Ya gotta give credit where credit is due in this life. We all tend to be quick to judge when products and service do not live up to our expectations, but we tend to be much less prompt about extending praise when it is due. In this case, I want to praise a computer manufacturer — Toshiba to be exact.
More often than not, I have owned what we used to call clones. I guess that terminology comes from the days when IBM ruled the PC world. There came a time when corner computer stores could make pretty darn adequate computers, and I soon discovered that I would just as soon have a corner store clone than a brand name. At least for a desktop computer.
In fact, the only brand name desktop computer that I have ever owned (in the PC/Wintel world — my earliest computers, back in the dark ages, were Ataris) was a Compaq. A few times when I inquired about upgrading components for the Compaq, I was told that it could be problematic because of proprietary (i.e. non-standard) ways of doing things. And when I did run into problems once or twice, I found their phone support to be helpful but expensive. If there was any way to charge you for the call, they would: rather exorbitantly I might add.
The corner store clones seemed to meet my needs very well. Problems, when they infrequently occurred were easily solved by hauling the machine to the handy dandy corner computer store.
Of course, that changed when I switched to laptop computers (or notebooks if you prefer). I figure that laptops are pretty specialized little gizmoic contraptions, and I want a reputable name behind such a beastie with which has so much stuff crammed into so little space. My first laptop was an IBM, which in my humble opinion, was a crappy computer backed by a crappy company. Once it broke, it was pretty darn difficult to track down support.
Not so with Toshiba. As I understand it, they offer free phone support for as long as you own the computer. If not, they certainly continue to offer it long after the warranty has expired. I have been on the phone with them at length a number of times, and they have always been patient, cooperative, and helpful.
I also like their machines a lot. I have had my hands on a few makes of laptops, and I'm quite happy with the look and feel of the Toshiba product. Yes, the writing capability of the CD drive went haywire when I don't think it should have, but, for now at least, I will put that down to a fluke.
When it was time to pass this laptop onto Cuppa because her IBM was in its death throes, I was loathe to part with my Toshiba but also pleased to update to a newer one. There was no question in my mind that it would be a Toshiba. Let there be no doubt that I was attracted to the machine itself, for I am confidant in the brand, but I was ultimately drawn by their excellent phone support. I think they're onto a good thing here: offering solid after-sales service and support; standing behind their products; not attempting to gouge every last nickel out of their patrons.
Way to go Toshiba: good marketing both on the manufacturing front and on the support side!