We’re often asked, as a store called Mac Laptop Repair Specialist, why do we have Lenovo laptops in the window? Why do we have Lenovo computers as shipping stations, cash registers? Why does the owner have a Thinkpad T520 as a personal laptop?
I’ve always been a function over form kind of guy. I want something that works well and lasts long. Looks are secondary to durability to me, which is why I own a Thinkpad. I need something that isn’t going to die from overheating or from an accidental spill or drop. It has to keep going – so I can keep going.
Lenovo laptops are quite durable, and fit my function over form preferences.
- Water resistant. Spill liquid on an Apple laptop and it’s dead. Spill water on a Lenovo and it falls through the spillproof keyboard, around black tape protecting the motherboard, and comes out a spill hole on the bottom – causing minimal to no damage.
- You drop it and the plastic cracks subtly in the area of the drop, instead of falling apart into pieces.
- The power jack is not directly soldered onto the motherboard.
- The connection between the back cover and the hinges is damn near bulletproof compared to the cheap crap on many conventional laptop back covers.
Below you’ll find my personal Thinkpad T520 that has been dropped off a ladder, not once, but twice. Like bulletproof glass, its plastic has sustained minor cosmetic flaws that haven’t affected the structural integrity of the laptop.
This thinkpad was dropped from a ladder twice. Here is the result of the first drop.
This is from the second drop this Thinkpad T520 took off of a ladder.
Lenovo laptops aren’t the sexiest, and they aren’t the cheapest, but they’re made to last. People always ask me what they should get so they don’t wind up back here, and then they ask if I sell them. It seems silly to consistently recommend people purchase something that we don’t sell, so we decided to start selling Lenovos.
Lenovos are highly durable, and they didn’t get there overnight. Lenovo purchased IBM’s laptop & desktop computer division almost ten years ago, and carried on IBM’s torch of developing highly durable machines for mission-critical businesspeople.
So, before you go to Best Buy to purchase a disposable piece of crap because it has a gig more RAM or a flashier case, ask yourself what you value more. 200 extra MHz on the processor, or a trip to us when the machine dies?
We sell machines from $475 to $900, so there is a decent range from mid to high end, ultraportable to standard sized. Come in to learn more!
I would highly suggest anyone reading this seriously consider writing their local politican to tell them how fucked up it is that Apple is using federal law enforcement as their personal mafia. If you’ve ever dropped a phone and had it fixed for $120 less than Apple’s quote while keeping your data, this is an assignment for you. If you’ve ever spilled water on your computer and saved $500-$800 off what the Apple store told you it’d cost by coming here or elsewhere – you OWE it to our industry to be pissed off about what is happening. If you continue to let it happen, we might not be here next time you need us, and your local genius bar is going to be MUCH more crowded than it was on your last visit.
‘”Unless they are getting it from an Apple authorized manufacturer, they are most likely getting substandard parts which are counterfeit and illegal to possess,” Said Agent O’Neill’
I’ve been hearing more and more stories of repair shops being raided for repairing Apple devices. There are 101 and more problems with this. Let’s start from the top.
APPLE DOES NOT MANUFACTURE A PLETHORA OF THE PARTS THAT GO INTO YOUR APPLE PRODUCT.
Open your Macbook. See where it says LP133WX2-TLG6? That’s an LG part, not an Apple one. If I want to buy that from Apple, it’s going to cost a lot of money. If I buy that from an LG broker, who is selling Grade A LG screens, it will cost $35-$100(depending on when), which allows us to charge $170 for this repair, instead of $300.
The same is true for an iPhone. Many use a Toshiba, Sharp, or LG LCD – NOT AN APPLE LCD.
I’m not going to dispute that there are tons of knockoff screens. Are there TONS of products on eBay & Amazon claiming to be OEM that are refurbished trash? OF COURSE! THEY SUCK!!! I HAVE SEEN THEM. I HATE THEM, I HATE THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THEM, AND I HATE THE PEOPLE WHO SELL THEM! I hate them because they make it harder for people who use good parts – for vendors who SELL good parts, to get by. Because we have to compete with the trash, and explain why we cost 5% or 10% more money. It sucks.
But, you know what? I support their right to sell trash if the alternative is living in a world where you have to be certified by a manufacturer to fix THEIR PRODUCT.
Sometimes, the knockoff is truly trash. At other times, the knockoff is actually good… very good. Like, original LCD, original digitizer/touchscreen, and a knockoff frame. The little plastic piece that goes around the phone. That piece alone being knockoff saves $30-$40. And, when you’re struggling to get people to pay $65 total to fix their device, yes, I’m willing to get a part that has a frame that was not produced by Apple. A frame that is absolutely, positively, for all intents and purposes – the same thing!
I value our ability to choose what compromises we offer our customers. Thanks to Yelp!, Google+, citysearch, and Facebook, it becomes obvious quickly which businesses compromise too much. Social media allows customers to tell the world who is using good stuff and who is using garbage. Natural selection in modern commerce does the job Apple & ICE are claiming to be doing, and they do it a lot better.
