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I've mentioned on this board several times how impressed I've been with Lenovo, both their products and service. I've recently been trying to solve a problem with a laptop, and Lenovo hasn't been so impressive so far.

Here's the situation. Two nearly-identical Lenovo laptops. Both exactly the same model, with the same options, same amount of memory, same operating system, but one has a slightly larger hard drive (both 7200 RPM). One is a few months newer, and therefore has a newer version of the BIOS and a 1.04 (rather than 1.03) "Embedded Controller Version". Both have a Logitech bluetooth mouse (not from Lenovo), same model, again one slightly newer than the other.

The problem: on the newer laptop, sometimes when you boot up the mouse doesn't work (also sometimes, even more rarely, coming out of sleep mode). When that happens, if you go to the bluetooth controls and remove the mouse and then use "add device" to add it back, the laptop acts as if the mouse has been successfully added, but the mouse continues to show a flashing LED (meaning it is still in "discover" mode — when operating properly, that LED stops flashing at the same time as the laptop says the mouse has been added). And the mouse doesn't work. The only way to solve the problem is to remove the mouse, turn off the bluetooth transmitter, shut the laptop all the way down, boot up the laptop, turn on the bluetooth transmitter, and use the bluetooth "add device" to add the mouse (which works this time).

More info: the same thing happens on the newer laptop with either mouse. It never happens with either mouse on the older laptop. Both laptops have exactly the same version of all the bluetooth-related drivers and software.

So... I called Lenovo and got a tech who wanted to use the remote-access stuff (that comes preloaded by Lenovo), which I allowed. He said he was going to bring up the bluetooth controls, but he obviously had no idea how to do it. (Not that it's real hard: you click on the bluetooth notification icon at the right of the task bar. Granted, it's hidden so you have to click on the upward-pointing arrow first.) He kept trying all sorts of really weird things, until finally I walked him through it.

After checking various settings, he turned off the bluetooth transmitter and then turned it back on. He asked if the mouse was working, which it was (remember, it only fails sometimes, and only right at bootup or coming out of sleep). He then said that since it is working there's nothing else he could do for me. When I questioned this, he said I could go to the Lenovo website and download new bluetooth drivers. He said to call back if that didn't help.

Big surprise, that didn't help. After all, the exact drivers originally on the newer laptop worked fine with bluetooth on the older laptop. So I called Lenovo again.

This time the guy, using remote-access, removed all the bluetooth-related drivers at the Device Manager level, then used the Lenovo-preloaded ThinkVantage System Update to load in new drivers. System Update also loaded new Power Manager drivers and Hot Key Features. He said the problem should be fixed. I said I would reboot and see if the mouse worked. He said he couldn't hold while I did that, but to go ahead and if there was a problem call back.

Again, to no surprise, new drivers didn't solve the problem. So I called Lenovo again. I told this guy there was basically no chance this was a software problem, in my view, but he (like the other two) thought it was likely software. He asked if I could swap the hard drives in the two laptops. I hadn't done that because I wasn't sure it would be a great idea to swap the hard drives in two laptops that have different "Embedded Controller Version", but he said it would be OK.

So I swapped the hard drives. Amazingly (to me, by that point), he held on the line while I swapped them (which was just a couple minutes, it's not real difficult). I booted the newer laptop up, and the mouse worked. I told him why I hadn't tried swapping hard drives before, and he said "oh, it's no problem. Just a matter of the drive bay size. If the other drive fits in the bay, you're all good.". WTF!?! If he'd said that before I swapped them, I might not have been willing to try such obviously ignorant advice. Anyway, he held on the line for three reboots. During which we chatted and he said if swapping hard drives didn't solve the problem, then there would be no doubt it's a hardware problem in the newer laptop, since by running the older laptop's hard drive it would be using "known good" software. Of course the problem didn't reappear in a mere 3 reboots.

Then we went on a trip (as I recently posted, in my review of the Zuni Digital ZR301), during which my "case number" at Lenovo expired.

So now I called Lenovo, and after getting a new case number explained the problem again. They still think it's a software problem, and want me to update the BIOS in the newer laptop. When I complained that the laptop already has an even newer BIOS than the laptop that works fine, they checked the list of updates from the version of BIOS the newer laptop has to the latest BIOS, and none of them have anything to do with bluetooth. So, finally, they said I could send the laptop back to Lenovo. Which is what I thought needed to be done on Day One. They're sending a box.

Now a remaining issue for me is I asked them if I could remove the hard drive and return the laptop without it (and all my private information), and they said no. So I need to back up all the data and restore the drive to factory original image. I think I'll buy a hard drive and copy everything over to it, then factory-image the drive the laptop came with. That way I can boot the older laptop with either its hard drive or the hard drive copied from the newer laptop, so as to use it as either laptop (with respect to software and data).

Not too impressed. I have to add, though, that my (few) previous contacts with Lenovo service were completely satisfactory, even exemplary. Oddly, the person who finally authorized returning the laptop expressed doubt that they would fix the problem, and said they'd probably just update the BIOS (which incidentally means she doesn't think updating the BIOS will solve the problem, even though that's what she just advised me to do!). Could be she was miffed by me pretty much refusing to update the BIOS, and complaining that every time I call they ask me to load some software tidbit that has virtually no chance of solving the problem, then I have to spend days testing to have the problem reoccur.

Phil
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Not too impressed. I have to add, though, that my (few) previous contacts with Lenovo service were completely satisfactory, even exemplary. Oddly, the person who finally authorized returning the laptop expressed doubt that they would fix the problem

Hey Phil,

Sorry to hear about the problems you are having with Lenovo's tech support. Although, I have a newer G770 laptop I don't use the blue-tooth feature so unfortunately I can not offer any advice.

