A little over a year ago I bought a new notebook, a nice 17" widescreen nx9420 from HP, a top-of-the-line business notebook, to replace my other HP business notebook that had "just" a 15" screen. Why go with a business notebook you might wonder? Well, I can do without all the nonsense bling-bling the consumer models are outfitted with and the business notebooks from HP seem to be a bit more sturdy and strong. My previous HP laptop has proven itself over the past two years and is still going strong.
However, I am actually not a typical notebook user as it usually just sits on my desk running for a couple hours every day and I use it to deal with my email, write articles and other office kind of things hence it is not subjected to the physical abuse most notebooks are when they commute from home to work every day or spend most of the day being lugged around from room to room or building to building.
Over the course of the year I took it with me on a few business trips, keeping it nicely tucked away in HP protective backpack I bought for it. You can imagine my surprise when about two weeks ago a white vertical line appeared on the right of my screen which didn't seem to want to go away again. Suspecting a faulty driver for the integrated X1600 video card I downgraded the driver to a previous version but unfortunately the pesky white line remained firmly on the screen. I then reverted back to an older firmware version for the notebook, again to no avail. And as of last week three more lines appeared so I was stuck with four vertical white lines on my screen.
At that time I decided I should go find my receipt and call HP's support line, as naturally a top-of-the-line notebook costing nearly $2000 would not exhibit these kinds of problems after only a year of light use, right? Well, wrong, it appears that my warranty expired just two weeks before the first white line appeared and HP was not in any shape, way or form willing to fix it under warranty or free of charge. They did offer to repair it by sending it in for a mere $500, an offer which I kindly declined. Currently the number of lines has increased to six with one of them dead center on the screen, causing me to scroll left and right quite a bit to just be able to read what I am writing.
I ended up taking the notebook apart and to my horror the insides were not what I expected from a reputable manufacturer like HP. It looked like it had been put together in a hurry by someone with very greasy fingers that did not care much about whether parts are mounted level and straight, or ESD precautions for that matter. Judging by some of the bumps, scrapes and butches on some of the parts these even had been tossed around, or maybe even dropped on the floor. Odd, as this notebook was bought directly from HP and not some shady retailer. I however managed to find the part number of the LG/Philips TFT screen and have one on order as I write this, for a mere $200. I however could not resist putting my experience into words as not seldom do I hear of computers or computer parts breaking right after the warranty expires. I have always taken these stories with a grain of salt, treating them as PC myths. But apparently HP mastered the dark art of having stuff break right after the warranty expires. I am sure that by now it goes without saying that next time I am in need of a new notebook I will not be shopping at HP, their response to my complaint has been nothing but terrifying from a consumer point of view.