The REAL job they’re doing is an attempt to monopolize the industry. This comes right as Apple decides to start servicing their own products in their own stores. This comes right at the time that Apple lowers the prices of certain services. It’s not a coincidence, it’s part of their strategy to destroy an industry of mom & pop repair shops that do the job better than them.
We, as a repair shop, have the right to fix your products. We have the right to charge $75 to replace a backlight fuse when Apple tells someone it’ll cost $850 for a new motherboard. We have the right to get the job done in an hour when you tell them it’ll take 3 weeks because the job can only be done at a centralized facility. We have the right to get someone’s phone back to perfect condition in 20 minutes for $65 when you tell them it’ll be $200 and lose them their data.
We have the right to be better than you.
and if you have a problem with it, you should focus on being better than us before you turn our government agents into your personal mafia.
We have the right to fix the glass on your phone – the phone that cracks when it drops 10x easier than my HTC One S ever did. We have the right to replace the back cover to a screen assembly on a 2008-2009 “Uni” body machine. The machine you made in two pieces that you marketed as a single body for YEARS – where the pieces are GLUED TOGETHER like a kindergardener’s arts & crafts homework. A product that was designed so badly that the fan exhausts HOT AIR RIGHT ONTO THE GLUE. We have the right to fix what you fucked up, without charging a customer $650 just because we had to get the part from you.
And yes, depending on circumstances, that part may have an Apple logo on it. It’s an Apple computer. Whatdaya think people are gonna do, cut it out and put a lemon in its place? While it’d be fitting, it’s a labor cost most would rather not pass onto their customers.
Produce better products, provide better repair services for these products, and stop adding 500% middleman charge onto parts. Maybe things will be better for EVERYONE.
A soon to be raided repair shop owner.
winter’s tale 720p
We’ll replace your Unibody Macbook Pro’s headphone jack if you broke your headphones off in it, or if you damaged the switch. Same day service if we’re not crazy busy, too.
Yeah, it aint cheap. Then again, everyone else is telling you to replace the board and charging $375+, and this is a pain in the ass to do right. So I can sleep with a conscience.
I told you it’d be $60 to fix your iPhone 4S, and you looked at me and said – SIXTY DOLLARS?!
I told you it’d cost $40 to remove the virus & cleanup your computer, and you looked at me and said FORTY DOLLARS?!
I told you it’d cost $90 to fix your liquid damaged motherboard, and your face cringed as you said – guess it – NINETY DOLLARS?!
What do you propose is reasonable? Maybe I could pay you for the privilege of fixing your computer? Maybe kneel and suck while I’m at it? Fuck off!
Am I affordable? Yes. Am I free? No, GTFOH!
Adding insult to injury, according to the customer database, over 120 customers this year who came to our Manhattan store lived within five blocks of the Brooklyn store. This further drives home the idea that we don’t need more than 1 location. The loyal old timer clients(I thank heaven you exist) will tell people it’s worth the train trip to come here. That’s what you all did – and I appreciate that more than anything in the world.
The highlight of it is when someone actually does approve a repair on a high end computer only for it to wind up being stolen. That’s a fucking fail.
We opened this Brooklyn store because a larger portion of our customers said they commuted from Brooklyn, sunset park, bed stuy, bay ridge, etc just to come see us. That was cool, really cool, and I wanted to grow with these suggestions. I wanted to make it easier for you, our customer. It didn’t work, and it’s time to call it quits.
I’ve lived in Brooklyn for five years. I love it – for all the junk I say about New York, I love it. I will be living here for a LONG time to come! But work here? Fuck no. My home may be in Brooklyn, but my FR-801’s in Manhattan.
Yes, we will fix your iPhone 4S or iPhone 4‘s cracked screen, often in 10-20 minutes, for $65. Choose any color you want from red to gold for an extra $15. Warranty is one year, unless you break it yourself, and the LCD inside the assembly is the same retina LCD Apple has Sharp, Toshiba, & LG make for them. The tech doing the work is payed an honest, livable wage in a legal manner. Take a look at our parts – they look really, really good. Our feedback is amazing. We are DCA licensed & insured and have done this over one thousand times. Point is, we’ll leave it to you to guess where we’re skimping. I’ll put it below in cleartext – select if you can’t guess.
Personal profit – it DID occur to you that we were skimping on what we took from your wallet and not on quality… right? Good. 😉
One of the most important things about running a repair shop of any kind is the input system. How you handle devices that come in can directly effect your stress level later in the process. The longer a device sits in your shop, the more important an accurate intake system is, because the longer a device sits in your shop, the less accurate your memory of it will be. Whether it had a hard drive in it, came in dented, had issues with the spacebar will all be evident and fresh in memory 1 day after the diagnosis. However, many of your clients may leave the laptop with you for a month and ignore your phone calls, only to come back in to pick it up and accuse you of breaking X Y and Z. The longer you have a device here, the less likely you will recall exactly what was wrong with it and exactly how it came in, which opens you up to he-said-she-said nonsense. Some real life examples.
