Be wary of Gateway Computers and HSN promo's
NORTH SIOUX CITY, SOUTH DAKOTA -- June 14, 2009: After searching for just the right computer, I came across a Gateway 23 inch LCD Quad Core 640GB HDD 8GB RAM Desktop Computer + TV Tuner on HSN Item Number 464-801 for $999.90 plus $149.95 for 2 year protection plan and $35.00 shipping and handling for a total expense of $1184.85. I carefully watched the video posted on HSN for this product and deemed it exactly what I was looking for. The Commentator for HSN talks about having several at home and how easy it is to use all the features. Having owned 3 Gateway computers (before the company was sold to an overseas corporation, something I found out after the purchase) it seemed believable. Joe Harrison, known as Gateway Joe, then comes in and talks about the ease of use, the features to include the 640GB HDD, LabelFlash DVD/CD Optical Drive, how great Gateway Support is and how you can plug in an old VCR (using the front RCA composite jacks) and convert your VCR tapes to DVD right now (having many old home VHS tapes this analog capture device sounded like a dream come true) and then he adds that a camcorder with this type of connection (RCA Composite) you can upload all this to your Gateway.
I anxiously awaited my dream machine so I could start converting my analog video's to digital DVD's. The Gateway LX 6810-01 arrived a few days later by UPS. I eagerly went over the documentation provided in printed form as well as on line yet absolutely nothing was listed for converting my analog VHS tapes to DVD, much less how the LabelFlash worked or even readme files for a How To on the majority of programs on the system...IF you could even locate the program itself as was the case with LabelFlash.
I contacted Customer Service (remember now, I purchased the extended warranty) and was told they had absolutely nothing about how to utilize the analog converter as touted on the HSN promo and to add insult to injury, they insisted that I call a number they provided to get this information but advised me, it is a fee based service $2.95 per minute or $50.00 for a half hour.
Obviously by now I was a bit put out, a $1,100+ computer HSN touted as user friendly and having great support, has no documentation and to get answers (which HSN did not have) I have to pay even more money? Email inquiries (6) yield the same response each time when requesting documentation as to How To..pay to get the answer. Didn't I do that already?
Trying to put in a second optical drive, I am advised I have a BluRay (according to the serial number) and I know for a fact it is not, it is a multi drive, but definitely not a BluRay...something it took 3 emails to get them to admit their documentation was wrong.
Then I checked the actual hard drive to find it actually has a 600GB hard drive (14.65GB EISA/581.52MB NTFS) as shows on the manage my system display onboard the Gateway computer. Looking for confirmation I used Everest Home program to verify which showed again it was a 600GB hard drive but reflected 15005MB EISA/(a 2MB buffer zone)/580,465MB NTFS, again, 600GB and NOT 640GB as advertised and as it appears on the box the system came in. How did Gateway explain that? It is merely a conversion error on how they calculate hard drive capacities and how they are read my other systems...uh...say what again? I asked Gateway to send me or refer me to the How TO for these programs....again referred to the Fee Based number. Asked Gateway to send me an additional hard drive of at least 40GB to make the system, as advertised, but they keep insisting in spite of what readings I am getting, THEY rate it at 640GB.
I made HSN aware of all of these factors and though they still have the video (computers/desktop/$999 Gateway 23" LCD Quad Core...) on site for others to bite on, and indicated that the information posted is from their Gateway supplier, they did say that they would advise their panel of the problems and re-stated they have a 30 day return policy.
While it would simple to option for this, at 60, I am a bit hard nosed and expect to get what I pay for and if a product is advertised as having capabilities, then as a buyer the How To should be available FREE and documentation available.
Customer Service is the absolute basics at best at Gateway; obviously not US based and most certainly not hands on computer literate!
Program documentation virtually non-existent but step by step with graphics how to get in to the case, change memory. hard drive, etc.
Believe it or not, the system itself is incredible and does multi tasking with ease...but if you aren't a highly knowledgeable computer program user, you are going to go absolutely crazy trying to figure out how or even if, various programs are even onboard...much less function as described!
Without the How To, and the overrated Hard Drive capacity, you will find nothing but annoyance, frustration and feeling that the product is grossly misrepresented by both Gateway and the HSN video posted for all to see with this item.
For those Super Sleuths, watch the HSN video and see if you can come up with step by step instructions on How To.....it is obvious even Gateway Customer Service can't do it....and yes, paying the fee for the answers, IS CHEATING...but would be nice to know.