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    Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Like Fish, I'm in the process of looking a new laptop. Alas, it's for my wife's business and she wants a lower end machine (less than $1000 not including extended warranty). Does anyone have recommendations regarding Dell's laptops, new or refurbished? I'm looking at the Inspirion 2650, unless I can talk my wife into a 4150. We're buying it as a desktop replacement more than a truly mobile unit, so size/weight are secondary to features/performance (size/wait?).

    Any comments on Dell's current quality/service/support for laptops? Is the on-site service plan worth it?

    Thanks!

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Hi Charlie,

    I've had a Dell Inspiron 8000 (PIII 1.0 Ghz, 256MB, 32 MB nVidia GForce 2Go, 15" LCD, CD-RW, DVD...) for over a year and a half. It's been a GREAT machine. I realize that it's in a different class than what you (and your wife) are looking for, but I have all good things to say about Dell's sales and support.

    Fortunately, I haven't had any problems that have required technical support. I paid extra for the "Complete Care" warranty - providing coverage for accidental damage such as drops or spills. As for on-site service, I've heard good things about other people who have used that. However, if there are any major problems with a laptop, the odds are that the technician will have to ship it to a service center for repairs, which probably take the same amount of time as shipping it off to begin with.

    When my desktop's hard drive died, my laptop served faithfully as my ONLY machine for almost a month. Even with a new desktop, I still use the laptop as my main work machine - as you'll see in other posts I've made, my current desktop is geared for gaming...

    Bottom line - my experiences with Dell have been very positive!
    Hope this helps.

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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    The Inspiron 4000 with Windows 2000 has been good. I got the 3-year mail-in service plan. Typically Dell will pre-mail a part and you can return the broken part later, but the hold times are insane. Luckily it isn't me that's on hold.

    So far, optical drives have been the most common point of failure on my Gateway and Dell laptops.

    Many of our Dell Latitudes also had an issue with a very noisy fan; they were willing to send the part, but it was somewhat complicated to change (it was a heat sink, too). The Inspirons usually are a better value anyway.

    Last but not least, unless compactness is the primary motivation, the price/performance of notebooks simply cannot match desktop computers. Is there really a compelling case for a notebook in this situation? By compelling I mean "justifies an extra $500."

    One thing that is extremely annoying is how Dell offers different incentives and freebies in the Home and Small Business departments. The attached pages are a good example of this. Means a lot more clicking and checking before buying.
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    Super Moderator jscher2000's Avatar
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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    The price discrepancy also applies to desktop PCs. Sheesh.
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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Mark,

    Thanks for the excellent feedback. That's pretty much the story I've heard about Dell - great product and good support (if you can reach them).

    The 3-year on-site service is only $60 more than mail-in service. And for the next five minutes there's a rebate on this option. (I've already read jscher's reply, and I agree completely!) But I'll make a point to ask about whether on-site techs can make the majority of repairs, and what happens if they do need to mail it in. Thanks for pointing that out.

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    The "compelling" part of this is that we're wireless at home, and there's a few business trips each year where my wife really needs to bring her work along. She's been getting by with a Compaq Armada from the last century when she travels, but that's starting to fade.

    As for Dell's pricing, they should be fined for deceptive trade. There's a different offer every time I go to the site, and the price they show on the "featured" items jumps $150 as soon as you click Customize starting at... link! Just try to get the same price on the same system two days in a row - I dare you.

    Ah, well. I guess I'll just have to deal (no pun intended). Thanks for the feedback!

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Hi Jefferson,

    I noticed the same thing when I made my purchase a while back. I did exactly what you did - priced it from several different "markets": Small Business, Home, and Student (which I was at the time). I don't know if the sales rep I spoke to on the phone would have eventually pointed that out to me or not, but she did admit it when I mentioned that I had discovered the difference.

    I think that's what economists call "Price Discrimination"... (a perfectly legal and accepted practice, as far as I know)

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    http://www.syntech.co.nz/systems/shuttle.html Take a look at this system. It might just be what your looking for. Just a thought. http://www.tech-report.com/reviews/2002q2/...50/index.x?pg=1

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Interesting idea, but I'd have to say that I'd never recommend anything in the way of a notebook to a client unless it came from a major player (Dell, IBM, Toshiba etc.) Notebooks have too many inseparable, proprietary and expensive parts - if something fails, it's much more difficult to replace the offending part than when you're dealing with a desktop. It's crucial to have your notebook backed by a big company with ample stock, service offerings and some serious longevity in the industry. that's my professional opinion - I might be willing to take chances with a personal computer, someone's business mission-critical PC is another matter. YMMV. <img src=/S/2cents.gif border=0 alt=2cents width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Keely did you check that Mini Computer out on the links I posted? Has a bag to carry it in and everything.

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Unless I'm missing something, there's no monitor or input devices on the Mini computer, right?

    I used to work for a training company. When we did classes on-site for a company, we would often carry computers similar to those. Ours had built in LCD panels and keyboards (we brought the mouses/mice along as well). We called them "Lunchbox" computers. All of the main components were interchangeable with a desktop (except for the small motherboard).

    I don't think that kind of computer be compared with a notebook, despite its similar portability. It probably weighs twice as much as a notebook and is quite bulky. I'd love to see someone take THAT on an airplane!

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    The object of price discrimination in economic theory is to charge each buyer the maximum she or he is willing to pay for a given product. Dell is trying, I agree, but its technique of self-identifying yourself into one of three or four particular markets is absurdly crude. Actually, if you couldn't customize your machine it might work, but since you usually can specify the identical parts in each channel, it ends up that you almost always get the best deal in Small Business. Economists probably would say that this can be explained by "competition." <img src=/S/smile.gif border=0 alt=smile width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    Like Fish, I'm in the process of looking a new laptop. Alas, it's for my wife's business and she wants a lower end machine (less than $1000 not including extended warranty). Does anyone have recommendations regarding Dell's laptops, new or refurbished? I'm looking at the Inspirion 2650, unless I can talk my wife into a 4150. <font color=blue>We're buying it as a desktop replacement more than a truly mobile unit, so size/weight are secondary to features/performance (size/wait?).</font color=blue> <center>I was going by what he said in his original post.</center>

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    My understanding is that there is a monitor that you can buy that is easy to carry if you so desire. Gammer's use them all the time to go to contest. I was just thinking If they were looking for something a little more compact then most desktop's this would be ideal.

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    Re: Dell Laptop 2 cents request

    The shuttle is an interseting idea, but because the monitor and keyboard are separate, I think my wife would prefer a laptop. Doesn't have to be the lightest, thinest one, but still needs to be easily portable. Size and weight are secondary, but they're still an important factor. Thanks for the suggestion.
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