before you buy a time/tiny ect computer i will let you into a secret that the sales assistant forgets to tell you. If you computer breaks down you will have to tel the technical line @ 1.00 per min. My monitor has developed a flicker it is only 4 months old so I telephoned the technical help line, for 10 min (£10.00) I tried to convince an advisor it was a monitor problem not a computer problem. He asked that I watched the screen for 15mins then phone back quoting a reference no if the problem persisted. Guess what? It did. I phoned back quoting the reference no this time I had to convince another advisor who after 20mins said it would have to be returned to the factory. At last I thought. It took another 10mins to sort out a reference no a return sheet for this (another £30.00). Now here comes the best part I was then asked to pay £35.00 carraige to return the monitor to the factory. When I said that couldn't be correct if the monitor was faulty and still under guarantee surley it wasn't up to me to pay. The reply was if I wanted I could take out a years extra waranty for £99.00 then I wouldn't pay £35.00 carraige. So lets do the sums £40.00 phone bill £35.00 carraige = £75.00 and I still have a flickering monitor. How much does a monitor cost??? Will I buy my next computer from Time/Tiny ect? I don't think so. Do you?
Time computers are certainly cheap. There's no denying it. In fact, buying a computer from Time is probably the best way to get good specs for minimum cash outlay. But that's not the be-all and end-all, is it? We have a Time computer at home. We run Windows2000 and don't use it for top-end games, so it fits the bill perfectly and cost less than £800 over a year ago. But it is possibly the least reliable machine I have ever used. It's main problem is the boot file and Windows files...it crashes approximately 10% of the time when switched on. Not drastically, but you have to restart it in "safe" mode and then restart again to get the full Windows package. And it's not Windows that it the problem - we've installed several different versions, and they all have the same knack of falling apart at the same point. What happens is that some of the key files "disappear" from the hard drive, at which point the machine automatically resets. So it's not life-ending - we've never had a crash while actually using the damn thing - but it's incredibly frustrating if you want to use your computer and you have to spend 10-15 minutes switching it on. Having said that, it did once crash so badly that we had to restore all its factory settings. Thankfully I know enough DOS to have been able to create backups of our files, so they weren't all lost, but it took a real effort. And all Time could suggest was picking it up "at some time during the day - can't give a precise time, mate - a week next Tuesday". Brilliant. And the Time back-up might as well not exist. We spent ages on hold on the telephone helpline, and e-mails to the helpdesk went unanswered for more than two working days...and then all we got was a standard response asking for more information. All in all, I would only buy a Time computer again if there was absolutely no way I could afford any ot
her. The hassle just isn't worth it.
Time Computers are great for advertising, getting Leonard Nimoy to imply that their systems are state of the art all-singing, dancing and spacehopping machines. This just isn't true. The deals seem reasonable value because they offer so many extras, but most of the components are cheap. None of the bundled software comes with any manuals at all, and are often not the latest versions of the program. A lot of the rest of the software is useless to the majority of users, e.g. SATs revision programs, and old versions of household utilities. When I ordered from them my first computer just over 2 years ago, they insisted on a 20 minute conversation trying to get me to buy extended warranties, stands, dustcovers etc all at extra price, before they actually took my order. I can't remember how many times I had to say 'No thank you'. Having said that the computer did arrive swiftly, and I could set up the computer quickly with no problems. The quality of the manuals was also high. However, now I am more experienced in the workings of computers, I have one piece of advice. Stay well clear.
