The Queen is NOT amused. In fact, I’m pretty down-right Pi**ed (pardon the language). After all the trouble I’ve had, I thought it pretty necessary to update all future China-Travelers to the dangers of buying/using Apple products here.
I don’t remember if I told you all this, but Lawrence the Laptop has had another revolt. He attempted going on strike via a broken LCD screen; I cut him off at the start via a nice HDMI connection to my television. Unfortunately, he laughed in my face and promptly refused to work without the HDMI connection. No need to get into it, it was a whole thing.
So last November, I bought an Ipad 2 during China’s version of Black Friday. I’ve had an I-Pod for several years, which lasted pretty well and I figured I’d give their tablet a try. YES, I checked and it is a legit Apple I-Pad; had it tested by the real Apple Company in Zhengzhou (it’s on the apple website as a legit seller).
WRONG! BAD! Stupid Olivia!
Here’s Why. . .
Price: 1800 RMB (approx. $300)
Review: The price was a little expensive for my tastes (almost all of Apple is), but I figured it was worth the bargain. Apple products in China tend to run a bit pricier than products in America. Go figure given that they are literally produced about 10 miles away in the city I live in. They have their own personal runway at the international airport they ship so many Apple products out of here. Yet we still get charge at least 50% again as much as American buyers. So, I had to wait until 11/11, China’s Black Friday shopping day to pick one up from Hong Kong.
Initial Purchase: Semi-Good; Semi-Problematic
Review: The first shipment I got was not too terrible. It came with the charger, a cover, a screen protector, and ear plugs, pretty sweet all together. The I-Pad itself was unmarked and undamaged, it seemed like everything would be okay.
It worked for about 2 hours, and then problems started. The swiping part of the screen wasn’t working. It would stall up, like the screen was locked. You could go up about half an inch and down about half an inch, but otherwise nothing was happening. Buttons wouldn’t click, etc. So we tried turning it on and off again (the answer to most issues), which revealed that the lock screen was not working either. Once again, I couldn’t swipe from the screen saver to the unlock screen. When I did finally get to the lock buttons, it froze and wouldn’t click them. Tried a hard reset and several other options, nothing worked.
So we called the seller and sent it back. They kept it for about two weeks and finally sent me a new version. This one seemed fine, so life moved on.
Use: Final Product
The final I-Pad I got worked fine soft-ware wise. Sometimes it would randomly shut down songs or the internet would stop working, and none of the VPNs like it at all. Otherwise, it was great and I was happy.
Hard-ware wise, the screen cracks like crazy. Literally, press to hard on the screen when punching a button and the whole screen cracked. I put on a super duper safety case on it intended for toddlers, took it off and the whole edges were broken. I asked the computer fix-it people and they said it sounds like I was sent a re-furbished model that had a cheap screen put on it. The screen supposedly should not have cracked like that, but they verified the computer was really apple so they think the screen was just replaced with a cheapo version.
I was not happy, especially knowing it takes 300 RMB to fix the screen. Furthermore, they admitted that if the top screen breaks the second lower screen there may be no fixing it at all?!? 0_0 Don’t you think that’s something they should have told me about before I bought the I-Pad? I did a ton of research into I-Pads, I asked questions, and this never came up.
ERROR: Blue Screen of Death
Anyways, along I go using my ipad for about 5 months, when suddenly the screen goes blue and the whole thing just shuts off. Black. Off, no charging, no connecting to the computer, no nothing. Reset doesn’t work. Plugging it in to the computer doesn’t work. It is dead as a doornail for no apparent good reason. No warning, that would be too nice. Just stops in the middle of a show. Takes with it my calendar, contacts, messages, photos, videos, notes, everything. So off I go to the computer store to have it fixed.
Customer Service: Sucky, really, really sucky
I went down to the off-brand computer store here in Xinzheng to see what they could do. They don’t speak English so I had to take along a friend, but off we went.
I get to the store and at first they won’t touch it. They explain that to get inside an Apple product, you have to break the screen. And if you break the screen, you risk breaking the second screen which may ruin the I-Pad alltogether. Ummm. . . well it’s dead without a fix, so what else have you got? Also, thanks a lot Apple.
Finally, I demanded that they at least try to fix the stupid thing. They said okay, it’ll take about 4 days to verify that it is a legit Apple product at the Zhengzhou Apple store. If it is, we’ll fix the hard drive (apparently it just crashed) and the repair the broken screen. 700Rmb, about 1 week. I wait and wait. They keep telling me they will call and let me know. No calls.
2 weeks later, well we are trying to fix the product but we’re not sure what’s wrong. 3 more days.
3 days later, well we know what’s wrong but we need a tool to fix it. 3 more days.
3 days later, well we don’t have the tool yet. 4 more days.
4 days later, well that tool didn’t work but we’ll try again. 2 more days.
4 days later. Well, we put in a new drive and it’s working most of the time. But it has a problem where sometimes the swiping touch screen won’t work. (Apparently same problem I had with the first one.) Instead of just REPLACING THE NEW HARD DRIVE (go figure), they tell me they’ll just send it back to me and I can see if someone else can figure out how to fix it. I’m thinking, okay, so at least it works about 85% of the time, I can sort of work with that.
3 days later, it comes back.
Not only, did my screen come back shattered in a million pieces missing giant chunks, the d**m thing was open with wires showing, no new hard drive, permanently busted. They were kind enough not to charge me for the time. Ummmm Hello!?! It was working “most of the time” and this is how I get it back? So broken it will never work again? No, this is so far beyond okay it’s straight into bad. Now, I wasn’t there, but I was told that it was being taken care of by the legitimate Apple fix it store. That’s why they had to verify I didn’t have a knock-off. This sucks so bad it’s unbelievable. $300 down the drain, almost as much as I make in salary here. All because the stupid Apple I-pad 2 has some sort of standard touch screen problem, a bad hard drive, and a hardware issue like nobody’s business. Seriously? You have to break the product to get inside to fix it? On what technology planet are we still living?
So here I am, left sans I-Pad, sans faith in Apple, and sans $300. And I can’t even afford to replace it although I bought it because I badly needed a replacement for my computer. This sucks. BTW, if there are any laptop company’s out there desperate for someone to test their laptops or tablets in China, I’m availabe 🙂 Just not Apple.