I've read many of your posts @ HWTSC over the years and IMO you are more knowledgeable than the techs you are speaking to ............

I wish you the Best of Luck.

Rich
Arizona
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stockmover,

I've read many of your posts @ HWTSC over the years and IMO you are more knowledgeable than the techs you are speaking to ............

Thanks for the compliment. Normally I understand that these techs have a script to follow and/or certain steps that are required (even if the tech knows some are pointless), and I'm totally OK with that... but at some point you just have to start getting exasperated with them.

Bluetooth is optional on this model of laptop, so I'm pretty sure if they replace the bluetooth module that will solve the problem. I would have just asked for a replacement module to install myself from the start, since from past experience Lenovo is pretty good about such things, but I read the tech manual and you have to take the laptop pretty far apart to get to that module. On the plus side, when their tech suggested swapping the hard drives, I'd already read the procedure for doing that (it's one of the steps in getting to the bluetooth) so I knew it'd be trivial.

Phil
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Synopsis: a laptop with an intermittently malfunctioning bluetooth, which I suspected from the start needed the bluetooth electronics module replaced. Lenovo gave me the run-around for awhile asking for various drivers to be reloaded to no avail, before giving in to me sending the laptop in for repair.

Update:
Well, at least they are fast. They sent me (by UPS) a box to return the laptop in, which included a prepaid UPS-next-day sticker. I took it to a UPS store on Monday, Lenovo received it on Tuesday, sent it back UPS-next-day on Wednesday, and I received it on Thursday.

Despite the lady at Lenovo telling me that sending the laptop back for repair probably wouldn't fix the problem because "they'll just update the BIOS", they did not in fact update the BIOS. It still has the same version. The extremely brief explanation of the repair they sent said "Part Description: BLUETOOTH / Symptom: COMMUNICATION DIAG/POST ERROR - IR" for the first of two lines. No indication of whether that "symptom" is some synopsis of what I reported, or what they observed. Fortunately, I had printed out the MAC address of the bluetooth module before I sent the laptop back, so I know they replaced the module because the MAC address for bluetooth is different now.

The second line says they erased the hard drive and restored it to the original factory software. Considering one of their own technicians said there was "no possibility" that it was a software problem (since the problem remained after swapping in a hard drive with software that works fine), and apparently they were able to confirm that the bluetooth hardware itself was not working properly, it's quite strange for them to erase the hard drive. You have to wonder under what circumstance they wouldn't erase the hard drive. And probably most people don't want their hard drive erased when they send their laptop in for repair. (I did sign an authorization for them to erase the hard drive if necessary in the paperwork for sending the laptop back.)

Fortunately, I didn't boot that hard drive up at all. The first thing I did was remove it and put in the new hybrid hard drive I recently bought (see http://boards.fool.com/30079719.aspx). And reinstall the additional memory I bought from Crucial (and removed before sending the laptop back).

Incidentally, one small flaw with my notion of keeping a drive with a copy of the defective laptop's hard drive to be swapped into the working laptop as needed for use during the repair process: Microsoft Office was able to detect that it was running on a different processor and wasn't happy about that. We decided to just avoid using Office for a few days, rather than try to keep re-registering it back and forth.

So now I'll have to wait and see if the problem is fixed or not, since before it could go for days without having any problems. I have rebooted it several times, and the mouse has always worked so far.

Phil
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Synopsis: a laptop with an intermittent malfunction with any bluetooth mouse. Lenovo gave me the run-around for awhile asking for various drivers to be reloaded to no avail, before giving in to me sending the laptop in for repair.

Another Update: The saga continues.

First, as I mentioned before one of the techs said that if I sent the laptop back for repair, which I did, they'd "just update the BIOS". Which they didn't. I've now found out, having tried to update the BIOS myself, that it already has the latest BIOS. Making the tech's comment even weirder.

Anyway, the problem still continues. If anything, it is worse since they replaced the bluetooth module. Before, the laptop and bluetooth mouse would sometimes work together for days before failing. Now, it's very rare for them to go a whole day without malfunctioning.

So... since both mice I've tried with this laptop were the same model of Logitech mice (both of which work fine on another Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E525 we have), I decided to buy a different brand of mouse and try that. I got a Targus "Comfort Laser Mouse" from Amazon. It seems reasonably nice.

Same problem. The laptop still fails intermittently with all three mice. So I called Lenovo and got the usual "download a bunch of drivers and no I won't hold while you do it" routine. I downloaded the list of drivers she wanted, and quickly verified the mouse still dies at random.

So I called Lenovo yet again. This time they did the "remote access" thing, but all the tech did was verify I really did have the latest drivers. They are sending a box for me to return the laptop for repair... again.

Not really very impressive.

Phil
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Another update:

So I first reported that bluetooth was failing intermittently on my Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E525 laptop to Lenovo on May 11th. After several calls and much nonhelpful loading of drivers and such, they finally took the laptop back to replace the bluetooth board. Which didn't help. Now I've sent it back again. This time I included a bluetooth mouse so they can test the problem if they don't have one.

They've had the laptop since June 29th... 10 business days so far (or 11 counting today). Their policy is to fix and return laptops within 6 business days.

This morning I got a call from Lenovo saying they wanted to update me on the laptop's status, but the lady seemed very confused as to what its status was. She said they are waiting for a part, but couldn't find any reference as to what part they were waiting on. They'd already replaced the main board, she said, which didn't solve the problem. She had no idea when they'd get whatever part they're waiting on, but she said they'd "update me" if there was "any change".

