Tek Attack

 Netsurfer x7s Netbook Review

So, before I left Cape Town, it had become quite clear to me that I would need a laptop of sorts to keep in touch with my peeps back home. I paid a visit to gumtree.co.za. The Cape Town branch of course. I scanned through the lists of laptops and netbooks. There were a few that caught my eye, especially the laptops. But I thought, nah, too heavy to carry on the plane and lug around from home to class.

So, I opted for netbooks instead. Again there were quite a few at decent prices. The only problem I had with them is that they were second-hand. I didn’t feel like taking a second-hand machine to an expensive city like Amman where it would cost me more to fix it due to the strong Jordanian dinar. And so began the search for a brand-new netbook.

Naturally, I perused the local retailers like Incredible Connection, Chaos Computers and even the smaller ones like RDP Computers in Parow. I felt the netbooks on offer were waaay too expensive.

I remembered seeing an ad in one of the PEP cell promotional pamphlets for the Netsurfer Touch Tablet. I logged onto their website and after having a look at the specs for this little device, I figured its not for me. I havent worked with tablet devices before so I didn’t trust them as yet. And the specs indicated this device was more for browsing and watching YouTube. Seeing how I was starting this blog, I wondered how I would type my thoughts with this device.

So, I googled the device manufacturer, and found their website, netsurfer.co.za. On the home page, they advertised another device, a netbook. I thought this is just what I’m looking for. An in-depth investigation into the specs of this nifty little device and I was sold. This was just what I needed for staying in touch with Mum and updating my blog. And the best thing is this device had a keyboard attached. Neat, huh?

I dialled their digits on my cellphone and got put through to Simon. What a guy! Whatever I asked, he answered in a calm and helpful manner. I had him send over all the specs as well as banking details and throughout this time he was awfully patient with me.  Without even paying, I insisted on an invoice from his side. That too was sent diligently. After transferring R2 500 to their account, he replied with a mail thanking me for the purchase and wished me many hours of entertainment with the netbook. As I sent the proof of purchase too late that Friday afternoon, he informed me I would only receive it the Tuesday morning as they would have to collect it the Monday.

My netbook didn’t arrive that Tuesday morning, so I called them about 3 times to find out what was going on. Each time I was put through to Jean, who followed up with the courier. He finally told me that it would arrive that afternoon around 1pm and lo and behold it did arrive.  🙂

The Plot Thickens

Eager to play with my new investment, I took the netbook and its peripherals out carefully. Plugged in the charger and booted up and wahey, I was happy. But when I moved the mouse cursor to change the time, I noticed a little dot  about 3cm to the top right of that area. Thinking it to be a dust particle, I wiped gently at the spot. But no, it refused to move. Rebooting the netbook 3 times didn’t help either. I prayed silently, “Lord, please don’t let this be a permanent squatter on my screen”. All out of options, I called the tech support desk at Future Mobile Technologies. I spoke to Ruan who came across as a highly skilled engineer in fixing things all computer-like. He informed me the ‘bright spot’ was a pixel that didn’t refer back to its off state for what ever reason. There were a couple of ways to fix this:

1. To google ‘recover dead pixel’ software, download it and run the program

2. Take a pencil with an eraser attached to its head and press gently against the spot.

3. Take a stylus pen wrapped in a cloth and do the same as in step 2.

The first fix seemed easy enough, so I downloaded one of thos programs and let it run overnight. Much to my dismay when I rebooted the netbook, the spot was still there. Not willing to cause any damage to the screen and thereby nullifying the warranty, I opted to call Ruan again. He said that he would speak to Simon and see what can be arranged.

The very next day I sent a mail to Jean stating that as I am going to the Middle East the very next week, my ideal solution would be for the dodgy netbook to be swapped out with a working one. I received a call back that morning from Jean. He asked for directions and my address and stated he would be there just after 12pm.

A chubby guy sporting a bok-baard, his approach was friendly and enthusiastic. He unpacked the new netbook and with me, watched it boot up and inspected the screen for any faults. Together we agreed there was nothing of the sort,  I mentioned to him that I appreciated his efforts and with a smile on his face, he nodded that it was no problem. A firm shake of the hand after asking me to give them feedback, whether positive, negative or just suggestions.

Never in my life had I been treated in this gentle manner by a supplier. I dont know about you, but this certainly counts as fantastic customer service in my book.

As for the netbook, is it everything I imagined it would be? Yip, it is. I still haven’t figured out how to use the built-in camera. Right now, I’m just too lazy to ask their tech support for this solution.

Pros and Cons

1. The price is fantastic at R2500. Compare this price with other retailers for a similar spec and you’ll see how ridiculous their prices are.

2. Customer service is great as well as their tech support.

3. Quick turnaround time from order until delivery.

4. Perfect for travellers wanting to work on that proposal in between flights.

a. I don’t like back-lit screens. As I am a child of the night, it is much too bright for me, Reducing the brightness setting doesn’t do much. It is still relatively bright.

b. Can’t touch type due to this being a netbook with much smaller keys. Of course, netbooks in general are not meant to be used as the primary computer for your daily PC needs.

c. I can’t think of anything else right now, but I’ll be sure to let you know.

Click here to go to their site for more info.

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