HP Pavillion Continues to Suck

 By Shamus Jun 20, 2006 22 comments

Ubu Roi has a nice horror story involving an HP Pavillion. I have had my own issues with HP Pavillion in the past.

I hate these machines because of the misery they spread. Their low prices ensnare the less-savvy, and invariably their proprietary bits of hardware, vault-like case configurations, and greedy bloatware all cause frustration and headaches. The hapless user will then call their freind who “knows all about computers”. If you happen to be that person in your circle of friends, then you are going to be dealing with a lot of these machines.

My wife and I have both had to tangle with HP / Compaq machines from time to time, and the experience is always a miserable waste of time. These are machines designed by people from marketing and not engineers. “Sure, we could use an off-the-shelf power supply, but if we use this HP-only version then we can charge people an arm and a leg if it burns out. All we have to do is make sure the power supply costs a little less than a new computer.”

I don’t even know what can be done about this. I know better than to get one of these machines, but I can’t stop everyone else from buying them. I keep waiting for HP to get some comeuppance the way DELL has recently, but so far it isn’t happening. They should have an Edsel-ish reputation by now, yet they keep selling new machines.

20222 comments. Hurry up and add yours before it becomes passé.


  1. Pixy Misa says:

    And HP used to be the name for superbly-engineered computers.

    I have a Compaq notebook. Less than a year old. Power supply dead, battery dead, memory dead.

  2. That worries me, because I was thinking about getting a new laptop soon. So who is the quality name now? Toshiba?

  3. Ubu Roi says:

    Heh. Thanks for the commiseration, Shamus. Yep, I’ve had friends ask me to build them a comptuer, and then boggle when my price for hardware comes in at 2-3x one of those $399.99 specials they see advertised. What they don’t understand and I can’t get past their sticker shock is that they’re getting a real computer, not some piece of marketing-driven crap that can’t be upgraded. They go buy the crap computer and I just shrug and go my way.

    My #1 system (of four) is a computer I built over two years ago — the only thing I had to update was the video card, to run CIV 4. I bought a new HD also, but that wasn’t necessary. I can put a faster CPU and double the memory if I want to; with an off-the-shelf POS, any upgrade is, as I discovered, questionable and difficult.

  4. Ubu Roi says:

    Sorry for the double post but I should have read your version of Pavilion hell first.

    OMG.

    I’d have reached for the baseball bat a third of the way through that crap.

  5. Mark says:

    Steven, I’m in a similar boat. All the names that I used to think were good for laptops are now questionable. HP has already been covered, but I’ve heard some bad things about Lenovo’s new ThinkPads as well (though I’ve heard good things as well, so it’s a crapshoot). Of course, I’m basing all of this on anecdotal word of mouth evidence.

    I considered one of the Macbooks (or Macbook Pros), but there are some issues there as well (not the least of which is the price tag). I’m also looking at Sony Vaio laptops, which seem excellent, but I would prefer not to buy anything from Sony these days…

  6. Gothmog says:

    I’ve had some reasonably good experiences with Toshiba, actually.

    I really miss my m400 tablet PC- I changed jobs recently and they forced to give it back to them. What cheek!

    Toshiba support was actually helpful when my motherboard on my older m200 crapped out on me.

    Just my $0.02.

  7. Shamus says:

    Sorry for the double post but I should have read your version of Pavilion hell first.

    No worries – it even tells you NOT to read it, so I’m always surprised when people do.

    The only reason I link it every chance I get is because like to nudge my “HP Pavilion Sucks” thing as high as I can in the ‘ol pagerank. Maybe if enough people complain loudly enough and long enough, they will start to get the reputation they deserve.

  8. In my experience, the “comeuppance” of Dell seems to be a myth of the blogosphere, perpetuated by the echo chamber.

    This household owns 3 dells (2 Inspiron laptops and 1 4550 desktop), and I am typing this on a company’s Dell D610. I also had a PE650 loaner from Dell, which I replaced with an SC430. The experience was positive so far.

    The only failures we had were on the daughter’s laptop. Her CD-RW died (presumably choked on human food), and she broke off the power supply cable where it meets the connector.

  9. ubu roi says:

    Our department bought Dells a few years ago. The HD’s have failed at an absurd rate (I’ve gone through two failures in three years), and the monitors were all replaced last year, though I’m not sure why on the latter.

  10. Ethan says:

    I’m certainly not one of those computer saavy individuals lilke the rest of you seem to be (I couldn’t build myself a computer). I would like to say that I feel vindicated. I have a long standing dislike of HP and COMPAQ computers going back to when I was in Middle school. Glad to know I wasn’t off of my rocker.