The IBM website where you can check on the status of your Lenovo laptop repair has been showing that every morning the status goes to "fixing laptop" and every night the status changes to "waiting for information from customer"... until July 10th, where it just stays at "waiting for information" from then on. Since no one has contacted me before today's call, I assume the "customer" in this context is Lenovo. Now when I go to IBM's website, it says "The service call was not found" when I put in my service number. That's not very reassuring. Although I suppose it's an improvement over yesterday, when the website was saying "Internal Server Error" before you can even enter a number.

Mind you, bluetooth works fine on a nearly identical laptop I have, which is the same model a couple months older. According to the first BIOS screen, the laptop that works has a 1.03 "embedded controller version" whereas the laptop that doesn't work has 1.04. I suspect bluetooth simply doesn't work reliably (with mice, at least) in this new version. So they can replace parts and drivers all they want, and nothing fixes the problem. Plus that would mean bluetooth doesn't work with mice on any new ThinkPad Edge E525.

Phil
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Another update:

So I first reported to Lenovo that bluetooth was failing intermittently on my Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E525 laptop on May 11th. I've sent the laptop back twice, and this second time they've had it since June 29th. Their policy is to fix and return laptops within 6 business days.

I've gotten no new information from them since they called two weeks ago to say they were waiting for a part (but they had no idea what part or why). And their repair status website has no update for this laptop since July 10th.

So I called them today, and they said they have "no information" on why the laptop is still in repair except that it is listed as "engineering hold". They said they'll put in an "expedite" request, but didn't say what that means. And they said more information "might" be available if I call back later (after at least a day).

Before this episode, I was thinking that Lenovo had pretty well-designed and well-built products, and their service was pretty decent as well. It's nice to have a vendor you can trust and go to when you need another unit. But with this episode, that trust is certainly slipping away...

Phil
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Hey Phil,,,

Are you kidding me,,,, by now you should have a brand new replacement, on your desk!!!

Stop being nice, and elevate this issue to Customer Service Management now, and insist on them to send you brand new one now, period...

TK...
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tketola,

Are you kidding me,,,, by now you should have a brand new replacement, on your desk!!!

Stop being nice, and elevate this issue to Customer Service Management now, and insist on them to send you brand new one now, period...


I'm pretty sure the problem is that bluetooth isn't working properly on the current version of hardware for the E525. They've replaced everything related to bluetooth (hardware and software) to no avail. And I have another E525 that's the previous version of hardware, and bluetooth works fine on it.

If so, they can't just send me a new replacement. It wouldn't work either.

Phil
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Another update:

So I first reported to Lenovo that bluetooth was failing intermittently on my Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E525 laptop on May 11th. I've sent the laptop back twice, and this second time they've had it since June 29th. Their policy is to fix and return laptops within 6 business days. On July 30th, they said they had "no information" on why the laptop was listed as being on "engineering hold".

It just keeps getting weirder. On August 1st, the status of the repair on their website changed to "the service request has been cancelled". No explanation as to why, no emails or calls from Lenovo to explain.

So on August 6th, I called to ask what the heck is going on? Again, the Lenovo person sounded very confused as she read the info they have on my repair. She finally said it had been shipped to a "Lenovo team in North Carolina". And that the person handling the repair now is John Smith [not the real name, of course], and gave me his (not toll-free) phone number.

So I called that phone number, but just got an answering machine. I left a message, but didn't get a return call until the next day.

John Smith called to say he had the machine because he was a "second level" Lenovo serviceman. He gave no info on why the other repair center sent him the machine, except to reiterate that they had replaced the bluetooth module (again), which didn't fix the problem, so they replaced the laptop's motherboard. One can only surmise that the first team was able to replicate the problem (that bluetooth inexplicably stops communicating with a mouse), because how else would they know that replacing the bluetooth module a second time didn't solve the problem?

And clearly they were able to replicate the problem again after replacing the motherboard, otherwise they would have sent the laptop back to me, not to "the second level".

But John Smith said the laptop is working fine and there's no indication that it has any problem. He starting hinting that maybe it's interference at my location, even though he admitted that's "unlikely" since our other laptops (one of which is an identical model) work fine with bluetooth mice. I also pointed out that once the laptop loses communication with the mouse, then the procedure to remove the mouse (from the bluetooth devices list) and then add the mouse back to the list fails in a particular way which is repeatable. It's repeatable every single time you try it, and you can try it over and over without success... until you tell the laptop to power off the bluetooth function, and then power it back on. Then the procedure works. That can't be local interference, it has to be some malfunction in the laptop (since it does exactly the same thing with different mice and even different brands of mice).

John Smith said he wants to keep the laptop and run more tests, since the problem is intermittent and therefore difficult to test. I pointed out that originally the problem could take days to appear (or happen just minutes after a previous occurrence), but after they replaced the bluetooth module the problem got much worse and I was able to observe the problem pretty reliably at every single bootup using a particular sequence (which I described on the paperwork sent in with the laptop... and I supplied them with my bluetooth mouse to test it with). He said he'd try that particular sequence. He didn't say how long he'd be doing tests.

I'm pretty sure at this point Lenovo is just lying to me. What they are saying isn't self-consistent. That's not very impressive.

Phil
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I'm pretty sure at this point Lenovo is just lying to me. What they are saying isn't self-consistent. That's not very impressive.

