Personally, I don't think Dell provide the value for money on the surface they appear to do. I think they save money on components, and their performace suffers, yet not disproportionally to general costings. Ie. Buy a Dell £600 PC and it isn't much different from any other £600 PC, but buy on Specs, and you will be disapointed.
There Laptops though, don't seem to suffer as much, in my limited experience, and I like my Latitude D400 at work. They do look nice, and that is always important.
I have to say that i was never happy with my dell laptop. it ran incredibly slow for the processing power it had and despite me writting it off as a virus, continued at that pace after the hard drive was earased.
personally i would rather go to an actual shop where i can give the 12yr old sales person a grilling :d, or somewhere like www.ebuyer.co.uk or www.ebuyer.com is still very cheap,on most things they could beat dell price and spec wise.
i got a dell laptop and use dell laptops at school, perfect for buisness stuff (like ibm but cheaper) but suck at games etc..... im not worried about batteries its no new thing my thinkpad nearly caught fire many a time and ive had it since 1998