Why consumers should avoid HP computers at all costs

I got 3 stories to share, and probably even more smaller ones too. After speaking with a classmate I study with that he’s going to buy a Mac for his birthday, because he’s tired of crap PCs (like his HP!), I got fed up. That’s why I would love it if everyone could just avoid HP.

hp-sucks

Of course, not everyone that uses HP always necessarily has a problem. But I would like to gander that HP’s reliability in its computers is probably less than its competitors. Meaning, if you compared the rates of faster breakdowns, issues, and other bits, HP has a higher incident rate than the others. I’d also like to gander that most people that switch to Macs (with probably most, not aware at all of other high quality PCs out there), probably came from an HP. In fact, I’d love to do a study around my university campus seeing which PCs they switched from, what was issue #1, 2, and 3 they had most with PCs, and #1, 2, and 3 why they chose Macs. Also satisfaction ratings on a 1-10 scales. Anyway, here are the wonderful stories.

Laura’s Story: She got an HP Pavilion laptop in Fall 2011 in time for her freshman year. One day, she had some issue where the touchpad wouldn’t respond, so she couldn’t operate her computer. She didn’t think to ask her buddy who probably might be able to figure out (though he also had the issue on his own, and took awhile to figure it out too), so she returned it and got a MacBook Pro instead.

The real issue: HP’s ridiculous ‘mouse lock’ mechanism: HP’s Touchpad lets you lock your touchpad, I’m guessing supposedly because you might accidentally brush against it as you’re typing or whatever and it considers it as an intentional mouse click or movement. (Of course, if they had better touchpads that could recognize the differences, like Apple’s or Samsung’s, maybe it wouldn’t be an issue…). What makes it really dumb, is that it’s in the upper left hand corner of the touchpad, where you often maybe double-tap to open something. Of course, you have to double-tap that certain spot, shown as a barely visible dot, to activate it in an area prone to miscellaneous double-taps from time to time. The unaware user who has no idea about the feature activates it and has no idea what happened, with the only visual cues being now an orange-lit dot on the touchpad and a brief animation pop-up on the screen. This feature should cease to exist, be easier to find a way to deactivate, or a better method of introducing this.

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Travis’s story: There’s not really much to say, except he’s just tired of his sluggish HP computer, full of dumb preinstalled software, and bunches of toolbars, and also knows he doesn’t have to worry about malware (or simply viruses) on his Mac since apparently he thinks it’s more secure. Plus no more having to pay for anti-virus.

The real issue: Perception of security is flawed. Like many other consumers, Travis isn’t tech-savvy and isn’t aware that with safer browsing habits, free Microsoft Security Essentials, he should have little to worry about with getting malware on PCs. He should also be aware that OS X is less prone to receiving malware since it’s a smaller market, and not actually as secure in the sense as Windows is. Security through obscurity is dumb.

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My story: I got an HP Pavilion dv6-3033cl in Fall 2011 for my first year of college. The design looked fairly simple at the time (I admit the back-lit logo kinda sold it), the specs sounded good for what you pay for, and I thought it was a great deal. I should point out though I shopped at various electronics places, and HP had too many similar laptops when I wanted to compare which store had the better price. See: HP dv7-4065dx ($800), dm4-1065dx, dv7-4073 ($1129), dv6-3040us ($850), and dv6-3033cl ($800). Look up images on all 4 and tell me they don’t seem so much alike in design and specs. Talk about confusing.

For many months I was happy. Well I did drop it one or two times (once on concrete for sure from my high up bed when I fell asleep), and I did spill half a Diet Coke on the keyboard (though nothing bad happened amazingly after I quickly cleaned it up). As a result of a wee bit of wear from me, one hinge fell off, there’s some yucky hard to blow out gunk under the keys (the chiclet keyboard doesn’t truly have an enclosed case around the key. Gaps are big enough to allow things to fall in…), the fingerprint scanner could be very flaky, and it seems the lid doesn’t fully close shut.

One point, 2 weeks before the speakers broke (down below), the battery wasn’t charging fully. I looked into all kinds of things, and finally resorted to calling HP support. It took hours as usual, but I managed to get a new AC adaptor and it really did the trick. It was free too! Yay.

Then the speakers broke. The headphone jack worked great, but the speakers so I could hear it from the laptop itself just wouldn’t put any auditory sound. My bro-in-law guessed the speakers just broke out. I could replace it myself for minimal cost, but since it was under warranty for one year, why not get HP to do it? First time I called HP Tech Support, an Indian dude answered, and I had to go through 2 hours of doing all this stupid stuff that I had done before I called (like installed the latest sound drivers, toggle around the volume controls, ensure this and that was there, etc.) and as he was using his remote desktop thing, he tried to ‘optimize’ my PC. I didn’t like that. I got nothing. Sorry, can’t help you bro.

2nd time I called was worse! This dude was persistent. Same rigmarole with doing stuff I’m well aware of, then he suggested I do a system recovery. Meaning I’d have to get my computer to the same condition as Day 1. I hadn’t backed-up my data before (Shame on me!) because I didn’t have a back-up storage drive. I told him this, and being the guy he is, suggested I get one from HP at a ‘discount’. 300GB for just around $65. What a deal, right? (Hint: I bought a 3TB drive from Fantom Drives for just $80.) I said, I’d rather buy it at the store, and he kept going on and on, and then I said, “You know, I just texted my brother-in law and he’ll lend me a storage drive instead.” He got quiet, and then ask, “Oh, so are you changing your story now? How come just a few minutes ago, you didn’t have one, but now it seems like you do?” Basically, this ‘salesman’ tech support guy was pushing me to buy an overpriced drive, and accusing me of trying to pull away from such a deal. I soothed him down, but the basic thing is I wanted to send my laptop to HP so they could fix it! Geez. Their tech support is obviously designed to be as of little help as possible, and prevent from having to take in PCs to fix, to lower costs.

So I called the retailer I bought it from, since HP doesn’t like having its own retail/fix-it center. Costco managed to patch me into an actual American who spoke English well and worked at a repair center in the US. He was very cool with HP sending me a package to put my laptop in with a return label and all that. Finally! Why isn’t there tech-support in general this way to begin with? Because HP cares little about consumers, that’s why. Unfortunately, I got a bit spooked when he said they won’t repair things that were done on accident. The last incident where I dropped my laptop had been at least 4 months previously to when the sound issue developed, but telltale signs of a slightly busted vent, a broken off hinge, and recently a bit of siding near the other hinge fell off, might suggest I created the issue on my own fault. Of course I’d expect them to look at the speaker stuff itself, but I had school starting within 2 weeks, and I really would like my laptop, regardless of sound, so I can do work whenever I wanted to.

I cleaned it up a few days ago, the screen, a bit around the keyboard, an OfficeMax air canister (though it foamed liquid sometimes) and the air didn’t get much of the gunk out. Next time I get a new laptop though, hopefully it’s running Windows 9, is maybe an Asus or Samsung, and will work tons better than this POS I had.

I’d like to gander that HP might have helped Apple with getting people to adopt Macs based on poor experiences with HPs. Maybe they’re working in league with each other? Who knows, but it wouldn’t surprise me. Anyone else suffer the same dismal HP experiences?

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