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My opinion: don't buy Dell.

Discussion in 'Dell' started by kamehame, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    This post is solely my opinion as a consumer. I am so dissatisfied as a customer of Dell that I feel that it is actually my duty to let others know not to purchase from this company.

    Now, until I purchased from Dell, I had never owned any laptops. So take that as a caveat. I was strictly a desktop guy. After some research and having poked around on this forum, I decided to buy an XPS 1530 about three years ago. I subsequently bought an XPS 1330, as well.

    Immediately after puchasing the 1530, I became embroiled in the whole "grainy screen" issue and ended up replacing both the screen and the computer in whole about five times. After that, I seemingly had no issues with the computers for the next two-plus years. Earlier this year, however, the XPS 1530 died and my XPS 1330 is on the way out, as well. During my ownership of the 1530, I kept noticing that it became extremely overheated, to the point that you'd almost burn yourself touching the undersurface of the chassis with prolonged use. But stupid me, I assumed that was "normal" because of the difficulty of ventilating laptops. I hadn't heard of the problems that Dell has had with failed cooling paste or with the nVidia chips until the computer just died one day. After paying a hefty one-time sum for over-the-phone diagnosis from Dell, since my warranty had literally expired one month earlier, I was told that the motherboard was shot. Then I came here again and was informed about the other issues.

    Well, I hadn't really used the 1330 much over the years, but I felt lucky that I had purchased another laptop at the time. So now I use it as my main computer, while I am looking for a new one. Problem is, it constantly crashes because the video driver fails and either locks the computer, causes a blue screen, or (infrequently) manages to recover and then usually crashes a few minutes later. It's another issue that apparently lots of people have had, based on a quick Internet search, which everyone is saying is actually a hardware problem, not a problem with the driver. So basically this laptop is going down the drain, too.

    So that's two laptops from Dell, both of which have had hardware problems which are endemic and which have trashed countless laptops of many many owners. I've never been one to complain about stuff and, truly, had I only had a problem with my 1530 I would have said "eh, got three years out of it." This is ridiculous. I will never purchase another computer -- laptop OR desktop -- from Dell or Alienware. My next computer is going to be a desktop again, although I haven't been totally turned off laptops. But take this as a word of warning before you buy from Dell. If you read this and say "whatever, whiner," that's cool. It's just my opinion.
     
  2. doggytreat

    doggytreat Notebook Enthusiast

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    The only Dell laptop I have ever purchased was an Inspiron 9300, when they were still available with flexible options for multiple types of users ranging from your grandmother to a student/gamer. I loved that Laptop - it had very solid plastic construction, a sleek and very clean look, lots of room to breath and simply the BEST sounding Laptop speakers I have ever heard. The battery life on the other hand, was horrible...but it was essentially a desktop replacement model with a 6-cell battery known to catch fire at the time. The GPU and CPU each had their own, dedicated blowers and heat sinks.

    I mention all of these details because this was on their Inspiron line, the entry-level, consumer laptops for only about $1300 at the time and it could play games such as Half-Life 2 Episode 2 on full settings, very playable frame rate, and I could still use it on my lap for an hour or so before it got uncomfortable. I guess one's impression of any company lays within their first purchase, and whether or not it functions up to spec. I'm sorry to hear that you have had so much difficulty. I nearly purchased a 1330 myself, but went with a T400 instead. Love it.
     
  3. mr.rhtuner

    mr.rhtuner Notebook Consultant

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    As doggytreat, I own the M1530 and it will be my last dell-consumer line laptop. If I would ever consider another dell, it will be their business line of laptops.

    I also will pickup a thinkpad next. The M1530 served me fine and I hope it lasts a few more years but from the quality of the laptop, I've paid too much to have a system with the flaws that this one has.
     
  4. pitz

    pitz Notebook Deity

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    The XPS m1330/m1530 were terrible laptops at the time, and the advice commonly dispensed "back then" was to go with the Dell Latitude D630 or D830.

    Unfortunately, many of the D630's, and to a lesser extent, the D830's ended up failing because of that particularly defective Nvidia chip, the Quadro 135M.
     
  5. doggytreat

    doggytreat Notebook Enthusiast

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    A friend of mine has a Dell Studio laptop from the original launch. Supposedly overheating and video artifacts on the display were a known issue. He had the motherboard replaced several times due to component failures. It was a known issue that the heat sink alignment with the enclosure's venting grill did not receive a particularly adequate fit and finish. This caused part of the exhaust to sneak back inside of the laptop. He has a cooling pad on it now as a result, as the underlying issue was never actually addressed. It still overheats after a few hours of playing a game such as World of Warcraft or League of Legends with the cooling pad engaged.

