Top 10 Frequently Asked Questions
1) Intel Vs AMD
Why Venom currently does not offer an AMD solution: Simply put, because Intel is better for numerous reasons. It’s a little complicated and we explain why.
What is wrong with AMD?
We wouldn’t say something is wrong, but each company specialises in different processor classes for different use cases. Historically it’s a very fierce rivalry, but ultimately when you purchase a Venom BlackBook, you are purchasing a high performance notebook computer that has our logo and our promise to you with it. We promise to provide you with a reliable, high performance notebook computer and this responsibility lies with us. It would of course be very easy to give every customer what they simply asked for, this does not mean they would be getting the best outcome though. There is no point being fastest sometimes, to win a race for example you need to be fast, all the time for each and every lap while also being energy efficient.
Intel vs AMD – Desktop processor.
On the red side the latest Ryzen series is the best AMD has produced in the last 10 years. Typically AMD focuses on Core and Thread count as opposed to team Blue, Intel which focuses on frequency speeds. It’s arguable in this scenario as to which is better as it will vary according to if you are a gamer or looking at creativity orientated tasks. Either way it doesn’t really matter when considering this for a BlackBook because a desktop processor has unlimited physical space as well as energy supply from a mains power connection.
Intel vs AMD – Mobile processor.
It is important to point out firstly that Intel has three main processor lines within their mobile processor line-up, all which are still marketed as Intel Core i7 or i5 for example, but distinctively there are 3 physically different mobile processor lines.
• Intel H line processors for high performance mobile processing, found in the Venom BlackBook Pro series. These processors are 35 Watt processors
• Intel U line processors for mobile power efficiency, kind of like a balance between high performance and low power consumption, these are found in the BlackBook Zero 15, Zero 14 Phantom. These processors are 15 Watt processors.
• Intel Y line processors for extremely low power consumption, typically for fanless low power systems such as the Venom BlackBook Zero 14. These processors are 5 Watt processors.
While Intel’s mobile processor range can be confusing, AMD has a much more streamlined approach as all of their processors are within the same design parameters.
Nearly all tech journalists focus on just benchmarking performance alone(we cover this where we talk about building to review favourably or building for great ownership) this would be like basing a cars performance on how well it runs a quarter mile as opposed to how fast it is around a track in a 2 hour race. How your CPU performs in a benchmark while put on a mains power supply within a desktop PC case has very little to do with how your CPU performs with other components in a confined space, on a variable power source. Big fans, relatively speaking and a steady supply of mains power as well as the large amount of space provided by a desktop PC environment do not affect the long term viability of the processor as much as it would in a confined and limited space. Looking at how a select few programs run under a simulated environment for a benchmarking test in a mobile platform does not reflect the realities of true ownership of the same mobile device over a long period of time.
Intel processors in the mobile platform, perform better over a long period of time, throttle less and are much more harmonious with other mobile technologies such as Thunderbolt. This results in us at Venom being able to manufacture a much faster, reliable, high quality Venom BlackBook that we will trade in from you for up to 7 years and pay you cash for as well.
After all why would we argue with anyone over which processor is better? We could just do what people want and it would be significantly easier in the short term, however we are here for the long run. At Venom we believe everything is important and Intelligent Performance means just that.
2) Why do you not have a lot of Reviews?
Building a laptop computer to review favourably actually conflicts with building a laptop for great ownership. We explain why we do not actively pursue reviews.
While we don’t pursue reviews as a strategy to promote our products, some reviews done on Venom BlackBooks can be found here.
What is Venom afraid of?
Nothing. We are not cutting costs or trying to avoid scrutiny, the issue is actually a lot more complicated. To explain better the following example is something that we have actually experienced ourselves in the past.
In the design stage of any new BlackBook, way before any designs are actually done our marketing team and our engineering team will sit together to determine what it is that we will be making. We aim to make the best portable performance orientated computing devices humans can own. Marketing teams will typically be looking for what outcome can be communicated to the future potential buyer based on what our current customers are telling us, and the engineering team will be focussed on making that outcome possible. Simply put having the “lightest” or the “fastest” laptop is a very easy message to communicate, but at what cost does this come at? What aspect of the produced laptop needs to be compromised to achieve these headline claims? And will our customers benefit from this in the long run? What matters to Venom?
