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Tech Support Showdown 2010

Your notebook is only as good as the help you receive when something goes wrong.


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ASUS

ASUS Tech Support Results
Hold Time Minimum<1 minute
Hold Time Maximum>2
Average Call Length<14
Phone Grade 2010A-
Web Grade 2010D+
Overall Grade 2010B-
Overall Grade 2009B-
Overall Grade 2008N/A

888-678-3688
support.asus.com

On the plus side, the main page for ASUS' support site is pretty straightforward, directing you to areas for their members program, downloads, FAQs, forums, registration, and troubleshooting. But the site had a cramped and crowded feeling that wasn't welcoming or conducive to finding the information we were looking for. The seemingly straightforward support area branches out into a labyrinthine mess the further users delve into it.

Heading into the FAQ section, we were faced with an unsorted list of questions relating to all ASUS products starting with the newest on top. Users can look for questions related to their specific notebook, though not for articles pertaining to notebooks in general. The search box wasn't helpful, as we had to be very specific in our keywords to find questions that would help. Searches for "how to share files with Windows 7" returned no results.

We eventually found some answers in the Technical Documents and Troubleshooting areas after becoming frustrated with the FAQs. Technical documents aren't linked from the front page of the support site. We found it in a drop-down menu from the top navigation once we were inside the FAQ area. Some of the troubleshooting options seemed to be a bit extreme; in the article for "Too slow to load the OS," the solutions offered were to scan for viruses, remove "useless" startup options, remove the RAM (if the user recently added extra), reinstall the OS, then add more RAM, in that order.

While searching for the phone support number, we came across a link to livesupport.asus.com, where we hoped to find live chat. This led us to a different wiki-based support site, which we're not sure is ready for public consumption. Most of the information involved submitting support tickets or finding repair facilities. We tried to chat with a live agent, but after waiting for 15 to 20 minutes on two different days, the chat room timed out without a representative appearing. The General FAQ area only covered five questions. In the Knowledge Base under Notebooks we found 26 models; their individual pages listed specs, downloads, and very few (if any) FAQs.

A user support forum exists at vip.asus.com/forum, but there's no category for notebooks or netbooks. Overall, we found just one answer to our three questions, and ASUS' web support was far too confusing and frustrating to use.

Phone support was much better. When we called at 4 p.m. (EST), we connected with Borgy in Fremont, Calif., in under a minute. Upon asking for suggestions on speeding up our boot time, he walked us through several solutions, including the activation of a quick boot option in the BIOS and disabling unneeded startup items. Borgy also told us that if these solutions didn't work, his suggestion was to restore the computer to original factory settings, which is pretty extreme, though in line with what we found in web support.

On our second call at 10 p.m., we also waited less than a minute for a rep, then asked Archer (also in Fremont) how we could share files with other Windows 7 computers on our network. Though he claimed that the question was out of the support line's scope, he helped us set up a HomeGroup anyway. He wasn't able to answer detailed questions about HomeGroup, but his instructions were correct. The whole call only took 11 minutes.

Our third call at 2:30 p.m. resulted in a longer wait time, but under 3 minutes is still speedy. Maureen was helpful and polite as she walked us through changing Windows 7's basic and advanced power options.

All three support reps asked for our phone number in case we got disconnected, plus the model and serial number of the notebook at the beginning of the call. At the end the ASUS agents provided a case number and summarized the call for us.

ASUS' online support hasn't improved much over the past year, but thankfully its phone support remains as good as ever.

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