Lenovo Heck – At Least I Avoided The Cheap “Chinese Water Torture” Joke

No, it hasn’t caught fire, at least…

I’m doing some work for a company that was kind enough to give me one of their laptops when I gave Biggest Guy my old Thinkpad because his noname laptop fell apart. But they use Dells, and I hate the keyboard and generally flimsy feel of the Latitude D600 they give out. Note that it seems to work fine today…

…and they’re paying me enough that I can buy my own laptop, and they’re getting cheaper and more capable, so I go over to the Lenovo site, and order a T60p widescreen. Dual core processor, 2GB Ram, nice video – seems like a nice upgrade, reasonably priced, etc. Hand over the Amex number and forget about the order…back on February 18.

You’ll note that I’m trying this on the company Dell and it’s March 29, and I don’t have a firm ship date yet.Apparently “a few orders got caught in the system” and delayed. Anyone else out there hung out there like I am?

I’m on the third level of escalation and a nice young woman is supposed to call me tomorrow. I’m somehow doubtful,

It makes me think of an old Doonesbury (when he was funny) in which Uncle Duke (my personal role model) goes into the import-export business in Miami. He’s shown sitting in front of the computer, talking on the phone to a customer who wonders “What happened to that last shipment?”

“It’s lost in the computer somewhere…” Duke explains.

“No problem, we’ll send a couple of guys to help you go in and look for it,” is the reply.

Sadly, that option isn’t open to potential Lenovo customers.

So – as above, let me know if anyone you know is in the same boat – let’s see how big a problem this really is. And in the event that I decide to cancel the order tomorrow, who else makes a rugged laptop with a great keyboard? No Macs, please – that’s another topic totally.

18 thoughts on “Lenovo Heck – At Least I Avoided The Cheap “Chinese Water Torture” Joke”

  1. Ordered an X60 Thinkpad online on July 24, it shipped on Sept 13 and took about a week and a half in transit from China. Lots and lots of emails back and forth, telephone calls to helpful people who did nothing after hanging up. You’ve got another six weeks or so.

    That one was recently trashed by a wine spill such that the repair estimate was slightly larger than the purchase price. We told the repair shop just to transfer the hard disk into a new one, which they accomplished in about 24 hours. They obviously had quicker access to new Thinkpads than we did.

    The trouble is, there’s nothing as good as a Thinkpad for anywhere near the price.

  2. I don’t believe in “dream machines” anymore. Get an inexpensive, reliable brand – Dell is perfectly good enough – that does what you need it to do and no more, and be prepared to replace it in a few years. Back it up. Fix it up with some Edward Hopper wallpaper and you’re all set to go.

    Stop worrying about the technology you don’t have. I don’t have an ipod, a blackberry, or a phone that does ANYTHING except dial telephone numbers. I don’t even know what half of that crap is, and I don’t care. You guys can go ahead and plug all that cyber-crap into your heads and walk around like a William Gibson nightmare, because I’m having nothing to do with it.

  3. Hey,

    Sorry that your having trouble getting solid answers on your order status. I’ve left my email and will try to help get you status and move this thing along.
    If you get your promised call and the answers you need, then great. If not, please let me try to help – I’ll look for your email.

    Thanks, and sorry again.

  4. I convinced the owner of my company to get a T60 last fall. Took 7 weeks to arrive. He wasn’t happy with me at the time. Once he used it for a while, he realized how good they are & I’m out of the doghouse. It’s annoying, but they are the best laptops.

  5. Thanks for the delay warning. I’d like to replace the worn out Dell this is being written on with a Thinkpad. I had a Thinkpad before the Dell, but when it got too weak CPU-wise, I was a little underfinanced to replace with another. The touchpad and keyboard on this Dell just aren’t up to heavy use, which means Dell had to keep replacing them under warranty.

  6. I think the Thinkpads, IBM’s in general are the best for product quality and service. To tell the truth, I am not so sure about service, because with the three I have/have had, I never needed service, except for a HD burn out after 6 years.