The simple answer to this is that, no our customers are not going to benefit from having the thinnest or the lightest laptop in the world if for example we could double our BlackBooks battery life by adding 56gm/2oz to the overall weight or by adding 1mm/0.039” in thickness. The benefit of having a BlackBook with 20 hours battery life as opposed to 10 hours battery life is significantly more than having a negligible/unnoticeable amount of weight or thickness. We may lose the ability to be able to make a sensationalist claim, but we do keep the ability to make a sensational BlackBook. This is also what our core customers want, they trust us.
Venom BlackBooks were initially born to service engineers, scientists, designers, architects, professional and other high performance orientated computer users and we continue to service these user requirements today. Trading in your up to 7 year old Venom BlackBook also hinges on our ability to manufacture worthy laptop computers.
Why can’t journalists just explain this?
The nature of tech journalism does not really allow for long complex reviews of a laptop, simply because it takes too much time and is too costly to do so. If a journalist wishes to stay impartial they are going to have to do their review without being paid to do so. That is the paradox. This is in opposition to your ownership experience which will range from 1 day to over 6 months to 4 years for example. Our surveys tell us that you will typically be owning your BlackBook for at least 5 years. This means you will get to experience a lot more than what even a professional can experience in a few hours of looking at a computer to review. The cost to the journalist to be able to provide exciting impartial in depth reviews, just don’t add up.
If you don’t believe us, hear it straight from one of the world’s best. Click here to listen to Linus explain it in his own words. We by the way love Linus and think he is awesome and this is why we have chosen to reference him (we used to actively have him review our BlackBooks in the past also), it’s just the nature of the fast paced tech industry, you probably couldn’t spend more time reviewing new releases anyway as there is just too much to cover too often. That is the tech industry.
This is an industry wide issue and not necessarily something unique to laptop computers either. Henry Ford is credited with the following saying. “If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses.” Linus does in fact mention the issue, in his own way and who knows, maybe after nearly 100 years or so, Henry Ford may be proven wrong one day.
Either way we at Venom had to make our own decision according to our own direction. The problem became very apparent somewhere around the year 2015, do we make according to what people say they want? Or do we design and manufacture according to the outcomes people tell us they want? We went with the outcomes, after all nobody is going to complain about owning a fantastically fast, reliable, functional and well-tuned Venom BlackBook.
At Venom we are going to continue to make BlackBooks the way they should be made. Properly. We realise people will realise this, eventually, it’s also why we offer you a full refund if you’re not happy with your purchase. After all if you are going to do anything, you should do it incredibly well, because everything is important especially if you want to Intelligently Perform.
3) Why no touch screens?
Because they are not great. At Venom we are committed to making the best.
What is wrong with touch screens?
Touch screens are on offer by many other manufacturers, do they serve a purpose? Yes. Are they great to use? We believe not so in a BlackBook. A touch screen for one adds a lot of weight, thickness and a glossy reflective finish.
• Reflective screens are terrible to look at for a prolonged period of time especially due to the glare. Touchscreens are thicker as they need more layers. There is a small amount of space between the panels to allow for detecting touch. This gap is the main cause of generating glare. This problem is amplified when the screen is larger and even more so when used outdoors.
• When using a 14”-17” laptop screen the user typically sits about 50-90cms/19-35” away, a touch screen can lead to “Gorilla arms” which is when someone who is using a touchscreen experiences fatigue or their arm starts to hurt because of the awkward and not very ergonomic positioning.
• Touchscreens are heavy because the panel needs to be stiff to spread pressure evenly in order to not damage the screen. The added weight is not ideal for a portable performance laptop.
Typically Venom BlackBook users are power users, our priority is performance and reliability, and we have not been able to develop a meaningful solution at present that will provide a great touchscreen experience in the current formats we manufacture in which are 14”-17” laptop computers. Everything is Important for us in achieving Intelligent Performance.
4) Where are your 2 in 1 devices?