  11. When we were looking for a new laptop for me we leaned very heaily towards Sony Vaio and even found one that was almost affordable. We ended up with a Compaq due to price but managed, so far, to have gotten away with it. I did still have to go through and UNINSTALL just about everythiing, but that has gotten to be standrd practice for me since I never use the stuff that comes with computers and have my own standard installs (which take me several days). I have dealt with a lot of Dells, HP’s, and Compaqs (mostly because Shamus hasn’t gotten me that cool babydoll t at Thinkgeek that says “No, I will not fix your computer” and I don’t have the guts to say no and since he does say no, well, I end up doing it. :) The thing I hate about Dell is not that they break quickly (my boss has only Dells, the oldst of which is still running 98 and HAS NEVER HAD A REINSTALL!!!) My issue is with the bloatware installed on them that I am constantly battling when I try to figure out why my friend’s mother’s computer is newer than mine and has better everything but is running 3x slower.

    I am sure we will keep you all updated on the state of my lovely new Compaq Presario.

  12. Neri says:

    Never had a problem replacing components with non-HP components (I actually burnt out a power supply by sheer accident because the cheap-ass one the thing came with could withstand the budget graphics card I had put into it. Oh the horror!)

    So it makes me wonder if this is something new. Because this computer was ‘budget’ in 04. (I mean, I’ve upped the RAM and got a new hard drive, power supply, and a graphics card, but this is still a fairly budget computer, even if it is decent)

  13. Damon says:

    I’m sick of people saying “Oh no, i bought a computer for

  14. Scott says:

    Don’t feel alone. Dealt with email support for a replacement keyboard. Bought my laptop dv2047 from Sam’s Dec 8,2006. Contacted support in Jan about the spacebar. The only way it would actuate was if you hit it dead center. A couple mm off and no joy. Asked to ship a replacement (billing software and client’s files a bit sensitive, and have some software that has limited number of keys. No way I could go without.

    They sent me the instructions for replacing it, but wouldn’t send the keyboard (5 back-and-forths later). By this time I’m using a bluetooth keyboard, so isn’t a pressing issue. (Did I mention that I was an electronics calibration and repair tech and ran two labs in the AF?)

    Flash forward to Nov 07, less than a month left on warranty, and I don’t have the keys loaded any more, and figure that I can get along without the billings for a week. Contact them and state a preference for self-install. They came up with the same mantra (India–mantra—ah, what’s the use) and tossed in a new twist: They say that the laptop waranty expired in Aug.

    So, I have to email a copy of the receipt, plus fill out forms–will supposedly hear from them immediately about the update warranty date. Nada. Nothing. No communication what so ever.

    So, the warranty is out, I will have to pay about $80 for a keyboard, and I’m pissed.

    Will I recommend HP or Compaq to customers (I do VAR medical systems and teach part-time)? Probably not. They can stop sending me business system catalogs.

    I’ll probably still support their printers, since I can second-source the parts, and they are workhorses. But I’ve got three (two HPs and one Compaq) laptops in, and I’ve basically told the owners to replace them with Dells. Three more customers have been advised to go with Dell servers. All for a freaking keyboard. Original support #KMM14560722V43597L0KM.

    (During the last segment of tech support conversation, I replaced a screen, partial case, and DVD drive in a Compaq r3000 for a client (her daughter’s friend sat on it)).

  15. Happy Dell User says:

    I chose a ZD7000 because is had everything I wanted. Just over a year later it shut off for no reason. Called HP and argued for the better part of an hour. Kept hearing it’s not under warranty. BS. They finally admitted that it was flawed and sent me a box. Sent it to them and got it back. Once again, less than one year later the graphics started to go out. Lines running up and down on the right side. Called HP, once again out of warranty. Told them that this was a design problem, once again “out of warranty”. Told them that I would give them the opportunity to fix this before I joined the Class Action Lawsuit due to bad graphics overheating and MB problems. They continued their out of warranty stance. So, I joined the lawsuit. At this point, my model number is the number 1 model number in the lawsuit and it was approved. I have to wait till April ’08 for final court approval. Anyway, I now have a $2000 paperweight that says HP. Needless to say, even if HP fixes this, I’ve already went to Dell and couldn’t be happier. I will never purchase anything again that is even faintly associated with HP from printers to computers. I just won’t take the chance and give my hard earned money to a company that won’t stand behind their products, nor will I ever have anything good to say about HP.