I bought my computer from Time a while ago (in fact I have bought 2 computers from them one PC and one laptop), because I saw great big adverts in the papers offering amazing buys at cheap prices. I thought it must be too good to be true, unfortunately is was, or rather they were. OK so if I'm spending £1000 or so I should pay a lot of attention to the small details on the contract, or rather the small details on the warrenty. In my opinion the most important thing going on any PC buy is the waranty offered with it. On site warrenty is worth paying for. If you've bought cars before you know how much can go wrong with them over time and how often you need to go to the garage with it. Well a computer is way more complex, with the potential for more disaters to occur, and with Time these problems do occur. I've bought from them, and so have several people I know, and we've all had problems, no exceptions. Now I'm not picking on Time, I know other people who have had problems with other companies, but I've delt with Time, and I'm not happy that both times I've had problems. The first time I gave them the benefit of the doubt, but twice was once too often for me. The phone support was OKish. It took several times for me to get through depending on what time of day I called them, but in the end I had to fix most of the problems, either through formating the hard drive or with the help of my friends. The people I did speak to were helpful, but were in reality unable to help me that much over the phone. I really didn't want to send the PC back to them. I'd only just got it, so I delt with it myself. Not probably the best thing to do, but the only realistic option. Buy from Time by all means, but make sure you get ON SITE warrenty. You will need it, and thats about the only garantee you'll be getting.
A year after buying a "Time Machine" and I have become a bit of an expert on what I should look for next "time", sorry about the pun. I paid over £1000 for what I presumed would be a pretty impressive set up only to find I do not have enough expansion slots such as PCI slots, no AGP ports at all and the sound and video cards are built into the motherboard. Now all this would have been so much gobbledegook last year. But I have learnt the hard way. Hot on the heels of Which magazine rating them bottom of the PC producers list in UK my 12 months interest free is up and I now have to pay the £1000 for a machine that is probably 2 or 3 years behind in usability. Will I go back to Time? NO. Can I go back in time and change! I wish. Anyway, glad to have a forum to get it off my chest.
I have to admit I was lucky enough to win a Time PC 7 months ago - so I paid nothing, but I have seen the adverts and always thought they looked like reasonable value. The PC I have is a basic 400Mhz K6-2, supplied with a 15" monitor, speakers, 40x CD-ROM etc - pretty basic but, it was free! A few points I have noticed.. 1) if it breaks they send it back to the factory - turnaround period - within 28 days - no good if you are running a business. Quicker turnaround is given to those that subscribe to their premium cover scheme. 2) It forces you to register with Supanet (Time's ISP) before you can register the PC online (for access to their support website etc), and annoyingly they have replaced the standard Internet connection Wizard with their own Time one. I had endless problems trying to sign up and never managed to register my PC. If you do not sign up you will get the prompt to do so every time you start the thing up. 3) The monitor box was badly dented and the corner of the monitor was damaged - it works OK so I didn't take it back. 4) the supplied documentation is good for beginers - no good for more advanced users who might want to know things like, who made the mother board, what are the BIOS settings for adding a new hard drive etc 5) The supplied software is a bizarre mix of the good and the pointless - Norton Antivirus and Laplink are the good bits the rest is pretty useless. 6) The keyboard and mouse, while basic, and pretty good. 7) Time shops are salesrooms not computer shops - don't expect, impartial advice or on the spot technical help. I have no complaints about the performance of the PC itself, it's not the spec I would have chosen if I had bought it, but I didn't. Overall if you want a decent computer find a good local independant shop who will give you impartial advice and build your PC to the spec you want - don't order from Time. UPDATE 27/1
1/2000 I have now added several components to this PC myself - I had no problems with a new hard drive or CDR and I was reasonably impressed with the tidiness of the PC innards. However I was unable to get a new video card (Voodoo2 2000) working properly no matter what I tried. More information on the mother board and BIOS setting would have helped. The PC did recently go through a period of not shutting down automatically, and because the power button is a "soft" button I normally had to reset the machine, wait for it to re-boot and try shutting down again - most annoying and ultimately solved by downloading a pacth from Microsoft.
I bought my time computer just over two years ago now, when I started my A-level course and I was most impressed. The specs were great, there were loads of extras and the price was low. Then the problems started. Firstly delivery took ages and the computer still hadn't arrived when my course started. It eventually arrived in October and by Christmas it had already gone back twice. Since then the computer has gone back twice more and still today it has a nack of crashing at the best times possible. The unreliability meant that I didn't dare use it for my coursework in case I lost it (which I did once and I had to work two days non-stop to re-write the work). So I generally felt that the computera are good, but not very reliable, not great if you depend on it.