If we are going to do something, we will only do it incredibly well. Perhaps one day we will do it. Here’s what we mean.
What is wrong with 2 in 1’s?
If you have ever used a spork, the crossover of a spoon and a fork, you most definitely did not enjoy the experience. Both a terrible spoon and a terrible fork, the spork is only used when you don’t have room for a spoon or a fork. Commonly used by fast food restaurants, schools, the military, airlines, backpackers and prisons, the usage scenarios are specific. We believe the same applies here, a 2 in 1 laptop is neither a great laptop nor a great tablet. There are plenty of manufacturers who make 2 in 1 laptops and at Venom we do not experiment with our customers. If one day we can come up with a device that is both a fantastic laptop and a fantastic tablet, perhaps then we will do it.
This potential device will most likely be in a 13” or smaller form factor as the ergonomics dictate that the unit will need to be able to be held in one hand and used with the other when in tablet mode. 14” units can now be ultraportable and compact while offering near full desktop power functionality. The BlackBook Zero 14 with its different variants offer some incredible high performance mobile computing solutions that have no compromises.
If you have ever driven a coupe version of a convertible car, you will notice that it performs significantly better, as it’s more rigid and lighter as well as being quieter. The compromise can be acceptable to some, depending on what your requirements are. We have found the traditional clamshell format to be the best design for a laptop computer especially when compared to its potential 2 in 1 variant. There are plenty of great tablet options out there and we believe if we are going to make something, it really does have to be the best. Venom was born of the need to provide our existing high performance users with a high performance mobile platform, and that is what the Venom BlackBook will continue to be. We will continue to adhere to the principles of Intelligent Performance.
5) Where are your entry level laptops?
Plenty of others already offer these solutions, at Venom we want to continue making the best.
How come you don’t have an entry level laptop?
We recognise that we are not for everyone. There really isn’t anything remarkable about an entry level laptop, there are plenty of other devices like smartphones, tablets or desktop computers, even watches now that can replace the functionality of an entry level laptop. Still you can always pick an entry level laptop made by any of the other manufacturers. Did you know most of these entry level laptops come from the same 3 or 4 factories on earth? That’s also why they are all relatively the same, built to a price for entry level general purpose use, designed to last a limited amount of time.
We believe that if you are going to do anything, it should be done incredibly well. A compromise anywhere also reduces the quality and performance of a device overall, in reality you are just getting what you pay for regardless of the category you look at.
We believe everything is important and we at Venom design and manufacture high performance, reliable notebook computers that are not intended to end up as landfill. Everything is important when you want to Intelligently Perform.
6) Linux Vs Windows on a Venom BlackBook
Can Venom BlackBooks run Linux? – Yes they can, you will however need to understand the following information:
What is Linux?
Linux typically refers to an operating system. While the term is technically incorrect as it’s actually the name of the Kernel, the heart of the operating system. Regardless of the terminology, it’s completely open-sourced and free. It is typically popular amongst programmers and developers yet accessible by anyone. Your experience will depend on your BlackBooks features and depend on the Linux Distro you choose.
What is a Linux Distro?
Linux is comprised of numerous pieces of open sourced software. Traditional operating systems are developed internally by a single organisation and put together in one file that is then installed. A Linux Distro is a combination of different open source components compiled into one operating system, not necessarily by the one organisation. Each Distro has its own interface, themes and unique components. The typical Distros are Mint, Fedora and Ubuntu.
Which BlackBook do I choose for Linux?
While Linux operating systems are quite versatile, not all Distros support every piece of hardware. Some BlackBooks may require additional drivers to get around compatibility problems. Some hardware feature may still not work. Not all games and programmes you used on Windows are going to work on Linux. Typically the Venom BlackBook Zero range is more likely to have less compatibility issues with a Linux Distro as there is no separate discreet graphics card like with the BlackBook Pro.
Why does Venom not include a Linux offering as standard straight out of the box?
Basically the very nature of Linux does not allow for us to be able to do so. The open source nature of Linux Distros mean anybody can modify the operating system and that it is always subject to change. As Venom we offer technical support based on licensing agreements that Microsoft conforms to. This accountability ensures that your BlackBook is always running to a standard we can support and continue to manufacture according to.
