Alrighty folks, as most of you know, I’m pretty easy going. I don’t tend to get on here and rant about a bad experience because I realize that unfortunate things happen and I just tend to roll with it. This is precisely what I did when my brand-new ASUS TF101 Transformer I received as a gift (which I was able to use for all of two hours that first day) decided that it no longer wanted to power on any more. The story only gets worse, which will probably reflect itself in this ASUS TF101 review.
Day One – 02/06/2012: Got the ASUS Transformer TF101-A1 and charged it for a while using the included charger brick and official power cord (which is WAY too short by the way, exactly why they think 2.5′ is long enough to be of ANY use I have no idea. Perhaps in Taiwan everybody sits on the floor right next to their outlets if they want to use a tablet while it charges). I then began to use it and was quite pleased. My apps installed fine, was able to get a decent video player on there, configure my user settings, and get it to sync with my gmail account (which my Android phone syncs with as well) all incredibly easily. As I needed to go to work soon I turned on Pandora and left it playing music for a while and left it in my room to go take a shower. When I returned it had locked up. No biggie I figure, I held down the power button for ten seconds and then it powered off. From this point forward it never turned on again. By this I do not mean that it’d try to boot and lock, I mean that it was a $400 brick best suited as a pretty looking paperweight.
I did an extreme amount of research on various sites, XDA-Developers being the most helpful. Nothing helped. I left it plugged in to the charger overnight and tried again in the morning. No luck.
At this point I sent an email to ASUS via their support site, which I was informed that I should get a response within 24-48 hours. The response came two weeks later with a canned response telling me to try a few of the various things I had already researched for myself. No matter, by that time I had called the ASUS support line at 888-678-3688 and the rep set me up with an RMA. I then packed up my fancy new tablet and paid something like $20.00 to FedEx it to them.
RMA # USG7220567
Day Nineteen – 02/25/2012: Received the Transformer back along with the charging brick and the all-too-short power cord I mentioned earlier. Charged it for a little while once again and powered it on. The Android 4.0 ICS update had come out for the TF101 by this time, so I applied it. Again I did a factory wipe just to be on the safe side, played with it for a while, and then reinstalled my apps, rearranged my icons in the fashion I like, copied a couple movies on to it, and took it to work with me. As I was at work it became more and more difficult to power up from the lock screen and I had to keep holding down the power button for ten seconds in order to get it to fully shut down and then boot it back up. After perhaps an hour of this it once again would not turn on. After I got home I charged it more (yet again) and was able to get it to turn on once using the power button + volume down combo. I elected to have it factory wiped once more. It booted up once, but as soon as the display turned off after not continually using it it never powered on again regardless of what I tried.
And so again I called ASUS support. I explained that I wasn’t terribly happy that they sent the tablet back without apparently doing anything to it (aside from perhaps some voodoo that reanimated its corpse for a short while). This time around I got the rep to pay for the shipping back to the Grapevine, TX repair center and was assured that this fix would be expedited. I filled out the RMA form I was sent in painstaking detail, repackaged it, and dropped it off at FedEx for the second time.
The asus tf101 arrived at their facility on 2/29/12, and apparently evaporated for a couple of weeks. I was not able to check the status of the RMA via ASUS’s service site like I was the first time around. I finally got notice that it was being worked on on on 3/13/12. Notice that it was being shipped back was rec’d on 3/15.
Ah, as a rather random side note, here’s a notice I got during my first two RMAs:
Dear Valued customer,
Rma No=USG7222976 was issued for SN: B7OKAS012612 Model TF101 but we received SN: B6OKAS247032 model TF101 instead.
We will process SN: B6OKAS247032 model TF101 received under this RMA
ASUS Product Support
I haven’t a CLUE where they got the B7OKAS012612 serial number from. I never provided it to them, since it’s most definitely NOT the serial # on my tablet, nor is it close enough to be a typo.
RMA # USG7222976 – Here’s a link to my rather detailed RMA form I sent in for round two.
Day Forty-Four – 03/21/2012: So today, 3/21/12 (after ASUS having my “expedited” RMA for three full weeks) I received the package. Yet again, charged, factory reset, applied the update that was apparently released on 3/20, and played with it for a while. This time around I was actually fooled in to thinking that it was going to keep working. It would come out of the lock screen fine with a quick tap of the power button and was running splendidly. Oh how foolish I was. I left the house for around 30 minutes for a quick run to the store and left no apps running on the tablet while I was gone. Got back, picked up the asus tf101 Transformer, and of course it no longer would power on. For what seemed like the 50th time I went though all the usual steps by holding the power button down for 1, 3, 5, 10, 30 seconds, then the power + volume down button for 30 seconds. And again no response.
So – what did I do? Called ASUS support for the third time of course. I was as nice to the rep as I could be considering how livid I am and was basically told “too bad, so sad, send it in again. There’s nothing we can do”. I told him I’d like to speak to a supervisor. His response was that all supervisors were busy but one could call me back. “Fine” I said, “About when can I expect a call back?” – The answer? In 24-48 HOURS. Maybe less. If I’m lucky. I told him I’d hold.
The supervisor finally came on the line and gave me all the same platitudes. I demanded that they cross-ship me a FUNCTIONING tablet as I have no interest in waiting another three weeks to hopefully get a tablet that actually works since they obviously hire monkeys in the Grapevine, TX location. I was again told this isn’t an option and that it’d have to be sent in again. I told him I wanted overnight shipping to the facility, the repair expedited (and actually fixed this time), and then overnighted back to me. Again, I was told this is not an option. So – my only recourse is to ship it back to them yet again, wait another few weeks, and simply cross my fingers that they actually fix the fucking thing this time. I really would like to use it for more than 30 minutes at a time before playing more FedEx tag with these idiots.
Worst. Customer. Service. EVER.
RMA # USG7233081 – So here we go for round three. I will, once again, be extremely detailed in my writeup on their RMA form and probably include this rant along with it. I’ve been a loyal user of ASUS motherboards for 15 years now, but will most definitely be switching to eVGA for pretty much everything from now on. Maybe they’ll start making tablets…