    Back in Jan 2006, I shopped laptops for my son and went with (pretty sure) the T60p, but it could have been the T43p. The prices on the Lenovo site were a mite high and the three weeks for shipping was not acceptable so, I went to Ebay and got something a less fast (IIRC, 1.66 GHz), a smaller, slower HD (faster HD’s usually are noisier and you can always buy a standalone HD for docking the extra capacity) but with the best standard model graphics card and high memory (2 GB). It had all the amenities and 3 yr. warranty. Of course all that was over a year ago so I assume all the specs have changed.

    The price was good though it wasn’t a bid, really, it was from a store out of Ohio, but because it was out of state, there was no sales tax. Got it in three days from payment. So, if you still want a Thinkpad and are considering canceling you might try looking for what you ordered on Ebay first via the many stores. It all depends on the what your base needs are and if you can find it. One thing I noticed was the software package is sometimes stripped down on the EBay offerings. That didn’t matter to me because I’ve got what I want of the important stuff; for example, at the time Lenovo included Lotus software and the Ebay model didn’t but I had that already.

    If you’re interested, AL, I’ll dig up my receipt to determine the store I purchased from.

  7. Dusty, that was interesting. Thanks. I’m in the same boat as AJL (hey, had to happen at least once, somewhere)… Inspiron 8000 works so hard just to do basic things that we now call it “the Cessna” from the sound of its fan.

    My problem during its life was hard drives, which had to be replaced TWICE. Keyboard was solid feel and stood up to extremely heavy use, but the “A,” “S,” and “E” letters began rubbing off early.

    My sweetie has a Dell Latitude D620 from work that I’ve used, which seems to have good keyboard solidity, but I’m looking around. For work reasons and personal beliefs, a Lenovo isn’t an option. So, I’ll be following this thread closely. I wonder if the local guys at HP have anything worthwhile? And unlike AL, I AM considering a Mac with Parallels.

    But I’ll definitely keep the eBay tip in the back of my head.

  8. I’ll second the EBay suggestion. I just bought two T40’s on EBay. This is an older model but sports a Pentium M 1.5, 512M Ram, DVD, built in wireless, and most importantly the great thinkpad keyboard and three button trackpad/red eraser thingy. They cost a little over $400 apiece including shipping. One didn’t work but i bought from somebody processing off lease units and I had 30 days to return it from date of purchase…

    This has been a good (and very inexpensive) route for me so far… Of course I’d really like to be buying the X series (12″ screen instead of 14″) but it’s another $400 for the X40 with the same specs… Ah well – at least the T40 is relatively light and slim for a 14 incher.

  9. This is becoming quite the norm. I was going to order Lenovo tablet PC before Christmas. Blogged about it here:

    http://snarkolepsy.blogspot.com/2006/11/my-rant-about-lenovo-and-their-sales.html

    There seems to be no negative consequences for companies making customers unhappy. Most especially in the high end market. I see consumers complaining about the exact same supply chain delays despite seasonality.

    It has to be the way these companies are structured, because it doesn’t seem to end with sales departments.

    Here is my experience with Alienware. It is fairly similar to your Lenovo experience.

    http://snarkolepsy.blogspot.com/2007/03/my-ongoing-drama-with-alienware.html

  10. I’m sure you’re aware that if you’re doing any classified work for the USG they will go absolutely ballistic if they know you’re using a Lenovo? The security folks simply will not trust a PC coming out of the PRC to not contain nefarious hard/software.

  11. You’re welcome, Joe.

    I did a lot of investigation before I bought, for instance, having to figure out why certain laptops were so much thinner (therefore lighter) than others which at the time was the move up to Pentium M’s from Pentiums — seems the M’s ran cooler so the thickness set by cooling fan, etc, requirements freed the engnineering to thinner laptops. Make sure to check that (if anyone thinks I am mistaken in that please correct, it’s been over a year and I deleted most of that info from my God given HD) if you do the EBay thing.