What it sounds like from your description is that this second-level guy didn't want to admit he hadn't actually begun to do anything with your machine yet. Not even looked at the problem report and history. So he was winging it, making sh...tuff up.
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warrl,

What it sounds like from your description is that this second-level guy didn't want to admit he hadn't actually begun to do anything with your machine yet. Not even looked at the problem report and history. So he was winging it, making sh...tuff up.

Yep, that's entirely possible.

We have two E525's, one is about a month older and according to the BIOS it has "embedded controller version" 1.03, and the new E525 has 1.04. I think what's happening is in this new 1.04 version the bluetooth doesn't work properly.

When I sent the laptop back the 2nd time, I included a bluetooth mouse and step-by-step testing instructions. They replaced the bluetooth module and tried the test, and it didn't work. So they replaced the motherboard, and that didn't work either. "They" here being the IBM repair service that Lenovo contracts their repairs in the US out to. So IBM called Lenovo and said, hey, this new hardware version just doesn't work. We can't repair it because the replacement parts all have the same problem. Even a whole new E525 laptop would have the same problem.

That's why IBM's webpage kept showing the status of my repair as "Hold for customer information". The "customer" was Lenovo, and the information they wanted was "when are you going to come up with a functional hardware design?" Certainly "customer" wasn't me, because no one ever contacted me asking for information.

So now Lenovo is stalling for time, until they can figure out what the problem is in the new design.

Phil
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Yet another update:

I called Lenovo yesterday to check on their progress on repairing my laptop (which their "6-business-day service" has had since June 29th). The guy said he's done testing it and ready to send it back. I told him that's good, because I need it back for a trip. He said I'd have it by tomorrow morning.

- It didn't arrive by tomorrow morning. It came mid-afternoon, causing me to have to cancel a lunch appointment (since they ship it with "signature required").

- There was no paperwork enclosed whatsoever. No indication of what they'd done.

- They stuck a non-removable sticker with my repair order number hand-written on it to the power supply, covering up the safety warnings (which I ignore) and the acceptable voltages (which I check whenever I'm traveling, to make sure I'm not going to burn something out). I eventually got this off with lots of scraping and goo-remover.

- There were fingerprints all over the screen. I never touch the screen because those fingerprints drive me crazy... and I'm never sure how you should clean an LCD screen.

- I gave the guy over the phone a procedure for fairly reliably causing the intermittent failure. It involves keeping the mouse still during bootup, then immediately moving the mouse starting right when you hit "Enter" after putting in the Windows password. He said he'd check that several times. However, he had the Windows password bypassed on the laptop, so I doubt he checked it at all.

- Besides setting the Windows password to be bypassed, they made all sorts of random changes. The desktop was hardly even recognizable, with lots of stuff I'd had there removed and other things added.

- When I went to put my extra memory back in, I discovered they put another one of those non-removable hand-written stickers on the hard drive bracket. Since they put it on a flimsy plastic insulator, there's no way to remove it.

- I also noticed that on the WiFi module, which is next to the hard drive, they left one wire just hanging loose, not connected to the module. I think those two wires go to the two WiFi antennas, so had I not noticed this it probably would have severely reduced my WiFi range.

- The original problem is not fixed. Every time I boot it up and try the "move the mouse after you put in the password" procedure, the bluetooth connection fails. It also fails at other times, apparently at random.

I expected, really, that the original problem wouldn't be fixed. All evidence points to it being a problem in the design of the current version of the E525 hardware. They can't fix it until they track that down and redesign the hardware. Unless they could find an older version E525 laying around.

Still, they could just come right out and tell me that, instead of telling me stuff that's self-contradictory and therefore obviously lies. Like that they replaced the bluetooth module and that didn't solve the problem, so they replaced the main board. But also that they cannot reproduce the problem. Those can't possibly both be true.

Worst. Customer service. Ever.

Phil
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Yet another update:

I called Lenovo today and got the guy's voice mail. I left him a message saying the problem still wasn't fixed, plus they'd broken the WiFi, plus stuck non-removable stickers on stuff, and that I knew the guy I was leaving the message for hadn't actually run the tests he said he would... and I'd like to talk to someone higher up.

So did I get a call back from someone higher up? Nope. The guy who I obviously don't want to talk to anymore called me back. I read him most of the report from IBM (whose repair services they apparently contract) and walked him through how it obviously indicated they replaced the bluetooth module and that didn't work, then they replaced the system board and that didn't work, so they called Lenovo and asked what to do next. And Lenovo left them twiddling their thumbs for 3 weeks.

He defended putting non-removable stickers on everything "to make sure the customer gets the right stuff back" until I asked why they didn't use removable stickers and (without waiting for an answer) why they covered up the voltage input range on the power supply (explaining that I check each device when plugging in overseas so I don't burn anything out). Then he said "oh, sorry".

I told him I'm not happy that I send the laptop to them for repair and they send it back in significantly worse condition. And I told him when I took off the cover over the hard drive and memory, and saw that they had the WiFi antenna wires all twisted up (so they'd be rubbed by that cover) and one was hanging loose, with a metal connector that could short out against anything nearby... that made me wonder what similar level of quality I'd find in their repairs if I took the laptop any further apart.

At that point he said it was "odd" that I hadn't had any customer rep assigned to my repairs, which he said was standard procedure, and that since he was "2 floors above customer service" he'd see if he could get me a rep, and have them call me. Probably today.

Well, it's about 9PM there right now, and no one has called back.

Phil
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At that point he said it was "odd" that I hadn't had any customer rep assigned to my repairs, which he said was standard procedure, and that since he was "2 floors above customer service" he'd see if he could get me a rep, and have them call me. Probably today.

