Don't buy anything unless you can get an instruction manual first!

It seems companies no longer feel it is important to have instruction manuals for their products! Just sell you the product and leave you hanging!

Some cell phones HAVE NO INSTRUCTION MANUAL anywhere! Those which do can be 100 or 200 pages long.

So obviously there is a lot to learn about that cell phone. And totally irresponsible and selfish to not even bother to offer one!

So before buying, go to the manufacturer’s web site, go to support, look for the product’s instruction manual. No manual? Buy another brand!

Note: I have been burned in the past, but have found instruction manuals for similar products which explain various features - things I did not know about. I just want to learn how to operate the gizmo!

Someone should post a poll: On the last piece of electronics you bought, did you read the instruction manual before trying it?

I would venture a guess a huge number did not.

It’s certainly true that many manufacturers don’t provide complete printed instruction manuals in their products anymore. You often get a sort of quick start guide, with the full manual only available on disc or as a download.

But i don’t think i’ve ever bought an electronic product that didn’t have a manual available for download.

These days, if there’s something i don’t know how to do on my phone, or my camera, or whatever, i might get the manual out, but it’s more likely that i’ll just plug the question into Google. There’s nearly always someone online who has had a similar question, and found the answer.

I have looked for, and usually found, installation and even service manuals for things I wanted to be sure had exactly the features and characteristics I wanted. Sometimes the fluffy marketingspeak doesn’t include details like which port standards a piece of gear has.

But I concede that this is a rare practice.

Back when stuff came with actual paper user manuals, I would dutifully file those away for later. Now, I just go to the manufacturer’s website and download the PDF manual, which I then store in a folder on my computer. It’s a lot easier to pull up the PDF than it is to dig through a file cabinet to look for the paper manual.

The last couple of HTC phones I’ve bought actually have the manual as an app on the phone itself. That way I’ve always got it and it’s searchable.

Exactly what i do.

My “Product Manual” folder has manuals for my cellphone, router, scanner, TV, receiver/amplifier, NAS, graphics tablet, blu-ray player, DSLR camera, computer monitors, as well as for our car and our home air conditioning system and some other smaller products. The folder is synced with my Nexus tablet and my cellphone, in case i need any of the manuals downstairs, or outside the house.

heh try a video game…
we went from 4 page manuals for Atari coleco ect to 8-20 page manuals (16/32/64 systems some pc games had 200 page manuals (SimCity 2000 for example)

Now were back to manuals that tell ya how to turn the system on put in the game and all the eula/warranties if ya get even that … a recent game printed the controller layout on the back of the game cover and ya had to take it out or look through game case …

That’s what we get for thinking the tutorial first level/mission of a game was a good thing…

Right. I don’t either think I’ve ever found a product for which a manual couldn’t be found online. In fact, I’ve downloaded manuals for things that I bought at garage sales. I’d be curious, Me_Billy–Which cell phones have you gotten that didn’t have manuals available in one way or another?

And when they include the manual, I just download it anyway, and recycle the paper version.

Once I bought one of those spy pen video cameras, and the instruction manual was poorly translated English, so I just found a Youtube video, showing how to use it. For every device in the world it seems some third-party person for some reason has felt compelled make a Youtube video showing how to use it.

I have no problem getting manuals online. Actually prefer that because I can use search with them. But…

There is NO online manual for a LG K3 cell phone. They have many manuals for other models, but not for this model.

Then I was looking at purchasing a Zyxel C1100z router recently - No manual online!

And I was looking at a Swann DVR - new model, but first looked for a manual. NO manual online in their support section! Many other manuals for other models, but nothing for this new model.

Seems to be a trend. There have been a lot of other things I’ve looked for manuals for and they did not have them (recently last couple of years). And some stores are not listing which connections are on the back of TV’s. Not on their web page and not in the store. Some are 4k @ 60 hz HDMI and others may be 50 or 30. They do not say what the TV has in the store!

So you need to turn the TV around, look at the back, and read the labels on each HDMI connection.

This one? (pdf)

Not a pdf, but an interactive guide

Not really trying to show off my Google-fu, but the item/model name plus PDF works for me about 99% of the time.

I understand the frustration. Recent purchases of electronic gizmos have an “instruction manual” included that basically says:

  1. turn on product
  2. use product

If I’m lucky there’s an illustration that shows the product and a cord and a charger with a 3-step schematic of attaching the power and/or charging cord. Out of all the things that need a 3-step schematic, I’m not sure that “how to plug in cords” is the most bang for the buck.

BUT, I have been lucky enough to find pdf versions on-line. Which I dutifully print out and keep in my “instruction manual” file folder.

For many things, a product manual is a sign of poor design of the user interface. Only things like alarm clocks that use four buttons to do thirty functions need explanation, and that’s such low design quality it should be illegal.

(Certainly, there are things like cell phones and cameras that are inherently so complex that everything on them can’t be made intuitive… but the best of them come close.)

So, don’t buy anything if you’re not willing to try figuring it out on your own and you’re too stupid to find the manual on-line?

Do you know how kids just pick all this shit up? They fucking try. They’re willing to push buttons, they read the damned screen, they’re willing to take chances and see what happens. Adults who lose this ability whine about how they can never figure anything out. (Which really means “Oh boo hoo, I’m too fucking lazy and stupid to make an effort!”)

The first iPad I owned I received as a gift. When I took it out of the box I was shocked at the absence of a paper manual. I assumed it was a mistake.

Then I pushed a button and it came to life. It walked me through the basics and later that day I was an accomplished user.

As Amateur Barbarian suggested, it would represent a failure of design if a paper manual was needed for something like an iPad.

The first trend with manufacturers was to no longer include a printed instruction manual in the box with the product - just provide it on their web site. (I’m OK with that.)

BUT NOW there is a newer trend to not have any instruction manual at all! And no help option to click on. This is especially true with many cell phone apps.

As for this comment above… “Not a pdf, but an interactive guide”…

I found that for the router in question, but it is not an instruction manual. A router instruction manual does not just list the settings, but also explains and teaches about what the various settings do. A REAL router instruction manual is around 100 to 200 pages long. Like this…

As for “I’m too fucking lazy and stupid to make an effort!”…

:D:D:D I’m laughing because it is the developer/manufacturer of these products who is too lazy/cheap to provide an instruction manual! And just how am I to find out by trial and error that a cell phone can have a split screen? Or that sliding two fingers on a screen will do something different than just sliding one finger on a screen?

Not to mention bringing two fingers apart to enlarge a picture/page or bringing two fingers together to reduce the size of a picture/page. It was reading a 150 page cell phone instruction manual from which I learned such things!

Note I also read books in college like for psychology. I hope the trend will not be to do away with that too and in the future to expect psychologists and doctors to use trial and error to do their jobs?

Congratulations. You’ve thrown away the curiosity of youth and replaced it with the stubborn cantankerousness of old age.

What is wrong with using both approaches? Actually the Asian method of learning is to first ask a question. Let the student try to figure it out. Then provide the instructions. A highly productive method of learning. (I read that in a book!)