Wednesday, September 4, 2013

E-machines Settlement = New Ultrabook

Amid all the concerns about getting laid off from my job, I received a pleasant surprise a couple of weeks ago which came in the form of a notice saying that a class action suit in which my name was included as one of the plaintiffs, was finally settled. See I bought an Emachines desktop computer more than a decade ago and as usual, I registered my purchase. Some time late last year I received a letter informing me that there was a class action lawsuit against that computer company and I responded to the letter. The settlement entitled me to either a cash amount of $62.50 or a credit of $349 towards a purchase of laptop, netbook, tablet, and/or monitor. If the price of the replacement is more than the list price, then all I have to do is pay the difference.

When I went on the website to see what products were being offered, I saw that they were Acer machines and most if not all were refurbished. Apparently Emachines was taken over by Acer. No matter, because most of the computers I've bought have been refurbished and I've never had any problems with them. There was a wide range of prices - from a $99 monitor all the way to $900 for the high end laptops. If you choose anything below $349, then that's what you get as your settlement. They will not pay you the difference. The closest device being offered to $349 was a tablet for $330. I didn't need another tablet and I didn't want an out of style netbook either. The next best thing to my price range was a $510 ultrabook (manufacturer's suggested retail price is $799) with a 14 inch touchscreen and a battery life rated up to 8 hours, Core I5 processor, running Windows 8. With taxes, I would have to spend more than $200 extra on top of the $349 settlement. It's not like I can spare $200 nowadays with the impending job layoff. But I decided to order the Acer Ultrabook anyway while I'm still making a paycheck, and besides, there was a time limit in which the settlement had to be used.
Last week, the computer arrived via UPS. It was like Christmas in the middle of a heatwave! I excitedly opened the box which revealed the refurbished ultrabook and a power cord. And that was it. No manuals, disks, or even a quick setup guide. Good thing I was already familiar with Windows 8. I typed in the usual setup information then logged on to my Microsoft account, and when the computer finished booting, I was surprised to see that the wallpaper I had on the Windows 8 Start screen, as well as the desktop was exactly the same as my home laptop! Apparently this synching process was a function of Windows 8 with your Microsoft account.
Other than fully charging the battery that day, that was all I could tolerate in the oppressive heat. Exploring the computer would have to come another day.

One of the first things I noticed was how quickly the ultrabook booted up. After timing it a few times, it appeared that boot up time from power on to the Windows 8 Log On screen was between 11 and 15 seconds. My goodness, that's faster than the Nexus 7 and Asus Transformer that I have! The fast boot up is probably because the operating system is stored in a separate 20 gigabyte solid state drive (SSD). Since it didn't come with an Office Suite (not even a trial one), I installed my old MS Office 2007, and also made a recovery disk. Next, I ran an internet based benchmark test to check how long the battery would last with continuous activity. The advertised time was 8 hours. With the benchmark test, the battery lasted about 5 and a half hours. I thought that was pretty good for a laptop. I just hope the battery doesn't degrade too much or too quickly as time goes on like my old netbook. Having used tablets for more than a year now, it was an easy transition to use the touchscreen on the ultrabook.

Lately, I've been interested in Chromebooks, but after getting this ultrabook for close to the same price as a Chromebook, I definitely got a much better deal on a fully loaded computer which battery life even exceeds that of a Chromebook. In the meantime, I'm also included in another class action lawsuit against Dell. I'm wondering what they're offering?

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