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Why do new things as not built as good as older ones?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by Raymond Lin, 6 May 2006.

  1. Raymond Lin

    Capo Crimine

    Joined: 20 Oct 2002

    Posts: 66,699

    Location: Wish i was in .Lethal's house

    Why do newer products are inferior to older ones? Do companies like to cut corners once they got the manufacturing process sorted? Same things with phones, all the latest Nokia's plastic are really bad to the touch and all feel really light. Same with the New Samsung D800, it feels cheap compare to the D500. There's also my minidisc player that i notice, its 5 years old now but the finish on that is awesome in comparison to the ones you get now.

    I am a little annoyed that I had* to spent more than i like on a pair of Etymotic ER-6i for my iriver when my Sony Ex70 headphones fell apart after 3 years of good service. I would get the newer/current version (the Ex71) to replace it except i've tried that already and the rubber Sony now use on the new model is frankly rubbish. I've had it once but after about 3 months of use it start to split and exposing the copper wires inside. (which lead go back to the Ex70).

    *ok, I didn't have to but since they don't make the Ex70 anymore, and don't want to spent £30 for something to last 3 months from past experience, lets hope these new phones will last as long as my old Sony ones.
    Last edited: 6 May 2006
  2. crashuk


    Joined: 7 Dec 2005

    Posts: 2,691

    dont buy made in china.
  3. norm


    Joined: 21 Jan 2003

    Posts: 5,143

    Plastics are probably certified to be recyclable nowadays hence the standard of finish isn't the same, although don't quote me on that.
  4. richieboy

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Dec 2004

    Posts: 2,148

    Teehee, i just did. Sorry :eek:
  5. wozzizname

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 29 Jun 2004

    Posts: 2,215

    Location: Rainham, Kent

    Sometimes the early versions of things are much better made - my parents still use a microwave that is over 20 years old and still going strong, as it's built like a tank. The early DVD players and VHS machines all had good solid metal chassis, were built to last,and could be repaired if they went wrong most stuff now is designed to be used for a couple of years then thrown away
  6. ElRazur


    Joined: 15 Mar 2005

    Posts: 10,439

    Location: I am everywhere...

    I think they rely on the success of the previous model to sell the new ones or maybe the just use cheap component so as to cut cost?

    What ever you buy avoid any electronic product made in Taiwan, malaysia and china*. The have become synonymous with cheap, rubbish and mass-produced-goods.
  7. Wryel

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Mar 2005

    Posts: 1,663

    Its like Kryten, if they built it really well you'd never buy the new model!
  8. Tachyon

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 26 Dec 2003

    Posts: 2,119

    Location: Same oul' town

    I was reading something about this recently as the interlock on our washing packed in. I didn't know at the time it was a simple job to replace but I wasn't sure if the entire machine was done for.

    Anyway I came across an article on washing machines were years ago they would have been bolted together in places and parts were replacable. Many now are done with spot welds and if that particular part broke then it wasn't replacable and the entire machine was deemed unrepairable.

    It was because many people still want to buy cheap goods so corners are cut to make the items as mass marketable as possible. Now I don't know about Nokia phones or Sony headphones but maybe that applies to them as well, I dunno.

    The downside of producing the throw away goods apparantley is it's having a worse effect on our envirnoment as we need to get rid of all these goods that previously would have lasted a lot longer.
  9. Jonny69

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 3 May 2004

    Posts: 17,669

    Location: Kapitalist Republik of Surrey

    It's just cost cutting at the end of the day and the engineers aren't properly thinking about how they are designing products. As an ex designer it's really frustrating seeing a product that could have been made really nice for the same cost but the designers/engineers were either too ignorant or too lazy to do anything about it.

    I don't have much to spend but I will pay a premium just so that I get a quality product and don't have to think to myself "this feels so cheap"
  10. BrightonBelle

    Woman of Honour

    Joined: 2 Aug 2004

    Posts: 5,570

    Location: London

    Mum and dad have a washing machine which is older than me.

    I am scared to use it as the instructions are a bit weird.

    Still - good excuse for not doing my own washing when I am there ;)

    BB x
  11. theleg


    Joined: 17 Oct 2002

    Posts: 13,420

    Location: UK

    Good luck finding any modern electronics built anywhere else :o
  12. William


    Joined: 26 Jul 2003

    Posts: 10,948

    Location: Derby

    Quite simply because if it doesn't break then you wont need to buy a new one. Nearly everything I own is built like a tank, camera (film), iPod (seemingly indestructable compared to others, car (mondeo), etc, etc.

