You Can Have a SmartFriend to Help with your Computer
Who do you call when you need help with your computer– when you can’t make your computer do what you want? Hopefully you have a smart friend who knows about technology. That friend is usually me but I don’t have all the answers. In a recent undertaking to try out the HP ENVY 23-d150xt TouchSmart All-in-One Desktop PC, HP provided me. The project called “Family Time “allows us to discover the great things that these computers and Windows 8 has to offer. Over the next few weeks I’ll be writing about how much I love the new HP computer (a pretty bold statement for a Mac girl but it’s making me a convert). But when you get a computer, you have to set it up and figure out how to do different tasks–write notes, share photos, organize your desktop, and so forth.
HP is your Smart Friend
Whether you need help or are tired of everyone you know calling you for help, HP has the answer. The HP offers better help options than any other tech company I’ve ever seen with its SmartFriend. Let’s get real. Who likes to read manuals (not even geeky me who writes them)? When you get a new Windows 8 like the Envy or the HP desktop that was provided to my friend, it comes with a Getting Started in Windows 8 HP app. You can choose between viewing video tutorials or reading online help subjects. But the SmartFriend service is the best deal.
Help getting started with Windows 8
Imagine having someone to walk you through setting up your machine (and taking charge remotely to do it for you if you are still confused). HP offers Windows 8 Quickstart for $69.99. It’s a 45-minute one-on-one service that holds your hand and walks you through to make sure your PC is configured correctly, teaches you how to access the legacy desktop vs. Win 8 metro tile app screen, teaches you how to sleep or shutdown your computer, how to open apps and helps you to personalize your Windows experience.
A Smart Friend you can call anytime for any reason
Of all the SmartFriend services, my favorite is the subscription option for $14.99 per month (with a one time setup fee of $35). It may sound steep, but you can call someone (in the U.S. and who speaks English), 24 hours a day seven days a week and ask any question. I tried it out, calling them to ask how I take a picture of what was on the computer screen (so I could us it with this story). The tech support guy was more than happy to tell me how to do it. I also wanted to know if there was any way to record a Skype or Google Hangout video conversation. The tech support guy did the research and gave me a few options that had nothing to do with Windows 8 or HP. Had I wanted to get the software, he told me that he could take control of my computer remotely and would install the software and help me get started if I needed.
The $14.99 service also covers any hardware or software problems. Not reading the manual can result in some messy conflicts. I did something to the beautiful new Envy in the first days. I called the SmartFriend help line and they took control of my computer, fixing the problem and calling me back when they were through.
If you only want someone to answer questions there is a SmartFriend Tutor Plan for $9.99 a month. If you want assurance in case of hardware problems and errors, you can choose the Performance Plan for $8.99 a month. Still the $14.99 plan covers both. For an extra $10 per month, the SmartFriends will make sure your virus software is up to date and that you have your computer backed up.
SmartFriend for the whole family
SmartFriend is available for everyone in your household. You can subscribe to a plan for $29.99 that covers up to four computers. They don’t have to be HP computers, but they do have to be PCs.
SmartFriend in an emergency
Okay, you don’t want another bill each month, so you don’t sign up for SmartFriend and one day something goes seriously wrong with your computer. Whether it is a virus, or just some error or hardware failure. The SmartFriend “Solve My Problem” option can get you fixed up. It runs $99.99, so you may want to reconsider the monthly subscription where you get the benefit and peace of mind of knowing there is always help.
My friend and partner in this HP journey, who received an HP Envy HP ENVY h8-1520t Desktop PC, an HP Pavilion 23xi 23-inch Diagonal IPS LED Backlit Monitor an anHP HD-5210 Webcam for her participation, messed up the installation of her web cam. We’ll never know why it happened, but we know that it was working again after a short call to Smart Friend. And now, she can call them when she needs to find out how to make video calls or anything else her heart desires. I’m thinking of making SmartFriend a gift for the rest of my family so they can get better help than I can offer and I don’t have the frustrations and headaches of answering the same questions over and over.