Lenovo Acknowledges U310/U410 WiFi Issues, Still Appears to be Selling Faulty Units

Posted on 23 August 2012 By


Back on the 8th of August we talked about a WiFi issue with our Lenovo U310 Ultrabook. The range and speed were not up to par with other devices using the same access point. After our story on the 8th, Mark, an admin from the Lenovo support forums, responded to indicate that Lenovo had nailed down the problem which was affecting U310 and U410 units. Mark explained that U310 and U410 units manufactured before July 23rd had the issue which would require servicing to fix. Lenovo and retailers seem to be still selling units manufactured before July 23rd.

Here is Mark’s response to our article which was posted to the comments a day after the article was published:

During July, Lenovo received customer reports of lower than expected wireless performance on some U310 and U410 IdeaPad systems. As a result, we extensively tested sample U310 and U410 models and a design update was implemented to ensure a more consistent wireless performance in all customer environments. U310 and U410 models manufactured after July 23, 2012 incorporate these updates and are not affected. Customers with U310 and U410 models manufactured prior to July 23 who have experienced lower than expected wireless performance should contact Lenovo support to schedule service.

Lenovo is offering service to affected units, but didn’t seem to address the wider issue that the company still seems to be selling U310 and U410 units which are confirmed as having the hardware issue which results in poor WiFi performance. One user in the now 37 page-long Lenovo support thread regarding the U310 and U410 WiFi issues shares the following:

“I received my U410 on tuesday [8/21] and it does indeed have the wireless issue and the laptop was made in June! Why are these products still being sold?”

From another user:

“Basicaly same story here in Chicago, US. Ordered  U310 from Microsoft store, received unit yesterday [8/22] – unit built on 6/19/12 – I cringed when I saw that. Called Lenovo today, the rep was -not aware- of the issue. She spent about 30 min remotely on my machine re-instaling driver, to no avail. Offered service if I send to Texas and wait a few weeks. I’d rather return for refund.”

I asked Mark in the comments of our previous article:

Did you recall laptops manufacturered prior to July 23rd or are you making any attempts at informing those customers (or potential customers) that there is an issue? Are you going to let retailers continue to sell pre-July 23rd units to customers with no warnings about the issue?

I haven’t received a response; I’ve reiterated this question in the support thread and hopefully there will be an answer soon.

I spoke with Amazon regarding the issue and was told that they hadn’t heard from Lenovo about the problem and were still offering the U310 and U410 on their site.

Although Mark has assured users in the support thread that call-in support centers have all been informed of the issue and know how to take appropriate action, this doesn’t jive with many of the user’s experiences as posted on the forum.

This includes my own — I called Lenovo’s US support for IdeaPad products yesterday and was met with a support technician and a product specialist who hadn’t heard of the issue and didn’t know how to handle it — this is now two weeks after Lenovo officially identified the problem. The support staff of course wanted to do some troubleshooting which would include reinstalling the WiFi driver or restoring the U310 to factory settings — both would be futile given that Mark has confirmed that this is a hardware issue. They offered repair service on unit but I’m honestly wondering whether or not the service center would know what to fix if the support staff isn’t even aware of the issue. It’s also a shame that people are running into this issue right as back-to-school season hits — students with affected U310 and U410 units will have to ask whether it is practical to be without their Ultrabook for 2 weeks while it is repaired or if they will simply have to deal with the abysmal WiFi performance which might prevent them from connecting to WiFi in class or in their dorm.

We’ll keep you updated on the issue as we hear more from Lenovo.

, , , , , , , , ,

  1. #1 by Hector on August 23, 2012 - 20:47

    Sounds about right with Lenovo. If you read other threads in the Thinkpad sections you’ll notice very long discussions about their business line as well. Loud and early use of the CPU fan that never stops once started, Jumpy/unusable touchpads when the official AC adapter is being used, back light bleeding, case cracking on notebooks that never left the desk and more. Some of the threads were started over a year ago without any resolution. There are threads for even older Thinkpads that are no longer active but were never resolved either.

    So, don’t expect Lenovo to actually do anything within the year if ever. Especially for their non-business targeted notebooks. At least the support staff are nice I guess…

  2. #2 by Adam on August 23, 2012 - 22:03

    The Lenovo Thinkpads of today are definitely not the IBM Thinkpads of yesterday.

