* Prices may differ from that shown
NOVATECH IS TO RETAIL WHAT FAWLTY TOWERS IS TO THE HOTEL TRADE. AVOID AT ALL COST or all the cost will be yours.BUYER BEWARE
Having finally decided to bite the bullet and turn my spare bedroom into a proper office for my photography business, I found myself in need of a fairly high specification desktop computer (I already have a nice laptop, but it's not ideal for editing due to issues with screen angle, calibration etc). A number of people I know recommended Novatech and having found PC World not particularly helpful in the past, I decided to give the Portsmouth branch a try as it's not too far from home. As such please remember when reading that this review is based on my experiences of the Portsmouth store specifically rather than any other branches or web purchases.
Maybe a bit strange for me to mention this so high up in the review, but when visiting Portchester castle a few weeks ago (very close to Novatech) we decided to drop by on the way home and have a look - it was then we discovered they aren't open at all on Sunday's. I have to say I was fairly surprised considering the size of the company - my boyfriend said maybe it's because they have a large number of business customers so Sunday would unlikely be a profitable day for them. Either way it made things more difficult for me as I tend to work every day bar Sunday's!
On the plus side they are open until 6pm every other day of the week so by leaving work a little early one day we made it there in time to have a browse and make a purchase. In the mornings the open at 8.30am, except Saturday when they open at 9am.
The store itself:
I found the store lovely and modern - it reminded me of images I've seen of Apple stores, with lots of gleaming surfaces, light airy spaces etc. There was plenty of floor space around displays which I thought was excellent, that way you don't feel hemmed in like many other stores where too much is crammed in. A large counter is placed opposite the doors with a number of tills equally spaced, again this means you don't feel like other customers are right on top of you listening to your conversations. There's a waiting area and drinks machine on site, which I also thought was a nice touch as it makes you feel more comfortable.
Stock, staff and in store experience:
I will admit to not knowing very much about computers - I know very basic stuff when it comes to good specification, but luckily my ex (who I'm good friends with) is a real computer geek who has built all his own machines so I looked on the Novatech website, found what I thought I needed and asked his opinion (he's also into his photography so he knows the demands of editing and the like) which was in the affirmative - nice to know I can make some half decent decisions! The website showed this particular model in stock, which was an NTA12 so we made the trip over to go and see one in person.
The store wasn't busy when we arrived and no staff approached to offer assistance, however I wasn't bothered by this as I prefer having a browse with no interruptions. Once we'd had a look around we approached the counter and spoke to a younger lad there - I told him what model I was looking at, what I wanted it to be able to do and my overall budget. He said that I'd picked a good one - I could go for a cheaper computer that would do the job, but maybe wouldn't last as long/be as fast, and if I went over my budget then obviously the computer would be amazing, but also probably overkill.
At this point I told him I wanted to have Windows 7 as my operating system as I had no interest at all in Windows 8 from what I've seen of it, he said he didn't blame me and many others are sticking with Windows 7 too. He did then bring up the dreaded extra warranty, but he was very nice about it and not at all pushy, I explained I thought I may be covered under my business insurance and he said that was fine and if I do want to take up the service I could do so by calling them within 30 days of the purchase - that was a big plus for me, no pushy sales tactics at all.
With all the paperwork concluded and an A4 receipt to prove it, we were guided to the sofa to wait while my purchase was put together and were asked if we'd like a drink (we declined, but again a nice gesture). About 5 minutes later the chap returned with a large box containing the tower and carried it outside to the car. We then realised it wasn't going to fit in the boot (that's what you get for having a mid engine sports car) as the box was very big containing a lot of packaging around the tower, so he then unboxed it in the car park, we secured it into the boot and that was that.
Having previously bought all my computers from places like PC World, I somewhat naively assumed that all computers (unless you're building your own) came with some sort of basic operating system, so I was quite surprised when I realised that with Novatech you have to pay for this on top. This is something you really need to take into account when looking at computers within a budget - for example the NTA12 I bought is priced at £529.99 inc VAT, which then jumps another £90 when you add Windows 7 home onto it (ouch!). Also remember that you don't get a screen included for these prices (this was fine with me as I had my eye on a nice large one to buy from Argos with vouchers I had), but you do get a very basic own brand mouse and keyboard. For what I want to do a basic keyboard is just fine, but I will be upgrading to a higher spec mouse sometime soon as the one you get is just not sensitive enough for fine movements.
I have to say that I was very impressed with my experiences at the Portsmouth branch - the store had a pleasing atmosphere, the staff were friendly, attention to detail was good, there weren't any pushy sales tactics and there was a wide range of choice. It is a slight pain they don't open on Sunday's, but at the same time I don't think we should be encouraging a 24 hour shopping culture.
