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Friday, June 29, 2012

Buying Grey Imports Electronics, Devices and Gadgets

There has been this recent craze with buying grey imports to save money.

In the past it may have been to get a product released in a country other than your owns earlier than everyone else but recently there is the widely advertised advantage of saving hundreds of dollars.

You may hear horror stories like save a few hundred or a few dollars but lose it all if you need to make a warranty claim as many manufacturers do not support and provide warranty for products that are imported. Some businesses may provide warranty repairs and servicing by third parties as a next best offer.

Recently I got an Ainol Novo 7 Mars tablet which is not only a grey import but does not actually have official (retail) resellers here, instead they rely on distributors selling them. So basically they're not designed for my country's market. Which I found had bigger differences than say purchasing a Samsung or Apple product import, which may see a power adapter issue or a manual issue.

Because the tablet was designed for the Chinese market, it had censorship and restrictions pre-installed, many applications were blocked and there was no easy work around. The brand boasts high quality control, but if this is their idea of high quality control then major brands are working beyond high quality.

Here were some issues:

* They released the product before having a firmware that works well, so hardware is done, let's sell it and then push out software to fix the bugs once customers own it.

* Wifi drops out constantly and also has a weaker range than any cheap major brand product I've ever used.

* Touch screen is unresponsive and sometimes detects touches when it has been sitting on the table for 5 minutes untouched......

* There was a hot pixel (stuck white pixel) out of the box.

I am no Apple fanboy and don't mind having a product that doesn't work straight out of the box like Apple products, I usually don't mind some setting up, customising and tweaking but this product would be considered half functional in my personal opinion, out of the box.

So I recommend, when you buy grey imports really look at your support options and if it is not an international brand, really think it through, it will be hard to find bad reviews on products that are not widely known in the English speaking market.

This is not to say all grey imports are of poor quality but I would just like to share some food for thought.
Sometimes you get what you pay for, sometimes you're just being ripped off.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

A200 Toshiba Satellite Random Restarts / Freeze When on AC


  • Random restarts
  • Boots ok on battery
  • Toshiba A200 Satellite laptop
  • Over 4 years old
  • Works in safe mode


  • Boot up in Safe Mode
  • Start > Control Panel > System > Device Manager > Processors
  • Disable both processors
  • Restart the laptop
  • Boot into normal Windows
  • Should work fine, if not you may want to look at the rest of this blog
  • This is apparently a temporary fix and your laptop will not last years and years without replacing a chip (see below)

Causes (Possible):

  • Poor battery life and power switching between AC and battery
  • A NEC chip on the motherboard that regulates power is deteriorating and causing the laptop to not power properly

Alternative fixes:

  1. Set power settings to Power Saver
  2. Set power to High Performance
  3. Boot into BIOS and change Dynamic CPU Frequency Mode = Always Low (NOT DYNAMIC)
  4. Charge up battery and only use laptop on battery

More Info (Google key words such as):

  • a200 toshiba random restarts
  • Satellite A200 freezes or restarts anytime
  • A200 restarts when plugged into AC
  • Toshiba laptop freezing when charger is pluggded in
  • Toshiba Random Freeze/ Shutdown/ Restart
  • a200 toshiba NEC/TOKIN OE128 Proadlizer Capacitor problems