    Proper support and doing right by customers is just a memory.

    I had an IBM Thinkpad T series, followed by a Lenovo Thinkpad X60 and then X61; there’s a definite downward trend and a very consistent series of actions that shows that Lenovo doesn’t care much about you AFTER you’ve made a purchase.

    Having said that I’m a HUGE fan of Lenovo’s power efficiency and focus on battery technology – many other MFGRs can learn a lot from them.

    For better or worse Lenovo focuses 98% of it’s effort on the product and product marketing and 2% on post-sales activities. (They’re WAY out of skew with Apple on this one.)

    Adam

    • #3 by hocus on August 24, 2012 - 05:46

      I agree. My old IBM Thinkpads were significantly better than my other business notebooks at the time. My Lenovo Thinkpads are only somewhat better if at all than other business notebooks available today. At least the Thinkpads are significantly cheaper now. Although some would rather pay more for a better product.

      I’m sure the gradual decrease of my IT department in issuing Thinkpads in favor of Dell Precisions and HP EliteBooks isn’t a coincidence.

      Of course, my current personal notebook is an X230. I mainly chose it for it’s extended and slice batteries for an “up to” 24 hour battery life.

  3. #4 by xerxes on August 23, 2012 - 23:04

    i really want to buy an u310 for school and dota. ive read the whole 38pages thread on lenovo forum, and to get more information ive called lenovo idea pad suport. the man sad that
    -if i buy a u310, it could have shitty wifi, but i should assume that wifi works properly.

    according to this, i think that lenovo is rly sending out these laptops which are manufactured before july 23rd. but why they dont fix them BEFORE they sell them? this is not customer friendly, and i would even say this is an unacceptable behaviour which should be punished by law.

  4. #5 by Kevin on August 24, 2012 - 18:57

    This article and the comments on the Lenovo forum are why I removed the U410 from consideration, upped the budget and purchased a nice Asus Zenbook that works FLAWLESSLY.

    Lenovo’s customer support is abysmal and that guy Mark from Lenovo is fully of BS. Read his responses in the Lenovo forum and you’ll see a pattern of lies and downplaying a KNOWN hardware issue with the units.

  5. #6 by Isaac on August 26, 2012 - 23:55

    I actually sent my U310 back for warranty repairs for this problem about two weeks ago and it came back from Lenovo with the exact same problem. Now they are asking me to send it back AGAIN and I’m asking for my money back instead. A customer service manager was supposed to call me about refunding within 3 days and two weeks plus two additional phone calls from me and I still haven’t heard from them. I’ve always been happy with Lenovo’s I’ve bought, and I have bought quite a few. But I’m definitely not buying anymore.

  6. #7 by Jeff on September 3, 2012 - 23:01

    Just received my u410 a few days ago. So far the wifi card appears to be functioning correctly. The box is dated July 28, 2012 so I guess I was lucky and received one that was made after the problematic cards were discovered. There have been a lot of different laptops from different brands with similar wifi problems. Must have been a bad batch of those centrino cards. I made sure to buy from Amazon which has a great returns policy. To those with faulty machines: I wish you speedy and complete repairs.

    • #8 by Onnea on September 29, 2012 - 22:28

      Hi, could you tell me what the serial number of your properly working Lenovo is?

      Because I do know the serial number of my ordered Lenovo already; it’s on the invoice. The ultrabook won’t arrive but on tuesday, and I’m so curious whether I’ll be lucky with a never version Lenovo, or wheter I’ve spent a lot of money on something that will cause a lot of troubles and consume my time.

  7. #9 by Cobra Byte Tech on September 10, 2012 - 07:57

    I found this info, am anxious to try it on a customers problematic U410.

    “I had the same issue and I solved the issue by swapping the wireless card antenna connections, so black to white connector and white to black connector.
    I believe they had a kind of production issue.”

