Exposed MicroSD Slots Are Stupid

I was getting excited reading Engadget’s report on Kobo’s upcoming Aura HD e-reader. This is a limited edition e-reader that will appeal to hardcore readers like myself but for which Kobo doesn’t think there’s any sort of larger market for (i.e., this is also clever marketing to see if there is a bigger audience than the company thinks).

Anyway, the device is looking like everything I’ve always wanted in an e-reader until I get to this photo.

Kobo Aura


What is the point of adding a slot for a MicroSD card if you’re not going to put some sort of sliding door or cover to protect it?

My ASUS Transformer Prime has exactly the same design flaw, and I gave up using the MicroSD slot at all after I lost my second 32gb card.

Getting My ASUS Tablet Fixed

A couple years ago I had an awful experience with HTC trying to get a defective Nexus One fixed. Even though the problem I experienced—a faulty power button—was a known issue with the phone by the time I sent mine in for service, it took almost two months from the time I sent my phone in until I got it back. And, to add insult to injury, it worked for maybe a couple more months before the damn power button began failing again.

So I was very nervous when I went to turn on my ASUS Transformer Prime tablet and instead of a login screen I saw a wavy pattern that looked like someone from The Outer Limits had taken control of the horizontal and vertical controls. The tablet was simply unusable. Since it was about 5 months since I’d purchased it, it was time to get it serviced.

The process started out painlessly enough. I went online, and after a bit of searching found a technical support form where I entered in the type of tablet, the serial, my details and the explanation of the problem. ASUS then sent me an email with a case number and instructions on the next step which was to call and talk to a customer service representative.

One of the major points of frustration throughout my experience — which ended much better than my HTC repair — was that it turned out the online case/tracking system was basically a Potemkin village. It is pretty much for show — not once did anyone from ASUS update the case. Not when I called in, not when the tablet arrived, not when they diagnosed the problem, nor when they ultimately shipped my tablet back. That part of dealing with ASUS was extremely disappointing.

Anyway, I followed the instructions and called and talked to a customer service representative. It wasn’t his fault, but the CSR was clueless about anything tech-related. When I described that the screen had failed — possibly due to a faulty internal video connection — I wasn’t too surprised or annoyed when I was told to turn the device off and back on. But I went through that process several times each time with a conversation like this:

CSR: Has it rebooted yet?

Me: Yes, but the screen is still filled with wavy lines and unreadable.

CSR: Okay, I’m going to need you to go ahead and enter your device password now.

Me: Um, I can’t because the screen is a blob of wavy lines with no text entry box visible.

CSR: Okay, lets go ahead and turn it off again….

I realized I was never going to get anywhere with this person, called back a little later and obtained an RMA. I sent in on a Thursday and it arrived the following Tuesday at the ASUS repair service.

Which is when I expected them to update the online service information, but they didn’t. The next day it still hadn’t been updated so I called and asked for a status update. All the CSR could tell me was that it was in their service department. No word on if they found the problem or if it was covered by the warranty.

A couple days more days went buy and still no updates when I receive an email that my tablet is being shipped by UPS ground back to me. Does this mean it was fixed? No clue. Again, no updates to the system that ASUS said I could go to and track the progress of the repair.

A day later it arrived at my door, fixed and working fine. The online service tracking case was never updated so I have no idea what the problem was. There was a paper insert with the tablet outlining the various steps of the repair process, but they basically lists of part numbers with what appeared to be internal ASUS codes.

On the one hand, ASUS did a tremendous job of repairing my tablet and shipping it back to me much more quickly than I anticipated. On the other hand, I’m amazed that companies don’t realize how annoying it is for customers to be waiting in the dark not having any idea what’s going on.