Well, it's about 9PM there right now, and no one has called back.


I suspect that this is not a big surprise.
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warrl,

I suspect that this is not a big surprise.

Let's just say I wasn't sitting by my phone, waiting for their call.

Phil
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Yet another update:

So the customer service rep, who the Second Level Repair guy said last Monday would call me "probably today", finally called this morning. He said he was with "Executive Relations" (isn't that impressive?) and that the other guy, who he said was a Senior Repair Technician, had given him a note that my laptop should be replaced.

He claimed to not have any of the details on the repairs attempted so far, only the note that it should be replaced. Then he proceeded throughout the call to casually mention various details on the repairs attempted so far. So apparently the concept of honesty continues to elude Lenovo employees.

He did mention that "at one point, they even worked with Engineering to try to find solutions" to the problem of bluetooth dropping connections intermittently. Which largely verifies my thinking that it's a design fault rather than a failure of any particular piece of hardware (also seeing as how they replaced pretty much every piece and that never helped)... something the Senior Repair Technician From Level Two denied before I even brought the concept up.

So I'm kinda wondering if the new laptop will still have the same problem. Even assuming I'm the first person to report the problem (possible... since bluetooth is something Lenovo adds to order and isn't standard on this model), they've had since at least July 10th (when the repair went to "engineering hold" status) to work on a revised or new design for whatever they changed since the previous version of this model (which works fine).

He also offered me my money back instead of a replacement laptop, which is something I wasn't expecting or I would have checked out what this model sells for now. My original plan was to have two laptops of the same model so I can swap accessories back and forth (chargers, batteries). The other one is working fine, and it's actually quite a nice machine. On the other hand, Lenovo's incredibly bad service is rather frightening at this point.

He said normally a replacement has only what's left of the original warranty, but they'd add six months to make up for the time the laptop wasn't working. Since I've had it six months, that's basically just saying the replacement laptop comes with a new warranty. Of course now I'm not sure what that's worth, really. The laptop they are replacing was in much better condition before I sent it in for warranty repair than it is after two sessions of repair.

Phil
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Phil

He also offered me my money back

After this experience, do you really want another Lenovo? Take the money and run?

I have a Lenovo that went back to the factory (replaced MB plus ??) and extended the warranty for 90 days. Then the HD was failing so they sent a new one with seven 'Restore' CD's so I could fix the problem. After the warranty expired the CD/DVD (which is an internal USB drive) intermittently fails. So my experience with Lenovo is not good either and I won't buy another.

Good luck

George
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geocarw,

After this experience, do you really want another Lenovo?

Well, I have bought a number of desktops and laptops from Lenovo, and they're all still working quite well... except this one. The hardware seems quite nice. The service is obviously a problem, but I've never had any significant problem before, so I've never needed it. Also the laptops all use the same power supplies, which means when the family is traveling we can just bring one power-brick if we're packing light and move it from laptop to laptop as needed. Indeed, the original plan in buying these two laptops that are the same model was to be able to swap the batteries as well.

There really aren't many computer manufacturers left these days, and I've had bad experiences now with pretty much all of them. If it were a desktop, I'd just build one myself (I've always had good success with that, but often I just don't have time and need something pre-built right now).

Certainly it's a tough call.

Phil
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After this experience, do you really want another Lenovo?

Computers are like cars. For everyone who loves that Chevy, there's another guy who wouldn't own one if you gave it to him. I have a Dell desktop that's a decade old (or older) that still works fine... my daughter had an HP laptop that needed major repairs (no problem getting it repaired through the extended warranty)... she has an all-in-one HP now and so far so good... I have a Lenovo laptop that's terrific... I've owned more Macs than I can count and I always loved them until my daughter's Flower Power iMac died the only completely fatal death of any computer we've ever owned.

Just curious... was your Lenovo covered under the manufacturer's warranty (sounds like it, if six months)? Had you also purchased an extended warranty?
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NewEchota,

Just curious... was your Lenovo covered under the manufacturer's warranty (sounds like it, if six months)? Had you also purchased an extended warranty?

It was under Lenovo's warranty, which is 1 year. But the laptop never worked properly, so the warranty length wasn't an issue. When I got the laptop, I spent a couple weeks trying to figure out whether the problem was with the laptop or the non-Lenovo bluetooth mouse, do the obviously solutions (like download new drivers), and so forth. Then I called Lenovo and we've been going back and forth on this problem ever since. I didn't purchase an extended warranty.

I've changed my mind since yesterday, so I called the Lenovo guy and left a message saying I'd rather have my money back rather than get a new E525. This is partly because I discovered they no longer sell the E525, so in all likelihood they'd actually give me a refurbished unit rather than a new unit (and lie about it, given the history so far).

Then I can order a different model, so as not to have another non-working E525 and go through this all over again. Looking at their website, that apparently would mean getting a laptop that uses a different battery than the other E525, which would be a bummer. Who knows, maybe I'll rethink sticking with Lenovo once I've got the cash.

Phil
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Through all this I just can't help but ask, why not just use a regular wireless mouse and be done with it? Yeah, I get that this should work, and that you paid for it. But does the bluetooth mouse offer some other advantage you need that I am unaware of?

Kurt
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Kurtv,

Through all this I just can't help but ask, why not just use a regular wireless mouse and be done with it? Yeah, I get that this should work, and that you paid for it. But does the bluetooth mouse offer some other advantage you need that I am unaware of?

A regular wireless mouse uses up one of the USB ports and leaves something sticking out of that port. Granted, these days the part that sticks out of the USB port is pretty small, but it's still something to snag on things (potentially getting unplugged and lost as well).