    Taken from: http://www.helpowl.com/q/Lenovo/IdeaPadU410/Technical-Support/poor-wireless-range-80211n-lenovo-u410/197511

  8. #10 by Julie on September 18, 2012 - 07:47

    My new U410 that was built on Sep 3, 2012 had WIFI problem the day I received it. The computer can see the network but keep trying to connect to WIFI. Occasionally it can connect with limited access. This happens even when I am sitting next to the router. Lenovo technical support couldn’t fix it after spending 2 hours remotely. Finally they admitted it that it is a known problem and asked me to send it back in for repair. This is just unacceptable. I was on hold for 1 hour trying to reach someone at Lenovo for return. Keep hearing the message that someone will answer the phone, but no one ever picked up the phone. I will never buy from Lenovo again.

    • #11 by Mark on November 8, 2012 - 22:57

      Hi Julie,

      Did you ever end up getting your computer repaired or replaced? If so, how did was it repaired? Also, I might be interested in purchasing your unit if you are interested in selling it.

      Thanks,

      Mark

  9. #12 by Ramnit on September 26, 2012 - 21:36

    Can someone please just clarify what the problem actually is rather than just random commenting on the fault, if Lenovo are supposed to be able to solve it, what are they solving? what is the fault and can i do it myself?

  10. #13 by Onnea on September 29, 2012 - 22:26

    My new Lenovo U410 has just been ordered online (Mediamarkt, the Netherlands) and is on the way. I really fear now that I get an ultrabook with problems, after reading all this!!!

    Could someone tell me if Lenovo changed the serial numbers of the versions manufactured after the 23th of july?

    Because I do know the serial number already; it’s on the invoice. The ultrabook won’t arrive but on tuesday, and I’m so curious whether I’ll be lucky with a never version Lenovo, or wheter I’ve spent a lot of money on something that will cause a lot of troubles and consume my time.

    Or can someone here tell me a serial number from before, and after the 23rd of july as a manufacture date?

    • #14 by Andre on October 5, 2012 - 22:30

      Hi Onnea,

      I’m really eager to hear whether you already received your Lenovo U410 from MediaMarkt-NL and whether your WiFi experience is the same like ours (see my Oct 3 post below).

      You can find the Manufacturing-date either on the box or on the sticker on the bottom-side of your Lenovo U410, so similar like the Serial-nr (S/N).

      Our U410 has Manufacturing-date July 27, 2012 and S/N QB05486083.

      Cheers,
      André.

      • #15 by Onnea on October 6, 2012 - 00:42

        Hi,

        I did receive my new Lenovo. And compared to an (older) macbook pro, the internet speed is MUCH better. Especially further away from the router. If you compare it to another brand new ultrabook with a better wireless adapter, the speed is worse. Again esepcially further away from the router. But the speed from the lenovo is still acceptable for me. Here are the values:
        Close to the router: macbook, ultrabook, lenovo: all speed around 23mbit/ps
        In another room: ultrabook 23mbit/ps, lenovo 12to15mbit/ps, macbook 3mbit/ps (!). My conclusion is, as Lenovo acknowledges even, that the wireless adapter is nothing special. It functions and it does what it needs to do. That’s it. It’s much better than my older macbook pro, but not as good as the wireless adapter of another ultrabook with a better adapter. But I know it was a ‘simple’ adapter when I bought the Lenovo. Most important is that I don’t notice anything. My internet speed in my appartment is pretty much everywhere the same, by perception. So it seems fast, everywhere. Then when doing the speedtest and comparing, we see that Lenovo don’t scores as the best… but hey, with these specifications for the 755 euro’s that I bought the Lenovo for, I think I can’t complain.
        Manufacture date is the same as yours, by the way.

        Regards!

    • #16 by Andre on October 7, 2012 - 23:57

      Hi Onnea,

      Thanks for sharing your U410 WiFi experience on Oct 6, which was quite a relief to me, as it resembles ours:

      Our U410 WiFi performance is as good as 2 other laptops at 4~5 meters from the router, but about 50% poorer at 8~10 meters from the router.

      Got 2 questions still:
      – our U410 uses the Atheros AR9285 Wireless Network Adapter with driver version 9.2.0.462 dd. 21-10-2011. Yours, too?
      – would it be possible to exchange the AR9285 for a better type WiFi adapter, once the Lenovo warranty has expired? Any suggestions for a suitable replacement?

