Dell Computers. At one point, they were, in essence, the pinnacle of computer hardware. Desired by many people, including myself. Until about 2 months ago, I had a Dell Dimension 8100 desktop circa 2005 that was still steamrolling along on a single processor, 4 GB RAM, and 500 GB HD that I had all upgraded. In short, it was a solid machine, and at it’s time, the reputation preceded itself. It was still running strong when I sold it.
However, about 2 years after that I started to notice something was amiss with Dell. When I bought my machine, it was just less than a year after Michael Dell left the company as CEO. Therefore I must have been riding on the wake of quality as this machine I mentioned had no issues. But what I started to see as I started to do my own consulting/repair on the side, is that I saw the quality of craftsmanship take a deep six.
The most vivid memory I have of this lack of quality is when a local college graduate student phoned me up, frantic because their entire thesis was on their computer and the machine would not power on right. When I finally finshed the troubleshooting I found out it was a RAM issue. Not that the memory module was bad, but the spot on the main board was burned out. When I asked him how old the laptop was, the response was 15 months. Really Dell? Good news was, got back up and running. Bad news, warranty expired (just one year) and now at half memory capacity.
I even recall an older gentleman, whom is a personal friend of mine, had a machine about the same age. Just 1 month ago, it stopped working. Problem? Bad motherboard. Warranty expired in December 2013. So, bought in December 2012, and then what 16 months later kaput? Dude, that is seriously crappy craftsmanship. I even recall a business class laptop just a week ago that the hard drive failed inside of a year of ownership. Business class computers are supposed to have higher end parts on them. #NotImpressed
Now, some Dell fanboys and fangirls are going to launch into me and say theirs works fine and that I just had a round of bad luck. However, I have spoken with consulting clients before, and the stories of Dell Tech Support experience, RMA process woes, it just goes beyond cruddy craftsmanship. I think philosophically and from a quality of service standpoint, something is definitively wrong down in Round Rock, TX. It’s a shame too given their storied beginnings.
The reason why I am mentioning this is that the Consumer Electronics Show is just around the corner in January. When that happens, a lot of new models will be released by all companies, and as such, existing model machines you have now out there will be deeply discounted. I have written about this before, that of cheap PC’s and laptops, but if you see Dell out there either before then or now, my recommendation is, stay away! Stick with other manufacturers like HP, Acer, and Toshiba.
My sincere hope is that someday I will be able to look back on this blog post of mine and say, “Well, they really turned things around at Dell.” The ball is in their court now!