Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Beware: Acer Laptops

I have in the past recommended Acer laptops to people, they offer rather a good bang for their buck i.e. they are cheap. Now I know why!

A friend asked me to take a look at his girlfriends machine which had been playing up and also dropped the bluetooth on it. In an effort to get it operational I flashed the bios with the latest tool and bios provided from the Acer site. A bad idea. The flash was bad and bricked the laptop completely (bricking is when it's completely dead and useless, like a paper weight).

I paid £40 to send it to Acer for a non-warranty assesment. Their solution is for us to pay £300 for a new motherboard!

What a ripping joke. Surely they can replace dodgy bios chips or have a facility to reflash the bios directly, no that would not be economical enough for Acer. It is now being returned to us.

I will take it apart myself and look at the bios chip to see if it is replacable and make a damned good go of it, I can't do the machine anymore damage, so no harm in trying.

I started to search good ol' google and groups to see if anyone had managed to do this themselves, alas no luck.

What I did find is a disturbing number of accounts from people in the same boat as us with 3 things in common.

1. Acer Laptop.
2. reflash with Acer provided tool and bios file.
3. Resultant brick of laptop requiring new motherboard to fix the problem.

This appears to be a wider problem than Acer would admit too and turns into a nice little money spinner for them. I wonder what the repair is when the machine is covered under warranty. I'm sure their warranty solution is more along the lines of what I've suggested.

If I can't fix it I will be ripping it apart, piece by piece and selling it on e-bay.

Why pay £300 for repair a 2 year old machine when you can get a brand new Duo IBM (Lenovo) laptop for £500?

Buy an Acer at your peril.

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