Phone business complaints.
Hi ASUS team.
I'm upset. I'm upset over the way you treat your customers here in Taiwan. I'm upset over the fact that a flagship smartphone in 2019 still does not have the proper frequency bands to cover users when they go overseas. I cannot imagine what is going through the minds of your product managers when decisions are being made over there in Guandu because these decisions with your phones are incredibly tonedeaf. Ever since I've bought your Zenfone 3 deluxe, I've had largely a terrible time with you guys in the smartphone team. I really really really really cannot understand what you guys are doing. I've been recommending your products, from motherboards to laptops for years because they were, and still are, Number One. The decisions taken by the phone division are UNBELIEVABLY tone deaf. Let me start from the beginning.
When I was working in a computer store in Canada, over the life of my 6 year career there, I've personally sold to customers probably around $100000-200000 worth of ASUS equipment from motherboards, monitors and more. During those times, ASUS smartphones were not a thing yet and couldn't be sold, but if I had one, I would have sold one. Our store during that time frame may have sold up to an entire million dollars of your equipment because we believed in the brand. And when it comes to Motherboards and components, we still do.
I've since moved to Taiwan to pursue other opportunities, because I want to be around the technology. I'm passionate about tech and passionate about your company's products. In Canada, the stereotype of East Asian companies and countries is that, especially Japan and Korea get all the latest and greatest tech, video games, and culture because many of those companies are headquartered there. Koreans can be quite nationalistic, and Japanese companies sometimes just figure that they should wait until later to release things in the west. So I figure, they have Computex, why not move there? Then I could get my hands on the latest products and a lot of interesting things.
Some of those are true. I can go to Guanghua in Taipei and get a crazy amount of goodies. But with phones, you really drop the ball. Every. Single. Time. I don't want to be rude, but I want to be critical. But I'm losing faith in your ability to make decisions that I feel are reasonable...for reasons i'll get into later.
The first two generations had serious quality issues. I can't imagine an IT tech company that has designed and made motherboards for 30 years this year would have these many problems. Recommending your phones to friends resulted in ALL of them coming back to me saying that the phones did not last very long. Now, I admit, the Zenfone 4,5,6 (of which the naming was poorly planned) were in many ways budget phones by comparison to flagships like the Galaxy S and the iPhone. However, those phones should have been good enough quality to LAST longer. Cheaper phones I do believe should go obsolete faster than expensive phones, but they should not die after one year of use. My friends found that if the screen was broken, it was cheaper to replace the whole phone than fix the screen. Not good for the environment and made friends not happy with your brand. They have since moved onto other brands. Those bridges are burned and they won't trust you again. My HTCs lasted forever and I still have the One m7 that still works to this day. It has its quirks, but it's still a usable phone. That can't be said of the poorly named Zenfone first gen and Zenfone 2. Ok. First and second generations need time to figure it out. Alright. I'll give this a pass.
I bought your Zenfone 3 Deluxe. My HTC One m7, despite being a perfectly working phone was starting to wear on me, developed some quirks, apps weren't working due to old software and it was time to change for some updated hardware.
My god, I thought the experience of my friends were just a fluke. Maybe, just maybe they were flukes and I'd get a good experience because... well... i ALWAYS buy ASUS or GIGABYTE components for my computer. You two are my only brands.
But here's the problem. My entire experience with your Zenfone 3 deluxe was a nightmare! First, when it was announced at Computex that year, I kept getting told of delays when asking the store when it would come out so I could plan my finances. Back then I was beginning to need a newer phone and wanted to save. I wasn't in a particularly good situation financially so I needed to save. Upon the phone's release in early September that year. People who preordered it received the phone. I was not informed of a preorder method, but that was OK. I wasn't ready to buy it. Why did I want the Zenfone 3 Deluxe? Well I'm Canadian. In the Americas, we use different frequencies than those of Asia and Europe. Also, while 3G had only 5 major frequencies worldwide and the weird ones Japan likes to use, LTE has THIRTY EIGHT! My HTC One m7 was an LTE phone that didn't work in Asia because it only had North American frequencies built into it. In fact, Taiwanese people and HTC employees were absolutely baffled because my HTC One m7 had LTE. That radio has never been used. I bought that HTC phone and used it for 4 years. Taiwan didn't have LTE at the time so it didn't matter anyway. I was eyeing at the time the Sony Xperia XZ. HTC was doing some weird things and pulling an Apple by removing the headphone jack and manufacturing phones that had different frequencies for different regions. The XZ had all the frequencies I wanted so that I can travel with my phone and save money on carriers. I bought your Zenfone 3 Deluxe because it was the only phone on the market with 256GB, a USB 3.0 Type C connector. Micro B is AWFUL. ALL the frequencies were on it. As true of a world phone as could be. MicroSD socket, but unfortunately, shared with the SIM card socket as well. (As if people don't use two sim cards and an SD card) It was the ultimate phone. Everything I wanted. Added bonus: I like supporting Taiwanese companies.
Great! It's out, it's for sale after asking the employees at the store for months. People get their preorders and they're good. I figure now it's for sale, I'll save my money and buy one later. It's out, right? No big deal, right? There's no stock left after the preorders are gone. No big deal, I'll get one when they come back.
Two months later, I'm ready to buy. No stock. I put down a deposit of $1000 for the next batch. None come in....ever.
By february, the employees were stating that the phone had ended production. What? You sell a phone for a week? I waited 6 months to get this phone and you now tell me with a deposit at your store that whoops, you will never have any more.