      Note, that I managed to update the driver to the more recent version 9.2.0.496 dd. 21-3-2012 from the D-drive, but this didn’t give any noticeable WiFi improvement.

      Cheers,
      André.

  11. #17 by Andre on October 3, 2012 - 19:09

    Ben, Onnea,

    last Sat Sep 29, I purchased a Lenovo U410 COREi7 ultrabook for my daughter at MediaMarkt-NL with manufacturing-date 27/7/2012, which should work fine, as Mark @ Lenovo claims …

    However, on a 50 Mbps symetrical fibre-connection its WiFi Download-speed is about 75% lower in comparison to our 2 HP/ACER COREi5 laptops (5 vs.20 Mbps), while Upload-speed is about 50% lower (10 vs.20 Mbps). This was measured via http://www.speedtest.net (host-server @ SIT-Voorthuizen).

    Now the 900 Euro question:

    should we feel lucky with this Lenovo U410 WiFi speed or should I return it and ask for a refund, based on not expecting Lenovo to fix this HW related problem in due time, considering their poor response and promises on various forums and blogs?

  12. #18 by Ben on October 14, 2012 - 05:51

    Hey guys, reading this I’m really concerned about my upcoming Lenovo purchase. It isn’t even out yet, but it’s the IdeaPad Yoga 13, and it’s based a lot on the U310/U410. It really is the ultrabook I want with that amazing hinge, but wifi speeds are extremely important to me… I guess I’ll have to be patient enough to wait for reviews, or just trust that since they’re being manufactured fairly recently that they don’t have the issue. Should I be concerned? Thanks.

    • #19 by Erin on November 30, 2012 - 06:18

      Hi Ben, Did you get your Yoga? Did it have the same issue? I just ordered a Yoga myself and then stumbled upon entire forum dedicated to the wifi issues it has. I am very concerned that mine will arrive with the same issues.

      Due to my long-term travel plans, I really have to sort this out NOW, as I will only have less than 2 weeks to “fix” any issue once I recieve the machine before I have to leave the country. I really wanted the Yoga, but wifi performace on a large variety of networks (free wifi while travelling) is critical to me.

      If I need to be preapared to return the Yoga an buy something else I need to know immediately.

      Your feedback is much apprecitated. Thanks!

  13. #20 by Amit Vachharajani on October 19, 2012 - 19:34

    I bought U310 from Mumbai and had similar problems. For about two weeks they refused to acknowledge that it was a hardware problem. The technicians tried everything and told me that my router was faulty. Eventually after two weeks they admitted that it was a hardware problem and my unit was taken back and full money refunded. Really pathetic after sales service from a tech giant like Lenovo. Bought a Vaio after that and it was all smooth sailing from then on!

  14. #21 by Tom on November 10, 2012 - 18:37

    I received an u410 win8 two days ago from Lenovo’s site. Build date is beginning of November.
    Wifi is absolute garbage.
    getting 1/10 the speed of every other wifi device in my house and office. wifi drops quite often. Three calls to Lenovo involved multiple bogus drver replacements,e tc. the problem looks clearly to be hardware and prabobly design related. becasue I gof from a terrible .7 two feet from ANY 2.4 n router the router, to an absurd .4 once I get ten feet away.

    I bought from them, called them within hours, and now they are saying 15% restorck to take it back. I will be first in line for a class action. their own techs admit the wifi problems were NEVER fixed if not made worse.

  15. #22 by Mark on November 17, 2012 - 00:43

    Brand new U410 here. Wifi not functioning well at all. Tech support at Lenovo outright said the “‘budget’ U410 and U310 are not really meant for heavy wifi use.”. Holy smoke! They are lapto

  16. #23 by Delano Jennings on November 29, 2012 - 01:19

    Mine is manufactured on 7/28/2012 and has the problem too. What’s up worth that? It’s ridiculous that a company would continue to sell a faulty product, do a recall lenovo and make it right!

  17. #24 by Onnea on December 5, 2012 - 17:37

    In addition to my earlier message above, this:

    ‘I’m very UNSATISFIED with my Lenovo U410 now, because of the wireless. I didn’t seem to have any problems at home, but now I brought my laptop somewhere where the router is a bit further away and browsing is NOT POSSIBLE. I’m sitting in the corridor now, trying to reach some sort of an connection. My friend with her cheapass huge Compaq laptop of 2 years old has no problem at all, full range and superfast internet. I have no range, no internet. I brought my old laptop (cheapass fujitsu of 450 euro’s and now 5 years old) here and that one has full range and superfast internet as well.

