The Little Laptop That Could

It seems as though my last few posts have been negative. I need to stop complaining and write something positive. In order to do that though, I’m afraid I will have to rag on yet another computer company. HP and I mean before they merged with Compaq used to be a good company. I remember we purchased the omnibook series for the stress lab and they were amazing computers. They ran from 2001 until just two years ago leaving their performance streak at seven or so odd years. I had a deal with my parents when I was in 8th grade that they would buy me a laptop if I earned a B average. The deal for one reason or another later changed to an A average. Up until that point I had a IBM 560E that didn’t have a decent battery, and in a age where CD-Rom going on DVD-Rom was the next big thing, it was really outdated. I earned my A average and received my laptop a HP Pavillian. It had Windows XP Home on it, and I made the jump from Windows 95 to Windows XP.  At first I was thrilled, it did everything I wanted it to, it ran beautifully. I had a new operating system to explore, and for the first time in my life, I had the ability to watch DVD’s on roadtrips.

The novelty didn’t last long, less than one week there was a problem with the CD burner, it went in for warranty. Shortly after there was a problem with the power cable, by this time it was out of warranty. By the three year mark the AMD processor was getting so hot, that it would overheat while I attempted to play Counter-Strike. I soon became frustrated, I knew I needed a new computer, but I didn’t have the money for one, and I didn’t know what to buy.

My best friend in high-school (and still today) a guy who I really respect for his opinion (and still do) had a old Dell. He ran Windows ME on it, which I know makes you wonder why I value his opinion, but trust me it worked well on that machine. That old Dell was probably five years old at the time, and  was still running strong. He spoke so highly of Dell that I thought it might be worth a chance worth taking. The computer configured exactly the way I wanted it -wifi I couldn’t afford it at the time, was $400. Let me tell you, a Sophomore in highschool spending that much money I almost died.

It took about three weeks for the computer to be built and sent to me. I left my health class to go pick up the package when I saw UPS had delivered it. The first thing I noticed was the blue color on the outside. Now the first thing I say when someone asks me what color they should get on a computer is “Whatever the color the best running computer comes in.” I don’t care about color, I don’t care about aesthetics, but when they are icing on the cake I’ll take them. I spent the rest of the day configuring it, and playing with it. Everything was fine and Dell and I were just starting to get along, and then I tried to play a DVD. It skipped like no other. I immediately blamed the Celeron. “I knew I should have bought the Pentium!” I told myself. It turns out however the problem was PEBKAC (problem existed between keyboard and chair). It was a power management issue, and once I turned off the power saver it worked flawlessly.  As a matter of fact it continued to work flawlessly. Even through my youthful abuse it worked right up until my employer  offered to purchase a new one for me. Naturally I turned back to the company that provided me with such an excellent product even in the lowest, cheapest, laptop they offered. My new Dell Latitude D820 has served me well for four years now, and when I say it’s had a lot of abuse that’s no exaggeration.

There are a few people that would say I’m bias towards Dell. I am bias towards any company that will sell a top notch product for a low price. Dell was loyal to me as a high school student with no money. Though I never had to send the computer in, I had many questions, (such as the power management) that Dell quickly guided me through. I can honestly say that every problem I ever encountered while I owned that computer, (or my 820 for that matter) has been a user issue never a computer issue. I’ve heard the horror stories about the terrible computers that Dell makes. Having worked in the computer field for quite some time, I can tell you that every Dell I’ve ever encountered has been a user caused problem 90% of the time a software issue. The only possible exception was I had a friend that had a Inspiron 1300. She was trying to play Counter-Strike Source on the machine and it simply wasn’t capable. I hardly chalk that up to the computer, I chalk that up to a computer made for a different purpose.

I have since used my pull as a consultant to encourage business and churches to purchase Dell. I have noticed a trend with Dell in an effort to make a more aesthetically pleasing computer they have gone to what I call the “smudge magnet” every time you touch the computer it leaves a fingerprint. For whatever reason Best Buy has chosen to carry the inspiron series. When I bought my inspiron I was pretty impressed with the build quality.  I would be lying if I said the same today. I don’t really approve of the very plastic feeling Inspiron series. The studio series is my favorite of those offered at Best Buy the XPS, Vostro, Ademo, and  Precision, series (in order from bottom up) are my next favorite, and finally the Dell Latitude series, which is the lightweight of the Ademo combined with the power of the precision, is my all time favorite from Dell.

If you are looking for a new computer, I highly recommend you check out Dell! They are a company built on what the user needs and wants. They will respect a $300 budget or they will cater to a $3000 budget.

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