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Warning - DO NOT BUY DELL IF YOU NEED TECH SUPPORT

Let me start by saying that until today I was a loyal Dell customer. My first personal laptop was a Dell Inspiron 1720. My father-in-law had a Dell desktop and my two sons have three Dell laptops between them.

On December 23 I received my latest Dell, an Inspiron 5748. I first noticed that is was missing some software (Dell Webcam Manager). I immediately reconfigured it to my tastes (repartitioning and installing my software). It was while copying on files that I noticed the first problem. I was using a USB 3.0 drive in the USB 3.0 port but I was getting 60-70 MBps maximum speed. According to the Dell literature (including the manual that came on the laptop)

USB 3.0 — This is also referred to as SuperSpeed USB. This port supports
data transmission speed of up to 4.8 Gbps and is backward compatible with
older USB standards.

USB 2.0 — Referred to as Hi-Speed USB, it provides additional bandwidth
for multimedia and storage applications. USB 2.0 supports data transmission
speed up to 480 Mbps.

Please note that my speeds are in MBps so the equivalent speeds from the manual are

4.8 Gbps = 600 MBps
480 Mbps =  60 MBps

When I switched to a USB 2.0 port my transfer speed remained at 60-70 MBps. After troubleshooting for several days I finally called Dell tech support. Before getting into the USB problems I decided to first address the missing software. The tech support person kept telling me to go to different websites and was surprised that none of them had the links that were expected. She kept telling me that I had to go to the Dell.ca (Canadian) site, however the Dell.ca sites (as well as the My Dell app on my laptop) kept routing me to the US site which refused to recognize my Dell Service Tag. She finally remoted in and typed the download address directly into the browser address bar. Once that was installed she addressed the USB problem. She updated the BIOS and several of the chipset drivers, and for some unknown reason, the video driver. Once she was done my transfer speeds were

USB 2.0 23 MBps
USB 3.0 23 MBps

So now my USB 2.0 speed was 1/3 of what it was at the start and my USB 3.0 was also 1/3 of pre-tech speeds and 1/30 of the manual max speed. At that point she started trying to snow me with excuses like "it depends on the size of the file being transferred" and "those numbers are theoretical maximum speeds", both of which may be valid but neither of which explained why my transfer was now running at 1/3 of the previous speeds. I told her that I would like her to explain how it was that her fix had made the problem much worse. At that point she stopped talking. She didn't hang up. She just refused to talk.

Since then I have been trying to arrange to return the laptop and I have been consistently rerouted to The Philippines, India and God knows where. In any case I keep getting told that it must be returned through the Canadian office. One person was kind enough to give me a phone number before transferring me. The person who answered said that the line was for business customers only and I got put on hold again. I've been sitting there for 30 minutes now.

Final words. Dell used to have top notch technical support and customer service. That clearly is no longer the case. I can no longer recommend Dell.

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If you live in the US, why did you buy it through Canada?
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Last Post by jwenting
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    The "speeds" specified in the USB (and other device) specs are the maximum supported speeds. That doesn't mean that devices so attached are capable of those speeds. Certainly, most disc drives cannot support sustained speeds of either USB 2.0 or 3.0, especially for writing. Once the the internal buffers on … Read More

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    never needed HP support myself, but heard many horror stories about them (unless you're a big corporate account, in which case you pay a lot of money for premium support and that's good). Their computers tend to be somewhat lower quality than Dell (though remember that both brands have a … Read More

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The "speeds" specified in the USB (and other device) specs are the maximum supported speeds. That doesn't mean that devices so attached are capable of those speeds. Certainly, most disc drives cannot support sustained speeds of either USB 2.0 or 3.0, especially for writing. Once the the internal buffers on the drive are full, it will fall back to the maximum write speed of the drive. Given you are probably using the same drive for both USB 2.0 and 3.0 tests, then the 23MBps speed you are seeing is likely the maxiumum physical speed that the drive is capable of.

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Fortunately I had done a complete system image the day before the "fix". I was able to undo everything but the BIOS update. I am now getting consistent speeds of over 100 MBps on USB 3.

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Further details on Dell Hell. My previous laptop [1720] needed to be retired after I dumped water on the keyboard last December. Before finally sending it to the e-waste depot I tried one last boot. To my surprise it came to life (except for the keyboard). I spent a few hours being repeatedly rerouted to the Dell US site from Dell Canada until I was finally given, by a Dell US support guy, a direct link to the Dell Canada parts chat. Here is a part of that conversation...

Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "For the dell inspiron 1720 we have replacement keyboard part number FP625 and its for $28.99"
Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "For N4010 we also have replacement french canadian keyboard for $19.99"
Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "part number K61N1"
Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "Shall we go ahead and place the order?"
Me: "I definitely don't want the French Canadian keyboard. Just English. Do you have that?"
Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "Let me check it"
Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "Thank you for patiently waiting upon thorough checking we have english replacement keyboard part number 1R28D for $11.99"
Me: "Then I would like to order one English keyboard for a Dell Inspiron 1720 (service tag 291S6G1) and one English keyboard for a Dell Inspiron N4010 (service tag 294YRN1)"
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Agent (TIP_Nikko_Sanchez): "you are purchasing 1 replacement English keyboard for a Dell Inspiron 1720 and 1 replacement English keyboard for a Dell Inspiron N4010 for the Subtotal # $40.98 Taxtotal # $7.39 Shippingcharges # $15.00 TotalPrice # $64.27"

Several days later I got an email stating that my order was

FP625 Keyboard,101,French Canadian Single Pointing,Adriatic 1 28.99 28.99
1R28D Keyboard,86,United States,English,C11S 1 11.99 11.99

The second keyboard was for my son's laptop. Sure enough, a few days later I got one English and one French keyboard. I sent a very descriptive (lacking in "colourful" adjectives and gerunds) to michael@dell.com. I received a response from the Dell Advanced Resolution Group where the problem was eventually resolved. It seems to me that if you need an Advanced Resolution Group then you probably have a few more problems than you should.

