We all have an old computer sitting somewhere.
The last time it was used made you so frustrated that you decided to kill it up and store it somewhere with no foreseeable future or reboot. It was slow, unresponsive and it couldn’t be updated.
You can’t help but try to find a use for it, because back in the days, you paid a fair price to buy it, and it seems to have lasted way less than you expected it to be.
And there you found the Xtra-PC things for $25 advertised price, which promises to solve your old computer problem.
Don’t get too excited about because it’s a bit deceptive, and will not only prove it, but provide you with an alternative to achieve the same promise, but with zero investment.
Here is how the product looks like:
And this is the main landing page URL: Xtra-PC.com.
Here is the intro video:
Let’s get one detail straight. Xtra-PC and the company behind it are legit. I won’t call what they do a scam but more a dishonest business. They use people’s ignorance to sell something that they can get for free.
It’s like asking somebody what color is the sky, and he charged you to tell it’s blue.
I’m affiliating it to scams because they take advantage of people and they do use some scammy tactics in the process.
Opportunity targeted: New life for old or dead computers
The main catch is to make you think you can solve an old computer’s slowness.
You paid at least a couple of hundreds to get a computer. On average, a decent computer costs something around $500. And you used it for a couple of years before you started to feel that it’s slower than before.
Why do we have this feeling?
First thing, computers have lots of aging components that will lose their standard use with time or under heavy use.
- CPU are the most lasting component on your computer. They can run comfortably for 3/5 years without needing an upgrade.
- RAM tends to be the first thing you need an upgrade for. Applications and software now require more and more RAM. To keep things at current standard, one needs to add at least 50% worth of RAM each two years time.
- GPU are the most perishable component. It’s due to its working process. They heat up a lot and are more prone to break. If not used extensively, for gaming, for example, a GPU could last quite long.
- Old hard drives are the first source of slowness on your computer. Disk drives suffer of dead clusters under use or with time, and using one of these in a modern computer environment can be a tedious and patience-challenging experience. New generation drives, SSDs, are way faster and last much longer than the old ones.
And of course, the operating system. Especially Windows. When it’s not updated and upgraded, and bloated with lots of software and viruses, a Windows environment can drive you insanely mad.
What is Xtra-PC is about?
Xtra-PC claims to fix your old and slow computer, but without clarifying the how. One will feel like the restored computer will compare to the brand new ones, or perform like it did when you first got it.
Nope. It’s not true. At least, not as they advertise it.
Why you can’t make an old computer faster?
Because it will use the same CPU, RAM and GPU already installed in it.
- An old generation CPU will never run better than the new ones. Same applies for your GPU.
- 2Gb RAM will never perform as well as an 8Gb RAM (which is now the standard).
- A disk hard will definitely never perform better than an SSD, under any circumstance.
Does Xtra-PC upgrade my computer components?
Xtra-PC mentions on their sales pitch that you don’t need to buy a new computer if you restore the old one. So, naturally, you assume that the small USB drive has some hardware upgrade that your computer will benefit from.
Nope. And that’s the deceptive part.
An old trick to the rescue
There is a thing in the computing world called Linux. It’s a free operating system known to be way resources demanding than Windows. You can run it on virtually any computers either by using a USB drive or fully installing it on your hard disk.
Linux is another breed of operating system. It doesn’t operate or look like Windows.
Installing Linux on your computer or using it from a thumb drive is easy. So easy actually that anyone can do it:
- Get an old USB drive, or buy a new cheap one ($5 will do)
- Download the Linux distribution image
- Burn it into the USB drive using an easy to use software
- and boot your computer from it
And you are good to go!
Lots of Linux distributions provide step by step guides of these steps. All you need to do is follow.
What’s the added value of Xtra-PC?
Xtra-PC is nothing more than a cheap USB drive, with Linux pre-loaded, sold for a premium price.
As I mentioned, you can achieve the same thing by using an old USB drive (zero investment) or buy a new one for $5 or less from your favorite online shop.
Xtra-PC uses a lightweight Linux distribution called Lubuntu (a lightweight version of Ubuntu, a popular a widely used distribution).
So, basically, all the claims that Xtra-PC says it does is actually what using Lubuntu brings to the table.
Instead of showing your how to do it for free, they charge you at least $25 to buy one of their thumb drive and ship it to you for an additional $8. You will be paying $33 for something you can get 100% for free.
Scam signs in the Xtra-PC
For this particular product, the signs are a bit subtle compared to other more straight scams. But there are plenty.
The false assumptions game
The sales pitch is extremely twisted. You don’t really understand what the product is:
- Is it a hardware upgrade?
- Is it a new computer you get? (at some point, they talk about the $25 computer?)
- Is it a software?
The goal is to make you order and test the product, without really knowing what it is, and what it really does.
The dishonest scheme
Selling a free product for a premium simply because people didn’t know about it is everything but an honest business.
At any moment, Xtra-PC mentions that you can do the exact same thing for free. Plus, you really need to read everything on their website to see short mentions of Linux, but without any clarifications.
An exaggerated price
The minimum you pay to get Xtra-PC is $25 for the USB drive loaded with Linux, and $8 for shipping.
The drive used for the lower end Xtra-PC thumb drive cost $4 public retail price, and probably half or even less if bought in wholesale.
They are selling something worth $4 for $33. It’s 8 times the value of a product you receive.
And it doesn’t end there. The have more expensive USB drives, that make this exaggerated price even more absurd.
Scams rely on this pricing policy to make room to affiliates commissions.
A juicy affiliate commission
Xtra-PC offers a fat commission for any sale through affiliation: $17 to $24 per sale. That’s roughly 50% to 72% of the minimum retail price.
There will be an avalanche of people promoting Xtra-PC, fake testimonials, and any cheap trick to make honest people buy something they could have done for free.
The ridiculous refund policy
The return policy states that any refund request should be done within 30 days of original shipment date.
It means that:
- The time the item takes to be received is included on the refund grace-period
- The time the article will take to be shipped back is also included on the refund grace-period
- Shipping and handling charges are nonrefundable.
- The refunds doesn’t cover lack of performance 🙂
This kills any refund request outside the United States, as even with priority mail, the item will take at least 10/15 days to get to its destinations. And the same amount of time to be shipped back. You need to provide a shipping back postage any refund request outside the United States, as even with priority mail, the item will take at least 10/15 days to get to its destinations. And the same amount of time to be shipped back.
It also doesn’t cover the $8 shipping price, the handling charge (to be defined), and any taxes paid to purchase the Xtra-PC.
Well, there are countless of tutorial helping your download and install Linux. Here are a couple of interesting videos to check about the subject:
So, do you feel like it’s something worth paying $33 for it?
Linux is a free an open source operating system. I’ve been using it since 2002 because I strongly adhered to the concept of using free things.
It makes me sick to see people taking advantage of that.
Shame on you.