Well, how did I buy the phone then? See... you didn't stop production, you just decided it was more worth it to sell to Japan and the US instead of your own country of Taiwan. That's my first complaint, Availability. You announce exciting new products yet they're nowhere to be found or each country only has one type of that product. I bought my phone from Japan, a friend brought it over for me. Since then that phone was full of problems after buying it from Japan.
One, you do not seem to support your phones from overseas. It's a phone! It goes places! It's portable! Why do you have local warranties on the most portable of devices! Secondly, why is it that you have 2 year GLOBAL warranties on laptops but not phones? Do you not have any confidence on the quality of the phone? Why does bringing it to a different place matter? People travel, people move. Just let me buy the one I want and know that when I buy your product, you stand by it as a company should. I don't expect a global warranty for a desktop. I do expect a global warranty for a phone. A portable product that is expected to last three or four years. I don't want to buy a new phone every year. I don't wanna do the Apple dance. I want the company I spend my hard earned money to provide me with a quality product. You are happy, you make money. I'm happy loving my product that makes my life easier. This phone was admitted by your professionals at Computex to be engineered poorly. The USB port died. The screen died MINUTES after having it repaired. The microphone died. The back glass, something cheaply replaceable cracked and you guys replaced the whole back at large expense, the phone, while taking pictures at Computex the next year died in front of me and was running at 1fps. Yeah, the phone ran at a measily ONE frame per second and took 10 seconds to register ANY input whatsoever. It took a minute to write a 6 letter word. None of this was under warranty because you guys didn't stand by your product. After months of complaining about it, I finally showed it to your professionals at Computex and negotiated for a new phone to be replaced. I shouldn't have to travel to Computex to do customer service. You should have been helping me from the start.
The company finally agreed to replace the phone and offer me a Zenfone 5z 256GB. Of course I had to take it, I had no choice. Here's the problem. Since the Zenfone 4 (second edition), the company has continued to make separate phones with different frequencies for other countries. Availability for specific sizes also varies. It's utterly impossible to get a phone that works worldwide from you guys as well as fufilling the storage requirements I have. I can't get anything special ordered or customised...I don't know why, it's 2019. You can't tell me there are hardware limitations. The SOC used inside the phone supports all those frequencies. It's not 2013 where LTE was new. So now I have a Zenfone 5z that is utterly useless at its most basic task, being a phone when I go to North America because I can't get LTE on the bloody thing. 3G will be experiencing a staggered shutdown over the course of the next few years to make way for spectrum needed for 5G New Radio and greater LTE coverage. There's no excuses. I can't have a phone that doesn't work. And when I tell friends that they can't use this phone when they go back to their country...well why would they buy it? I'll make the case of Taiwanese people. Many love to travel or stay in the US or Canada for an extended period of time. If they can't use their phones while being there, why should they buy your phones when Samsung or Apple provide phones that WORK. Do you think people don't travel? To solve this, I bought the ROG Phone because for some reason, DESPITE having the SAME SOC in the Zenfone 5z, it has the frequencies to actually work in Canada. Why? Well, all anyone can tell me is that this is what you guys decided and filed into the Taiwanese NCC for sale. So, another $30000 spent for no reason. I'd go check out the Sonys again, but they decided that they no longer publish frequency information anymore. God knows why. So I'm screwed out of luck if I use their phones and they dont work in another country. Completely Asinine. So this Zenfone 5z sits on my shelf collecting dust for no reason because ASUS decided to cripple the phone in Taiwan and presumably East Asia, Since the socalled B and C version are sold in America...with, guess what? The correct frequencies! When I received this phone, I went to your headquarters in Guandu to pick it up and chat about my concerns with the way the phone department makes decisions.
I've been happier with the ROG phone. I have a few complaints like the TERRIBLE English on this phone and lack of SD card support. Come on guys, You couldn't put an SD Card onto the GameVice so I can store games there? It already runs off the USB. Same thing with both forums, the old one and this one. The ENGLISH is god awful. ASUSTOR has better English abilities and they only have 60 employees. Do you know how I know? Because I DO their English! How is it that a multibillion dollar company can't afford to have someone proofread the English on their most expensive phone?
Why am I writing this? Most of the older problems I had are long since gone. That's true. But what I see from the launch of the new Zenfone 6, despite many of the hardware innovations seen. Nothing was learned from the saga. This is why market share is below 5%, because ASUS, you're not innovating in the phone department. A new flagship phone without the ability to go around the world? Doing the same thing as other manufacturers like notches and stuff? You're not being a leader, you're being a follower. It's the same SOC as everyone else. Same screens, Same camera sensors, same everything. Same short terrible 1 year warranty. Same terrible backup options. Same terrible regional phones that dont work when you leave your country.
ASUS, I love you but....your phones.... Until you start innovating and providing better phones, better support and better service for things that should be obvious. You're not going to hit over 5% market share. You became the NUMBER 5 prebuilt computer manufacturer despite being late to the party and your laptops are being sold EVERYWHERE. 13 years ago only nerds like me knew who you were because you only sold motherboards and only stores that trusted your motherboards sold your new at the time laptops. Your laptop engineers deserve praise and your laptop product managers deserve the same praise for making the company more visible. Your phone department should be taking pages out of their book. Better marketing, better product, better service, better experience. The ROG phone was a good step in getting people to talk about your phones. But if you don't change, the cycle will continue. Lack of availability, regional product, risk aversion that causes products to be pulled if there is a fear they wont sell, lack of media attention and upset customers. They won't take the time like I did to write this post. They will just go back to Apple or Samsung. And we'll have the same conversation again, and again....and again.