Am I paying more for a BlackBook that includes Windows?
Simply put, no. Our licensing agreements and business model costing isn’t the same as what you as the public would typically pay. Even if we were able to supply you a BlackBook without Windows, currently this would not save you any money.
7) What parts can/can’t be Upgraded, why?
BlackBooks are serviceable and as upgradable as reasonably possible.
BlackBooks are very easy to service
Every BlackBook is very easy to service, we do not use proprietary screws, tools, connections, drives, or power adaptors. Simply take the back panel off by removing all screws and the SSD is there and can be removed with one screw, The SSDs we use are not proprietary and either are the memory modules which in nearly all models can be clipped in an out with ease. The important thing here is to use a good screw driver and not thread the head of the screws and to make sure the unit is unplugged from power and you are grounded.
The battery is also serviceable, every BlackBook is designed in this way, they are all serviceable and parts have not been glued in for example.
We only use specific SSD they tend to be a specific Micron, Intel or primarily Samsung drive,. Like for like our pricing that we charge our customers is fairly close to market, prices fluctuate but it is usually cheaper to purchase the specification you want from us.
Why can’t I upgrade my CPU and graphics card?
CPUs and graphics cards are not upgradeable, the very nature of how mobile processors are designed require that they be soldered onto the board for an energy efficient operation. The economic reality of making this part modular also would not make sense, simply by the time you needed an upgrade the rest of your BlackBook would need an upgrade too. It would not offer you much of a benefit to change this without changing everything else and this would not make any economic sense. The reality of also having certain components ongoingly available simply are not possible as the global supply chain for semi-conductors follows its own rhythm and to have certain parts available all the time would not be realistic.
Why don’t you make everything else modular?
It’s all about dollar density vs real world benefit. If we can make something last a lot longer by being more relevant, it’s already better for your pocket and the planet. If for example we made ports modular, what would you do with the old ports? Who is going to pay to keep these modular options lying around for all the new ones? Unless every manufacturer switched over to the same modular parts there would not be a business case for it as it would simply be too expensive. Even then just imagine all of the waste? Would we not just create more waste by providing more of the same options available for everyone? There are also transport costs to consider.
We think it’s much smarter to build purpose made high quality, high speed products that will simply last longer, be serviceable as well as be much more meaningful to the end user. It is also why we can pay you in cash for your up to 7 year old BlackBook trade in, because they are worth it and they can become someone else’s BlackBook with a little bit of love and care. It is all part of the Venom Value Cycle because everything is important.
8) What’s with your warranty? Can it be extended?
BlackBooks come with a promise that your BlackBook will last a reasonable amount of time. What does that mean?
How does your warranty work?
We provide a warranty for all of our BlackBooks globally. We do things a little differently. The period of coverage is for a reasonable amount of time.
The warranty begins from when you receive your BlackBook and ends after a reasonable amount of time has passed. This means if your BlackBook has a problem 1 week after the warranty expired, we would still warrant it. There is a degree of flexibility, as long as your BlackBook is registered with venomhelpdesk.com you can add a few months as a minimum to the registration date.
It really depends on the faults you experience and how well you have taken care of your BlackBook. For example if the BlackBook was used on a boat, it may have corrosion internally due to the saline environment, if it failed after 2.5 years of use we would deem this to have been reasonable, however it failed after being used in an office, we would deem this to be warrantable. The same applies if for example the BlackBook you purchased was used for Bit Coin mining, if this unit had failed after 12 months, we would deem this to be fair and reasonable as the unit simply is not designed to run 24 hours a day, 7 days a week under load without being switched off.
Typically we expect our BlackBooks (excluding the battery) to last approximately 3 years, if taken care of properly and we will warrant them as such.
In the event that you need for us to repair your BlackBook under warranty, you do not need to send it anywhere.
We will pick this up from you via DHL free of charge, repair it, and then return it to you.
The service location will vary depending on the work load at the time.
