Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Nextbook 8 Tablet Review

We picked up the Nextbook 8 tablet (manufactured by E Fun INC) over Christmas for our pre-schooler. It's basically just something for him to use to play games during long car rides. For around $75, it's a decent entry-level tablet. I'm mostly geeked out about the HDMI interface which would come in handy for watching Netflix on a hotel's television. But, as I said, it's mostly used for playing games during long car rides, and, in that aspect, it works fine. With Android games being more and more memory intensive, the RAM on the Nextbook 8 tablet gets used up pretty quickly. Storage isn't really an issue, though, because the SD card slot allows for expansion when needed. There's no Bluetooth available, so that's a bit of a letdown as well. Where the Nextbook 8 tablet really fails epically is customer support.

After about a month, the touch screen on the Nextbook 8 went bad. I would have originally taken the tablet back to the store to exchange it, but it was past the 30 day return period. So, I called Nextbook customer support. I couldn't get through, so I went to their website and filled out a ticket asking for an RMA (return materials authorization). It took them over 24 hours to respond to me. I was given the typical rundown of troubleshooting techniques which I dutifully ran through and then responded that the screen was still dead. Another 24 hours after my response, I head back from Nextbook again and was told that, since I did not purchase the Nextbook 8 tablet from a national retailer (indeed, I purchased from what might be considered a small regional retailer) that they would not fix it. Period.

So, when faced with this situation, I backtracked and told the support representative that I had mis-spoke and that I had purchased the Nextbook 8 from Wal-Mart. I was then assured that they would fix the Nextbook 8 as long as I still had the receipt. Since I didn't have the receipt handy, and since I found it highly unusual that a manufacturer would require a receipt in order to fix a physical defect, especially since the Clickscreen Death on the Nextbook 8 is so widely known.  I asked for my request to be escalated up a tier. And this is where the stonewalling started. I kept getting asked for more and more information between 24 hour communication intervals. Finally, I was told that, since I had initially said that I had bought the Nextbook 8 from a regional retailer, rather than Wal-Mart, they would not process my RMA and that I would have to take up my case with the regional retailer.

At this point, I had come too far and I wasn't going to start this battle up again with another customer support team. Instead, I told the Nextbook 8 representative that I had indeed bought the tablet from Wal-Mart and could prove it with a receipt. The rep then sternly warned me that their Nextbook 8 techs would thoroughly inspect the unit and if it hadn't been purchased from Wal-Mart, they'd charge me for a new Nextbook 8 and for return shipping. Since I had never used my real name in any communication with them, I wasn't worried. I took my original receipt from the regional retailer, used Photoshop to make it look like it was from Wal-Mart and sent them a copy. They issued me a new Nextbook 8 tablet free-of-charge within two weeks.

So far, the new Nextbook 8 has been working pretty well. We'll see what happens, though.

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