Product Type: Time PC desktops
Newest Review: ... the number of packages as if it is Christmas. As a child is given a toy without batteries, we were given a PC without leads or software... more
Why do people slate Time?
Member Name: theanarchistkid
Date: 22/02/01, updated on 22/02/01 (350 review reads)
Advantages: Cheap and well equipped.
Disadvantages: Very poor customer service.
Time computers have been around in various forms for several years now (anybody remember 'Colossus'?) and has established itself as one of the best value for money companies around. Is this reputation deserved? Well, there are points on both sides of the arguement, all of which I will attempt to cover.
My Experiences With Time:
About a year ago, I bought an AMD Athlon 700 Mhz PC from Time. At the time it was just about top of the range and although compared to newer PCs it is probably aging a little, it still does a very good job. This PC has served me very well over the last year although there have been one or two annoying faults or changes in specifications that annoy me.
First of all, I had a problem getting the PC delivered. I'm a student at university so it's tricky to get big parcels delivered at the best of times, but this was even worse. There was initially a delay in the production of my machine because there was a shortage of DVD drives. Time have always claimed that their PCs are built to order and that as soon as you place your order, they start building it. I don't actually believe this for one minute. I cannot see, from Time's perspective or the customer's persepctive what the benefits of doing this actually are. It all seems a bit silly to me. Time promised first of all that delivery would be 5-10 days. This rapidly changed to 12 days when I was told about the shortage of DVD drives. I let this time elapse and then phoned them back, still having not received my PC. Suddenly there was now a shortage of Sound Cards. Do you see a pattern emerging?
A new delivery date of 21 days from when I ordered it was arranged, yet on that day I still didn't receive my PC. By this point I was getting very frustrated but I was reluctant to cancel my order because Time offered the best package for me. I phoned them up again to see what was happening and they then said that my order had only been phoned
through to their main warehouse that morning, and that they hadn't started building my PC yet. As you can imagine this was particularly annoying because it implied that they had been lying to be for the past three weeks. Customer service? Very poor.
On receipt of my PC, I set it all up, plugged everything in and turned it on. What happened? It beeped. A lot. And did nothing. I quickly phoned Time Tech Support and told them the beep pattern and they informed me that the graphics card was not working. They arranged for my PC to be repaired. I decided that seeing as I normally build my own PCs, I would have a look inside and see if there was any obvious damage. On looking, I discovered that the graphics card had dislodged itself during transport and simply re-inserting it into the AGP slot sorted it out. I phoned up Time again and updated them on the situation and all was well. Almost.
I was told that my PC had a top of the range NVIDIA TNT2 Ultra card. Did it? Nope! It came with some cruddy MSI NVIDIA M64 which is the budget model in the range. My PC isn't used extensively for gaming but it would have been nice to receive what I asked for. The M64 has serious weaknesses when it comes to playing games in 32Bit colour and in high resolutions, although in other areas and normal windows it is fine. I had a look at the advert that I originally say and it said that the PC had an NVIDIA TNT2 card. It didn't say that it was the M64 model though which was annoying. The problem is though that although the advert may have been misleading, it is still technically correct so I can't really ask them to change it.
Also in the advert it said that the PC came with 'The best quality monitors available'. In my opnion and in most other people's opinion, Samsung don't make the best monitors. I asked the shop assistant about this when I was originally buying the PC and she basically said 'If you don't like it, go somewhere
else'. This kind of attitude is afforded to Time by the fact that they don't mind losing the odd customer because they have so many already. Time don't tend to focus on customer support, instead they try and get as many customers as possible by selling their PCs cheaply.
Having got my PC up and running I was disappointed to note that most of the bundled software wasn't installed. I'm sure that it's not too hard for time to set up a master disk for their PCs so that the software is all fully installed and configured. This wasn't just the case on my machine either because I spent an evening at a friend's house installing the masses of software that came with his machine. Time do install the 'Standard' software pack but anything extra (which you have to pay for) you have to install. Another example of their poor attitude towards customers.
Also, my PC came equipped with a CD Writer, but it didn't have any CDRs with it at all. It's corner cutting like this which is frustrating when, as a whole the PC is very good. Also, the speakers that came with the PC were appalling and were no use to anyone.
The good news is that it's not all bad news. The PC that I bought had a much higher specification than I could have got elsewhere for the same price and the build quality is very good. Having been inside the case many times over the last year, I'm always pleased to see that the cables are all tied together out of the way and everything is neat and tidy.
Another slight gripe that I have with the machine is the use of a software modem. Essentially this is a normal modem but most of the signal processing is done via software. This puts an extra strain on the CPU and slows down the machine. I have never noticed the machine slowing down whilst online but if I was doing online gaming, I'm sure I would. Fortunately, I rapidly migrated over to ISDN so I don't have to use the modem any
One other part of the setup that was wrong was the installation of the graphics card drivers. Whenever I try to reach the 'tab' of the display properties to change the clock speed settings, the machine says that the driver isn't installed properly. I updated the driver with a new one and now everything is fine, but a computer newbie wouldn't have known what to do.
On the plus side, my machine came with a massive (27Gb) hard disk and a CD Writer. The CD Writer is a good quality Sony model and although a bit sluggish it's proven to be a very useful tool. I recently had to reformat the hard disk due to the machine getting very congested and I was able to back up all my important files quickly and easily on CDRs. Gone are the days of having to fight with hundreds of floppy disks every time I wanted to back up some files.
Time aims its PCs at beginners, people that aren't computer literate. This is baffling really because if I was a computer beginner, I would have rejected this PC as being poor quality and gone to another company. Fortunately I persevered and after replacing a lot of the components I have a very nice PC. Overall, even though I won't be buying from Time again, I would say that the PC is good. Time as a company are a bit lacklustre but their PCs are actually very good value for money. If you are a computer newbie and you want to buy a scanner, printer, software and PC all in one bundle, you can do a LOT worse than Time. (Eg PC World!)
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