    It's funny how a company will honor a warranty, continuously moving a problem around instead of actually fixing it, until your warranty has expired. I guess that's what happens when you've already ordered 250,000+ enclosures with the wrong dimensions.
     
  6. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    Exactly, doggytreat. That's what upsets me so much, is that the issues are "known." But that means that the company knows about it, or people like you guys who may be knowledgeable about it. Now, I know this may make some people on this forum smirk or sneer, but not everyone knows about these issues -- I sure didn't. What I had heard about the M1530s was that they were well-reviewed laptops that were turning the old view of Dell as "clunky boxes" around. Even when I got the "grainy screen" problem, it was like they tried to convince me to accept it by saying "look, it's not that bad, really." The one time they made me have a (third-party) technician come over, he literally told me "why do you care this much about the screen?" and heckled me about how anal I was. That actually made me more adamant about it. At that point, I was like "good, I hope this takes five hundred replacements to fix and Dell has to pay for all of the shipping costs."

    And don't get me wrong. I'm not one of those "companies are evil" guys. At the time, I read lots of people on here saying "if you just lie and say that your screen is grainy, you can get a new warranty and so on." After my motherboard melt-down, people on here told me to lie and tell them it was the GPU (which I don't know if it was) and see if I could get it replaced. I don't condone falsehoods on either side of the equation, company or consumer. And I'm terribly aware from having worked in small business that consumers aren't exactly nice people all the time and that companies definitely have to protect themselves. I get it. But it seems like literally every Dell model has tons of "known issues" and yet the company still just pumps them out and hopes that the fallout is contained. That's a horrible way to conduct business.

    My XPS computer were, aesthetically, great computers. This may sound childish or superficial, but I loved the chassis, the styling, and the feel of the laptops. From that standpoint, Dell hit a home run. But all the internals apparently are just cheap junk that's waiting to explode. It really angers me.
     
  7. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    For every person who had a bad experience with Dell, you get 10 people who've had nothing but good things to say about Dell.

    Depending on when you bought your M1530/M1330, the reviews were already bad.

    My parents have been buying Dell since 1995, and me personally since 2005. I've never had an issue with a Dell, or moreso a major issue. A bad hard drive here and there. But all way out of warranty.

    I would avoid the XPS line entirely. They've always had GPU issues (melting Nvidia GPU's, throttling ATi GPU's). They've also had shoddy build quality. And yes I have serviced XPS laptops ranging from 2006 (M1710/M1210) to current ones (current XPS line). And that is exactly the reason why I buy business oriented laptops.
     
  8. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    As I said, this is strictly my opinion. Of course there are lots of satisified customers, or the company would not exist. However, for me, I have never encountered such poor quality. And keep in mind that the XPS line is marketed as their "performance" systems. You yourself say that "the reviews were already bad" and "I would avoid the XPS line entirely" and they have "shoddy build quality." And you're one of the satisfied Dell customers. You're acknowledging that the company is marketing an entire line of computers that they know to be defective and poorly built -- that's my only point. That's borderline unethical business practice, in my mind.

    (By the way, as I write this, my XPS M1330 has crashed fifteen times in a row. No joke.)
     
  9. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    Well let me put it this way, the XPS line isn't automatically going to have more issues, it just so happens to be a line that does have alot of problems. Studio had a whole bunch of issues (exploding hinges, slot loaded drives, poor cooling system) and it got to a point where Dell axed the entire line.

    Oh and that generation (M1730, M1530, M1330) was the last XPS line that was considered their EXtreme Performance Systems. XPS had really turned into multimedia beginning with M1330/M1530 and was entirely multimedia oriented with Studio XPS and the current XPS line up. M1730 was the last XPS to feature extreme CPU's, dual video cards, multiple hard drive bays as Dell was planning to revamp the entire Alienware line and have them be the extreme gaming notebooks.

    Again, reading the reviews and given the XPS line's history. I avoid XPS line entirely. Every manufacturer is going to have models that has issues or well documented higher frequency issues. That is why I avoid HP entirely.
     
  10. concat

    concat Notebook Consultant

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    Let me guess... you never cleaned out the ventilation on your laptop.
     
