Acer's tech support proved once again to be a mixed bag this year, but for very different reasons than in previous years.
|Acer Tech Support|
|Overall||Web Score||Phone Score||Avg Call Time||Phone Number||Web Support|
|Phone Hours (ET): 24/7|
While Acer's phone agents were knowledgeable, fast and courteous, getting answers to our questions via social media and live chat proved frustrating. The company's website continues to be robust and easy to navigate, and it even got a few subtle upgrades for 2019.
Using an Acer Aspire E 15, I took to Acer's various support channels looking for help with activating Acer Bluelight Shield, using Acer Care Center, disabling my webcam and turning off automatic updates. The takeaway? If Acer's social media channels can catch up to the standards set by its phone agents, the laptop maker is set to have a much better outing next year.
Web and Live Chat (30/60)
Acer's support website remains as clean and easy to use as ever, greeting visitors with a large search bar that lets you enter your laptop's serial number or simply ask a question or search for a specific topic. As a nice added touch, you can also search for your laptop via the much shorter SNID number, which is less of a hassle to type out. Once you enter the support page for your specific notebook, you'll see handy tabs for things such as drivers, documents and apps.
The company's support homepage also has large menu icons for things such as drivers and manuals, product registration, warranty, and contact numbers, making it easy to jump right in to whatever you need most.
I searched Acer's website for answers to all of my questions and had mixed results. When I looked for help with Acer's own apps and features, Acer Bluelight Shield and Acer Care Center, I was taken to handy explainer articles with clear instructions and videos.
However, when I looked for answers to my general Windows queries, such as "how to disable my webcam" and "how to turn off forced updates," I struggled to find a useful help article.
Acer's web chat, which is available from 5 a.m. to 2 a.m. CST daily, didn't prove useful in my testing. I initiated a chat looking for help with enabling Bluelight Shield and was immediately met with a list of suggested help articles. Once I noted that those articles weren't useful for me, I was quickly connected to the agent Francis.
After putting me on hold for a few minutes, Francis returned and asked if I was having issues with my keyboard's backlighting. After I corrected him, he once again went away for a few minutes, this time to look into my problem. When he came back, he told me that my computer didn't have Bluelight Shield (which was incorrect) and that they didn't have any information on how I could obtain it.
Unfortunately, Acer hasn't done much to improve on its lackluster social media showing from last year. My attempts at getting help through Twitter and Facebook led to either incorrect answers or suggestions that I should look for help elsewhere.
I sent a direct message to @AcerAmerica on Twitter and got a quick response asking for my serial number. Once I provided that and asked for help disabling my webcam, I was told that "there is not a way to disable the cam through the software."
The agent went on to say that the only way you can disable the webcam is to physically open up the machine and disconnect the camera. They also suggested that I cover my webcam with a piece of paper if I was concerned about privacy.
I then took to Acer's Facebook page to send a message asking for help with disabling automatic updates. An agent replied quickly but simply suggested that I visit Microsoft's website for help.
After stumbling with phone support in 2018, Acer's 24/7 over-the-phone assistants bounced back this year in a big way. I talked to three separate Acer support agents in the company's Dominican Republic call center, and all of them gave me fast, accurate answers while exhibiting a solid overall knowledge of Acer products. Best of all, I was never on the phone for more than 10 minutes.
As per usual with Acer's phone support, you'll initially be greeted by an automated voice service that asks you to state your problem and provide your machine's SNID number before you get started. Fortunately, the automated voice had an easy time understanding my queries, and during subsequent calls, it allowed me to skip the SNID process by asking if I needed help with the same product.
My first call was on a weekday morning, with Leslie, who assisted me with disabling my webcam. I was connected to Leslie within 2 minutes, and she successfully directed me to my laptop's Device Manager and instructed me on how to turn the camera off (one small nitpick — she told me to look for "imaging devices" rather than "cameras" but helped me find the latter when I said the former wasn't available).
Once I disabled the camera, Leslie suggested that I open my machine's camera app to double-check that the camera was truly disabled, which it was. I appreciated her taking that small extra step to ensure that the fix had worked. This entire call lasted a blissfully short 7 minutes.
My second call took place on a weekday afternoon, with Alexandra, who helped me activate my Aspire E 15's Bluelight Shield feature. While Alexandra put me on and off hold a few times as she looked up the answer to my question, she eventually came back with correct instructions that led me to my Acer Quick Access app and allowed me to turn the Bluelight Shield on.
Even with some mildly frustrating starts and stops, I was off the phone after 10 minutes.
MORE: Best Acer Laptops
My final call was in the morning, with Frank, who helped me find the Acer Care Center app in order to do a quick system checkup. When I told Frank I didn't know how to find the app, he asked me to simply type the name of it into my search bar, which worked. There was a bit of silence as I stayed on the phone while performing a check of my hard drive, so Frank asked how my day was going to help pass the time.
Better yet, when I asked Frank what else Care Center could do, he ran me through a list of all of the app's features. He sounded like he was reading off of a document, but I appreciated him having that info ready nonetheless. This call was wrapped up in just under 10 minutes.
The majority of Acer's mainstream laptops come with a limited one-year warranty, while the company's Predator-branded gaming notebooks get a two-year limited warranty. Select commercial Acer laptops in the company's Veriton line get up to a three-year limited warranty, depending on the model.
Acer handles the cost of return shipping in the event you have to send your laptop in for repair. However, you'll have to either purchase two-way shipping as an upgrade or get it as part of the company's accidental-damage protection add-on. This upgrade covers incidents such as spills and drops that occur during the warranty period.
We found that a one-year warranty extension would run you $60 for our Aspire E 15 model, while a two-year extension would cost $90. A three-year warranty upgrade would cost $189 and include accidental-damage protection. You can also get a warranty upgrade that includes on-site service, which costs $80 for one year or $130 for three years.
Acer made a huge improvement in phone support this year, answering all of our questions in less than 10 minutes in a friendly, courteous manner while exhibiting solid knowledge of Acer products. And the company's help website is as clean and helpful as ever.
It's a shame, then, that Acer's social media and live chat options couldn't live up to its stellar phone help. Our Twitter, Facebook and live chat conversations either tried to direct us to other resources or gave us incorrect answers, which proved frustrating whenever we just wanted a quick text solution.
If Acer can get its social and live-chat support to the same level as its superb phone assistance, the company could make a serious bid for the top of our rankings. But as it stands now, if you need help with your Acer laptop, just hop on the phone.
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