An open letter to Samsung re: Samsung N510. Lessons from the Prius.

February 10, 2010 by · Leave a Comment
Filed under: Netbooks 

Dear Samsung

As you will know we have recently become customers of yours through our purchase of netbooks, specifically the Samsung N510. Since October we have purchased two sets of these Samsung N510 netbooks with three years warranty. My rationale for purchasing your netbooks is well founded given your reputation in this category but not without challenges. Our school has only ever purchased Dell machines in the last ten years due to the reputation they have established in the school as a provider of high quality, powerful and durable machines. Persuading budget holders to switch to Samsung was very difficult but your reputation in the netbook category gave me great confidence.

Despite this I now find myself with an unravelling netbook deployment strategy in which 20% of the machines we have purchased are currently unusable and have been so for up to 4 weeks. This has caused significant challenges for teachers who can no longer provide 1-1 machines to students. Whilst I appreciate that problems can occur and do not advocate the use of social media to constantly complain about companies the initial lack of action and the recent nature of your response to our issue leaves me compelled to take action.

Within 10 weeks of rolling out your Samsung N510 netbooks one of our IT support staff noticed a machine with a split hinge. Given the context of the school with very limited behavioural issues and co-operative students it seemed highly unlikely that this was caused by a student misusing the machine. Over the following 2 weeks we have had 6 more Samsung N510 netbooks also with broken hinges. Having reported the first machine broken we were told this was not covered by the warranty and we would have to pay to repair the machine. We have contested this judgement and referred this to our supplier.

We now have 12 Samsung N510 netbooks with hinge problems in total with the same fault and your recent response to our staff via the supplier has led to this letter. Despite our claims that the Samsung N510 has a design flaw or issue with build quality we have today been told that you have had no other issues identified with the machine from other customers. I find this an incredulous response and inappropriate in the context of the body of knowledge currently available on the Internet. I would therefore like to support your enquiry with supplementary material.

Could I ask you to take a moment and look at one of the many search engines available online as an evidence base for this enquiry? I have listed a number which you may want to consider.

Given that we have a hinge problem with the Samsung N510 I started my search with the phrase Samsung N510 hinge problem. You will notice that Google has already kindly made a suggestion of the enquiry by the time ‘Samsung N510 h’ is entered into the search box. The short url for this search is 

From here you will find 16,200 search items returned and whilst I have not looked at each page the first three give a strong suggestion that there is a problem with the design or build of your Samsung N510 Netbooks. As a visual illustration please see below.

Our Smasung N510 hinge problem is identical to the one shown in the clip above and whilst for a short time the hinge can be clipped back over a very short period of time they become permenantly broken.

Samsung my issue with this incident is not that you have a problem with a machine which has impacted on us significantly. It is that your response via our supplier suggests that nobody else has identified this as an issue and it is our fault. This seems highly unlikely and has left us considering the return of all our netbooks and switching to another supplier. Whilst I have waited for a suitable response from you I have not shared this problem with a wider audience as I would like to  give you the opportunity to resolve this problem to our satisfaction. However 4 weeks since our first return and the recent response above is simply not acceptable.

I will leave you with the comments of a colleague on twitter who is considering a major investment in netbooks for their school. Being already aware of this issue with the Samsung N510 he said ‘Its stopping me looking at either for our scheme. 120 laptops a year heading to Dell I think. #Vostro V13’. It would be great to hear from you to confirm that you accept there is an issue with the Samsung N510 and will resolve this to our satisfaction. Recent media coverage of the Toyata recalls should surely confirm that whilst  problems will always arise with products it is the way in which the company responds to these problems which dictates how we percieve them.

You can contact me by email if you would like to discuss this further.

yours sincerely

Mike Herrity

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