In praise of IBM ThinkPad warranty service

It sometimes feels like every time we mention a big company's products or services here, it's to shame them for doing something terrible or making something awful. But every now and again, you get something wonderful out of a big company, and it's worth celebrating, loudly.

This time, it's IBM's Global Services, who do the ThinkPad service contracts for Lenovo. I switched to ThinkPads a few years back when I went Ubuntu Linux, at the suggestion of Chris DiBona, a senior free/open source guy at Google. The ThinkPads are moderately priced, come in a wide variety of models with different characteristics, are incredibly well-built with fantastic keyboards (the mid- to high-range machines have water-proof keyboards that have special, sealed drainage channels running to the laptop's underside) and rugged frames. They run GNU/Linux really well, too. I've been happier with ThinkPads than I've been with any other make of laptop (though there have been occasional hiccups, see below).

I'm hard on my equipment, so I knew that I'd want to get the world-wide, on-site, next-day replacement service, which costs about $100/year. This is exactly what it sounds like: if you have a hardware fault (even one due to dropping or knocking the machine), they will generally have a tech show up with a replacement part the next day, anywhere in the world. When I was an Apple user, hardware failures often meant standing in line for 40 min to drop off a Powerbook at a Genius Bar, then coming back a week or two later and waiting 40 minutes again to reclaim it.

My latest ThinkPad, an ultralight X200, just experienced a hardware fault in the built-in SD card reader. I tried booting it from a couple different Ubuntu versions and then installed the original Vista HDD and tried that (the ThinkPad hard-drives can be swapped in about two minutes with a single Phillips screwdriver, which makes it easy to buy giant third-party drives and install them when the ThinkPad arrives, building Linux on them and leaving the original drive intact for easy troubleshooting). It was definitely hardware. I called the service-center, got through in about two minutes, explained my problems to a level-one tech who nevertheless understood what I meant by "Linux" and "hard-drive swap" and ordered the service call after about five minutes of my describing the problem.

Today the service tech came by my office. He phoned ten minutes beforehand to let me know he was on his way, then sat down at my desk, spread out a lint-free cloth, and, in about 20 minutes, fixed the SD slot, replacing the daughtercard that it lives on. He didn't care that the Linux drive was in the bay, and let me boot it and show him that it was working to my satisfaction -- he didn't insist on my swapping in the original Vista drive.

This is basically perfect. Exactly what I want from my critical infrastructure. Without my computer, I can't do anything productive. I've got edits due on my current novel by Friday afternoon, and a complete disassembly and replacement of a laptop daughter-card just took place without substantially disrupting my schedule. I only had to walk as far as the reception at my office building.

So, with all that good news, let me add in a couple of caveats: first, once Lenovo end-of-life's a model, they stop making parts for it and switch to refurbed parts, and those parts aren't so good. My old X60 had to have three defective motherboard replacements before the service center just upgraded me to a new, faster, in-production model (on the other hand, this swap was done by the head manager at IBM Global Service's UK division, who drove into London to personally handle the case).

Lenovo's ecommerce ordering and build system isn't nearly as good as IBM's service department. They lost the original order for this X200, waited two weeks to tell me, then told me I'd have to wait two more weeks to get the machine. Then they found me someone else who could get it to me in 24 hours, but I ended up paying a couple hundred pounds more than I'd been quoted from Lenovo themselves. They argued mightily about paying me back this sum, eventually promising to do so, but they never did.

So that's it: be prepared for some glitches when you order a machine, and watch out for refurbed parts. Apart from that, the ThinkPad with extended warranty can't be beat. I'm on my fourth laptop and I've loved every single one of them down to its adorable little trackpoint.

For the record, I have no affiliation with Lenovo or IBM Global Services. I have not been offered any sort of discount or reward for this post. They are not Boing Boing advertisers (though, seriously, IBM/Lenovo: we'll gladly run your ads! You folks kick ass!). This is entirely self-motivated, because, you know what? These machines and the service plan just rock.

ThinkPlus™ and Lenovo CareSM Maintenance and Protection Services


  1. This is the opposite of my experience with Lenovo. I bought a refurbished T61. Placed the order right, but they sent me the wrong machine, took hours on the phone, dozens of work orders, a tech sent to my house that smelled like an ashtray, and its still not right. Come to find out, I was supposed to send the computer back and get the proper configuration sent to me….So consider yourself lucky.

