Lenovo: a fall from grace

I used to be very happy with my Thinkpad X60 Tablet, and was practically an evangelist for the Thinkpad line. Just in the past year I practically sold two systems, a laptop and an iPad-style tablet, for the company. However this good feeling only lasted until my latest purchase. As things stand now I am pretty certain that I will never buy Lenovo again.

My mistake was buying a Thinkpad X220i Tablet in August of 2011. Said laptop stopped working in November, when I tried to start it Windows crashed with a 0x00000e9 error (unspecified I/O error, but more specifically a hard disk problem). Whatever, these things happen. They sent me a set of startup disks (DVDs) to try and make sure the HD was the problem. Those startup disks didn’t work (couldn’t boot off any of them), so I called Lenovo again, they apologized (they’re a very apologetic company, to the point that it becomes annoying really), told me they would send me another set of startup DVDs.

So I waited… and waited, and waited. After a couple of weeks (today) I decided to call and see what was up. The first support call seemed to go well, until I got disconnected. So I called again. The lady took my case number, told me Lenovo had a tracking number for the disks, gave me the tracking number, but it was pretty clear that she was refusing to do anything else (wtf is up with that?). I look up the tracking info through purolator (the most useless delivery company IMHO but that’s another story) and it’s clear that the package was returned to Lenovo. Couldn’t the lazy lady have at least looked that up instead of just wasting my time?

So I call for the third time on that day, and finally I get to talk to someone who knows what he’s doing. He is sending me a new hard disk and recovery disks. Well, hopefully he is. You’ll excuse me for not holding my breath until they get here.

Now, if the problem were only the service, passe encore. However the X220i Tablet is a piece of junk. It feels cheap and flimsy, the weight is unevenly balanced, and the build quality is terrible — I can pull the battery in an out of its housing by a couple of millimeters when it’s in the locked position! What’s more, the touchscreen has never worked properly, and that’s kind of the point of owning a tablet PC. Why does the 5 year old X60T I have feel so much better and more solid? Is it perhaps because it’s an IBM-branded product?

I once heartily recommended Lenovo to friends and family, but I can no longer honestly do so. The quality of the company’s products and service has taken such a nosedive that it’s really not worth endorsing anymore. It’s a shame because Thinkpad used to be the brand to go to for a first-rate experience with laptops, but clearly they’ve taken the road well-travelled of cheaping out on the design, cheaping out on the manufacturing, and cheaping out on the service. All of which I wish I could say to Lenovo customer service, but try as I might I cannot find an actual customer service number for them anywhere. I guess that’s representative of the company’s recent attitude towards the people who give them money…