ASUS Support? Who cares.

Not long ago I’ve purchased an ASUS Transformer (Eee pad) Honeycomb tablet. Good specs, great price. I’d buy it even sooner if it weren’t for ASUS’ blunder with not providing enough units to the market (for some reason they released this great tablet in ultra-low quantities and it took almost a quarter of the year to provide enough units to satisfy market demands – first ASUS fail – what were they thinking?).

Transformer is really a great tablet, nothing to complain about and ASUS is really taking care of updating the OS in timely fashion. In fact it is the best combination out there right now (for Honeycomb tablets AFAIK) – others should follow their example. Anyway, I was a happy user for a month or so until I’ve come across Kendo UI – an optimized javascript/HTML5 library for UI components. Curiosity took over and I’ve tried few demos just to realize that they are running abnormally slow on a tablet that is supposed to perform very fast. My initial though was that Kendo UI is crap but later I’ve found that I was totally wrong on this assumption. Just to be sure I’ve tried Kendo UI on my Samsung Galaxy S phone and wonders, it runs much faster on my phone (supposedly much slower device) than on my (supposed to be) faster tablet. Makes sense? Not really.

So I started investigating by comparing the two devices. The most objective way of comparison are of course benchmark tests. I started with SunSpider (javascript benchmark – Kendo UI is all about javascript). I’ve got a result that is twice as slower compared to what others are getting on the same tablet. Even my phone scores better. I’ve also run Antutu and Quadrant. The results are below (expected results are from a fellow Transformer owner and from results from various web sites).

SunSpider

Expected

Actual

Difference (the factor of slowness)

lower is better

 

2291

4550

1,99

Note that running a different browser doesn’t change the results significantly.

 

Antutu

Expected

Actual

Difference (the factor of slowness)

lower is better

RAM

806

363

2,22

CPU Integer

1152

519

2,22

CPU floating-point

1014

453

2,24

2D graphics

298

302

0,99

3D graphics

859

725

1,18

Database IO

270

165

1,64

SD card write

189

174

1,09

SD card read

126

119

1,06

Overall

4714

2820

1,67

 

Quadrant

Expected

Actual

Difference (the factor of slowness)

lower is better

 

2399

1005

2,39

What can I gather from results is that there is a problem with CPU but not with GPU (factor is about 2 or more for CPU related tests which means twice as slower as it should be).

I even performed a factory reset and still got the same results. This is the first time I saw a device underperforming and I had no idea why. I’ve contacted Asus UK (I’ve bought it from UK because there is cheaper and it was the only EU country actually selling them) and they suggested a RMA (sending it in for a repair). The ASUS’ response was pretty quick in less than a day. I was supposed to contact a local Slovene company which I did and they dispatched an express courier to pick my tablet up (which was a pleasant surprise, something I am not used to). Slovene guys also warned me that they are not a repair shop, they will just forward it to designated repair service (supposedly in Czech republic) and that it might take a couple of weeks or even three weeks until I get it back. At least I’ll get a properly functioning tablet back I thought at the moment, even though I was getting used to the tablet.

The fail of the ASUS service logistics

So the tablet is gone for a service and after three weeks there was no sign of it – even though I’ve waited eagerly outside the house for the postal courier every day (just kidding). Hence I called the local Slovene company to ask how is it going with my tablet and when I might expect it back. The answer was by far the one I didn’t expect: “hey, in a day or two we will finally send it to the service”. “Errr, what? I think I didn’t understood that sentence, can you repeat it for me?” And the repeated answer was horribly the same. “So, you are telling me that you’ve spent three weeks or so just to prepare for sending my transformer to the service?” “Yes, but that doesn’t depend on us, you know. The Czechs (service) are supposed to organize the physical transfer, they are working on it, we are just the messenger, it doesn’t depend on us. We just (magically) open a case on our application and that’s it as far as we are concerned.”. WTF? ASUS could replace the device immediately without even sending it to the repair service if you care about your customers. But no, everything has to be by the internal rules, which involves stupid internal logistic problems or who knows what.

ASUS, is this the way of treating your customers? Is it really? I mean I had plenty of confidence in ASUS that they will make it right with their excellent tablet. I understand that the tablet might malfunction for a reason or another. But not dealing with failures in timely manner is the second and by far their worst failure (first one is failure to provide enough units at the start). And one wonders why iPad is still reigning the tablet market? It is because Taiwanese companies just don’t get it (nor does Motorola). They don’t get the whole picture nor they take care to provide customer friendly service in every aspect. At this point what is “pushing” the repair is the Slovene law which says that the warranty repair has to be done within 45 days (otherwise they have to replace it with a new device). Same on ASUS of even considering this time limitation.

If I know all this I’d just plan a family vacation somewhere in Czech republic near the repair service.

16.9.2011 Breaking update: A month after I sent my tablet for repair and a week after it was actually sent to the service (and after a week I've wrote this rant) I've got a replacement back - or at least the attached document says so. It is working as expected now. I am again a happy Honeycomb user.