  2. Inconsequential back-up to this praise of service standards: I have the bog std warranty on my IBM Thinkpad. Some time ago the power block stopped working. As I had a spare I left it alone and did nothing. But then I had a need for the spare elsewhere, so 20 months after purchase I filled in the form online at Lenovo, as warranty appeared to cover it. Next day a phone call to confirm it was just the power block (and not the mains lead as well) and ask my permission to ship a new one to my home address. Day after next it arrived by post. Next day a phone call to confirm it had arrived and problem was resolved. At no time any question as diagnosis or request to return failed power block for confirmation. Truly excellent.

    But then … 12 and a half months after purchase its battery, with less than 50 cycles, refused to hold a charge. Guess what – batter only has 12 months warranty. That was expensive (or would have been if I’d bought from IBM/Lenovo – found a cheaper one on eBay).
    Not so excellent.

    1. leaving a battery discharged for an extended period kills the battery. Long-term storage is best with battery disconnected from the machine and starting at about 40% charged. Your problem was not a fault of Lenovo or the battery manufacturer.

      1. How do you know I left it discharged for any period? You don’t. And I didn’t. I treated it the same way as every other laptop battery I’ve never had any problem with.

  3. Wow. I’ve never had that easy of a time with hardware tech support. When I used to work in IT, I basically would just lie to whoever picked up at Dell to avoid there annoying and belittling troubleshooting.

    Me: “Hello. I have a broken monitor that I need replaced.”
    Support: “Sir, I’d like to go through these troubleshooting steps with you. Try unplugging -”
    Me: “No, seriously, I turned it on, there was a ‘pop’ and smoke poured out of the top. It’s really broken.”

  4. Lenovo’s fulfillment/ordering is still shaking down and can be awesome when it works. When I ordered my laptop, I got bottom-of-the-barrel shipping/handling, with an expected 10-15 window to ship, and ~10 business days to travel.

    It shipped THAT DAY from Kowloon, UPS 2-day.

    I had it in about 40 hours from ordering.

  5. It’s not often enough we hear good stories about support.

    Dell have been reasonably good with me. I bought an XPSM1730 around Sep 2007 (I was an early-adopter of this particular model). 13 months later, the battery refused to charge at all. Dell initially diagnosed faulty charging circuit on the motherboard.

    Tech showed up at my work and replaced motherboard, pre-warning me that it was probably a faulty battery. It was. I had a new motherboard but not a fixed problem.

    After a little arguing/pleading on the phone, I got a new battery for free.

    So far, it’s the only warranty claim I’ve had to make. The machine itself is fairly bombproof. As you say though, Lenovo’s are solid machines and were it not for me looking for ultimate performance and a 17″ screen, I would have had a T61p instead of my Dell.

    My next laptop will be a high-end Lenovo but my next high-performance laptop will probably be a ridiculously expensive Alienware M17x (or its successor).

  6. Although I’m a Mac user (now), I usually recommend Lenovo/IBM laptops to people who absolutely must have a PC (and aren’t savvy enough to bootcamp it). All of the other mainstream brands of pc laptops seem to fall apart within a few months, regardless of how much they cost.

    That said, I can’t stand the trackpoint. Thankfully they offer trackpads now.

  7. Cory, nice to hear a good service story.

    Interesting that you contrast it with Apple. I’ve had two Macs, and while I love OS X, I think my next laptop is likely to be a TP with Linux now.

    I’ve had a number of problems with both my macs, and the service (despite paying extra for Applecare) was less than great. My local Apple auth’d repair centre was not able to give me a new battery until after they had sent off the dud one to Apple. Same thing with the power adapter whose DC cable actually melted. So in each case I had to wait a couple of days without being able to really use the machine, for the sake of a couple of easily replaceable parts.

    My first iBook had its mainboard replaced three times before finally dying, all due to an apparent design flaw that screwed up the graphics hardware, which should have just been replaced with a new machine in my opinion.

    I don’t know if it’s better at an actual Apple store, but as far as I’m concerned it’s not good enough, and rubbish when compared with your IBM experiences (which costs about the same). That is the sort of service I expect.

    So, while I will miss OS X, I’m not sure that it will be worth sticking with them when my MB needs replacing.

  8. I’m probably almost as guilty of this as the next guy/girl, but we just don’t praise good service when we get it often enough. It’s so refreshing to read a positive experience story once in a while to offset some of the negative that’s so prevalent on the net.