    DOES ANYONE HAVE EXPERIENCE WITH AN EXTERNAL USB WIFI ADAPTER? DOES THAT WORK AT ALL??

    Besides that temporary solution I’m very curious what Lenovo will do about this.”

  18. #25 by darrell on December 19, 2012 - 20:14

    does any 1 knows if the U510 i having the same problems r they fixed it already cause im thinking of buying it??

  19. #26 by Joe on January 15, 2013 - 20:09

    I’m setting up a Lenovo Yoga 13, I’m having nearly identical WiFi problems. Strangely, I’m able to connect to a couple access points, but my domain access point – the crucial one I must hook to – is intermittently working. I thought it was the network, then I thought it was the driver, and after playing around with the drivers in every way possible (even installing W7 64 bit drivers), nothing changed. Uninstall, reinstall, tweak settings, try again. Uninstall, reinstall, try again. Over and over. Probably 4+ hours.

    Then I finally just googled “Lenovo yoga wifi problems” and that brought me here.

    Surprise, surprise, it’s a hardware problem. The real question becomes: Do I return this to best buy and get another Yoga 13, or do I scrap it all together…? I think we’ll try another laptop.

  20. #27 by Kate on January 17, 2013 - 11:55

    I just bought my U410 and it keeps telling me that it’s not connected even though I could browse the internet. I’m so confused. It’s saying that I have no network access. I’m scared that it might suddenly fail for real. And I agree with the above comments. My HP Compaq which I’ve had for four years already has the wifi working perfectly. And my U410’s wifi fluctuates (?). So so weird.

  21. #28 by christian on February 13, 2013 - 12:46

    Hey there,

    i got an u310 manufactured (8-2012). I use only with the network cable, so my wlan is turned off. My problem is, that my browsers chrashes or freezes, especially googles chrome and when i worked with external displays. Worst notebook i ever used! I never would buy again a product from lenovo.

  22. #29 by ajaxcjcj on February 14, 2013 - 09:55

    Has anyone tried replacing the wifi card? i had an old laptop with broadcom. Max 54G performed better than the u410.

  23. #30 by Joe on February 14, 2013 - 18:27

    As an update to my Jan. 15 post – I returned the Yoga 13 and my company purchased the Dell XPS 12. The Dell is just as good as the Yoga, and I actually like the form-factor more, as the keyboard is not put down on surfaces when I set the computer down in tablet-form.

  24. #31 by alex on March 6, 2013 - 08:17

    I bought a U310 manufactured in October 2012 equiped with the Atheros wifi card. It has the same issue with the wifi signal reception.
    I can assure you that the problem hasn’t been fixed July 23rd. I think that it was just a marketing decision to announce that it has been fixed. I will return the laptop to the retailer.

  25. #32 by SNY on March 23, 2013 - 20:49

    Bought Lenevo Yoga a month ago and now have started the intermittent disconnection issue. Thinking what to do tried on net to find out that its a manufacturer’s issue. What is the solution???

  26. #33 by JohnnyZ on March 26, 2013 - 09:47

    Hey guys,

    I own a U310 (manufactured in May 2012, bought in Germany in July 2012) and I’ve never had any problems with the wireless adapter so far. However, the wired ethernet adapter is giving me a hard time lately… looks like the RJ45 connector is a bit loose and the cable just doesn’t fit well. It keeps losing connectivity and reconnecting all the time… Since i prefer wired over wireless connection, this is seriously getting on my nerves. I was a huge fan of Lenovo products, but now… I don’t know… will definitely take in consideration some other brands for my next purchase. Cheers.

  27. #34 by Raymond on April 13, 2013 - 13:55

    Hi,

    I purchased my U410 2 weeks ago. The manufacturing date is 10/15/2012 and I also experience problems with wifi connection problems. Every few seconds it resets the wifi connection. Does anyone have tips for me how to resolve it?

    regards,
    Raymond

Comments are closed.