  11. Nick

    Nick Mr.Mischief

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    I think all laptops made during the faulty Nvidia solderer period died sooner or later. This issue wasn't confined to just Dell laptops.

    Why are you are complaining about 3-4 year old laptops. Unless you have a recent Dell, your opinion on Dell laptops is fairly useless, in my humble opinion.

    Also, the XPS M1330 with Intel GPU was/is an awesome laptop. My friend still uses an M1330(Intel GPU) I sold him last year.
     
  12. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    Because my laptops died as a result of hardware and build problems. I just wasn't aware of the problems. Why is it that I can't complain about older laptops? You mean that since they were made a few years ago that it's like Dell isn't responsible for shoddy manufacturing anymore? Or is it that you think that 3 years is an acceptable time period for a laptop to die? I notice that a number of posters on here -- and this is fine, I'm not complaining -- like to buy laptops and use them for a month or so and then sell them. That's great if you want to do that (if you're one of those people), but realize that the rest of us aren't "renting" our laptops and we actually care about long-term performance.

    What I encountered with Dell, again, is merely my opinion. And certainly you're equally entitled to yours. But my opinion (of your opinion) is that it's rather silly and equally useless. I'm not sure what world you live in that something that happened a few years in the past with a relatively expensive purchase cannot be complained about. I'm sure if peoples' flat-screen televisions died within two years of purchase they wouldn't just shrug and say "well, this was expected."
     
  13. Nick

    Nick Mr.Mischief

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    My main points are,

    A. This issue wasn't confined to Dell. HP, Sony, Compal, Alienware, even Apple had problems using the same components. The Dell XPS M1530 and the MBP 15 are almost identical in specs.

    B. We can either conclude that all laptop manufactures make shoddy products, or we can look at the real root of the problem. The real problem was caused by Nvidia when it used faulty solder on its GPU's.

    So, all 2008 Nvidia laptops and desktops had this issue, so you shouldn't buy any laptop from any manufacturer, because at some time in 2008 that manufacturer made a faulty Nvidia laptop.


    I agree, no electronics should die in 3 years, or even 5 years, of normal use. But, once again, almost all laptops using the Nvidia GPU's died, and several manufacturers gave free extended warranties because of this.


    The purchasing world I live in is one where at 17 I've earned all the money for my electronics, been doing so since I was 15.

    I haven't said that this should have been expected, my point was it wasn't only Dells fault, and we've pinpointed the issue, and that issue is no longer being installed in new Dell laptops.

    Kia used to be a pretty cheap vehicle manufacturer. A few years ago, they were budget cars, now they make a some fairly decent sedans.

    So, in summary,

    This was an issue with components made around 2008. All manufacturers who used Nvidia during this time frame failed

    If we follow your logic we should go back to typewriters, since all manufacturers have faulty laptops. Regardless that this problem was year ago.
     
  14. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    Those are valid points, but my issues with Dell go beyond the nVidia GPUs. As I stated, I also had problems with overheating and with the screen -- both of which were experienced by many others, including lots of people on this forum. As a matter of fact, at the time my laptop died (about two months ago), I searched on here and there were lots of posts about how people had to deal with the overheating. I also was open-minded enough to look into Dell's XPS 15z and heard the same things: overheating, as well as noisy fans that didn't deal with the issue.

    Besides, isn't that rather silly to say that this basically only nVidia's fault? Clearly, it is their fault. But at what point does that stop? I could say the screens aren't Dell's fault, either, right? It's the fault of the screen manufacturer. You know, at some point, Dell is responsible for the quality of their laptops. I don't know how other manufacturers handled the nVidia situation, but I never got any notice from Dell about the issue or the class-action lawsuit or the settlement. I literally just found out about it when my laptop died and I looked into it. Now, Dell has no problem remember that I purchased my laptops when they spam my mailbox with their endless promotions on a weekly basis, but they feel no need to give me any information that actually would help me as a customer. It's just a reflection to me of their business model and my feeling that, hey, maybe another company would treat me better. Maybe not. But as a consumer, I'm certainly entitled to give my opinion of a company and to make other consumers aware of that opinion and they can make a decision to either listen or ignore it.
     
  15. Tsunade_Hime

    Tsunade_Hime such bacon. wow Super Moderator

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    The biggest issue is, no manufacturer actually makes the laptops anymore. They outsource everything to an ODM. Dell just puts their name on the product and deal with the warranty/financing. This applies to everybody but Clevo (who funny enough resells to other resellers).

