorry for my wife because she has to hear me rant about such things, and she doesn’t care. If you look at the grand scheme of things, you would think, “Stop complaining, order new parts, and just be done with it!” Unfortunately…it’s also not that easy to order parts for these machines. Additionally, while I have fair prices, the labor to swap out a palmrest where the motherboard resides…gets a bit costly when you factor in all the little components that have to be unplugged/removed and how long it takes to do that. Customers shouldn’t have to deal with that on a 699 dollar computer, right? Right! The computer should be relatively solid, with no breaking from simply picking it up! Back to the matter at hand however, is parts availability for these machines. The issue that I’ve had with these Lenovo machines, is parts availability. I can offer the customer a reasonable part replacement cost, but my timeframes are always bumped higher with Lenovo machines because you cannot purchase new parts for it within the continental United States. While the parts aren’t available here, they can be ordered from overseas, and this is why my timeframes are so high for customers with Lenovo PCs. Due to Lenovo being a Chinese company, the lion share of the parts originate from this region, both for desktops, and laptops. The arrival of parts in a non-timely fashion however, isn’t the only problem!
A few months ago, I had the privilege of working with a customer that had a broken screen on a Lenovo All-In-One machine. Now if you’re unfamiliar with these machines, they are laptop parts, on the back of a giant laptop display, with a desktop processor. It’s all combined into one nice aesthetically appealing screen, for space saving benefits, as well as a professional look. The customer informed me that he had spent roughly 1200 dollars on the device, but that it was damaged when he was moving, and he was looking to have the screen replaced due to a crack and some lines running vertically down the screen. I didn’t know what I was getting into at the time. I had previously replaced a cracked display on an HP All-In-One and a dell All-In-One, so I was relatively familiar with the process, however I was able to get all of those parts here in the United States, so they arrived within 1-2 days for replacement. The first thing I did was disassemble the All-In-One in order to get the screen removed, which if you’re not familiar with the process, involves a complete teardown of the device, removal of all components, the motherboard, and close to 150 tiny little screws. After removing the screen I jumped online and started scouring the internet to find a replacement part for my customer. I tried my usual channels and suppliers but being they’re US based, they didn’t have any of these parts in stock. I finally located the display from a Chinese supplier, and was able to order the part, but the arrival date was a whole two months out from the date I placed the order. I informed the customer of the unfortunate news, and requested money up-front for the 300 dollar display(as is my policy for high dollar parts orders). He agreed, transferred me the funds, and I placed the order. I was pleasantly surprised to find about 3 weeks later that the order had arrived early! I excitedly opened up the screen, set up my desk for installation, ensuring I would be careful with installation to not crack the large thin display. After the display was installed, I flipped on the all-in-one excited to reach out to my customer and give them the great news of the new display arriving early, only to find that the new display that I ordered, had been cracked from arrival, even worse than his first display!
Needless to say I was frustrated, but I reached back out to the company, who sent me to the shipping company to file a claim, and go through the rigmarole. This took so much time, and I had to call the customer to inform them what was going on, because by the time I was issued a refund, it was beyond the time that the part would have originally arrived. Rather than purchasing another display from the same company, I ended up ordering a new computer off eBay for the customer, pulled the display out of it, and ate 200 dollars all because Lenovo is terrible at stocking parts.
Fast forward to this week, and I had a customer with a case that cracked when he held his laptop in his hands, causing his motherboard to flex, breaking the soldered memory on the board, essentially totaling the laptop, and an additional customer who has an EDP(laptop display cable) that went bad, that I’m now waiting to arrive from China as well. I have other examples where I’ve had to purchase parts from Israel, and China, and other places where I’ve had to wait copious amounts of time for those parts to arrive, but I won’t bore you with every story.
My warning to you
In conclusion…my warning to you is simply…Don’t buy a Lenovo computer! Whether it’s a desktop or a laptop, just don’t do it. It’s rare that as an IT guy I say to people to avoid a brand, because all brands have their good and their bad eggs, but overall Lenovo seems to have bad eggs, regardless of the PC you purchase. I’ve seen issues across desktops, laptops, all-in-ones and even some Lenovo smart home devices. If you’re interested in purchasing a new laptop, consider a nice Dell, or an HP, or something else that will take care of you for years to come, and if you have questions about the best PC to purchase for your needs, feel free to give me a call! I offer free advice, and I’m at Best Buy so regularly…we could even meet up and I could help you find one, free of charge. I would rather see you in a computer that we can fix in less than a week if your dog yanks on your charger, than one you’ll have to wait two months to get back, right at tax time.