  9. I was a long-time fan of Thinkpads based largely on IBM’s fantastic support, but since they switched to Lenovo the quality of their support has gone decidedly downhill. I actually had a tech hand me back my laptop as a box of parts, saying “someone will call you tomorrow to reschedule a service call”…

  10. Awesome, Cory! Today is a day for good news and positive stories.

    Did you ever get around to posting your migration saga/howto from OS X to Ubuntu? I have been looking forward to that since you said you’d write it up … forgive me if I missed it somewhere or somewhen.

  11. Ordering is something they really need to sort out, but they are fantastic little machines. I just don’t understand why some people object so violently to the trackpoint. I love it, and would happily have one without a trackpad. I was also pleased to see them being available on Dell’s business laptops (which are apparently trying to be as nice as ThinkPads) now.

  12. Seconded. Also, they often need service less than Apples (the only other brand I’d buy). Linux support, good tech support and good build quality.

    Oh, and I also am nothing but a satisfied customer. One note to Lenovo marketing people reading this: why not switch from Suse to Ubuntu, since that what everyone else is standardising on?

  13. The Fn key Should. Not. Be. There. Bloody IBM, for starting that trend (and bloody Apple, for picking it up). If they didn’t do that I’d buy a Thinkpad in a heartbeat.

  14. This is both my experience and recommendation. Lenovo, extended warranty for the life of the machine and Ubuntu. Windows is a bad choice for most people and Lenovo installs adware called Message Center Plus.

  15. I have Apple ProCare which costs $99/year. When the keyboard on my MacBook went out, I brought it to the Apple Store. Not only was I able to meet with a genius right away, but after diagnosing the problem, they took the MacBook to the back for immediate repair. To my surprise, they also replaced the keyboard cover which had been chipped previously (through my own clumsiness) at no extra charge. The whole trip took less than an hour.

  16. I swapped out my X200’s ThinkPad for a US layout in 30 seconds while preparing to go out the door to work, standing over the kitchen table… Lenovo overnighted the part to my door.

  17. I’ve never had that kind of experience with support, but there is one guy at Dell who did me a huge solid, once upon a time. I had this monster-laptop, a desktop replacement that weighed about 10 pounds, and it started hanging and stuttering at weird times, but I was out of warranty. I sent it to them anyway, because I couldn’t figure out the problem, paid for “out-of-warranty repair” and got it back a week or two later. It seemed better for a few hours and then started hanging again. It was a very strange problem that I never really solved, but just dealt with for the next year or so.

    I complained about it, and some new problems that had developed, on my blog, and mentioned that I was going to replace the Dell with a Macbook as soon as I had some funds saved up. Then I got an eMail from this guy Neil@Dell. He said that if there was anything that he could do to help me resolve the issues with my laptop, that he’d like to help. I explained the whole thing to him, and he said that since I had paid for OWR and the problem was never successfully resolved, he could, if I was willing to do the work, send me a new motherboard for my laptop. He did, twice, actually, something was wrong with the first one, and it was a lot of work, but that machine got a new lease on life because Neil was nice enough to send me a replacement motherboard (and video card, LED/power button strip and keyboard… actually I think I bought the keyboard, myself).

  18. I think your article summed up perfectly why my organization has switched entirely over to Lenovo laptops. I’ve always had good service with them, and since we buy through a reseller instead of direct from Lenovo, we don’t run into the same ordering issues others have had.

    Plus, and I know how crazy this sounds, but some of the Lenovo-specific software they ship is actually useful and easy to use too. I still re-image all the laptops we get, but I do re-install some of their management software for the users. To me, it is honestly the little things that matter the most.

  19. “Long ago” IBM owned all of it’s PCs and service along with it’s Super Computers, large and medium systems. Now of course, the PCs are sold by a Korean Co. Sold to them by IBM a few years ago. I never worked on PCs but spent thirty years in their large systems division as a Customer Engineer. Which in those days, denoted a “hardware” person.

    but during those years my customers also owned our PCs and I would of course be exposed to ” Can you look at one of our PCs its doing xxxx or not doing xxxx. I would tell them that I could but it would be a waste of their time as I wasn’t trained on PCs, but that if they wanted I would be glad to place a service call for them. Which many times I did.

    Our PC guys would be there usually in under an hour, always had the right parts or if they didn’t could go back to the office (local) and get them, or even have someone bring them out to them. My Customers swore by IBM, for all of their computing needs. From their largest printers to their little PC printers.

