Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Dell, you're killing me!

I discovered last night that the keyboard, in my fairly new Dell laptop, isn't installed properly. I'm going to have to disassemble it to fix. Why me?

I've had numerous issues with the Dell XPS 15 (L502x) since I got it about a month and a half ago. Up to now, it's mostly been that I get app crashes when I come out of hibernate or sleep. Sometimes it's Outlook, but more often it's some behind-the-scenes Windows components, like PC Doctor.

I've run the recovery, but that hasn't helped. I also obtained the Windows OS disc from Dell (once again, they're not shipping units with the discs), but I've also had problems during a clean install, such as the system freezing at different points, including the BIOS splash. I really started to feel like I have a hardware problem, probably RAM. Luckily, the app crashes aren't catastrophic (yet). I suppose I'll keep my fingers crossed that things don't get worse.

But this keyboard thing is really irritating. I noticed since day 1 that the keyboard had some play to it (flexible/spongy). I saw this criticism in some reviews, but figured I'd mainly use an external keyboard with it at home anyway. I recently got a monitor stand to elevate the laptop, which gave me a viewing angle on the keyboard that allowed me to see it was raised up on the left side. After looking closely at it, I can see that there is a retaining tab that the keyboard should be under, but instead it's above it on that side. I was so frustrated by this that my inclination was to force it down, but I kept my composure and instead looked up the manual online for instructions on fixing it proper.

This is just the latest disappointment I've had with Dell. The absolute worst experience was two years ago when I was forced to buy a video card upgrade to support dual monitors on a computer I bought through the Dell website for work, only to find out that the card didn't support dual monitors at all. Repeated calls to Dell accomplished nothing but headaches, and they ultimately ripped me off by not providing a refund after I sent the useless video card back to them, at their request.

I've long planned to blog about that, and may someday in a separate post. It was truly sad, and I'll never feel the same about Dell again. I boycotted them for awhile, and I will still look to other brands before I shop Dell. The only reason I came back at all was that I like Dell products and their technical aspects, but their customer service is atrocious, I mean really despicable.

That brings me to why I don't just send my new laptop back to Dell, with all the problems I've been having, as my wife tells me I should do. To be honest, I'm truly afraid of what I may be subjected to by Dell support personnel. I think about the only thing that would really force me to deal with that is if I end up convinced I have a motherboard problem, or something I absolutely can't fix on my own, or without significant expense. I only hope that if I'm going to reach that point, that it comes before my 1 year warranty is expired.

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