The laptop has other problems besides the bluetooth connection losses. The screen intermittently goes dim or completely blank (not due to any of the power savers or screen savers, and only power cycling the laptop restores normal operation). And it occasionally does little "beeps" out the speaker, which sound suspiciously like the error codes the BIOS does on certain problems... but I've never been able to catch the exact pattern and look up the code. So there are other issues with this laptop as well. The others happen far less often than the bluetooth problem, and so are harder to determine whether they are fixed or not.

Phil
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Hey Phil,

Gee this is really very disappointing news about Lenovo's customer service/tech support reps. When I bought my Lenovo G770 laptop about 8+ months ago I figured Lenovo to one of the very few quality company's left around anymore. I was impressed with the sturdiness and feel of my laptop as well as the lack of bloatware. Fortunately, I had only 1 minor problem with it.

I've read your posts for a long time and I know that you are quite knowledgeable regarding computers. This surely doesn't bode well for Lenovo, sad to say, but I do appreciate your feedback and wish you best of luck in getting your problem resolved to your satisfaction.

Rich
Arizona
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stockmover,

When I bought my Lenovo G770 laptop about 8+ months ago I figured Lenovo to one of the very few quality company's left around anymore. I was impressed with the sturdiness and feel of my laptop as well as the lack of bloatware.

Indeed. I'm still pretty impressed with the quality of the Lenovo machines, both desktops and laptops. There's not much bloatware with the desktops, but more so with the laptops... and a lot of it is Lenovo-branded bloatware. For example they have a Lenovo network connections manager which is completely unnecessary (the one built into Windows works just fine). When I got the laptop back last time, they had a bunch of that crap enabled. It made the laptop very noticeably slower (especially the boot up time).

This surely doesn't bode well for Lenovo, sad to say,

Yes. I suppose anyone can have an isolated problem, but this one seems to have been bungled by at least 3 separate groups so far.

but I do appreciate your feedback and wish you best of luck in getting your problem resolved to your satisfaction.

Thanks.

Phil
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It was under Lenovo's warranty, which is 1 year.

I wonder if there's a significant difference in customer support for people who have purchased an extended warranty vs those who've settled for a standard warranty? I'd like to think that if I've ponied up an additional $150-200 for a warranty that the company escalates my support ticket (though I have no evidence to support that thought).

That's not to suggest your experience is in any way acceptable... I guess I've always wondered about the "value" of extended warranties beyond their time value.
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Yet another update:

In email correspondence, Lenovo agreed on Sept. 6th to replace the problematic ThinkPad Edge E525 with a new E530 (they don't make the E525 anymore). The differences being:

- Instead of an AMD A4-3300M processor, the E530 comes with Intel processors. They will upgrade the processor to an Intel Core i5-3210M to make up for me having to buy another bluetooth mouse to prove the bluetooth functionality problem was Lenovo's.

- The E530 has a couple USB3 ports, whereas the E525 has only USB2. But the E525 has an eSATA port, which the E530 lacks. (And I have an eSATA hard drive dock, but not a USB3 dock.)

- The bluetooth feature on the E525 is on some module that you can't get to without taking pretty much everything apart on the laptop. On the E530 it's integrated with the WiFi module, which is probably more accessible.

- I think the E530 has a higher resolution camera (but I don't care).

- The E525 has available both 6-cell batteries and 9-cell batteries (which stick out from the laptop a little, but give you longer runtime). Only 6-cell batteries are available for the E530. Lenovo said they would include a spare battery since I would not be able to use the spare battery I bought with our other E525 with the E530 (they are not interchangeable).

- The E530 has a fingerprint reader (another "I don't care" feature).

Lenovo said the new laptop would ship in 1-2 weeks (that'd be Sept. 20th at the latest) and they'd forward the UPS tracking info when it does. So far they haven't.

I also asked Lenovo if they'd consider replacing the other (working) E525 with an E530 as well, since I originally bought a matched pair of laptops so they could share/swap batteries on trips. They didn't respond to that question.

Phil
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Another update:

Got an email from Lenovo today (3 weeks after the email saying a replacement laptop would ship in 1 to 2 weeks) apologizing for the delay and saying the replacement order had been "cancelled due to one or more parts on backorder". They said they re-entered the order, and to make up for the inconvenience upgraded the machine a bit:

- Intel Core i5-3320 processor instead of the i5-3210 (which was already an upgrade over the E525's AMD A4-3300M).

- Windows 7 Professional instead of Windows 7 Home Premium.

- 6 GB of RAM instead of 4GB (this is actually worse, probably, since the 4GB configuration can be upgraded later to 8GB by adding one 4GB module, whereas upgrading 6GB to 8GB requires adding two 4GB modules).

- 500GB hard drive instead of 320GB (both 7200 RPM).

- 2 year mail-back warranty instead of 1 year.

Now the waiting begins anew, for this laptop to ship "within 2 weeks". Meanwhile it's been almost a year since I started this whole "hey, let's buy two identical laptops so we can swap batteries" project, so the warranty on the other E525 (that they are not replacing) is about to expire.

Phil
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Hey Radish,,,

Yes,,,, it's a pretty sad story.
I don't think I would have had the patience with them, that you did!!!

But Anyway,- 6 GB of RAM instead of 4GB (this is actually worse, probably, since the 4GB configuration can be upgraded later to 8GB by adding one 4GB module, whereas upgrading 6GB to 8GB requires adding two 4GB modules).

Well, not so sure, my thinking is that, you will have a 4/GB and a 2/GB modules, and yes, to upgrade to 8/GB you may need to discard or sell or just give the 2/GB module???