  16. KelThuzad says:

    I had a Compaq computer, which is somehow affiliated with HP, and it’s now in the trash. They started me off with 512mb of RAM on a computer with VISTA. Due to Vista taking up 200mb or so all the time, that amounted to 350-odd mb of RAM. When I found out that was why my computer was so slow, I planned to buy 4 happy gigabytes of shiny, powerful RAM for my computer, only to find out from their customer support that the computer could only hold 2gb. Of course, to get to that point I was forced through the gauntlet of doom that is their customer support IN INDIA. I believe I live in the US… rather sure, yes.

    I called, and I found myself speaking to a nice person at their customer support. After saying that I wanted to know how much my model of computer could hold, he told me that they sell RAM for the ‘bargain price’ of $100 a gigabyte. I had not called to buy RAM at all, and told him so. He then connected me to information support IN INDIA. I learned that I am not fluent in understanding foreign languages. After telling her that I wanted RAM, she connected me back right where I had just come from. Eventually I gave up.

    Anyway, after purchasing the shiny new RAM, I went home and noticed major improvement in gaming, surfing the web, everything that I did.

    Fast forward 2 weeks ahead, and the built-in video card is dead.

  17. KelThuzad says:

    I had a Compaq computer, which is somehow affiliated with HP, and it’s now in the trash. They started me off with 512mb of RAM on a computer with VISTA. Due to Vista taking up 200mb or so all the time, that amounted to 350-odd mb of RAM. When I found out that was why my computer was so slow, I planned to buy 4 happy gigabytes of shiny, powerful RAM for my computer, only to find out from their customer support that the computer could only hold 2gb. Of course, to get to that point I was forced through the gauntlet of doom that is their customer support IN INDIA. I believe I live in the US… rather sure, yes.

    I called, and I found myself speaking to a nice person at their customer support. After saying that I wanted to know how much my model of computer could hold, he told me that they sell RAM for the ‘bargain price’ of $100 a gigabyte. I had not called to buy RAM at all, and told him so. He then connected me to information support IN INDIA. I learned that I am not fluent in understanding foreign languages. After telling her that I wanted RAM, she connected me back right where I had just come from. Eventually I gave up.

    Anyway, after purchasing the shiny new RAM, I went home and noticed major improvement in gaming, surfing the web, everything that I did.

    Fast forward 2 weeks ahead, and the built-in video card is dead.

    Fast forward another week, and I sit at the computer with my shiny Dell XPS 410, which suffices with all my needs, in addition to having 2gb built-in RAM. I am quite happy with my new computer, and will never trust HP again.

  18. Kel'Thuzad says:

    Er… sorry about the double-post.

  19. HPNOMORE says:

    Well, where to start. Bought a ZD7000 in 2004. Went to shop due to power plug problems in 2005. Graphics started going out in 2005. Lines due to the overheating problem that they “don’t have”. Called them. They said out of warrenty…sorry. 2005 bought a DELL. ZD7000 became a paperweight. Got lawsuit papers in 2007 for the ZD7000 class action due to the overheating problem that they “don’t have”. Fixed after settlement in 6-2008. Became ZD7000A. 8-11-2008…. graphics problem again. The line thing again. Called HP to get hung up on. I was nice. DELL still going strong. Goodbye HP. I will never buy anything even remotely associated with you, nor will I ever have anything good to say about your shoddy products. Good riddance. Nothing more to say.

  20. Lovely sharp post. Never believed that it was this effortless. Extolment to you!

  21. I’ve been putting up with an HP 061 Pavilion for a few years now. The only think good about this machine is its CHEAP. (which stops working after you leave the store.) To be honest, it probably works well enough for browsing, email, watching videos, etc., but any operation which involves the FILE MANAGER (including emptying the trash) is guaranteed to frustrate – as per the following:

    - Click on a Folder or Trash Can
    - Wait..
    - Wait some more…
    - Wait another minute or two….
    - Hear a faint whining noise, like a small cat suffocating.
    - Your directory tree “magically” appears, or, you hear the long awaited “empty trash” sound, and can get on with your life.

    Thanks for letting me share!
    RV

  22. [...] Entertainment laptop, one of the worst purchases I ever made back in 2008. This computer is the piece of hqiz from hell (it was nice to see similar things from Shamus over at Twenty Sided, I felt totally [...]

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  1. [...] Entertainment laptop, one of the worst purchases I ever made back in 2008. This computer is the piece of hqiz from hell (it was nice to see similar things from Shamus over at Twenty Sided, I felt totally [...]

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