Many moons ago, we received a laptop with a very interesting dent in it. It looked like a jagged little egyptian pyramid man. I remembered it clearly since this was a challenging machine. I never had to read the ticket to identify it, I picked it out of our bin system by this artistic little dent in it. We never reported this to the customer, which is standard. At the time we did not offer any services other than recovery from physical damages – liquid and drops. It was typical that nearly every machine that came in were dinged, bent, or dented up in some fashion. After all, they had to drop it to break the screen or destroy the frame, and those drops leave dents and dings. Calling every mail-in customer to ask if they were aware of some dent or scratch on their machine would result in a lot of wasted time, and a lot of people going “duh – of course, it was dented when I dropped and broke it. Why do you think I’m sending it to you?” kind of responses. This particular gentleman cursed us up and down claiming we caused this. At the time, our intake system did not exist. We relied on our memories, which was pretty tight running a 1-2 technician shop. As you grow, and factor in a receptionist and other technicians, it doesn’t work like that. When he called, she had no idea if this were a legitimate claim, that we had destroyed the body of the laptop. I unboxed this laptop, and admittedly, had it not been a nightmare to repair, I would not have remembered that it had that dent coming out of its packaging. Luckily, since the laptop was a nightmare from the beginning, it was at the forefront of my memory, so I was able to say with confidence it were dinged from the moment I had removed it from the customer’s awful mail in packaging. This customer was particularly neurotic, calling three times a day asking us for details on how to repair logic boards which we do not give to anyone other than a shop intern, if we were to hire one someday. Sure, let me show you how to perform magic for free. No thanks.
We’ve come a long way from these days. he-said-she-said incidents will still occur. Clients base their emotions on perception, not truth. If they leave us a beat up laptop, and think they left us a mint condition laptop, our knowledge of what they left us doesn’t do us any good. Although it does help us sleep better knowing we didn’t mutilate their casing.
There are cases in which proper intake procedures will avoid heart attacks. We follow them 99% of the time. One customer came in with a dead laptop. Dead board. Unfixable board. She had asked if we could install her hard drive when the laptop worked again. My receptionist was no longer updating the notes – she had left since it was past 8:00 PM, which is our closing time. I’m an altruistic and charitable guy – if someone has a serious problem, I’ll stay a half hour or an hour after closing to resolve it and alleviate their concerns instead of closing the door on them. As a result of the multitasking to finish up the customers who were there while discussing & diagnosing her problem, no one was updating the notes on her laptop to note that she had taken her hard drive with her. After repairing the laptop, she comes back, and turns it on – stunned to see that it boots to a question mark folder. Where’s my data? I look at the laptop to notice no drive inside. This is interesting because we do not need to remove the drive to help with her problem. Even if a customer’s drive is dead, we boot off our own USB sticks with custom installs to test a laptop. I ask her what drive her original was, and look around, and don’t find it. I don’t expect to, but before I potentially make an ass of myself, it makes sense to look around! Arrogance gets you nowhere in life. I tell her we do not have her drive. Unfortunately for me, this laptop has been here for a while, so I have no recollection of the original intake experience until she jogs it, by saying I had promised to install her drive when the laptop was fixed for free. This set off a red flag in my head. Installing a drive takes 20 seconds. I’d have either given it back to her to bring in at a later date, or installed it immediately in 20 seconds where it would stay. At this point, I enter a 45 minute debate, staying as polite as I can, as she becomes increasingly irritated, over the apparent theft of her hard drive. Two days later, she is back at the store with her hard drive in hand, and is apologizing all over herself. The accusations of theft and screwing her over were made with 3 other people here, one of which debating whether to have a service contract for the 2000 laptops being given to a local school courtesy of a $500,000 technology grant. Luckily I’m a charming guy. Although, the seeds of doubt are planted – these customers were not there to see her walk back in with the hard drive I had given her a month earlier. This could’ve all been avoided had proper intake procedure been followed.
Many new customers may notice their tickets state their drive is with them, no liability for their data, and that we give you the drive before you leave the laptop here in many cases. There is good reason for this change in policy. We also have a dedicated receptionist whose responsibilities include nothing but checking in your machine in great detail.
Last year, the PlayStation was stolen by a customer from the lobby of our old shop. We’ve obtained another one, and are keeping better tabs on it! Not a PS3, not an XBOX 360, a PS2 – a 12 year old game console. Yeah, what kind of crackhead steals that? Ah well.
No waiting on an awkward lobby or couch, or even worse – standing during the 10 minute to 1 hour repair you’ve booked with us. Choose from Street Fighter Alpha 3, Hydro Thunder, GTA 3, and much more!