    Also countries of manufacture - most manufacture has been shipped over to the east whereas 50 years ago it was still based in the west requring manual skilled labourers who made solid stuff, but due to the expansion of service industries and heavy industries going overseas (Germany still maintains theirs); the east relies on automation and unskilled labour to make lesser quality stuff, alot of it is still well built.
  13. Ex-RoNiN


    Joined: 18 Oct 2002

    Posts: 12,354

    Nope, its capitalism at its worst. The reasoning being, the sooner it breaks, the sooner a replacement model will be bought. But wait, the replacement model has XYZ features on top of the previous one, lets slap an extra few quid on its price.
  14. Sequoia

    Wise Guy

    Joined: 15 Aug 2005

    Posts: 2,948

    There may be an element of that, but it is also industry reacting to market pressures. Everybody wants stuff at the lowest possible price, and that encourages manufacturer A to cut costs to be able to sell at a lower price than B and C. So B responds. You then have a downward cycle in prices, and quality will suffer as a result. To some extent, this is mitigated by improvements in manufacturing processes and especially materials technolology, but the fact remains that high quality materials are expensive, and cheap labour in low-rate countries is necessary to keep up with market pricing.

    There often are high quality alternatives to major brand names ..... but they come at a price. For instance, Kirby vacuum cleaners. Exceptional build quality and performance, and an exceptional price.

    Oh, and so many items in years past were much more expensive in money terms, let alone real terms, than they are now. I paid £500 for a video recoder in 1987. My first CD burner was £4500, my first PC (IBM compatible) was a Wyse 286 and cost nearly £10,000 ..... and the 338MB (not GB) hard drive was £1500 on it's own. One of my first CD-ROM drives was a SCSI NEC 3x player. It was £350, and still works perfectly now, but I've had several much more recent drives (costing a tenth of the money) pack up in a year or two. Why? Cheap materials. Cheap plastic cogs intead of properly machined metal, flimsy, lightweight drive belts, and so forth.

    Those latter examples are classic cases of developing markets and early adopters paying a premium, with prices dropping heavily when they go mass-market.
  15. Jonny69

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 3 May 2004

    Posts: 17,669

    Location: Kapitalist Republik of Surrey

    @ Ronin, Lol yeah there is that too.

    "What ARE all these useless features I didn't need before?" :D
  16. Jonny69

    Man of Honour

    Joined: 3 May 2004

    Posts: 17,669

    Location: Kapitalist Republik of Surrey

    Comedy story about Kirby Vacuum Cleaner salesmen click here
  17. Cyber-Mav


    Joined: 30 Jul 2005

    Posts: 15,185

    Location: Midlands

    its all about efficiency. back in the days components used to be heavier and made out of tougher materials. then technology advanced and the weight of objects could be reduced by using lighter components and smaller circuitry etc. result is that there is a big loss in reliability.
  18. VIRII


    Joined: 24 Jul 2003

    Posts: 30,259

    There are several reasons for this.

    Firstly there is design life cycle, products are designed with a built in lifetime.
    The UK chap who designed and built most of the Milkfloats in the UK went bankcrupt, the milkfloats he created are still in use today 50 years on.

    Secondly items are "designed for manufacture". As a result of new manufacturing techiniques eg sonic welding of plastics items are often now non serviceable at a component level and entire sub assemblies need to be replaced to fix a minor issue. Glues, welding and so forth reduce stock holdings of things like screws.

    As has been mentioned things are now lighter as well. Lighter products are cheaper to ship around the world and use less raw material. This is cheaper but not necessarily easier to produce. Thin wall castings are quite often harder to make than thick wall.

    Manufacturers are aware of the need for quality though, it is not right to suggest that items are deliberately weaker. If I was to produce something that broke and fell to bits early on I would lose any reputation for quality and soon be known for cheap tat. Getting that reputation back to snuff is hard, very hard. A good example of a quality item that still suffers image issues is Skoda. Very good cars now, people still buy the equivalent VW for a lot more money though just because of image.

    In days gone by items were massively overengineered. We say they were built to last but I think the truth is often that it has more to do with available manufacturing processes at the time and less understanding of the durability of materials. Items today are tested to levels far exceeding normal useage.

    Most importantly though we complain about the quality, hark on about our tank proof VHS from 20 years ago and forget one very important aspect that being "price".
    20 years ago a VHS was about £1000 and now it is closer to £50. We are not paying the same sort of money for goods that we used to pay so it is not really fair to expect the same kind of bombproof build.
  19. barnettgs


    Joined: 22 Jan 2005

    Posts: 2,804

    Location: N Ireland

    In the old days, the electrical goods were used to be very expensive to buy and if it broke, people would get them repaired at reasonable cost.

    Nowaday, most of the electrical items sell for dirt cheap and they can be replaced for cheaper than repair cost.
  20. Heliospherez


    Joined: 3 Jan 2004

    Posts: 3,490

    Location: At Home

    As for Taiwan being rubbish - I think that may have been the case a few years back - but almost all electronics are now produced there - and they are far from inferior ( 65% of Laptop parts are produced there and a recent article showed Dell, Compaq, Gateway, Apple, HP, IBM, Sony, Sharp, Fujitsu, Siemens all now use Taiwan as their main componant source)

    And the Shuttle PCs that are slowly taking over the world were designed in Taiwan - machined in China and then then returned to Taiwan for assembly. And they are far from rubbish in my opinion - my shuttle PCs have been the best desktop units I have ever owned.
    Last edited: 6 May 2006