I have bought about 6 barebones computers from Novatech and built them myself. Of those, 2 have recently had power supply failures. I have also found two of the dual-core ones to run more slowly than a computer I owned 10 years ago (which was certainly not top of the range).
These reviews do seem a bit black and white. Mine is white.
I have found Novatech to be far better than the average. I have bought 3 laptops from them and all parts for new desktop and several other items over the last 3/4 years.
I have found the staff to be generally knowledgeable and very helpful. Delivery times have been very good and I have been notified of any delays (only one actually).
I have spoken to technical support staff who actually know what Linux is and you can buy their computers free of any O/S and if it has windows installed it is clean with no bloat ware.
I do ont bother with express delivery as usually so quick.
One example of good service: Laptop dropped, ceased working. Returned to Novatech - repaired with new motherboard and back to me within week, no charge as in warranty.
Amazon (I bring up as mentioned specifically elsewhere) are good but I have not found them to be as good as Novatech and they cannot compete with the comms from Novatech.
In addition Novatech do not have a Channel Island tax break and make things (or at least assemble) in the UK.
Having been building my own and other peoples PC's for 10 years roughly about 10-15 I have tried some other shops and websites for components that I have needed but have always found the service to be better at novatech than anyone else, I can only praise novatech and highly recommend them if you are looking for excellent customer service great technical knowledge and friendly service this is the company I would recommend over all others, one of my favourite things is they have all purchases stored on there database so if you loose your receipt they can look up your purchase on there system and you still have your warranty without your receipt unlike most places. Pop into there show room if you really want to be blown away they've just remodeled and looks amazing!
I am a 10 year loyal customer and will be for another 10 years.
Faulty goods outside of their 28 day return period have to be sent away to be tested and then sent away for up to 28 days to be repaired which is crazy, too much small print with this company, there are plenty of truly great companies out there like Amazon who outshine them by miles.
the novatech manager is shocking and a dissgrace to any company..today i took a faulty £20 optical drive back but was picking up five more but the manager seen the one i was taking back was £20 and the others £15 so he charged me for four and a straight swap for number 5 mmmmmmm i ask where is my £5 change and he says i dont get any,well in my case and past within the law thats theft.....
i also had an issue with NOVATECH brand flash pens a 4gb and a 16gb,on windows 7 sp1 ultimate they run ok NTFS but on windows xp sp3 all updates and drivers they show exFAT or FAT32 so no good,the manager tried them in two windows 7 pc's so i asked to try it in xp as thats where the problem lay but his reply "NO XP IS OLD AND NO ONE USES IT AND I HAVE NOT FOR YEARS" thou the store sells it,im left £5 down and two no good flash pens and this after spending £100s instore the last few months,the manager did not offer to have them looked at or anything...
the staff instore have always helped and friendly but when you are meant to learn from the manager well it do not look good for the stores future
Reviews are not genuine? Interesting comment. I know, from personal experience, that Novatech do not publish any negative reviews of their products on their site. Have you noticed the fact that reviews are always 5 stars and 4 stars? I have purchased good and bad products them. When I have left reviews of 3 stars or less, in one case with very helpful advice for others on how to get a product working by downloading new drivers, they are not printed. Personally I am more suspicious of the number of 5 star reviews on their own website.
I am not totally convinced that every review on this site is genuine. Having read so many 1 star reviews of Novatech I thought I'd chip in that I have had 3 systems from them over the last 10 years and I have enjoyed dealing with them. Their prices are extremely competitive and their systems in my limited experience have done the job.
A Intel Core i7 920 "D0 Stepping" 2.66Ghz story.
It was a while after I had built the machine I decided to overclock it a little bit. Checking with Cpuid a utility program, I found that it was not the chip I ordered - Intel Core i7 920 "D0 Stepping" 2.66Ghz (Nehalem) (Socket LGA1366) - Retail, but got the CO version, which is the less sought after. Now if they did not have these in stock at the time it would be so easy to palm you of with the other and hope for the best.
I rang Novatech and they said that they would replace it. I asked them if they could deliver and pick the other one up at the same time, as I need my computer almost 24/7. Not possible they said. We need to check it out first, then if ok we will send the new one, you know, the one I should have had in the first place!
Then it was put to me that I could go to Reading or Portsmouth and change it over. Oh yeah! Few hours driving, time , petrol and no kind of compensation!
