Should you Risk a Pre-Order?
The Adam may be too good to be true. Even though it went on pre-order yesterday, there are still some serious questions left unanswered. For one thing, the purchasing page gives you no photos or hard spec information on what the device will pack. There is still an unrevealed "mystery sensor" and no official data exists on what 3G bands the Adam supports.
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So, in essence, people are plunking down $500 without knowing exactly what they are buying. And it gets sketchier, Android Police put together an excellent break-down of Notion Ink's return and warranty policies. They aren't generous, requiring return within 10 days of receipt and charging as much of 25% of the Adam's value to do so even if it was damaged in transit or ships with hardware issues.
Also, the Adam still doesn't have FCC approval. Rohan promises it before the end of December but, sadly, that promise isn't something he can back up. The FCC doesn't care about his time-table.
Oh, and you can't order an Adam right now if you use MasterCard. Rohan's latest blog post claims that process is underway, but that it could take three MORE weeks.
There are even murmurs of dissent from within the loyal Notion Addicts forum. Many users are angry about being unable to pre-order with their cards, others weren't able to get the pre-order site to work correctly before their desired model 'sold out'. A lot of users are just worried because we have yet to see final production model in action.
I have a personal rule for gadget-buying, one I made around the fifth time I got burned by a hot new product. Here it is:
Never, ever, freaking ever buy ANYTHING unless you know exactly what it will look like and have seen it perform on video or in a review.
So: Notion Ink messed up. Period. There's no arguing this point, even if you are a fanboy. They shouldn't have started pre-orders this early without giving us some way to verify WHAT we were buying. But, Rohan has fessed up to (some) of that. And he's promised an "in-depth video" on December 18.
He's also confirmed that the Adam will be demoed at CES. That's where the reviews will happen and that is when the press will get their hands on this weird little slate for the first time.
Which makes my current verdict on the Adam rather mixed. I love that NI has taken the unconventional approach to their development process. I love the Adam on paper, and I think the industry is ripe for a bold new player. But I also think that the pre-order situation right now is WAY too sketchy to justify a purchase.
If you have $500 to throw at a new, unproven product without even seeing a full spec list, do it. If you're a normal person who values their money, wait at least until Rohan posts the video. It's good sense.