    Your experience with Dell isn't going to just be confined to Dell. Every other manufacturer (HP/Compaq, Acer/Gateway/eMachines, Sony, Toshiba, etc) will probably be worse. What I find with Dell is, if it is genuinely their screw up/defective product, they take care of their customers, albeit sometimes slowly (but think how HUGE Dell is). That's why my parents have always stuck with Dell. They aren't flashy and their CS is IMO best only to Apple.

    Sure everybody can have their opinion, this is a notebook forum, feel free to vent. But again as a long time customer with Dell, I do not hesitate to recommend to anybody Dell. Next time pick up a business model like a Latitude or Precision. :)
     
  16. Mac is where its at

    Mac is where its at Newbie

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    Don't buy Dell PC TuneUp CD. After 2 weeks, my Dell laptop crashed!!

    Took hours and money for me to get Dell techs to correct the problem.
    Their techs want you to buy things you probably don't need. Be careful.

    If you have Norton, Dell's PC TuneUp most likely will not be compatible with it.

    Repeat, DO NOT BUY DELL'S PC TuneUp. Let Norton do the cleaning up of your computer.
     
  17. dave-p

    dave-p Notebook Deity

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    I have had over 25 different Dell laptops including my former M17x. primarily from the Inspiron, and precision lines.

    A few had problems that required some sort of parts replacemrnt, ( 1 motherboard, 2 GPUS and 2 DVD drives) the remainder work fine as long as i owned them.

    I know some have had issues with dell support more to do with off shore technical support, but eventually things usually get done

    I also worked with many other brand names and very few have the same level of support and even fewer offer in home service, let alone the optoin of 1 - 5 year warranties which dells offers.

    IMO if you plan on owning a laptop for several years I would get the warranty extended to cover the laptop for that time, and after having the issues you had i would have suggested to you to extend the warranty you had.
     
  18. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    No offense, but that's sort of silly in my opinion. If you've owned 25 laptops, then I assume that you fall into the category I was talking about of users who buy all the newest laptops to play with and then immediately sell them like a few months later. I've always owned computers for multi-year periods of time and never had issues with them until these Dells. If I plan on owning a computer -- or anything -- for a period of time, it shouldn't have to be under warranty the entire time. If you feel that way, that indicates that the product is so shoddy that the risk of owning it without a warranty is prohibitive. That shouldn't be.
     
  19. dave-p

    dave-p Notebook Deity

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    none taken.

    I'll clairify my statement,

    Laptops are by nature more prone to failure, and for me with my travels they tend to get beat up pretty quick. I travel around the world @ 150 days or more a year so my rigs are well travelled.

    I worked on many laptops as a tech, and most have inherit issues with heat with the confined spaces as well as failures due to flexing, stresses etc. that can happen travelling with a laptop.

    I owned most of my laptops for 2 years or more, and if the dollar value was over 1K i usually buy the 3 year extended warranty to make sure they are covered while I have them and to make the re-sale value higher.

    those I did not sell were given to my family members. So many are more than 3 years old as well.

    anyways, IMO a laptop for every day use should last 2-3 years provided it is cared for, anything more is really gravey. time to sell it and move to a faster newer unit.

    Sorry to hear about ur bad luck, really its sucks,

    but for the most part Dells have been very good to me.
     
  20. kamehame

    kamehame Notebook Evangelist

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    Thanks for the clarification. I guess the thing I can't get over is this thought that laptops are more prone to failure. Or, I guess, I could live with that if I could replace the parts by myself, like I could with desktops. Perhaps it's unfair for me to lash out at Dell, but I bought both of my laptops from them and they both failed, so ...it's sort of hard to not think Dell sucks, to be quite frank.

    I'm still thinking about getting a laptop, but at this point I'm sort of changing my purchasing angle. In the past, I'd always get the most upgraded components with the knowledge that, even doing that, the system would be obsolete virtually on delivery. But now I'm like, hey, why even do that? Why spend like $1500 on the best screen, the best processor, the best GPU? I could spend like $500 on a rock-bottom system and it might stink but I'm not banking on it lasting too long anyways. Like, if I ever bought another Dell, it would be with that strategy. But at this point I'm sort of looking towards getting a Macbook and running Windows on it. Which disgusts me because a) they're way overpriced and b) I've always thought Macbook elitists were snobby losers. So it kills me that Dell has driven me to that.
     
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