The Critical 'I'

Read. React. Repeat.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

back in action
My Xbox is back in business! And I have Kris at Xbox Repair Guide to thank for it.

A month ago, I was dismayed to find the hard drive had conked out. Since I use the thing as both a videogame machine and as my DVD player, I was deprived of two home entertainment options in one fell swoop. Rough stuff! I ended up going out a lot more than I needed to.

I decided to roll the dice on Xbox Repair Guide. The repair service cost 40 bucks, less than half of what Microsoft wanted to do it. I figured it was worth the gamble; if anything went awry, I would just chalk it up to experience and bite the bullet on a new system.

It took some time, but Kris came through. He reformatted the drive (it was an Error Code 21, which usually indicates hard drive malfunction), which fixed the immediate problem. He then notified me that the hard drive appeared ready to physically fail, and recommended that I get that replaced. Since I had bought a replacement drive previously, I arranged with him to have that one installed. He did it, patched everything up, and shipped it back to me.

That's the synopsis; my official review is on, warts and all:
I shipped out my Xbox after the Dashboard and hard drive stopped working. Kris diagnosed the problem (error code 21), suggested a new hard drive, installed that and returned it to me in good working order!

Overall, I was very satisfied. However, nobody's perfect. So here are the pros and cons to Xbox Repair Guide's Console Repair Service:

- Excellent price, which includes a wide range of repair contingencies and return shipping
- Very active communication during repair process
- Good diagnosis and explanation of options
- For me personally, proximity: About 90 minutes from my home city

- Turnaround time was nowhere near the stated 2-6 days; I did initiate service on a holiday weekend, but even accounting for that, it took longer than I expected
- Website could use a major redesign for better usability and organization
- Related to the website design (but really a separate issue), the order processing webpages should use standard encryption (https://); frankly, if I had had to pay via credit card instead of PayPal, I likely wouldn't have bought the service.

Rating: [4 of 5 Stars]
That pretty well covers it. I'll recommend the service if you've got a dead Xbox that you don't feel like dropping a c-note on for repairs. Just keep in mind that Xbox Repair Guide is basically a one-man shop, that appears to work on limited hours; so account for that extra turnaround time. It beats having a non-functioning black box sitting around.