Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nexus 10: Fantastic Product and Bad Support

I bought a Google Nexus 10 32GB Tablet (Google Affiliate Ad) a while back, and gave it glowing reviews. I always had two problems with mine, though, so let me set those out here, and how I feel about them.

One of the problems I always had was a finicky touch screen. It would not always respond to more than 2-3 touches. They would get sporadic, jump between fingers and places, or not register at all. To be completely honest, though, this wasn't a big deal. The most touches any of my apps used was Osmos HD, which uses a 3-finger tap to pause. This was the first issue, and definitely not a deal breaker. At most, it was a noticeable, 'non-issue' hardware issue.

The second problem I had was related to the power systems. My Nexus 10 would, after periods of sleep, get 'stuck' at a particular percentage of battery. This happened whether charging or discharging, and also while playing some games (such as Need for Speed: Most Wanted and Real Racer 3). When you changed the charging state (plugging it in, or unplugging it), the battery would immediately report 0% and shut the tablet down. It'd start up again at the correct percentage and continue happily. I believe this is directly related to the issue I had with the power button, where it'd take 3-7 seconds to wake up the tablet. This, unlike the touch screen issue, ranked as an annoying issue, but nothing more than mischievous  My tablet was more of a slightly mischievous child, rather than a full-on troublemaker.

Enter Samsung. I finally decided to send it in for a repair job via its warranty at Samsung. That's simple enough, I've done a few warranty repairs with Apple, HP, and Sandisk. I just go to the support website, register, and request a repair from a service technician, right? I log in to and register Samsung's website, and discover that its extremely difficult to register a Nexus 10 on the site. There is no section in their 'devices' selector for Nexus tablets- only the Galaxy line. I now have two devices registered with one serial number, and one is some tablet I've never heard of. Then, I go to request service on it. I get all the way through the form, re-register my device (now correctly), and get told that I have to CALL them for warranty service. The Nexus 10 is a phone-only service. I can live with that. So I call their phone number. Like their website, there is no section for Nexus tablets. So I go to the Galaxy WiFi department. After 3-5 minutes on the phone with a very polite representative, he transfers me to their Nexus repair department.

Fifteen minutes later, I'm still on hold. At this point, I log back into the website and get myself on their live chat, regardless of the site. Fifteen minutes later, I'm told they can't authorize or start an RMA from the live chat, only on the phone. I hang up. This is getting slightly annoying. I wait for the end of the day, about 4:00pm EST, and call back. This time, their Nexus department picks up. Its only a few minutes before I have my shipping label. They were surprisingly agreeable when I explained my situation, pointed out that it persisted across several android versions and kernels, and that a factory wipe didn't fix it. At this point, my mood was pretty good. So I packaged it up, shipped it out, that's that.

My shipping label was marked '2nd Day Air'. I shipped it on a Wednesday. It was Monday before the repair facility received it. I do not know what caused the delay, but it was only slightly annoying. The facility's 'Repair Self Tracker' reported it received... And did nothing for 48 hours. 2 days later, it was finally reported that it 'had light scratches' on the back.

*03/20/2013//12:58:43//XXXXXXXXXX//Telephone//ASC*
scratches on rear

A few hours later, they finish more repairs, and shipped it out.

*03/20/2013//17:42:41//XXXXXXXXXXX//Telephone//ASC*
3/20/2013 4:41 PM-SHIP5: The unit is shipped.
*03/20/2013//17:42:35//XXXXXXXXXXX//Telephone//ASC*
3/20/2013 4:41 PM-SHIP5: No hold amount
*03/20/2013//17:30:13//XXXXXXXXXXX//Telephone//ASC*
3/20/2013 4:30 PM-Alicia Maldanado: QC Pass.
*03/20/2013//16:20:00//XXXXXXXXXXX//Telephone//ASC*
3/20/2013 3:19 PM-Alicia Ramos: The unit has left the technician. SOLUTION: Replaced LCD - Replaced Touchpanel - Replaced Component

At this point, I'm pretty happy. It a would ship out, 2nd Day Air again, and I'd get it shortly. Shortly being Monday, March 25th... So I received it and popped it open, turned it on. Its got a ":-)" account on it, has passed QC, time to check it. Turn it on, turns on. I hear a slight 'pop' when I pick it up, though. Not good. I knew some devices popped when picked up, and mine now did. I turn on 'Show Touches', and touch the screen with one... Two.. .Three... Up to eight... Nine... Ten... Fine. I repeat. Repeat again, and... The screen begins losing track of the touches. OH BOY. Not fixed. Keep testing (and did so all day Monday and Tuesday) and definitely still defective. I let it sleep for a few minutes, then try to wake it up. A full 6 seconds before the screen comes on. Well, that's not fixed then, either. I check the repair invoice, and they replaced the entire LCD assembly, touch screen, USB assembly, and battery pack. So why isn't it fixed?

I call them back yesterday afternoon, intent on not losing a moment. I have spring break next week, and want my tablet by the beginning of the next quarter when my students come back. After getting in touch with their Galaxy WiFi department, I immediately make sure I get transferred to the Nexus department. So far no trouble. Then, the issues start. The girl in Nexus devices immediately tries to transfer me back to the Galaxy WiFi department. I explain to her they just sent me here, and then describe my issues. She pulls it all up, double check,s and apologizes profusely. I'm okay with this so far, the transfer back was a small thing. I get shunted to the actual RMA crew next. Here's where things go awry. After the gentleman describes the wrong problem, I correct him. It takes 5-10 minutes for them to send me my RMA information, and I take a look... Reading 'Out of Warranty Repair' just as he tells me I will be charged.

The Nexus 10 comes with a 1 year, date-of-purchase limited warranty. I was being told that, despite the fact that I purchased it in early February, it was expired. I expressed my outrage on this, and he puts me on hold. Clears up this, and tells me it will be in warranty. Okay. Then he goes on and tells me... "You have a ninety day warranty from the repair date." I am really pissed now. My 1-year warranty is now void because THEIR defective craftsmanship. I am more than frustrated right now, especially because they already 'repaired' my device once, even though nothing was fixed and my device now has the back popping.

I've learned something- NEVER buy a Samsung mobile product. At least, not a Galaxy device. I never hear of these issues form Galaxy owners, but this Nexus service is terrible. Love the device, would buy again... If identical hardware was available from Asus, HTC, or Sony and was still this open. Never again going to get Samsung.

In other news, if you have suggestions for how to pursue this further if they don't repair it, or I need my 1 year warranty, let me know in the comments or on Google+, please.