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.