Anyway, it sounds like you are finally making some progress, but a year later,,, lets see, what is the Half-Life of a Computer anyway,,,,, 6 Months,,,,,,,, LOL...


TK...
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tketola,

Well, not so sure, my thinking is that, you will have a 4/GB and a 2/GB modules, and yes, to upgrade to 8/GB you may need to discard or sell or just give the 2/GB module???

You're right... for some reason I was thinking along the lines of a 4GB total done as two 2GB modules, so you'd have to throw both away. Probably isn't any such thing as a 3GB module, so the 6GB configuration probably uses mis-matched modules (not sure I like that, but I guess it depends on the bus design whether that matters or not).

So 6GB wouldn't be a disadvantage compared to a single-module 4GB configuration. But it wouldn't be an advantage, either, assuming I want 8GB (which is what I'd upgraded the E525 to... of course the memory I bought for the E525 won't work in the E530).

Anyone have any thoughts on the relative functionality of 6GB vs 8GB in a Windows 7 laptop?

Phil
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Hey Radish ,,,

So 6GB wouldn't be a disadvantage compared to a single-module 4GB configuration. But it wouldn't be an advantage, either, assuming I want 8GB (which is what I'd upgraded the E525 to... of course the memory I bought for the E525 won't work in the E530).

Well I think you are just fine with the 6/GB of RAM, and it's absolutely better than just the 4/GB, there is no disadvantage there!!!

I would just run with it for awhile, to see how it goes.

If you want to get up to 8/GB, then just take out the 2 /GB module and replace it with the 4/GB Module.

Crucial® Memory Advisor results for the Lenovo ThinkPad Edge E530 Laptop/Notebook.

http://www.crucial.com/store/listparts.aspx?model=ThinkPad%2...

RECOMMENDED UPGRADE
4GB
DDR3 PC3-12800 • CL=11 • Unbuffered • NON-ECC • DDR3-1600 • 1.35V • • Part #: CT2901077
(1 Ratings)
$19.99

OK, so there is no Magic there , just $20+ bucks and you are up to 8/GB...

TK...
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Recap and update:

Back in May, I called Lenovo about a problem with an E525 where the bluetooth randomly disconnects from the mouse, and won't reconnect without a power off/on.

They screwed around for 3 months trying to fix that, during which they updated all the software that could conceivably relate to bluetooth, and replaced all the hardware too. For weeks at a time, the laptop was away for repairs.

Having concluded they couldn't fix the laptop, they decided to replace it. Lenovo hasn't admitted this, but it is evident from various facts that they couldn't get a replacement laptop to work properly either... apparently all the E525's past a certain hardware revision number have bluetooth problems (on those that have bluetooth, which is optional).

So then Lenovo decided to replace the E525 with a similarly-spec'ed E530, which they said would ship within 2 weeks and they'd email me tracking info.

Three weeks later, Lenovo emailed to say they couldn't build that E530 either. Something about parts not being available. So they said they'd build an even higher model of the E530, to make up for the delay, which they would ship within 2 weeks and they'd email me tracking info.

Now, surprise, surprise... those 2 weeks have come and gone. And I haven't heard anything from Lenovo. There isn't any yet-higher model of the E530 (except expanding the 6GB of RAM to 8GB), so I'm wondering what their plan will be to "make up for" this delay?

Phil
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Now, surprise, surprise... those 2 weeks have come and gone. And I haven't heard anything from Lenovo. There isn't any yet-higher model of the E530 (except expanding the 6GB of RAM to 8GB), so I'm wondering what their plan will be to "make up for" this delay?

Phil, you are one patient man!

I would suggest you demand the promised PC and a full refund of the purchase price.

Good luck
George
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geocarw,

Phil, you are one patient man!

Actually, I only need this laptop when I go on trips, and I don't have any trips coming up in the near future. If the laptop was here now, it would just be sitting on a shelf anyway.

Phil
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Now, surprise, surprise... those 2 weeks have come and gone. And I haven't heard anything from Lenovo. There isn't any yet-higher model of the E530 (except expanding the 6GB of RAM to 8GB), so I'm wondering what their plan will be to "make up for" this delay?

Free bluetooth mouse.
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Now, surprise, surprise... those 2 weeks have come and gone. And I haven't heard anything from Lenovo. There isn't any yet-higher model of the E530 (except expanding the 6GB of RAM to 8GB), so I'm wondering what their plan will be to "make up for" this delay?

Update. On the 25th (4 weeks after their "it will ship within 2 weeks" email) I emailed Lenovo asking what's going on. I got an automatic "out of office until the 30th" response. In the past, this guy has answered emails during the time his notice says he'll be out of the office.

Today (the 30th) I got an email saying the laptop had already shipped and giving the UPS tracking number. When I check the tracking, it says UPS picked up the package from Lenovo (in China) early this morning (our time)... five days after my email asking what was going on.

Which leads me to suspect that Lenovo just spaced out the laptop order (they did that to me once before), and the Lenovo guy read my email but rather than respond (like he has in the past) he got a new laptop order going. So he could wait and email me the "oh, that already shipped" line. Rather than have to apologize again for Lenovo screwing things up for the nth time.

I sure hope this laptop works and is the correct model and so forth!

Phil
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I sure hope this laptop works and is the correct model and so forth!

Assuming UPS doesn't lose it.;)

--fleg
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I sure hope this laptop works and is the correct model and so forth!

