i wonder if lenovo will do better…

March 21, 2005

i finally got my shiny new work laptop today, an ibm t42p. it’s got all the fixin’s including a 15″ 1600×1200 screen, 1GB of RAM, 128MB of graphics memory attached to an ATI mobility fire gl t2 chip, and a 60GB 7200RPM hard drive. so far, i’m really liking this machine but i’m pretty annoyed with my purchasing experience.

the first problem (though minor) was that ibm’s website sucks. if i hadn’t been set on this laptop, i would’ve just said forget it and went to dell.com. not only is the website unnecessarily slow, but there’s an extremely limited selection available online and the product information is scattered everywhere. i literally had to open up 4 or 5 browser tabs just to compare the specs for two laptops. since i’m a big thinkpad fan, i’m able to gruel through this, but you’d think they’d make the purchasing process as smooth as possible. after all, they want people to buy their products don’t they?

the next problem was that it took forever to get the laptop. the only customization i put on it was to upgrade the wifi to 802.11b/g (the default config only had 802.11b). seemed like a pretty vanilla order to me, but it took them a full 10 business days to ship the thing out. maybe i’ve just been spoiled by dell, but what’s up with ibm’s supply chain? the worst part was that when i called up to check the status of my order, the reps had no idea when my laptop would be ready. one rep would tell me that my laptop would ship in a week and then another would say that there were hundreds in queue and it would be until next month.

<side rant>speaking of slowness, anyone notice how laggy blogger is nowadays? *sigh* all the more reason to host my own blog i suppose…</side rant>

the last – and by far the worst – problem was that they shipped me the laptop without installing the 802.11b/g card. at first i figured this wasn’t going to be a big deal; on my t30, it’s extremely easy to access the miniPCI slot. however, after much head scratching, i finally looked online and found out that i would have to pretty much take the entire thing apart to install my wifi card. i had to slide out the battery, take out 20 screws, pop out the keyboard and remove the palm rest bezel just to get to the slot. it took a good 45 minutes, but after much tinkering, i finally got the 802.11b/g in there and put everything back together. i mean, if you’re going to take 2 weeks to ship a laptop, at least put the wifi card in there!

so all in all, i’m really liking the laptop, but lenovo really has its work cut out for them. if they manage to improve the purchasing experience while maintaining thinkpad’s legendary quality bar, they should do quite well – but i’m sure that’s easier said than done 😀


9 Responses to “i wonder if lenovo will do better…”

  1. ekapa Says:

    laptops are a man’s best friend. in the not too distant future, i plan to replace my toshiba. let me know how yours performs with time.

  2. Aayush Puri Says:

    It’s true that Blogger.com is facing some performance problem. Have a look at:

  3. Croydon Says:

    Battery, 20 screws, keyboard!!! Maybe it took them two weeks to figure out they didn’t know how to put the card in!!

  4. Randy Says:

    Um, I’ve run PC’s with cases and even I won’t do a thing on the inside of a notebook without pulling the battery first. I would be pissed about them not installing the card before shipping…

    Also, it’s ten screws to replace the WiFi card. It’s the same ten screws if you opt to update the modem and add Bluetooth to it or swap the internal RAM SODIMM. They have another SODIMM socket that is “external” (one screw) and the HD drawer is also one screw.

    Personally, having had a bunch of Toshiba’s and Sony’s before my T41, I was thrilled that IBM encouraged me to do my own upgrades/repairs… I’ve had to call them already for a replacement keyboard and wrist rest: covered under warantee and I got them within 24 hours of requesting them. I’m hoping Lenovo is able to keep up the same level of service.

  5. Duane Says:

    i had no idea that ibm had such horrible supply chain problems. i’m also a proud owner of a thinkpad (in fact, i’m on one now!) and the quality of ibm service that i’ve received has always been superior. i guess that times are changing…

  6. ~cl Says:

    Hmm…well IBM did recently redesign their website to better compete with Dell. Looks like they still have some work to do. Perhaps these supply chain problems are a result of the transfer of the PC business to Lenovo. Either way, ThinkPads rule! =)

  7. skyphix Says:

    WE use IBM’s at work… almost exclusively (the President still insists on his Sony for asthetics and we have a couple of other lingering Sony’s around the office). Luckily, through our sales rep (CDW) we get our laptops very quickly… usually in 3 to 4 days from order time even if we do add some other items. Repair is quick too… but I guess 12 hour Onsite response generally is.

    Personally, for work Im stuck with an R40, but all of our new Sales Reps as well as my manager use T42s’ built nearly to the specs of yours… mine 512mb of ram. Very nice laptop!

  8. [rux] Says:

    Same bad experience (or even worse) happened to me with my Apple Powerbook. On first shipment they sent me PB with 64MB VRAM instead of 128MB of VRAM. Second shipment, they sent me PB with 128MB of VRAM but only with 512MB of RAM instead of 1GB like I ordered. The worst thing is, they didn’t say sorry at all.

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