In the end I settled for the 5 day wait, and the stripping down of my machine, without a any kind of compensation. I had spent £1200 on computer parts. Well, they shot themselves in the foot, no more goodies, or should I say baddies from Novatech?
Now if they had remedied the situation, by delivering the cpu, whilst picking the other one up at the same time, then I would have taken it on the chin a bit better. But no, these online stores have got you by the balls!
Now my turn to squeeze their balls a bit.
Please feel free to send me any Novatech horror stories, i will display them here! just google ' ladcrooks ' and check links page
I was a big Novatech fan for many years but have now turned to other suppliers because of price. Novatech are now consistantly more expensive than many others. Here are some examples of products which I recently looked at;WD Mybook 1TB USB 3.0 external drive - Amazon £63.34, Novatech £75.71PCI Express Interface USB 3.0 - Amazon £11.54, Novatech £20.412GB Corsair XMS2 800 Mhz DDR2 - CCL £28.32, Novatech £32.92Same applied to a new Iiyama monitor and a Canon printer I bought.Sorry Novatech but you have lost your way.
I wasted almost three months of my spare time trying to get a Novatech machine to work reliably, or at all.
The staff in the Cardiff branch were very nice and helpful (but not the store manager who I had to deal with later on).
I discussed my needs in person and bye email - fortunately that meant I had a full trail of all conversations. I wanted a high spec machine to cope with HD film making
When I took delivery, I scrabbled around under my desk plugging in all the connections until I came to the firewire cable. I couldn't find a slot, not on top, back, under a flap... I had specifically confirmed in writing that the spec of the custom machine we agreed (costing over £1100) had a firewire connection and was told it was on the motherboard. Whether I ever got the motherboard I paid for I'm not sure, but there was no firewire socket. Additionally, several of the USB slots were unusable as they were not aligned with the back-plate, and the green ring around the speaker socket snapped when I removed the speakers to return the machine. And there was no power cable provided!
None of which suggests anyone at Novatech tests anything before delivery
As I had purchased extebnded warranty and they claim "Novatech lifetime support, here to help you and all the other sales talk", I tried to call them but they will not give out store numbers and they don't offer support at weekends or evenings (this was a Saturday). Actually, you can't easily get through in working hours either.
So back to the shop, where a separate firewire card was fitted, and power cable provided. As the other known problems were not critical and would require a return to base and I really needed the machine, I decided to put up with them. The store manager, who I had noticed being quite domineering and curt to his staff and not polite to customers, told his staff not to give me the store's direct number which I had requested in case of further problems!
In fact, numerous other problems ensued. I could not get the machine to recognise a microphone when plugged in to the slot and I need microphone use. Again, it makes you think the machine wasn't checked.
It never seemed that fast for a top spec i7 processor.
Worst of all, Windows 7, which Novatech had installed frequently crashed, sometimes failing to start at all, sometimes running for only a few minutes without even any apps. being started, before crashing. Despite my weeks of work on the machine, I decided I'd have to take it back to the store.
As we were going on holiday, I told them I would let them have it for three weeks so I expected it to be thoroughly tested in tens tore after repair by Head Office. I Also said this was their last chance to fix it.
There weeks later, I go to collect and ask the store if they have tested it. From their reaction, and the sealed box, obviously not, so I ask for it to be demonstrated in store before I took it home. It turned out this was not possible because they'd fitted a new motherboard and there weren't any holes in the back-plate so they couldn't connect their LAN/Internet cable at all! If I'd taken it home iut would have been useless.
He managed to create a rather jagged opening for the cable and the machine seemed to work. I took it home making it clear how unhappy I was.
But not as unhappy as when I found it still crashed frequently. Clearly they had neither diagnosed the problem nor validated the repair in anyway.
I disconnected everything and packed it all up yet again, making sure I was returning everything I had received. I went to the store and asked for my money back. The manager refused. He said it might be 'the software'. I asked what software and he said Windows. I said I had ordered a machine with windows pre-loaded, and I didn't care whether it was hardware or software, after months of wasted time it was clear it wasn't fit for purpose. He said that bundled software wasn't covered by any consumer rights (untrue) or their warranty. In the end, I had no choice but to agree he would send it to head office for inspection, though I stated I would not receive it back and only wanted a refund.
Two days later, a manager from Head Office called me and said she was shocked at the details of my complaint, it should have been escalated to her sooner, and as soon as they checked that everything had been returned she would issue a refund. However - and how surprising is this? - in the end I had to write stating I was about to issue legal proceedings before I got my money back.
order no. 4648998 - all the above is documented.