Update. The replacement laptop showed up. I opened the box, reached in, and the first thing I pulled out was the battery. It's the wrong one. Supposed to be the "upgraded" 62Wh battery, and it's the 48Wh battery. Not an auspicious start.

I emailed Lenovo and they responded "The machine shipped with the 48WH battery as the 62WH was unavailable at our manufacturing location at build time. If you would like the 48WH replaced I'll make arrangements." Gee, do you suppose I'd want the correct battery? Hmmm... tough question.

So I've spent a couple days removing crap-ware (seems like more than usual for Lenovo) and installing my usual stuff. The laptop seems OK so far, but I really haven't had time to actually do anything with it.

It did come with one 4GB RAM module and one 2GB RAM module, so it is possible to upgrade it to 8GB with just one new module (for some brain-fogged reason I was originally thinking it would take two, like if a 4GB machine had two 2GB modules). Oddly, some places on Lenovo's website and downloadable spec sheets (which more often than not are broken links) say the max memory for the ThinkPad Edge E530 is 8GB and some places say 16GB. You can order an E530 with 16GB RAM (for a zillion extra dollars), so I'm thinking the real max is probably 16GB.

So I'm wondering whether it'd be best to upgrade to 8GB or 16GB. I don't like the 4GB/2GB configuration, because it has dual-channel capability so the mis-matched modules will slow it down. But I'm not sure how much advantage there'd be to 16GB over 8GB. Anyone have any thoughts on that? (Windows 7 Professional 64-bit, Intel Core i5-3320M processor.) We're talking $19.99 to upgrade to 8GB, or $75.99 to upgrade to 16GB (at crucial.com), so $56 difference.

I also asked, via email, if they'd give me a deal on replacing the other E525 with a newer model. I've asked this before, but they've never answered. They said no, because it's out of warranty (it wasn't when I asked before). There's no real reason why they would, even when it was in warranty, other than the fact that I bought two E525's so I could share batteries (the E530 uses a different battery). They gave me an extra battery with the E530 (which was the "unavailable" 62Wh battery — it arrived a day before the laptop) to make up for the "not being able to share" problem.

Of course I'd rather have two identical laptops like I originally intended, but I guess I can't fault them (much) for replacing a laptop they couldn't repair with a newer model and throwing in an extra battery. They did say that they hope to get my business the next time I buy a system, and to contact the customer-service guy for a discount (they didn't say how much of a discount).

Phil
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They did say that they hope to get my business the next time I buy a system, and to contact the customer-service guy for a discount (they didn't say how much of a discount).

After following your saga in this thread, it would be a very cold day in Hell before I bought another Lenovo.

Good luck to you.

George
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The replacement laptop showed up. I opened the box, reached in, and the first thing I pulled out was the battery. It's the wrong one. Supposed to be the "upgraded" 62Wh battery, and it's the 48Wh battery.

Update. Still haven't received the correct battery. I emailed Lenovo last Tuesday asking when it will ship, and so far have received no reply.

So I'm wondering whether it'd be best to upgrade to 8GB or 16GB. I don't like the 4GB/2GB configuration, because it has dual-channel capability so the mis-matched modules will slow it down. But I'm not sure how much advantage there'd be to 16GB over 8GB. Anyone have any thoughts on that?

One day I was looking at Amazon's "Phil's Quick Picks" deals (on the Today's Deals page), and there was the exact memory modules it would take to upgrade the Lenovo laptop to 16GB. Considering that there's dozens (if not hundreds) of different types/speeds/sizes of memory modules, and I've never ordered any laptop through Amazon, that struck me as particularly bizarre. Plus the price was cheaper than Crucial, but it was still a recognizable brand (Corsair Vengeance). So I just had to go for it. 16GB seems like a lot of memory!

Phil
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"16GB seems like a lot of memory!"

Depends on what you're running. For CAD & video editing on a 64b OS it's just about right. For a lot of other things it will rarely if ever be used (check your current memory profile & swap page hits).
B
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Update. Got an email from Lenovo saying the correct battery "should arrive to you in time for Christmas!"

Phil
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Update. The correct battery for the laptop arrived Wednesday. This should conclude the repair of the bluetooth function in the laptop.

So, from 5/11/2012 when I first reported the problem to 12/12/2012... only 215 days to fix a problem Lenovo says should normally be fixed in 5-7 business days. And I only had to place 12 phone calls and send 11 emails. I forget how many times I had to box something up and take it to UPS or FedEx, or how many times I had to hang around waiting for UPS or FedEx to arrive (Lenovo always requires a signature).

Phil
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Long term update.

Quick synopsis. Had two nearly-idential Lenovo E525 laptops, one bluetooth kept dropping out and the other worked fine. After a long ordeal, Lenovo replaced the E525 with the bluetooth problem with an E530.

Bluetooth didn't work properly on the E530 either, but my wife said she would just use a non-bluetooth mouse with the little USB dongle (as Kurtv had suggested).

The older E525, which Lenovo didn't replace, worked pretty well, with just an occasional weird beep (BIOS-code-like, but during normal operation rather than at bootup) or failure to come out of sleep... until the extension you get to a warranty by buying with Discover Card ran out. Then it had all the problems the E525 that Lenovo replaced had: bluetooth dropping out, beeps, screen doing blank.

At one point I noticed the BIOS-beep-code-like sounds were often accompanied by a clicking noise (not at the exact same time, but close by in time) which I've heard on failing hard drives. I replaced the hard drive (with a SSD), and haven't had the click or beeps since. The bluetooth still drops out, but not as often as it did on the E525 I returned. I'll probably have to switch to a non-bluetooth mouse.

Phil
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