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Old 01-31-2018, 03:14 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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meaningless laptop reviews

Gosh I feel a need to complain about this somewhere. Might as well be here.

There are piles and piles of laptop products out there. Looking at Acer's website alone, they were offering no less than 40 products in 13 categories! That doesn't help me make a purchase decision. So I went to Asus's website instead, which wasn't all that different.

I was at their sites because some reviewers had rated some of their products positively. But looking at more review sites, it seems like most products get 4, 4.5, or 5 stars anyways. That doesn't exactly speak of objective information. Someone's product is probably bad. Why no reviews that say, yep this sucks, don't even think about buying it? Well I figure it's becasue the manufacturers feed the reviewers with evaluation units. Bad reviews = no more evaluation units = difficult to make a living doing reviews.

Maybe some of the reviewers are doing something passive aggressive. Like complaining about stuff in fairly blunt terms in the text of the review, but still giving a score that tallies to "80% or above, 4 out of 5 stars". Problem is reading through all the text is exhausting. And then there are so many piles of products coming down the pipe, the review information becomes obsolete fairly quickly.

I know that in the mattress industry, the ticking on the mattresses is deliberately changed all the time. So that it can become a "new" product, so that Consumer Reports etc. can't easily identify the product for the conusmer. They've written a review about "something else". In the tech industry there may be more genuine change driving the churn of products. But I see no less incentive to confound the consumer, so that we don't have much information to go on.

Maybe I'll switch tactics and spend less time listening to "professional" reviewers, and more time looking at the worst reviews on Amazon for any given product. Sometimes they're just whiners who don't know anything about tech. Sometimes they reveal a lot about what a product's real liabilities are. Something other than the "happy spin" most professional reviewers put on to keep those evaluation units coming.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:32 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanevery
Maybe I'll switch tactics and spend less time listening to "professional" reviewers, and more time looking at the worst reviews on Amazon for any given product.

Glad I did that! This $350 Acer laptop that all these reviewers liked and gave Editor's Choice for a budget laptop, 25% of the Amazon reviewers said was complete junk. Missing pixels on screens, lines through screens, motherboards that die, hard drives that die shortly after purchase, it went on and on. 2,900 reviewers and 25% were giving 1 star reviews.

The only thing this laptop is supposed to do, is be a "reliable backup" for my Mom when her main computer has trouble. Well, that certainly didn't make the grade.
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Old 01-31-2018, 04:41 PM
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~JMW~ ~JMW~ is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

I'd stick with a reliable name brand, and look for reviews on the manufacturer side of things..
If they overall are good with warranty, customer service , response time...vs any specific laptop reviews..
Most internal parts are somewhat generic anymore..
And consider if any upgrade can be done later on.. some cheaper ones probably are limited on that.

My main focus is how does the keyboard feel for me..I have RSI so ergonomics & comfort is big..
The how it feels overall how it is put together..solid or flimsy hinges/latches. that sort of thing..
I have a refurb older Dell laptop as my back up & portable use, a desk top is my main use....
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Old 01-31-2018, 08:09 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by ~JMW~
My main focus is how does the keyboard feel for me..I have RSI so ergonomics & comfort is big..
The how it feels overall how it is put together..solid or flimsy hinges/latches. that sort of thing..

I found some reviewers who do go over those kinds of details, especially the measured brightness and quality of the screen output. Gotta protect my Mom's eyes. Where I feel let down, is these reviewers don't seem to deal with or address the numerous problems that people report with various products after they get them. Well I guess that's Amazon's job nowadays, for better or for worse.

Acer isn't an unknown brand. I'm disappointed to find out their build quality is shoddy, but not entirely surprised. I didn't historically remember them to be "best of breed". Next up on the chopping block will be Asus. Got a very good monitor for my Mom from them, but don't know if their laptops are similarly good. Also upping the provisional budget to $500, as I suspect $350 simply won't buy a reliable laptop.