I always do a lot of research when it comes to buying new hardware, especially when it is something expensive like a laptop. A laptop on Novatech looked like just the thing for me but sadly, the negative reviews on this site have more than a grain of truth in them. Fortunately I have a degree in computer science so am not blinded by techno babble. My sympathies go out to those who have been conned by this rotten bunch.
Novatech is one of the few companies in the UK that sell laptops without an operating system already installed; very useful if you have paid for an operating system and do not want to pay for a new one, bearing in mind that a newer Windows operating system in general will also hog more of the resources of the newer hardware than an old operating system will.
It seems that you will not get honest advice from the sales folk at Novatech though and I will let the Livechat transcript below speak for itself. I wasted about 100 minutes getting this useless and dishonest info from them. If this is what their pre-sales support is like I hate to think what their post sales support is like and I will not be touching them with a bargepole !
The name of the sales guy has been changed to Numpty because that is what he richly deserves ! However it has to be said that though he obviously knew little or nothing about his company's products, he was being fed this information I would guess, either from their technical support and/or a more senior sales person.
Here beginneth the transcript !
Welcome to Novatech Sales chat. Please type your question and you will be answered shortly.
I am interested in your i3 Plus Order Code: NNB-855. Please will you tell me how far back the screen can be angled.
Hi sorry for delay I have been called away from my desk
ill check this for you
Ok - just a few more questions as well.
I wish to install XP Pro - does it include any necessary drivers ? Where is the fan vent located? Will you be updating your website as soon as the new stock comes in?
ill find out
sorry for delay
the screen can be laid flat
as for xp waiting on reply
ok I'm still here!
Hi there im afraid not but if you get professional this has virtual xp pro mode
what do you need to run in xp?
When you say afraid not what do you mean?
there isnt driver support for windows xp
so you could try installing windows but it wouldn't work
how ever if you were to use windows 7 pro you can download virtual xp for it
sorry for delay***
Saying that Windows XP will not run on an Intel i3 processor is simply false. I find it disappointing that I cannot get proper techincal advice and you are trying to sell me Windows 7. The 2MB of memory on the i3 Plus is not nearly enough to run the XP virtual machine efficiently under Windows 7. I tried Dell machine with an i5 and 4MB of RAM (the max for this laptop) and only 500MB of that was assigned to the XP virtual machine. What you are suggesting would just give me a lot of headaches in the future and require me to upgrade the RAM anyway. I can see that the lousy reviews that I have read on the web about your company are justified so I am no longer interested in buying from you.
Utter RUBBISH!!! This is the 3rd Laptop I have purchased brand new with Pixel problems. The first one a few years ago they refused to do anything about! Last week I got a brand new laptop with a pixel problem. Yesterday it's replacement has done the same!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm dreading trying to get my money back from them tomorrow, maybe I will go for third time lucky on this machine as I do like it! If it goes well I will come back on dooyoo an tell you.
After years of purchasing and advising others to purchase form Novatech I now wish I had never heard of them.
I purchased a new system and it arrived faulty, the hard drive wouldn't let me install Windows XP.
I contacted them about the fault and was told I would need to purchase a new operating system from them to get it working.
I acquired a new operating system and the fault was still there.
I returned the system and was told I had damaged the hard drive and would need another.
I agreed to purchase another and have the damaged hard drive returned also.
The system now worked and out of curiosity I swapped back to the one that I was told I had damaged even though I couldn't see any damage.
I found that the system now had the same fault as when it first arrived and the hard drive had not been damaged but had the same fault.
I contacted them and was told the memory was fault and they thought I had damaged the hard drive but never even checked it.
So Novatech first said the fault was the operating system and I had to purchase a new one. When it came back I was informed the fault was the memory and I had damaged the hard drive so had to purchase a new one. I asked for the damaged hard drive to be returned. This system came back and is now running my old operating system also the new one I didn't need on different drives. I retried the so-called damaged hard drive only to find the same original fault and no other damage.
When I finally got through I was told. "We always advise the purchase of a new operating system when a new computer won't work before looking for a fault. I told they didn't bother checking the hard drive and just thought it was damaged by me. They had made a big thing about me being at fault using they communication system on the many occasions it wouldn't work but was now informed it is their communication program that is faulty and had been from its first day. So even though they knew their system was faulty they had kept saying it was my fault and not theirs.
Finally when I had got the system working after weeks of frustration and had kept complaining they now wanted the entire system repackaging and returning not to hear from me again but nothing for the faulty drive or all the time and trouble coursed by them. I said no way.
Now after years of promoting Novatech I can only say "GOD HELP ALL WHO GO THERE!"