[HOT] The Best Notebook Maker: Dell

Discussion in 'Dell' started by PJ@y-Z, Feb 10, 2008.

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  1. crash

    crash NBR Assassin

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    Interesting poll. If I did a poll at my college like this, HP and Apple would be the clear winners as nearly everybody has either an HP or Apple laptop. The ones that don't have a Dell.
     
  2. Fuzzy

    Fuzzy Notebook Evangelist

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    Of course, the premise of this survey is wrong. It shows how the OEM notebook brands have consumers completely fooled.

    While they are referred to as OEM's, in fact Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony. Gateway, Acer, Apple are not "notebook makers"; they are notebook brands. Of the notebook brands, only Asus and Compal actually make their own notebooks. They also make notebooks for competing brands (e.g. Asus repotledly makes laptops for both Apple and Dell.)

    The real notebook makers are Quanta, Compal, Inventec, Wistron, Asustek, etc. They are called ODM's (original design manufacturers). They engineer and make all the Dell, HP, Lenovo, Sony, Gateway, Apple, Acer, etc. notebooks in their factories around Shenzhen and Taipei, China.

    OEM's such as Lenovo, Dell, etc only order, configure, market and service laptops that are designed (sometimes with input from the OEM) and manufactured by ODM's. While some of the OEM's have "factories", they are only final assembly plants where they configure (that is, add an HDD, CPU, RAM, disk image, Wifi card, etc) laptops they ordered from ODM's.

    I am not saying that a notebook survey by brand is pointless. There are significant differences between the brands in relation to service, style, prices, variety of models and the extent to which they allow configuration.

    However, there is a tendency to assume that these surveys also rate notebook engineering and build quality, especially when the brands are referred to as "notebook makers".

    The problem is that each brand uses several ODM's to make their laptops. In fact, they usually order each model from at least two different ODM's so as to encourage price competition between them. Conversely, each ODM makes laptops for several brands, possibly within the same factory.

    This would be okay if all the ODM's made laptops of the same quality, but apparently that is not the case. Some ODM's are better than others. So, you can't predict notebook quality without knowing which factory, or at least which ODM, made the notebook. It would be fantastic if we could find out how to do this.

    http://www.pcmag.com/article2/0,1759,2127906,00.asp
    http://www.displaysearch.com/cps/rde/xchg/displaysearch/hs.xsl/5605.asp
    http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS163949+07-Jan-2008+BW20080107
    http://www.emsnow.com/newsarchives/archivedetails.cfm?ID=18911
     
  3. praneeth

    praneeth Sanath Jaya Suriya!!!

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    Quite true.

    Except that the OEM designs the notebook as well, which makes a big difference. ie. Quanta can not sell a M1330, that's a Dell design, they can make it for them just like you'll buy clothes made in Asia but designed here...

    It's just lower production cost for the OEMs to do it this way.

    However they do design their own notebooks and do all the R&D etc.... so in terms of the end product.. they control what the product is.. someone else just makes it on contract.

    The difference I think is Notebook Maker vs Notebook Manufacturer...

    ie. Dell didn't take a Quanta M1330 and put their name on it....

    It's the same with Cars for example where the same manufacturers will make the parts for many cars.. however each brand (Toyota, BMW etc will have different specs, and different quality thresholds which need to be met)... this is why the brand is still what matters...

    The idea is to give a stringent enough spec so that the product from multiple manufacturers end up being identical.. however the closer to identical it gets the higher the cost for the brand (ie. Dell, HP).. therefore sometimes they will give a broader spec to cut costs... and not monitor quality as closely...
     
  4. chrixx

    chrixx Product Specialist NBR Reviewer

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    Most of these factories are in Shanghai actually, with a select few in Shenzen. Taipei is in Taiwan, not in China and there should no longer be any notebook assembly in Taiwan, only high end components like the motherboard.
    Anyway, 2008-2009 is supposed to mark the year when the OEMs contract 100% of their production, including the highest end models to their ODM partners.
     
  5. Fuzzy

    Fuzzy Notebook Evangelist

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    Praneeth, I agree that Dell has quite a bit of input in the design of their laptops, probably more so than do most OEM's. At least that's what they said in 2006 (they also said they would not sell retail):

    http://english.peopledaily.com.cn/200601/04/eng20060104_232869.html

    However, as you know, ODM's are not simply contract manufacturers; that's why they are referred to as original design manufacturers. They design and engineer laptops according to the general specs of OEM's. While I do not have personal knowledge of this, I have read that they sometimes design laptops on speculation and sell their completed designs to OEM's, sometimes the same design to different OEM's (but probably not to Dell).

    While I don't have any hard evidence, and this is a largely a personal judgment, I personally think brands matter little with respect to notebook build quality and engineering. I think the quality depends mainly on the ODM, and is mostly beyond the control of the OEM. However, I note that apparently Dell can disallow certain parts (e.g. certain Samsung displays). Michael Dell also said they devised a test to identify grainy screens.

    OEM's could select ODM's based on build quality, but I suspect that they generally prefer to do it on the basis of design and price. That certainly appears to be the case for Dell. Given the build quality of recent notebooks, I find it hard to believe that Dell monitors quality at all.
     
  6. Fuzzy

    Fuzzy Notebook Evangelist

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    Thank you for clarifying that. Some of my information is a few years old. Things are changing so fast.
     
  7. Les

    Les Not associated with NotebookReview in any way

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    Was Korea mentioned??? It is the home of the m1330.
     
  8. Matt is Pro

    Matt is Pro I'm a PC, so?

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    Were it not for the OEMs that design the notebooks, the ODMs wouldn't have anything to build.

    I find this survey to be completely valid, IMO.
     
  9. Orlbuckeye

    Orlbuckeye Notebook Evangelist

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    The ODM's would make their own laptops just like alot of the ODM's do. They sell their units as barebones.
     
  10. DFI Fan

    DFI Fan Notebook Evangelist

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    No doubt the XPS M1330, M1530, and the killer highend gaming laptops like the 1730 are what pushed Dell to the top. They have a great laptop for every need whether you want portability, gaming, or a mixture of both. I'm sure the cheap but well built Vostro line is a big reason as well.
     
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