    We enjoyed a fantastic service reputation. Which is as it should have been. For thirty years I went by IBM’s motto. “IBM Means Service” and was proud that we fulfilled it 99.0 percent of the time for years and years.

    Nowadays, I have no idea what it is like since I retired in 94. But I hope that the spirit of IBM Service is still alive and working for the Customer.

    Papa Ray
    Central Texas

  20. The warranty service is truly awesome.

    I’ve bought all my thinkpads from ebay over the years, and as long as you give them the serial number I’ve had no problems getting service, including a new keyboard (the trackpoint died) and replacement CD restore media.

    The support guys are a cut above the usual scripted helpdesk monkeys and actually understand that you, yes the customer, might actually know what you’re talking about.

  21. I got my first Thinkpad (a T60p) three years ago, and I had the same warranty experience after my hard drive died (something dropped on the laptop, total user failure). Top notch service all the way around, being a Lenovo/Thinkpad customer feels like being a luxury car owner or something. The service staff on the phone is incredibly knowledgeable and eager to help you.

    Although my T60 is still purring along I just replaced it with a new W500, and a large part of my decision to stay with Lenovo was my previous warranty experiences. I know that no matter where I am or what happens, the parts and software that I need to be up and working will be on my doorstep in 24 hours, and that there will be no BS and no hassles to get it there.

    I’ve never had problems with ordering from Lenovo, and like moop2000 above, some of their software is excellent. I’ve never had a laptop that was easier to pair up with a video projector. And I even like the colour.

    1. I like my W500 too, but wish it could run XP with no problems (there are issues with the video drivers and XP causing occasional crashes) and wished I didn’t have to find a software solution to its lack of ability to record an audio stream directly.
      Previously I had a T43 that had to have the main board replaced and IBM turned it around the same day so I was without the machine for only two days. I was impressed with the service.

  22. Slightly off-topic:

    “My local Apple auth’d repair centre was not able to give me a new battery until after they had sent off the dud one to Apple.”

    Resellers will do that, but if you call Apple directly, they can send you the new battery while you hold on to the old one. They want your credit card info but won’t charge if you send the old battery back to them in the supplied box, free of charge. A UPS guy came and picked it up, even.

  23. Yep – IBM / Lenovo have always been excellent. Apart from a short, sluttish (and dirty) experience with Compaq, I’ve been a Thinkpad man.

    Until I got my mac. Now I’m using both …

  24. (Apple support)
    I have a macbook. It’s actually a replacement/free upgrade from apple, because the first machine was one of the least reliable things i’ve ever owned. Hard drive(once) battery(twice) bluetooth(twice) keyboard(once) hinge(once) and several other things all got replaced/repaired in the 2-1/2 years i had it (I had/have the extended warranty).

    When the bluetooth died for the second time, apple offered to replace my machine with the latest equivalent – the current white plastic macbook. This is essentially a brand new purchase, so I got a new warranty and can buy the extended warranty from the date I got the new machine.

    replacing it took some be at home for the pick up, wait a couple days, new machine delivered by a courier.

    Whatever my obviously unlucky experience with the hardware, apple’s support is damn good.

  25. That makes my next choice of computer easier! I currently have an awful 3rd party warranty on my hp – after my pre-installed tv tuner card started acting up, they’ve been giving me the run-around for a week, wouldn’t even talk to me until I reformatted the drive to rule out software, and now won’t talk until I re-download the ‘SF’.
    Only they won’t tell me what that stands for.
    Good to know there’s still some decent ones out there!

  26. There’s a reason many of the world’s CEOs and businesses use ThinkPads… We use them at my office and the largest thing I like with them is that, when one passes on, I can keep it and scavenge parts off it for other models nearly indefinitely. Something has to be said for a laptop that hasn’t majorly changed in nearly a decade. I just hope with their sale to the Chinese Lenovo that they don’t bastardize the ThinkPad line too much.

  27. IBM’s server support is just as wonderful. Gawdawful expensive, especially on the AIX/pseries side, but the support is worth the premium on the xseries side, IME.

    At work, we’ve switched from AIX to Linux on HP blades, and, while the HPs are great to work with, fast, flexible and cheap, HP makes up for it by having terrible customer service.

    I know my IBM hardware folks by name, they’ve all been in the business several years, and they’re all bloody brilliant. They show up with not one, but usually FOUR replacements for any part they’re asked to look at, in case they got a dead part from the warehouse. They’re fast, thorough, and know their shit back and forth. It also helps that IBM engineers their hardware to an insane standard, and I almost never have to power a machine down to swap parts, even CPUs in some cases.