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The continuing story...

We are are just starting to pack up things for the end of summer and return home where one of my first jobs will be to take a full disk image of the laptop then do a restore-to-factory so I can prove to Dell Support that my video problem has existed from the start. At least that was the plan.

For the last month my display has been flickering on and off whenever I changed the tilt of the screen. Yesterday it flickered off and has yet to flicker back on. So now I have two problems, either of which would require a trip back to Dell. Unfortunately I will now have to yoink the internal hard drive and do my imaging/resetting from an external bay. And for obvious reasons I will no longer be able to test the video. I fully expect that

  1. I will have to navigate Dell Hell in order to talk to a Dell rep from Canada.
  2. They will refuse to do the help through an interactive chat session (which I require because a) I am hearing impaired and phone conversations can be difficult and b) almost all of the tech staff have a thick East-Indian accent which, compounded with a) makes the whole process a lesson in futility).
  3. They will tell me to try all of the things that they got me to try the last time which did nothing to fix the problem.

So far, on a laptop that is barely 9 months old, my problems include

  1. faulty video ("tearing" in medium to fast motion video)
  2. USB 2.0 speeds from a USB 3.0 port
  3. dead display

And I haven't even gotten to the sub-par performance of the Bluetooth. Fortunately I still have to old laptop (a Dell Inspiron 1720 from 2008) which has apparently fully recovered from having a glass of water dumped into the keyboard last December (which prompted the purchasing of the new one).

Yes, it's possible to get a lemon when buying any brand, but because of the abominable state of Dell's post-sales support at the present time I will stress yet again - if you are looking for a new computer, buy anything but Dell.

Edited by Reverend Jim

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Earlier other brands were not good in laptops like HP laptops were like burning furnace, Acer was not too reliable and Apple mac books were non affordable.

Now some grey areas have changed. Acer/ Samsung/ HP/ Sony all are very reliable plus are more or less in same cost league with Dell (even cheaper) so it is imperative for DELL to provide excellent support to keep its user base.

But in recent times it seems they just dont care much. Apart from accidental warranty feature nothing else looks a reason to buy a DELL.

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My current laptop is an aging Dell D630. Nice system. I run a version of Red Hat Enterprise Linux 7.1 on it. When it dies, I will get a new laptop from ZaReason. They only sell Linux/Unix systems, and guarantee all hardware (audio, video, wifi, etc) to work "out-of-the-box". Check them out at ZaReason.com. Good people, great support, nice gear. Disclaimer: their president and ceo is a friend of mine.

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I'm using DEL and I am not having any kind of problem with it, I recommend DEL for my friends and family too. They are likewise don't have any kind of problems and we all love DEL.

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sorry mate, i use dell my whole life, i love dell.

Until last December so did I. The new beastie is now in the shop. I'll post more on the continuing stooooory (anyone remember Veterinarin's Hospital) when I get it back and see how successful the repairs were.

I'm using DEL and I am not having any kind of problem with it

Good to hear. I wouldn't wish this on anyone. Well, maybe one or two people.

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I personally wouldn't use a Dell. I would rather go for the Acer or Asus Brand. I would never buy a Toshiba in my life ever again. 2 of the screws on the bottom of my laptop have fallen out which has resulted a crack in the case and lastly it would not let me install Windows 7.

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There is actually an end to the saga. After several days of ranting (and an angry letter to Dell) the laptop went into the shop and was back within a week. The display is now functional and the first thing I did (after imaging) was check out the video for display problems. I picked out a test video with lots of vertical motion and it displayed properly. Rebuilding the laptop to my configuration was a rather extended process. After every change I ran the test video. After every 3-4 changes I took a new disk image. Everything was fine up to the end. Microsoft decided I needed 168 updates so I let them install. Upon running the test video I saw that my problem was back. I reloaded the last good image and the problem went away. I installed the updates in batches of 5-10 and the problem never came back. I am completely flummoxed but as long as I have an image to drop back to then I suppose problem (sorta) solved.

But I still will never buy another Dell.

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Thats very odd as Ive been using Dell laptops all my business life and never got stuck with it. More - Dell is the only manufacturer which produces laptops (and I assume PCs also) that just works without any issue ever. I just cannot imagine me buying other brand than Dell. Big thank you Dell.....

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If you live in the US, why did you buy it through Canada?

I don't live in the US. I live in Winnipeg, Manitoba (Canada, eh?)

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never needed HP support myself, but heard many horror stories about them (unless you're a big corporate account, in which case you pay a lot of money for premium support and that's good).
Their computers tend to be somewhat lower quality than Dell (though remember that both brands have a wide range of quality and performance options, you really do get what you're paying for with both of them).

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