M4400 Slowly Falling Apart

Discussion in 'Dell Latitude, Vostro, and Precision' started by Jonty, May 20, 2010.

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  1. Jonty

    Jonty Notebook Consultant

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    Hi guys

    I've had my M4400 for less than a year now, but it's slowly falling apart, despite very good care on my part.

    The problems so far:

    + 0 weeks after purchase: the fingerprint reader doesn't properly function due to driver issues
    + 2 weeks after purchase: the screen failed and had to be replaced
    + 3-4 weeks after purchase: the webcam failed (it was probably dead on arrival with the new screen) and had to be replaced
    + ~3 months after purchase: the inner bezel was permanently marked by the inside rubber feet
    + ~4 months after purchase: said rubber feet came off, causing the screen to flex more and the marks to worsen
    + ~6 months after purchase: the system frequently overheated, becoming uncomfortably hot to touch and causing an ever so slight bend in the chassis in the lower right corner
    + ~9 months after purchase: significant wear and flex on the keyboard, plus the matte surface on the lid has worn off in parts after using Dell's padded case
    + ~10 months after purchase: the black film on the left speaker is pealing off

    I really love Dell, and I've bought a few systems before, but I'm quite surprised this notebook is falling apart so badly after such a short period of time.

    My question is: what should I ask them to do?

    Can Dell only replace individual parts, or could I get a new system from them? If so, what happens about my upgrades (RAM and HDD)? Do they take them back too?

    As an aside, I know it's early days, but does the M4500 suffer from similar design defects too?

    Thanks for your time.
     
  2. skazarian

    skazarian Notebook Enthusiast

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    I have a similar tale on my m4300 - I have had the computer for 30 months - definitely not keeping it.
    Dell has replaced the motherboard 4 times, at least two were due to driver issues, but I was unable to get support until they replaced the motherboard (then they called the vendor two weeks later and resolved the issue). After the hard drive crashed, and the second screen replacement, and the WIFI card dumping, I asked them to replace the whole unit. On this latest incarnation, the motherboard is ~ 6 months old - video driver cooked itself - and the screen has been replaced - dirt / etc behind the backlight.

    I look at it this way - this computer (m4300) and its replacement (my new m4500 which was damaged out of the box, replacement due this morning) were (are) the best performing system for the money / size / ergonomics. Mine will fly > 350000 air miles in the next two years, and they are not easy miles. Dell does whatever it takes, within reason, to fix the problems, including replacement of components or even the system. Thats why I keep purchasing their computers, and why I do not get too upset when I am calling tech support every 3- 4 months on average. They get the job done.

    My advice - with that much happening - call and ask them to either replace the system, or accept a trade against an m4500. Worth a try.
     
  3. theZoid

    theZoid Notebook Savant

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    For another viewpoint, my m4400 is 18 months old, and none of those problems are present. You're probably in the minority and good a weak system somehow given you've cared for it the same as me.

    What happened when you say it overheated? Did it shut off? This seems to be the source of many of your problems.
     
  4. Jonty

    Jonty Notebook Consultant

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    Thanks skazarian. It's good to hear your experience, but I'm sorry so many things have gone awry for you.

    I agree that the Precisions are the best bang for the buck, although sometimes I wonder if the HP equaivalents would fair any better.

    Anyway, hopefully Dell will get back to me today, then we'll see what they offer. It's reassuring they've always got the job done for you.

    theZoid, I think you're right, hopefully I am in the minority. As for the overheating, no shut offs or hang-ups, but when playing games or transcoding media, the fans hit full speed and the palm rest gets uncomfortably hot, particularly around the hard drive area.

    I do my best to keep it propped up and well-ventilated, and generally the performance is great, but I do worry someday it'll give up the ghost if the internal components start acting like the external ones. Still, I suppose it makes life interesting ^^
     
  5. theZoid

    theZoid Notebook Savant

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    Hope you get it sorted with Dell...let us know what they do for you!
     
  6. Weegie

    Weegie Notebook Deity

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    The bezel on mine is a bit of a mess, the bottom right corner has piece missing and has quite a lot of scuffing around the place, I've been too slack to ask dell to send me another one, I guess it would be pretty pointless to replace it without getting some more buffers and maybe adding a few more home made ones.

    It's missing a bit of paint here and there but nothing that outrageous considering it gets treated as a utility tool, my M65 over the same sort of time period was a fair bit better wearing except for the hinges, which are still outstandingly stiff on the M4400..

    No system problems at all since sept 08, no overheating, no instability with a few different OS's, although have always steered well clear of any DCP on windows, plus I don't have a fingerprint reader or a webcam.

    I did ask the question in the M4500 lounge about the screen bumpers compared to the 4400 but no one replied, but from some pictures it looks like it has considerably more collision protection, I ordered a M4500 a couple of days ago so will let you know if no one else does, I'm hoping the bottom access panel has a bit more anti-movement or attachment fittings built in also
     
  7. Jonty

    Jonty Notebook Consultant

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    Hi guys

    Just a quick update. I emailed Dell about the issues, and although they politely dodged the issue of a replacement, they did send an engineer out the next day who happily replaced pretty much every external part. He was really friendly, didn't question swapping out the parts with even minor wear and tear, and he had the whole job done in around two hours.

    I suppose the same defects will occur again in time, but at least this time I'll know what to look out for. I can't fault Dell's support, either, as it was pretty much flawless.

    Weegie, if it does begin to bother you, I'd certainly recommend dropping Dell a line and seeing what they can do to help.
     
  8. theZoid

    theZoid Notebook Savant

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    Conrats Weegie on the m4500....I needed the numpad and went with the m6500 this time around....I pack it up and take it just the same as the m4400...heavier of course, but I don't carry it more than 50 yards from the car each way so in my case I really only benefit from the 'size'. :)
     
  9. Weegie

    Weegie Notebook Deity

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    Thats good they're looking after it for you Jonty, I had the original battery [intermittent fault codes] and a power adaptor [splitting cable insulation probably more to do with rough-ish use] changed with no fuss, dell is very good with warranty in my experience, the bezel doesn't affect the notebook working so it's one of those things I'm always gonna get around to, and never seem to :rolleyes: ;)

    Thanks Z, hopefully the improvements override the fact it's bigger and has a smaller 16:9 screen....
     
  10. Bokeh

    Bokeh Notebook Deity

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    Sounds like you *might* be using it in a dusty, hairy, or fibrous environment. I saw an e6400 do similar things while the other 10 e6400s were fine. The difference was the person using the problematic e6400 had cats and frequently used the computer on beds and carpets. The heat sink literally had over an 8th of an inch of dense fur, fibers, and dust stopping the fan from working.

    If it took 6 months for it to start getting hot, I would check to see if its clogged up.
     
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