    The HP guys have been outsourced and commoditized, so I never get the same person, they never know as much as they should, and they never do more than the absolute minimum to keep me from kicking them out of my datacenter.

    As far as laptops, I’ve had Macbook 1.0 for about 4 years now, and the two times I’ve had it in (once for a dead battery, once for a dead hard drive) meant setting up an appointment at a Genius bar for the day after, leaving it with the “genius” overnight, and getting it back the next day. The hard drive failure wasn’t recoverable (and my wife’s last-gen MBP had a similar hard drive failure 3 months after she bought it), but I had most of my stuff backed up.

    Losing my primary machine for two days sucks, so this article (and my own experience with thinkpads, and the fact that everyone I know loves them) has me leaning that direction, too.

    I will say, the continued presence of the clitmouse confounds me, especially with the X200, which would be my ideal machine, if they only included a trackpad. Using a clitmouse is like trying to change a tire with one arm tied; I’ve seen people do it fast and accurately, but I can’t get the hang of it myself, and I don’t see a reason to learn. My Mac has gestures for click, double-click, right-click, horizontal and vertical scrolling, and that has completely spoiled me for any system that can’t do the same. No clitmouse can do gestures, so what good is it?

  28. I got a Lenovo (IBM branded) laptop a few years back, with a warranty through the university. The warranty was simply brilliant: I once drilled a small hole in a chip on the motherboard when I put the wrong screw in the wrong hole after opening up the computer. The folks at Lenovo fixed it in less than three days, completely for free, even though the problem was entirely “I broke my computer.”

    (Unfortunately, most issues were dealt with by the schools’ ITS dept, not Lenovo. So I usually had to figure out a way to boot Windows when turning my computer in, which usually meant configuring GRUB to hide Ubuntu.)

    There’s no way I could consider getting a PC other than a Lenovo.

  29. Hi – I started my career as a service desk CSR for IBM and I can promise you, while they are just as focussed on cost, metrics and call duration as any of their competition – if not more so IMHO – the number one influencing factor on how your performance was rated by your manager was Customer SAT. All the others were important, sure, but CSAT was absolutely our top priority: poor call duration or whatever would get your TLs attention but a negative SAT survey? Expect to talk to your line manager within the hour.While not involved in the handover to Lenovo, a colleague was, and I know for a fact this culture was transmitted and communicated to Lenovo, albeit I have no direct knowledge of how much it has survived since.

    1. Yes it has survived. Two days after getting the phone call I referred to above, to ask if all was ok, I got an email with a link to a cust sat survey which would clearly track bak to the incident and the specific rep who handled it – some of the questions were specifically about how well the rep did. I do assume they are still paying attention to cust sat based on this.

  30. Can’t speak for the laptops but “back in the day” when (if) we ever had a problem with our large systems IBM’s guys would come out, we’d greet em by name, throw them one of our own ID badges and tell em to make themselves at home. Anybody else’s service engineers would get signed in and a two man escort into the datacentre where they would be WATCHED for as long as it took. Go figure . . . :)

    1. Old joke, less true now that the de facto dress codes have relaxed a bit…

      Q: How can you recognize an IBM service technician?

      A: When he takes off his jacket, his sleeves are already rolled up.

  31. Worked at a big four accounting firm from 1998 – 2006. We started off with Thinkpads and Windows 95 (that was pretty ugly). Over the years the firm tried other vendors, such as HP or Dell, and every time there were so many issues and complaints from the consultants they always went back to IBM Thinkpads. My current firm also uses Thinkpads; been pounding away on this laptop for almost three years and no failures yet. For business, Thinkpads are definitely worth the cost.

  32. Another praise for ThinkPads. Years ago, my T30 was acting a little wacky. The video would crap out randomly. Luckily it was still under the factory warranty.

    So I inserted the original hard drive it came with, which was blank because I was using it in an external hard drive case. And then I dropped it off at an authorized service center. They shipped it off to IBM’s main repair facility.

    Five business days later, they called me and told me my laptop was ready to be picked up. I powered up and it worked perfectly. I looked at the work order and they basically replaced the mainboard and re-imaged the blank hard drive. Yay!

