My first portable had a 6" crt, the size of a sewing machine
I've lived with a portable of some sort with me every day, everywhere, since 1981, including more than 3.5 million miles on airlines with it. I was for a long time the only person on the plane with a computer. The only one I can recall that did not need repairs at some time was the early line of thinkpads, but I also had those that needed repairs. So I've run the gamut of companies and laptops.
It is my experience that any computer can and will break down. The support I have gotten seems to be entirely dependent on my luck at finding someone at that company that gives a darn. If I find an empathetic person, I get my problem resolved, and if not, I end up with a frisbee into the lake. Actually, I have a closet with 6 different dead laptops, and a variety I've thrown away.
I find right now I'm in the throes of agony again, having spent more than a month trying to find such a kind person at Asus, and my outlook appears to be that I will return to Costco and buy another brand.
Others have mentioned that Costco Concierge Service helps, and I agree - before I enlisted their help, I could not get beyond the first line of defense (where the person reads robotically from a scripted response page and does nothing else), to someone that likewise has scripts they are required to read and follow. I gather from reading the responses here that this method is pretty much the industry norm now.
I used to enjoy a person level of contact and service from the IBMers here in Austin, once I drove my brand new thinkpad to a trailer on their lot in north Austin where the OS/2 dweebs were, so that they could get their hands on the hardware in order to adapt OS/2 to their own company's hardware since they could not get one any other way. I bought computers from Dell before it was called Dell, and used to talk with Michael during meetings "in the day". A lot has changed as far as after-sales service is concerned. I think you and I are simply at the mercy of fates - do not buy something you can not afford to walk away from in order to buy another one. Expect to be let down, to argue, whine & cheese party it, lay down on the floor and throw tantrums in a verbal sense, and yes, occasionally, get someone at *any* company's tech service that is willing to act like an empathetic human being and get you out of your misery. Just don't expect it - the profit margins are apparently too thin for companies to feel the need to render excellent after-sales service, despite the warranty stated or implied.
Sorry to be a downer, but realistically, that's my experience lo these many years on the bleeding edge (yes, that's my blood on that edge). Ahh, for the golden days of Comdex in the 80's, and CompuServe, where I could enforce order and manners in my forum....Elf'ing someone nowadays is impossible!
A final bit of advice. The day you do buy a new computer, start putting a few dollars away when you can, in order to be able to afford to go right out and buy a new one the day it dies. Then send it in for service, and buy that new computer. If you strike gold and the company does right by you with their service, SELL the just-refurbished model for a reasonable price, and move on with the newer model (that is still in warranty<G>).
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