The Phone Malfunction

Orange SF
The Orange San Francisco, aka ZTE Blade

I completely forgot about my Argos ordeal when I was writing last night, but now I will tell you a tale. A tale of phone repairs at Argos, and false replacements and so on. I first got my Orange San Francisco back in March of this year, to replace my i-mate Ultimate 8502 (still running Windows Mobile 6.1). The Orange SF (also known as the ZTE Blade) is a fantastic phone, with all the features you need in an Android handset, but for a very reasonable price. Running on Android, it has a good app catalogue behind it and a very helpful community. Not only that, but custom roms can also be installed, improving performance and allowing a lot of customisation. When it works, it works really well, though notice the use of “when”. I seem to have encountered all the rare problems possible, having battery life issues, dust under the screen and now reception issues. If you have tried to contact me recently, I apologise, as my phone is currently being sent off to be assessed for repair or “replacement”. Even before that, I probably didn’t get back to you because I didn’t receive the message until a week later.

After the first set of problems, I brought the handset back to Argos and they sent it off to be repaired. Now if it was any other electronic device, I would have been perfectly happy, but taking my phone away and leaving me to buy a replacement is not on. It would have probably been cheaper to get the phone fixed third party in the end, for the money it cost me to get a backup (and that was the cheapest phone in Belfast). Two weeks later I got a phone message, telling me the phone had been replaced and that it was waiting in store for me. Happily I headed off to receive my replacement phone, only to realise they hadn’t replaced the phone at all. They simply flashed it and replaced a sticker behind the battery. They hadn’t even bothered to conceal it, as it still bore my customised back cover (I removed the Orange logo, and freed my phone). And the dust remained in the same place, as did the battery life issues. After putting up with the same phone for a few more months, I took it back to complain. This time, the customer service rep was more sympathetic, and upon the agreement of her manager, handed me a brand new phone as a replacement. A great victory you may say…until the problems began. Began mightn’t be the right word, as the problems were there since day 1. In Belfast the signal was completely fine, full 3G even, but as soon as I got close to Magheralin, there was nothing. Not even one bar. As a result I was left phoneless again, unable to reply to any texts or contact people who weren’t on Facebook. Then every so often the signal would jump to full, but sure enough after a couple of texts it would completely die.

I went through every possible scenario, trying different sim cards, different phones (sim worked fine) and every rom under the sun, but nothing changed. So I’m back to square 1, with the phone slowly making it’s way to the repair centre hidden somewhere in England. I believe this will be the last time I’ll buy a phone from Argos; if only they had some trained customer service people who could actually deal with this stuff, things may have been different.

Sorry for the rant, but I’m just slightly peeved with Argos policy. Otherwise, I’ve just been playing more Mount and Blade. The more I play it, the more addictive it becomes. Despite what I said before, the graphics aren’t half bad most of the time, and I think it’s just a game which requires a lot of time before you get to a decent level. Definitely worth a try if you haven’t played the series before.

9 responses to “The Phone Malfunction”

  1. I have never got a 3G signal once in Northern Ireland :S. I dunno if it’s just really bad coverage or really bad luck… first time I experienced the joys of 3G (and last time) was in Scotland

  2. By the way: the new theme is looking smashing

  3. I’ve been pretty lucky. Since 3 (network) is so heavily invested in 3G, their coverage has been pretty good so far. It’s fantastic most places in Belfast, and really quick – even Waringstown gets some 3G for me. Are you still on O2? Thanks; it is a bit more interesting than the last one, but I’d like to have a more customised theme.

  4. I’m o2, yeah — although I know what you mean by 3: I use on of their dongles for internet up here at Portstewart and it works wonders (typing this using it right now!).

  5. Ah, a mobile broadband user – how is reliability? I’m on cable here in Belfast, and it’s pretty great.

  6. It sometimes takes a few attempts to get it going right and on the odd occasion needs to be reset — but haven’t had any real problems yet. We couldn’t get cable here — apparently we don’t have a phone line …

  7. That’s good. Yeah, we’re lucky being so central with access to cable. No phone line? That kinda sucks, and is a bit of a barrier to getting broadband…

  8. Sorry to hear your having so much trouble with the Phone. I’ll stay well clear from Argos when I eventually get around to buying a new phone.

    Mount & Blade growing on you eh? :P. I got playing Fire and Sword for a few weeks, it is a good game but it isn’t quite as good as Warband. It feels too unbalanced or something with the introduction of guns.

  9. Well I guess Argos aren’t inherently at fault, but it would be better to buy a phone where it can be checked out properly if there is any fault, instead of shipping it off every time. Insurance may also help!

    It is, like a vampiric time plague! I end up playing Mount & Blade for hours, and I’m actually getting somewhere now which is even nicer. I’ll have to give it a go, but I’d imagine guns could take some of the fun away from it all.

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