All service enquiries and tickets are raised via venomhelpdesk.com
When you receive your BlackBook, you will be prompted to register with venomhelpdesk.com
Once registered if you have any problems, you simply open a ticket there, and a specialist will either advise on what to do with written instructions, call you, or remotely access your computer.
If this doesn’t work, we will pick it up from you. We design our machines to have the least amount of problems to begin with. This minimises your need in getting support. This does not mean it does not happen, but the goal is to try to ensure you have the least amount of problems as possible, hence this is also why we can afford to provide you with a pick up and return warranty wherever you are. Everything really is important.
So why can’t I extend my warranty?
This is definitely a moving goal post. The main answer is because if we did offer extended warranties, you would not be purchasing a BlackBook that would be any different to a BlackBook that did not have an extended warranty. So you would almost be purchasing something extra that you’re not actually being provided with, it’s the same BlackBook either way. We felt that it’s kind of unethical to do so. You are already getting a great BlackBook that comes with a warranty that lasts for a reasonable amount of time. What would be different about your BlackBook if in fact it did come with an extended warranty? Nothing. It’s already a great laptop why should you have to pay more for the same thing?
9) Why do you never have any sales or promotions?
Mainly because we do not overproduce, you never overpay at the start of a product launch, so we don’t have to discount later on.
Really? No sales ever?
We only manufacture specifically for our customer base, this means the parts and components are carefully chosen and we work to source only the best. We don’t overproduce and you don’t overpay. No waste. Typically a manufacturer will release a new product at a higher price and as time goes on it will be discounted, this tends to punish the people who first buy and reward the people who wait, but in reality because of this poor production planning the first round buyer is just over paying for a product that has been overproduced and the person who buys later is just buying an older computer for less, because they have waited.
Neither buyer is getting a great offering.
We try to ensure that our BlackBooks are always relevant and offer great value. This is why our pricing is very stable and it’s the same flat pricing across the world.
In fact Venom computers have never gone on sale in more than 10 years! This also means you are purchasing a worthy computer, it takes time making worthy products. Great sounding specifications on paper don’t necessarily translate to higher real world speeds. This is also why for example we can offer to buy your 5-7 year old Venom BlackBook as a trade in for $400 USD if it turns on and boots into windows. The goal is to make our current customers our future suppliers. If BlackBooks are really great now, they are still really good 5 years from now.
The perfect time to buy a new BlackBook is when you need one, not when we want you to buy one.
This all ties into how we plan our production, what kind of products we launch and what components we use, because everything is important especially when you want to Intelligently Perform.
10) Why is my card being declined when I try to order?
It has probably been restricted by your bank because we are an international site: Here’s why
When a charge is submitted to the issuer of your bank card, they have automated systems and models that determine whether or not to authorize it. These systems analyze various signals, such as your spending habits, account balance, and card information such as the expiration date, address information and CVC.
Card issuer declines arising from incorrect card information (e.g., incorrect card number or expiration date) are best handled by guiding your customer to correct the error or even using another card or payment method. For instance, can provide feedback to the customer if the card they’re attempting to use is declined, allowing them to try again or use an alternative payment method.
Card issuers’ suspicions of fraudulent activity are more challenging to manage, but having customers provide the CVC and postal code when checking out can significantly decrease the number of declines you’re experiencing. The influence of other data that you collect, such as the full billing address, varies by card brand. Additionally, using 3D Secure to authenticate payments may decrease decline rates where it is supported.
Some customers may find that their card has restrictions on the type of purchases it can make. FSA/HSA cards are often limited to certain types of businesses (e.g., healthcare providers), so any other type of purchase would be declined. In addition, some card issuers may not allow purchases from certain countries or outside of their own. In either case, you must contact your card issuer to check for any restrictions that may be in place
If you’re using cards that do not allow international purchases (our global card processing facility is not in your geographic location). The quickest way to resolve this is for you to contact your issuing bank to authorize the charge.
This arises from our business model which provides a warranty for all of our BlackBooks globally. We do things a little differently. We try to ensure that our BlackBooks are always relevant and offer great value. This is why our pricing is very stable and it’s the same flat pricing across the world.