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Consumer News
by the Tech-edge E-zine staff 1/21/03

2002's Annual Buyers Good, Bad and the Ugly of the Tech World

Home networking
Best to Good – D-link, Linksys, Agere ORiNOCO, Netgear
Worst to even Worse – SMC*, Siemens*, Hawkins**, Gigafast**
*Complaints of extremely long phone tech support on-holds and poor product knowledge. **High failure rates, poor tech support.

PDA’s
Best to Good – Sony Clie, Palm, Handspring, HP Jornada, Blackberry
Worst to even Worse – (Pocket PC OS)* Compaq iPaq, Casio, Toshiba (e740)**
*Frequent crashes, clumbsy Operating System, poor GUI. **Toshiba’s e740 has a complaint list that is too long to list here, however top of the list is horrible battery life, the 100% recall and frequent reset necessity.

Digital Camera’s (consumer)
Best to Good – Olympus, Canon, Nikon, Minolta
OK to Worse – Sony, FujiFilm, Epson, Kodak, HP, Konica, Samsung, Vivitar, Off-brands.

Online Retailers
Best to Good – Amazon, Computers4Sure (Office Depot), Apple Store, CDW, PC/Mac Connection, MicroWarehouse, Provantage, Buy.com, Dell
Worst to even Worse – eCost, TigerDirect, A2Z, Costco, Outpost.com, MP Superstore, BestBuy, Overstock.com, Abe's of Maine Cameras.

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Brick and Mortar Retailers
Best to Good – CompUSA, Apple Store, Gateway, Fry’s*, Costco, Micro Center
Worst to even Worse – Fry’s**, PC Club***, Sears, BestBuy****
*Fry’s does have great prices when it’s on sales, large on shelf inventory. **Returned products on the shelves at full price, no purchase help unless it’s a commissioned sale, abusively long product return lines. ***PC Club is notorious for having very little or no “name brand product” on the store shelves, sale items frequently out of stock. ****BestBuy for charging customers a restocking fee in returned products.

ISP’s
Best – RoadRunner (Broadband), Optimum Online, Local ISP’s (Dialup),
Worst – AOL, Compuserve, MSN, Juno/NetZero, Earthlink, JOI/Hawk Communications, CyberHotLine, People PC, Syracuse Net.
All are terrible at frequent user disconnects while actively surfing, complaints of slow connections, and JOI/Hawk disconnected it’s users for “excessive use” despite their ads offering “Unlimited Service”

Site Hosting Services
Best – ValueWeb, Interland, Pair Networks,  Apple .Mac, Earthlink (hosting)
Worst* – Powweb, Addr.com, Dot5Hosting, etc.
This is obviously a partial list that could go one forever. *Complaints of excessive down time not compliant with advertised stats, sparce technical support, failures to reply to tech support inquiries by phone or emails, rude tech support, email access problems, on and on and on.

 



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