My Dad and I just had a totally bonehead / useless experience with Dell warranty support, for a wifi adapter in a 1 year old desktop. The tech displayed gross incompetence, telling us to install a Bluetooth driver instead of a wifi driver. That might have been forgiveable as a slip of the typing finger, but he didn't get back to us for another 12 days either. In that time I arrived, and as an uber-techie, eventually found his mistake. And, applying the wifi driver didn't solve the problem anyways. Dad sent a letter about how pissed off he was, had bought 4 previous Dell systems, wanted reimbursement for the external Netgear adapter we went and bought to finally solve the problem. Dell blew him off, with the typical polite "we value you as a customer" language. So Dad's returning the favor and won't be buying Dell next time.

I'm certain, BTW, that it was Microsoft's "Fall Creator's Update" that blew up Dad's wifi. Problems started happening in November 6 days after MS pushed that update to Dad's computer. This is the new normal: MS breaking people's computers with their updates. They broke the graphics drivers on 1 of my 2 old laptops, but I tech guru'd my way out of it. I had to learn black magic to suppress specific driver updates to put it right, and they still overrode it later on. Fortunately it happened to work the 2nd time around, after I re-did the fixes.

I suspect that they broke my Mom's computer somehow, with the inability to turn it back on again, very slow startup times, etc. It sounded like an overheating problem. I'm not sure exactly what they did, or what I did to fix the problem. I uninstalled a lot of startup apps, and disabled various MS startup services. MS causes pain to consumers, then quietly covers their tracks a few months later. I have the "Pro" versions so I can delay the updates for 4 months, but eventually they hit my machines too.

Last edited by bvanevery : 01-31-2018 at 08:24 PM.
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Old 02-01-2018, 12:57 AM
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~JMW~ ~JMW~ is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

You can't talk parents in to trying Linux?? Or is what they have still under warranty?
Zorin lite is very much like a basic windows , Linux lite is on our laptops..Mint Mate on desktop..these are our favs after trying so many over the last 10 yrs or so..

I used to use MS services list suggestions by the black viper -
http://www.blackviper.com/
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Last edited by ~JMW~ : 02-01-2018 at 01:00 AM.
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Old 02-01-2018, 03:08 AM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

My Linux experience is extensive and hasn't added up to "inflict it on my Mom". I don't consider it to be a consumer's OS. Even if everything actually worked, which is a situation I often doubt, when the underlying system is "rather different" and geared towards a techie, that's not a good fit for a non-techie like my Mom in my opinion. She's impatient with mechanical devices by nature and doesn't even give Windows enough time to actually work. Sometimes I come in the room when she's hollering and there's no actual problem, it clears up in another 30 seconds. Or she was "chopping at it" and if she just took a deep breath, she would have been fine.

My Dad on the other hand, he's a fairly technical Photoshop user, but he's not remotely as technical as I am. He was laboring under the false belief that the Bluetooth driver package included a wifi driver rolled up in there somewhere. AFAICT there was no actual basis for this belief; yes a vendor could do it that way, but there were 2 different drivers on the site with different release notes and driver versions if you drilled down into the details. I don't blame him, he's supposed to have support from Dell and they're supposed to know what they're doing. Gross incompetence on their part didn't occur to him.

Whereas in my case, everyone is assumed to be grossly incompetent until proven otherwise. I assume people didn't plug computers into walls, I go over everything from the most very basic and work forwards. Which is how I find out about other people's actual gross incompetence. I must say I was still pretty pissed, I didn't think Dell had slid as a company that far.

Last edited by bvanevery : 02-01-2018 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 02-05-2018, 02:30 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

Mom eventually figured out that she really didn't want a laptop at all, that she prefers her big desktop monitor upstairs and her chair.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bvanevery
My Dad and I just had a totally bonehead / useless experience with Dell warranty support, for a wifi adapter in a 1 year old desktop. The tech displayed gross incompetence, telling us to install a Bluetooth driver instead of a wifi driver.