  33. Love this post. I used Thinkpads for 15 years, and only switched to the MacBook Pro because I didn’t want Windows Vista. I consult internationally, and once, while in Paris, my Thinkpad converter failed for unknown reasons, and it instantly zapped the adapter. I called IBM and was connected to an office in Ireland. A brand new adapter AND converter was hand-delivered to my hotel at 0900 the next morning by a great techie who had flown in from Ireland. He wanted to be sure my Thinkpad had not suffered any damage. It’s the best customer service I have ever seen. I’m glad you’ve taken the time to praise it. Apple could definitely learn from Lenovo when it comes to this kind of personal service.

  34. There are good reasons that “nobody ever got fired for buying IBM” — the machines are designed for business users, which means understanding that a malfunction means more than not being able to twitter for a week.

    I’m not going to say more than that or it’d sound self-serving — I’ve been with IBM well over a quarter century. (Hm. This admission might help anyone who is trying to figure out who I really am. Oh well.)

    Glad you’re delighted, Cory.

  35. On the other hand, a word of warning:

    I bought an IBM ThinkPad a few years back, just before IBM got rid of their PC division. Cost me a pretty penny, and (as a student) a significant percent of my yearly income (no kidding, like 25%). It was supposed to last me through university, at least. I was in computer science! I needed it!

    About two weeks after I got it, I slipped on some ice behind my school. Didn’t even think of the laptop in my backpack until I got it out at home. It had taken a hit, and the casing was a bit cracked, but otherwise, no problem.

    Fast forward a year and a bit (still only halfway through my warranty): I’m finishing up a school assignment (due in fifteen minutes, natch) and the screen goes funny. Turn it off, and now it won’t boot.

    Took it to my prof’s office to show him it was broken, and…well, it worked, and I handed in my assignment. That was the last time it ever booted.

    IBM service department: “Shows evidence of physical damage. WARRANTY VOID!” They’d never even opened the case.

    Called them up, and they said (not in so many words, but still): We don’t believe that happened a year ago. No, we won’t look at it again.

    Broke my freaking heart. I’ve been without a laptop ever since, and when I do buy one (assuming I’m not rolling in cash) I’ll go for one of those cheap-o tiny numbers to avoid paranoia about using it.

    The lesson, for me: don’t trust a warranty, and don’t buy into a company’s reputation.

  36. I’ve been using Thinkpads for over 11 years dating back to the days when I worked for IBM. It’s the only brand of laptop that I seriously consider when I’m in the market for one and the only kind that I’ll recommend to others.

    I’m now on my third TP, a W500 which replaced a refurbed T40 that was showing its age. My first Thinkpad, a 600x, which my wife used for email and web browsing finally gave up the ghost after 11 years of use to a hardware fault on the planar. Instead of just handing off the old T40, I got her a new SL500, making a total of 4 TP’s in the house.

  37. I would pay a (big) premium for a new ThinkPad running OS X — with Apple’s blessing, ideally — and the great ThinkPad service. Given Apple’s attitude toward all this, it won’t happen.

    When I was using Windows as my primary OS, I owned nothing but ThinkPads for laptops. Your experience was like mine.

    One incident in particular made me a ThinkPad fan forever. I was in Israel, and one morning the machine didn’t boot. I called the service center in suburban Tel Aviv, and was told to bring it in. Late the next morning I got a call saying it was ready for pickup. The technician told me the motherboard had died, and had been replace. Then he said something like, “We thought the screen looked a bit flaky so we replaced that, too.” All covered by the extended warranty.

    If Apple continues to ratchet up its control-freakish ways, I may join you in the TP/Linux world…

  38. Dell have been awesome with me. I had a hd error and did investigations myself. When I logged a job they just asked if I wanted a replacement sent to me or a tech to install it himself. Everything went brilliantly and they realised I knew what I was talking about and accepted my diagnosis.

    Acer on the otherhand insisted I rebuild my laptop to fix an obvious touchpad hardware issue and when I also mentioned the wireless card was flakey due to overheating (which seems to be a problem with a small percentage of Aspire One’s) they blamed me saying I’d overheated it. The logic is pathetic. I logged a job because it overheats and takes out the wireless card and they told me it was caused by overheating.

    Definately buying Dell from now on. Next time my Aspire has an issue I’m not even logging it. Their service was rubbish.

  39. 6 year old R50 now the kitchen recipe and email tank; X301 the geeky little puppy I’m typing this on now. Service? Who needs service when they don’t break?

