25 October 2012

ASUS both please and anger me

So, just over a year ago I bought an ASUS Eee pad tablet TF-101, which was both my first tablet and my first ASUS product. And it's not just a normal tablet; it comes with a keyboard dock with extra battery and USB ports. And in short; I love it!

The first thing that happened about a month in was that the cable stopped working. It's a short and flimsy USB to ASUS 40-ish-pin connector cable, asking for replacement after some wear and tear. However, you won't find it in the shops, and back then not even online. I had to send it back to ASUS support in Sydney to get back a new one, a dance that lasted just over a week and had me in tears from the lack of tablet (no other way to really charge it, except slow trickle the keyboard/battery pack through USB which gave me roughly a half battery charge worth over a 24 hour charge session), but I soon forgot my pain as the new cable came.

I was otherwise so happy with my ASUS that since the family was about to update their main computer, I chose an ASUS all-in-one delicious touchscreen-driven, which has been nothing but a delight, and which still run smooth as butter and keeps the family happy.

Then followed a blissful 3 month period until ASUS said that there were some yummy Ice Cream Sandwich update for us. This was in line with ASUS promises to be proactive, brave and good to its customers ... had only the update not been such a disaster. What followed was a 6 month nightmare of the tablet crashing, restarting, draining the battery, applications not working, on and on it went, with no option given to downgrade to the safe and solid previous version. The pain kinda ended with a "no deep sleep" widget tool and the last upgrade (which now is 3 months old) where the tablet turned ... hmm, usable? It's still the occasional reboot, but once or twice a month rather than every day or more.

And then ... then my boy played it one evening, and the cable broke again. These cables truly are a pain, but by this time the cables were easily accessible online and cheap, so instead of the stupid "send to Sydney" dance I just ordered one online, and it arrive a couple of days later.

And then ... then my backlight went. It started with a slight buzzing sound from the insides of it, which grew in volume until the backlight was completely dead. Everything with the tablet still worked (use a strong light to shine on it, and you can see the LCD graphics working fine), including using the HDMI output.

I contacted ASUS about this. I knew the tablet had just gone out of warranty (1 year) but I wanted to know if fixing it was going to so expensive I might as well sell the scraps and invest in a new model. However, I've been given nothing but canned responses that don't really answer my questions at all ("in order to fix it, you need to send it in", and yeah, I kinda got that, but that wasn't my question). I begged and pleaded to at least tell me if this is something I can deal with myself, can I get components, is there any help to get at all?

No. There's no help to get at all. Just canned responses.

So, I've scourged Google in search of answers, and interacted with other tablet users (which I hadn't done since the ICS disaster), and after some to and fro and searching on eBay, there's a few things I can do;

  • Send it to ASUS, and hope they a) can repair it, and b) that the cost isn't more than buying a new one
  • I can find spare parts on eBay (the part costs anything from 50$ to 140AUD, and I'm not sure if it's the same priced ridiculous, or small differences I need to be aware of), and do it myself

Given that ASUS is the producer of the latest Google tablets I was thinking they would be better at dealing with customers than this, because I've found them less than helpful. I can appreciate that they're a big company now and more things are happening, and I don't even have a problem with things braking - that's just the nature of sensitive hardware, but there needs to be easier ways of fixing stuff that do, better processes for us geeks to slot into in order to restore our inner turmoil. I chose ASUS because they seemed more geek friendly, but I'm suspecting I was wrong.

And despite my woes, I still love the tablet itself! I'm lost and alone without it, and I think I'll risk eBay and do it myself, unless anyone has any better advice out there.

Ah, I feel better now. Until I want my tablet again.


  1. I'm sorry about that. Companies like Asus is keen on updates, but I prefer to stay with my old OS even they offered me the Ice Cream Sandwich. It is just now that I switched to Kit Kat but I went to my service provider before switching OS. - Betty

  2. Asus has awful customer service.please take your assus off the mac ...
    thank you ...Asus Technical Support