I tried extremely hard to avoid specifying a Dell desktop for my Mom, but for "basic" machines with 7th generation Intel processors and integrated graphics, they pretty much dominate the market for that right now. Probably because nobody can figure out how to make money off a simple box. Tried to configure Lenovo but their consumer lines had old parts, especially old graphics cards that aren't wanted. Their business lines only had DisplayPort and Mom's got a brand new HDMI monitor. Other vendors are even junkier than Dell, particularly HP, can't make me go there. So sadly, Dell it is. I feel that the desktop industry has contracted a lot and this is reflected in the limited variety of products offered nowadays. If I had wanted to spec a "gamer" desktop it would have been easier, but that level of capability is wasted on the undemanding Big Fish style games she plays.

Apple's desktop offerings are not good for someone like my Mom. Their Minis are anemic with old 2014 hardware specs. She doesn't need an All-In-One, she's already got a high quality monitor. Apple's Pro desktop looks cool, it's a perfect rounded black cylinder that looks like it came from the monolith in 2001: A Space Odyssey. But it's not $3000+ cool. Apple simply isn't in the business of providing good entry level desktops, and that's to be expected from a company who's business is 50%+ tied up in mobile devices.

Anyways she's going to get a basic Dell box from BestBuy. I hope the GeekSquad can shield her from Dell's tech support incompetence.
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Old 02-07-2018, 01:05 PM
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caldwell.brobeck caldwell.brobeck is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

I used Dell products for years, but the Inspiron I bought a bit over a year ago from Best Buy has to be the worst machine I've ever purchased, and AFAICS, it's the last Dell for me. Perhaps the worst aspect is it's sleep mode seems to be more narcoleptic/coma mode....Combined with Windows 10, it does have it's good side; the two together really encourage me to spend a lot more time in the studio, and a lot less on the computer
Cheers;
Chris
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Old 02-07-2018, 05:22 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

I'm thinking that Dell's financial woes and Microsoft's forced updates are a perfect storm of misery. I am hoping that a "fresh" machine spec can shield from some of that. However, what's to stop Microsoft from the next "Bozo Whatever Update" next year? Nothing. It'll happen.
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Old 02-10-2018, 04:42 PM
Colorado_Ed Colorado_Ed is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

Quote:
Originally Posted by caldwell.brobeck
I used Dell products for years, but the Inspiron I bought a bit over a year ago from Best Buy has to be the worst machine I've ever purchased, and AFAICS, it's the last Dell for me. Perhaps the worst aspect is it's sleep mode seems to be more narcoleptic/coma mode....Combined with Windows 10, it does have it's good side; the two together really encourage me to spend a lot more time in the studio, and a lot less on the computer
Cheers;
Chris

As a person that has fixed computers for decades now, I really like Dell computers but would never recommend their Inspiron line. I always suggest people buy their Latitude line instead. Since they are business-grade computers they seem to be built to a higher standard.
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Old 02-10-2018, 05:21 PM
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bvanevery bvanevery is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

Dell is having a Presidents Day sale, with pre-sale access possible on the 12th if you utter magic words on their website. I'm going for a XPS tower with an i3-8100. Turns out it's as fast as the i5-7500, and it also forces a new motherboard design, which is a good thing looking down the road. More investment in doing support for their latest greatest motherboard.

One of my ancient 10 year old laptops is a Latitude e4300! It runs Windows 10 in 4MB of RAM, go figure.
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Old 04-23-2018, 05:24 AM
zimou13 zimou13 is offline
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

The deal is, anybody can write a review, on any product, whether they have bought it or not. So it's just a matter of finding a baffling/ridiculous/useless product and watching the Internet's sarcasm run wild. For instance, just check out the reviews for ...
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Old 04-23-2018, 12:02 PM
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Re: meaningless laptop reviews

...what?
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