  40. For every bad experience with Apple support here are thousands of good stories. There is a reason they are always top rated when it comes to service. Lenovo laptops are not the same quality that IBM Thinkpads were but they also cost a lot less than they used to.

  41. That is amazing and totally different from experiences with My Sony Vaio breaking down in Bolivia. I had to travel for 1,5 months without a laptop and when I got home spent 2 months arguing with them whether the warranty covered the malfunction. It’s the kind of service you describe I need when I travel.

  42. I have really loved the build quality and service of (post-Lenovo) ThinkPads. I now use a Mac–I wish I could run OSX on them, because I’d seriously prefer a ThinkPad’s form factor to that of a Macbook Pro.

    I had a T61p and I made a serious boo-boo: I spilled a large amount of water over the keyboard!! It was soaking in it! All I had to do was leave it inverted and open over a chair for a while and, after it had dried out, it was good as new. Amazing. Plus, the incident didn’t even void the warranty (that I had purchased).

  43. It is always nice to read some positive stories about tech support :)

    Slightly off-topic, but why did you not mention that the Amazon product order page link is an affiliate link? I think it would be appropriate since you are making such a strong case of your non-affiliation.

  44. Very good to read. I just ordered a thinkpad for my Open Univerity Psych class because it needs a PC to run the date analyzing software and my mac is tool old and too full to partition out part of it for Windows just for that. Once the class is done I’m planning to go the same route. Still, I went with it for the durability reviews and price. This is a nice bonus to find as I generally need to send a machine in for intensive care almost once a year.

  45. We have the Thinkvantage warranty on our Thinkpads and it’s been top notch. I tell them who I am, my company, my job title, and they accept the diagnostics we’ve done no matter what tools we use and help us through anything that goes wrong. Haven’t talked to a single tech that didn’t seem to be competent and service has been very quick and professional. Parts have been delivered quickly and are correct the first time. I was shocked during my first call at how my first support call went as I’d never gotten anything close for desktop/laptop support, even on a large contract, from any other vendor.

    On the flip side, until recently we were an all Dell shop. We did have accidental coverage on all laptops for 3 years. We use text chat with Dell because if we don’t we get stuck on the phone half the day. At least with that we’re not tied up completely. The only time I’ve not been frustrated dealing with Dell support has been with Silver or better support on Enterprise equipment.

  46. I’m a big fan of the thinkpad (I’m on my third, this one being my first “Lenovo” and my wife has had three cheapo refurbished ebay thinkpads), and honestly, I can’t comment on the service because I’ve never had to call. These machines are very solid. I’ve had to swap out a keyboard or two (I have kids), but that’s the only issues I’ve ever had, and I tend to keep laptops forever.

    Having said this, I’m a Linux user, so the first thing I do when I get a laptop is to reformat the hard-disk and put the OS on it, so I don’t even boot up into the Window welcome screens, so I do wish I didn’t have to pay the Microsoft tax…

  47. Kudos to you for your experience with IBM support.

    I’m not a fan of their server support in the UK. The service levels we get on our X series servers is abysmal.

    We are also going through a Z10 trial. What a pigs ear. They cant get the Z10 to work with their own SVC/XIV storage properly…. and on the contractual/project side, don’t you even begin to think that they can listen to us as the customer!

    Must be just us, but IBM have sucked every time we’ve needed them.

    BTW. I tried logging in tonight, your site is broken.

  48. stinkpads are garbage. my corpse supplies them as the default machine. mine can’t hibernate, regardless what i do. my colleague just got the motherboard swapped out on hers. another has constantly failing hard drives; she’s on her third or fourth. these are all brand new lenovo t400 machines. they’re total crap. the only plus is it’s not my money that paid for the trash …

  49. I agree, IBM/Lenovo is fantastic. Been using this Lenovo ThinkPad for 3 years now, and it has not missed a beat, and it never put a foot wrong. The one issue I did have was with the 90W charger and they replaced that in 24 hours. Awesome service from the men and woman of the ThinkPad division.

  50. I have an old ThinkPad, a Y530 ideapad and I recently purchased a C Series all-in-one for my younger son, I can’t emphasize enough the quality of Lenovo products compared to other Windows PC manufacturers. Seriously folks, if you’re considering a new laptop give Lenovo ThinkPads (or ideapads for home use) serious consideration. The Lenovo rigs aren’t the flashy just well built.

