TLDR; Good -- whole experience was essentially free. Bad -- shipping debacle; l e n g t h of entire process. Ugly -- Asus damaged my phone; inconsistent on dates and delays; installed OS is an outdated build; lost all of my data and accounts; still locked bootloader with no end in sight; can't say it won't happen again.
Bought a Zenfone 8 in June 2022 because it looked like a really nice piece of hardware. Reviews were pretty good as well. My plan was to let the warranty expire then unlock the bootloader and install a custom degoogled ROM (likely Lineage as that's what I'm used to). But it didn't make it that far.
Zenfone 8 was in its death throws as of July 2023 and finally died completely in August 2023... a month or two after the official warranty ended. Because I purchased it on my Chase card, they'll add a year or two to the warranty so I wasn't worried if I'd have to pay, I just needed it fixed and reeeeeeally needed my data off of it. There are a couple of accounts that existed solely on that phone.
I tried with the help of XDA and a coworker in IT to revive the phone... but to no avail. I was able to pull a RAW dump using EDL and firehose, but I'll probably never be able to break the encryption so I've just got 128GB sitting on my hard drive. Eventually I threw in the towel and contacted Asus support.
Made a post on here and the moderator reached out to me. Thank you very much, mod. Appreciate that.
Called in to the phone line and talked to a level one type. Explained everything and then was told it'd be $85 to diagnose it and unknown repair fee because out of warranty. I said warranty or not, a device should live for more than 13 months....
Eventually was given the promise to waive the diagnosis fee and sent a shipping label. 2-day express shipping from where I live in California (sadly) to the repair center in IN. Awesome, right?
Asus received my device 8/21. I asked about the process, how they diagnose, what do they do, etc. etc. The person assigned to my case was initially pretty responsive. I asked about unlocking the bootloader and a few other questions about what if it happens again, how long will the future warranty be, etc. etc.
The responses I got were all negative, but at least they answered my question.
Eventually got a message "yeah motherboard's bad need a new one". They said they didn't have parts on hand and so it would be a week before receiving.
After a week nothing happened and I was told 9/8 they'll have parts. 2-3 days after that, should be repaired and sent back. By the 13th I decided time to inquire again. This time I must've replied to the wrong email or something because I was contacted by a different person. This line went nowhere as they never replied to my response.
After another week without my phone and no progress update (RMA website just says "waiting") I decided to reply to the earlier contact. This time he said on 9/20 that parts are scheduled to arrive 9/21... I was understandably frustrated at this point... as I'm sure most would be. Apparently parts are coming in from headquarters in Taiwan. At this point there's nothing I can do but wait and gripe.
Magically, the next day my part is fixed and shipped out. 9/22. Sent this time by FedEx but NOT the 2 day shipping... instead FedEx ground which made me very uneasy considering their history of phones going missing (see Android Authority) and also I've almost two months without my phone by this point so an extra 5 days felt unbearable.
The package requires a signature and FedEx promised to deliver between 11:00am and 3:00pm 9/29. Because of Asus' restrictions, I couldn't have the package delivered to a store and they wanted me to pay a fee to change the delivery date (also to a weekday so no point). So I took Friday off, and after waiting around all day, literally didn't leave the 1 bedroom apartment, I get a notice that delivery was attempted and failed. This is super frustrating on many levels. It is mostly FedEx's fault, and crap happens, but also if Asus wouldn't have such restrictions in place, I could've just signed for it at the store...
So I get the phone back and boot it up and hey at least it gets to the setup menu. Even has 50% battery level. Then I start looking more closely. They scratched my screen in several places. And the put on an older version of Android than what I had. And there is no way to unlock the bootloader, and all of the firmware versions have mysteriously disappeared from the Asus website.
I don't know what to do at this point... if I complain that they scratched my device and screen in multiple places, what's the recourse? Another 2 months without a phone while they order a screen from overseas? Or a "tough luck"?
This whole process has been a crap show and the only redeeming thing is that they replaced their defective part at their expense. Everything else has been a headache and either not transparent or just lacking. If you're looking at purchasing a Zenfone 8 (or perhaps another Zenfone, but the 8 is very heavily discounted at the moment -- wonder why??) you may want to think twice before you pull the trigger on it. A product is only as good as the support behind it when it goes wrong.
looks like it is from January or March? Now that all of the firmwares are no longer on the ASUS support site I'm having a hard time telling. I do know the pre RMA I was on .296 which I think is from May and was the latest/last update we will get.
IF and/or when the unlock tool is released, it will be a moot point because then we can move to maintainers that will offer more frequent and transparent security updates. Until such time though, we ought to at least be on the most up to date offering from Asus. I'm not above trying to unlock the bootloader myself though that appears to be a Herculean task. I'll try and sign on to wifi and see if I'm promoted for an OS update.
Thank you again for your communication. I know these things may seem small or nitpicky to Asus as a whole, but you've got to realize I've got an Asus motherboard as well as an Asus rtx 3080 and what kind of support we receive as customers is critical. I've straight up blacklisted companies I will no longer buy from due to lack of or unskilled or unethical customer support. I don't want Asus to be one of those. For the most part I feel like the people who are moved enough to complain are typically the ones that care.
I thought I should post an update.
I got a phone call from the repair service supervisor and explained the situation. I then received a shipping label for FedEx and was asked to ship my phone back.
I did, but I'm super wary. They have my address messed up, but FedEx assured me that it will get to them no problem. It did, they marked receiving it as 10/17, and it currently shows a repair ETA of 10/24. I'm hopeful this is accurate, as it's just replacing the screen they damaged, but I was fooled last time and the date changed around.
So for now, it's wait to see if ASUS makes it right, and sends it back with a pristine screen (how they originally received it from me!). Also, I've noted in multiple areas, to update my return address. I am super concerned about the return trip. Customer service was pretty apathetic when I pointed out the flaw in their shipping label re: my address. But hopefully the technicians at the service center have an IQ above room temperature and can read the many places I've noted my actual return address.
I'll post an update when I know more.
I received the phone back, earlier in fact than the shipping date estimate. Which means I had to take another day off of work but it is what it is.
The screen looks better. Brand new. They must've been much more careful when they replaced it this time than when they did the motherboard. The charge was over $124 but to their word, they waived it 100%.
I was able to reuse my previous screen protector, which saved me $20. I'm just about satisfied, EXCEPT... still stuck on an outdated and insecure version of Android. They did not unlock the bootloader for me, like I requested many times. I figured they wouldn't. Also, I cannot unlock the bootloader. So I refuse to use this phone until I'm able to put much better up to date software on it. We're now past the September or October that was promised as the delivery of the Bootloader unlock tool. I might attempt to do it myself now with the Android 13 beta if possible. I'll report back if successful and otherwise... still somewhat disappointed with ASUS's overall handling of these phones. Maybe they should stick to motherboards, provided they can make ones that don't melt your processor...