After pre-ordering my Nexus, these reports started coming through thick and fast. I decided to call Google (Play Support) to get an idea of how many devices were affected and was pleased to hear it was in the 1-2 percentile. With this, I kept my pre-order in place and waited patiently.
Two weeks passed and the device showed up. I looked it over and tested it out, being generally pleased with the quality and lack of issues. I applied a screen protector, gel case and carried on. It wasn’t until four weeks later after hearing someone stating their screen was lifting on the left hand side that I decided to check, in detail, my own.
It had lifted.
It was irritating, but not the end of the world. Despite the “horror” stories about contacting the Play Store for refunds and exchanges, I was answered promptly and had an RMA created in under 10 minutes.
Two days later a new tablet arrived at work. I was immediately frustrated at the lack of protection in the way the tablet was shipped as I sat at my desk inspecting a fairly scruffy, dented box. After an email to Google to state my displeasure towards their lack of care in the packaging of a relatively expensive tablet, I popped it back in the paper bag it was shipped in and unboxed it at home. (As it turns out, the tablet was fine). That was four days ago and since then I’ve been enjoying it immensely.
Whilst putting it down to make a cup of tea, I returned to find the screen was almost white, having lost most of it’s colour. I immediately rebooted it to find the Nexus boot screen was just as “washed out”.
Above is the Nexus7 with the lifted screen next to the RMA N7. Had TNT not forgotten about me, I’d have sent the original N7 back by now. As it happens, it has come in handy for a direct comparison.
Having already been on the phone to Google today, requesting a follow-up on the shipping labels to send the old device back, they were surprised to hear from me again.
I spoke to an Escalations Engineer named Daniel, a level above the customer service folks. He first stated the issue was 9/10 times a software bug relating to Automatic Brightness and requested a hard-reset on the device that would theoretically reinstall the video drivers. Having had it for only 4 days, I only had a single file to back up and so went for it.
As soon as it’d reset, Daniel requested I turned off Automatic Brightness via Settings > Display > Brightness and reboot the tablet. I did so.
Now theoretically, this should have resolved the problem until a patch that’s being rolled out is downloaded and applied in the next month. I was more than happy to roll with this and began to bring the conversation to a close.
Until it happened again.
At this point, Daniel’s demeanour changed from relaxed to concerned. He conceded it was indeed a hardware issue and offered an RMA. However, there were two issues:
1) I already have an RMA associated with my account. I was troubleshooting it.
2) It would have been another 159 pounds held on my account (318 in total).
So, after a number of awkward minutes full of “umms” and “errrs”, being put on hold and me pointing out this wouldn’t be an issue if they’d managed to get TNT to pull their finger out in response to one of the five emails I sent about the missing shipping labels over the last four days, Daniel came up with a plan that goes along these lines:
1) With the shipping labels, return the RMA device (keeping the device with the lifting screen).
2) Once the RMA device is confirmed to be returned and the funds are released on my account, I have to call and quote a unique reference which will authorise a Play Employee to generate a new RMA device link.
3) Once I receive the RMA device, immediately ship the old Nexus back to Google with the 2nd set of shipping labels generated with the new RMA link.
Assuming there are no issues with the 3rd Nexus, I should be sorted in the next 10 days.
It would appear I’m terribly unlucky. Being told I was in the 1-2 percentile two times in a row from two (confirmed) different batches of N7 was not awfully pleasing.
Well, they say 3rd time’s a charm and all that, but at this point I’m afraid I’ve lost all confidence in the reliability of these devices. Should this 3rd device have even the slightest of faults or irregularities, I will be forced to request a refund.
In addition, I certainly won’t be recommending anyone else get one given my own experience. I’d hate to be someone who encouraged the purchase of a device that could potentially cause as many issues for them as it has me. I’m sure within 6 months all of this will be over and done with, but for now at the very least I will be suggesting to either wait or look for something else.
Oh, and I did ask them to send me a 16GB version as a free upgrade for messing me around. You already know the answer to that.. but it was worth a shot. I am however down two screen protectors and can’t say I’m best pleased. I may bring it up again, and may get lucky. You never know.
On a positive note, both Daniel and Shawn, a Customer Service Rep, have been repeatedly helpful in getting things resolved for me, more so than any other company I’ve had issues with before. In addition, I don’t think I’ve ever had the opportunity to unbox three new devices in 10 days!
Still, it’s simply not good enough I’m afraid. Asus have let Google down terribly with these rushed devices and at the moment, I’m bitterly disappointed.
I’ll update on the new device once it arrives.