Ivor O’Connor

June 16, 2009

Dell Laptops!

Filed under: dell, laptop — ioconnor @ 4:33 pm

So the laptop to take over the year old main laptop which had failed has now failed. So the first work laptop lasted one year. The second work laptop lasted one month. The quality of these laptops is starting to look very questionable. So today I installed Ubuntu on what will be my third work laptop while the first two get sent back to Dell. Hence the previous article about hanging. The emphasis on this article is about warranties though.

I called Dell last week to extend my warranty. I was worried that since I had it for 13 months they would not extend it. However they did. (I’ve known for 2 months now I needed to return it but I’ve been slow.) The interesting part about their warranties are the prices. It costs $130 or so for a one year extension and only slightly more for two years. It goes up to a whopping $210 for a four year extension. Not exactly linear. In fact the graph looks just the opposite of what I’d expect. Instead of exponential as it gets older it seems to be logrithmic. Go figure.

That’s not the most odd part about it though. If you go for the four year extension you get a $75 coupon that can be used for future purchases. Including the extensions of other warranties. So for the price of a year extension you get an extension for four years. Wow!

Do they figure most owners will have moved on to other laptops and not care? Or will Dell be going out of business soon? I have no idea!

May 10, 2009

Ubuntu Dell Inspiron 1425 Lasts Less Than A Year

Filed under: dell, laptop — Tags: , — ioconnor @ 5:04 pm

So when I discovered Dell selling laptops with Ubuntu I immediately bought one. I figured I should reward Dell’s good behavior. Paying more for the exact same hardware with Ubuntu installed rather than M$ seemed strange but not unheard of. Look at the legions of loyal Apple purchasers. So once the laptop with Ubuntu arrived I correctly reformatted the hard drive and installed the latest version of Ubuntu. (It’s impossible for large companies like Dell to keep up with Ubuntu’s six month release cycle of a new OS.) Everything has worked wonderfully since then.

Now however there is an intermittent short and the battery pack will die in 3 to 30 minutes. It will be working fine, unplugged, for 15 minutes and wham. The battery capacity drops by 50 or more percent giving me seconds to save my work or plug in. Often it won’t even boot from a freshly charged pack unless I also have the power cord attached. So I’m going to have to send it in for repair.

My year long warranty is almost up. Fortunately Dell sent an email offering to extend the warranty for 3 or so years. No matter what the cost it is worth the price. Past Dell laptops have all fallen apart well before three years. Regular wear and tear is too much for them. The hinges on the displays become loose. The screws made of pot metal break. The wires hidden in the hinges of the screen short due to metal fatigue. The fans die and the boards burns. Normal dainty users don’t see these problems so companies can get away with shoddy quality and still make a profit.

It is time to migrate everything to a new laptop, upgrade the warranty, and send this one in for repair. Experience tells me after a year of hard use a laptop is best made into a low powered desktop. It’s all about adjusting expectations properly. I did not make the World but I do have to live in it…

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