  51. Yup.the Tech&Sales gals&guys are topnotch- we ordered a T400 wch arrived rattling in it’s box- No packing material& returned it unopened& 3 weeks later got its replacement [it was a CTO].
    The two T61s& the ‘baby’ T400 hum along sans overheating [see D’hell] or turbo fan noise [see Toshiba]
    All in all,with Linux as an OS,it doesn’t get better than this!

  52. And not to mention that you can fix a ThinkPad yourself quickly and easily. My old T40p had a fan that made annoying sounds. The replacement I ordered from IBM was very cheap and arrived quickly. Replacing it was done in now time. And I wouldn’t consider myself as overly tech-savvy…

  53. I’m an IBM employee, but even if I weren’t I’d buy ThinkPads. Glad to hear from someone whose opinion I respect that I’m not necessarily just an IBM/Lenovo cheerleader because they sign my paychecks.

  54. Indeed I must agree, though one (OT) thing not mentioned in this thread goes beyond the quality of the TP hardware: their keyboards.

    It’s not just businessmen, kernel hackers and paratroopers that love the TP line but also Writers. Try knocking out a large body of text on any other laptop after using a TP.

    Function Over Form I tell ye. It’s just a machine. A TP needs no gushy startup sound to say “Welcome Master.”

  55. I’ll chime in with another case. If you just want the conclusion, it is that I’m considering only a Thinkpad or an Apple for my next notebook, and Apple only for the software.

    My 1st Thinkpad was before Lenovo, and was affected by a bad batch of system boards. It was early in the learning curve for lead-free solder, which wasn’t as good as the old, toxic kind (they’ve apparently figured it out as of now).
    The machine worked fine until I took it in for trouble seeing the 2nd memory slot – which was the sign of the bad sys boards. There ensued a repair nightmare of more defective boards, incompetent outsourced techs and lost time. It would have been only an inconvenience had I a backup computer, but the tpad was my only machine. Eventually I got annoyed enough to start researching how to drag them into small claims court.

    A few days after that, the phone rang with a call from IBM. This was IBM, not the outsourced repair shop. *I had not called them with any complaints yet.* Their rep said “we’ve heard you’re having a bad experience with our service”. They then proceeded to send me a new machine, air shipped, which had a faster CPU but one minor feature less than the high-end model I’d bought. They cheerfully took that back (even though they had to sell it as refurb once the box was opened) and sent me the next generation machine, considerably improved over my original unit.

    Fast forward. I’d bought the in-home service contract extension; it was now five years after the original purchase. The syst board finally went out, which may have had something to do with lightning striking less than 75 yards away, though the machine was still working for a few weeks after that. They put in a new sys board and a new keyboard simply because _the lettering was worn_ and replaced the external LCD cover which had some of the rubberized finish worn off — no charge, with the comment that “normal wear is covered under your service contract”.

    You think you will get service like that anywhere else?

    Yes, I could have bought a disposable 2nd hand machine for the price of the service contract, but I’d much rather have security and no down time. I’m now past 6 years on one computer purchase, double the “normal” obsolescence cycle. What I want from my next Thinkpad is design, reliability and ruggedness _not_ a lower initial price.

  56. Do you want to hear about how I´m starring a Lenovo horror story?

    I´ll tell you all about it.

    I decided on buying an x200 around 5 months ago. Because I live in europe, and in europe we hardly get any customization options I tried ordering from the U.S. website.

    My card wouldn´t go through, so instead I was advised to pay through wire transfer. Which I did. But then, after many emails I was told that they couldn´t send the machine to an acquaintance of mine in the states, nor would they send it to europe.

    So I though, ok, I´ll have my money back then please.

    That was 5 months ago. I still haven´t received my money, and talk to a representative every week. Unless my email is left without a reply (which happens often) I always get the “we´re working on it” message.

    I sent them the wire transfer slip as a proof that I had transferred the money, my bank account number and so on. They say they´ve got everything they need, it´s just a question of them working their way through the bureaucracy of it all, as it´s the first time that such a thing happened.

    I don´t know what to think, it´s been 5 months already.

  57. I’ve had very similar experiences with Lenovo/IBM products. Not only are the products great, but the service is easily top notch. I will continue to buy Thinkpads simply for the service, lest they ever change.

  58. I’ve sold Thinkpads in the past, so I can vouch for their low return rate (please note this applies to Thinkpads, and not to the Lenovo range in general).

    They aren’t perfect, but as Cory has pointed out their warranty service is the best I’ve seen.

    I use a Thinkpad myself, and it is pretty much bulletproof.

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