    The thing about HD’s is that they come in lots of sizes (storage capacities and overlapping speeds. The speed is nice for startup but I don’t think the difference between the 5200 and 6000 rpm is noticeably different and I think the 7200 rpm ones only show up when you get into the big HD’s like 100GB but they do make some noise. I like to think I am HD storage needy, but I’ve never really needed more than 50% of what I have available which is a 40GB 5200 rpm HD on the Aptiva, particulary now that there is R/W CD access to store less used files which should really be archived for safety purposes anyway. (Heck, if I got rid of the games, I’d probably only use 30%.)

    The nice thing about IBM was that their game was International Business Machines, therefore, rugged, reliable and not necessarily cheap. Not so, for any of the others, IMHO, except for Wang, so I am wary of the reliablility of the parts — cheaper fans, cheaper batteries, cheaper cards, etc., and the lesser specs on items like memory cards. One thing on memory — if you get three pockets*, odds are whatever memory you get will fill up two, so you will only be able to upgrade later by 50% unless you throw out the ones you have.

    FWIW, I had a Compaq, which I swore I would throw out the attic window many times and each time for a different reason, including a dead HD in less than a year (it was a 5.25″). I bought an IBM of the same specs a year later and it kicked the crap out of the Compaq all ways to Sunday. I seem to remember HP bought them out and, hence will never buy an HP ‘puter, though I am faithful on their other products — I’ve got a B&W inkjet of theirs from 1992, fax/printer from 1995, color multipurpose from 1999, and an HP plotter from 1994 and still use all and never had a problem other sending them in for three cleanings in toto.

    *pockets used instead of the real term to avoid spam filter

  12. Why not just pick up a laptop from stock in a store, then juice it up with more memory and a bigger disk drive, as required? The price difference from mail-order will be negligible, and you’ll get your laptop right away.

  13. Just bought a lower-end Dell notebook for my son the college freshman (although “lower-end” really needs an asterisk as it’s quite remarkable what you can get these days for $800 plus shipping.)

    But the point of the story is the opposite of your Lenovo experience–Dell emailed an Expected Ship Date of March 23, but the computer actually arrived on the 21st! No RAM shortage in Austin, I guess…

  14. Off topic–

    Re: prosecutor-purgegate

    http://www.thecarpetbaggerreport.com/archives/10349.html

    What explains the failure of the mainstream media to cover the purge scandal for so long, and so many other scandals? Do you think somebody just set up newspaper editors to cheat on their wives, and threatened to tell if the editors wouldn’t play ball when they come back some day and ask for something?

    It wouldn’t be that hard to do, when you think about it. People wouldn’t talk about it.

  15. Swan, no one is covering it because anyone who has covered or worked in politics knows that this is pretty much how the sausage gets made.

    Liberal administrations fire appointees who don’t – for example – support choice. Conservative administrations fire those who do.

    Administrations put pressure on bureaucrats who are pushing hard on key stakeholders – that’s corruption – and don’t fool yourself into believeing Democratic administrations are nay different.

    To assume otherwise is simply naive. Now in doing this – in being involved in the reality of politics – I;m sure that laws were broken; the web of administrative and judicial regulations is so impenetrable that it’s pretty much impossible to do anything without breaking some laws.

    And now it’s the Administration’s turn in the box.

    But it’s only a scandal now because people say it is.

    A.L.

  16. The solution to the hard drives burning up in Dell Inspirons is a very nice little aftermarket utility which monitors the CPU temp and HD temp; and controls the fans accordingly. I went through 2 HD’s on my 8000 until I installed this utility; and it’s been running for my daughter without a hitch ever since. The utility is available for free here:

    “Dell Fan Control Utility”:http://www.diefer.de/i8kfan/index.html

    I’ve since tried an HP laptop which was sent back for a refund; and have been using a Sony VAIO with great pleasure ever since.

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