It's a love-hate thing

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Neil.Jones's review of Dell


“It's a love-hate thing”

Written on: 08/03/2013 by Neil.Jones (5 reviews written)

I recently purchased this notebook computer for personal use. The rest of my family are Mac users, but I can’t seem to re-wire a brain accustomed to two decades in Windows world, so I decided to go with a PC for my own use. I’ve used a number of Dell computers over the years, and decided to go with them again – not the sexiest choice, but generally a reliable one. The jury’s still out on whether that was a good decision this time around.

The good:
I think the 15z represents a good value for personal use. Six GB of memory and a 500 GB hard drive provide plenty of storage and the Intel i3 processor is sufficient for normal use. Hard core gamers or computation-heavy tasks may require a beefier chip, but this works fine for personal use, photo editing, and video streaming.

I like the 15 inch wide format display, and the chiclet style backlit keyboard provides satisfying tactile feedback for typing. The machine comes with a minimum of bloatware.

Order status information is automated and efficient. Dell's Support services (more below) are responsive and mostly effective.

The bad:
My online ordering experience was a mess, and ultimately I placed my order via the phone. Without getting into a lot of gory details, let me simply say that the representative I spoke to recommended not using the website to place personal computer orders. I agree.

To achieve their short leadtimes, Dell necessarily pre-assembles components. As a result, computers ship with software that may require updates. The problem is, you won't know if you need an update until you experience something weird - in my case, it was the wireless network adapter that required a software driver update to perform properly. It would be nice if there were some sort of comprehensive baseline update, but that doesn't seem to be possible. Instead, users have to resolve problems in an ad-hoc fashion.

Finally, I'm pretty unhappy with battery life on this computer. Even when using relatively low-power functions (web surfing, mostly), I haven't managed to squeeze 4 hours from the battery - which, by the way, is not removable by the end user. It would be nice to have 1) more competitive battery life, maybe 6 hours, or failing that 2) the option to swap batteries.

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