Initial Impressions: Dell Xps 13
Posted 25 February 2012 - 08:21 AM
Posted 25 February 2012 - 11:46 AM
They do plan to offer XPS 13 to business and support some business features, but I haven't heard any word about offering Ubuntu. Doesn't mean they won't, just that they haven't said.
Posted 25 February 2012 - 01:56 PM
Need a Windows ISO image?
Posted 27 February 2012 - 08:48 AM
Intel confirmed that Ivy Bridge has been delayed to June.
Posted 27 February 2012 - 11:06 AM
Brian, I work for a company that has over 100,000 employees and most of them have Dell laptops and desktops. We've been using them for years and they have a great track record - not flawless, but very good. Based upon my multi-year experience using Dell, I recommend them to freinds and family all the time.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 05:55 AM
I am a consultant in corporate IT. I prefer to use my own PC on the job, when possible, because I rely on a handful of unusual legacy applications in my work. In July 2011, when a new client indicated that they wanted deliverables in Word 2010 format, I ordered my first Windows7 PC, a "business-only" Latitude E6520 from Dell Small Business, with Dell Gold Support, to replace my aging but trusty D830. Because of my lengthy experience with Dell, and in particular with Gold Support, I decided to stick with that brand - even though Dell's model with the required features cost half again as much as similar models from some other makers.
I took care to specify to the sales person at Dell Small Business that I required a 32 bit operating system because of the legacy applications I run. After a 6-week wait, Dell delivered the PC - unfortunately, with a 64-bit OS. This should have been a minor inconvenience, but Dell managed to turn it into a debacle. I asked Customer Service if they could simply ship me a replacement drive with the correct image - it's a simple matter to swap hard drives. I even offered to pay for the extra drive. No, this was against their policy; I was instructed to ship the PC back and wait another 6 weeks for a replacement - which was out of the question. Despite escalating the issue to the Manager of Customer Service, their best offer (after intense haggling!) was to send me some install disks for the 32 bit system (also against their policy) - and, no driver disk was available.
Well, I'd installed dozens of pre-Windows 7 OSs on Dells and was always able to download all the necessary drivers from their support site with no problem, so I decided to take them up on the offer. I purchased a new hard drive identical to the one in the E6520, popped it in and started the setup. But, when I attempted to obtain drivers from the Dell Support site, the drivers it provided for the 32-bit version of my model and service tag were mostly incorrect. Some were for a 64 bit system, while others didn't match the existing hardware devices at all. I blundered through the driver installation as best I could, and then went to a commercial driver site and paid to get more satisfactory drivers.
When I tried using the PC at work, a problem appeared that rendered it completely useless; Windows Explorer crashed every 2 minutes. A Google search showed that this problem was widespread, but nobody had posted a remedy. Dell Gold Support knew nothing about it and could make no sense of the error message I was receiving. I called them repeatedly and spent hours running every possible diagnostic - without success.
A high-level tech at Gold Support finally offered to do a fresh remote Windows 7 installation, using my disks. The PC was otherwise useless, so I agreed and asked him to let me do the install under his supervision, and then to pull the drivers for me while I watched. He guessed it would take 1/2 hour for the whole affair... but then he encountered the same driver problems that I had experienced. With his knowledge of the drivers used in similar models, he was eventually able to find serviceable drivers and complete the installation in about 3 hours.
The following day I took my PC to the office and promptly discovered that the crashing Windows Explorer problem was STILL THERE. While experimenting in the office, I discovered that Windows Explorer only crashed when the PC was connected to the enterprise network. Otherwise, it was rock solid. I finally learned in a tech blog that Microsoft actually had posted a hot fix for this exact problem - http://support.micro...com/kb/2494427. It worked. Another problem solved.
Next issue: When typing, the insertion point jumped erratically every minute or two. I couldn't type a sentence without having to mouse the cursor back to the correct insertion point. I assumed that this was because I was inadvertantly brushing the touchpad during typing. The PC had no touchpad control utility, and no really satisfactory utility to disable the touchpad could be found online, so I covered it with a piece of cardbord. This helped somewhat, but the cursor was still not completely stable. A search of the Internet found numerous commiserating complaints, but no solutions. I decided to call Gold Support yet again to see if they knew anything about the cursor issue. This time, the tech guy knew exactly what the problem was... Dell had omitted the touchpad management app and driver from their support site: Dell Touchpad Driver R315893. While we were talking, I searched the site for this driver, and still couldn't find it, so I got the tech support guy to email me a link to it. When I installed it, not only was the problem solved, but I now have the previously missing utility to configure or disable the touchpad.
One final issue - which paled in comparison to the above - was that the audio level on the E6530 was disappointingly subdued. I'm a former orchestral musician, so this really steamed me. My old D830 was great by comparison. Again, searching the Dell support groups showed that dissatisfaction with the E6530's audio was widespread, the IDT sound card's simple on/off toggle offered no solution, and Dell Gold Support claimed to know nothing about it. Thank heavens, some charitable soul posted the solution; there is ANOTHER audio control simply entitled "Sound", inconspicuous and not mentioned in Dell's literature, that allows you to configure the playback properties of your speakers and headphones. The sound level is still rather weak, but at least I can hear it now.
After the PC was finally serviceable - more than 2 months from the time I received it - a Dell Customer Service person started calling and emailing me to try to patch things up and close my service ticket. The lady who called me repeatedly was nice enough, but couldn't begin to understood the technical issues. Sad.
I have 4 questions which I believe are reasonable and salient:
1) Why couldn't Dell have simply swapped the hard drive for me? They surely had one with the correct image on hand. It seems their "policy" was specifically to NOT provide urgently needed service.
2) If I and the Gold Support tech had the same driver issues on two consecutive installs - more than 6 weeks apart - this was clearly a problem that other corporate Dell users were having. Why didn't Dell (or Dell Gold Support) escalate the problem when I first reported it, and correct their site? And why couldn't they provide a driver disk, like most other manufacturers? BTW, the Customer Support lady who kept calling me after I was up and running adamantly denied that there was ever anything wrong with the driver site, right down to our last conversation, although I'd given her the Gold Support tech's name and location.
3) If the crashing Windows Explorer problem is sufficiently widespread on Dell corporate model laptops to have required a Microsoft hot-fix, why didn't Dell even know about it?
4) Finally, what kind of manufacturer would deliver these high-end PCs configured so unsatisfactorily? What were they thinking?
At one point in my career, I oversaw tech support for a chain of PC stores, so I had the requisite technical background to eventually get this PC working. But what are Dell purchasers supposed to do who aren't technical - or can't afford to invest the countless hours I spent?
In retrospect, my allegiance to Dell was ill-advised. When I purchase my next PC, I will base my choice on price, repair record and reported customer satisfaction, without regard to brand.
Posted 01 March 2012 - 06:05 AM
On Dec. 31, 2008, I ordered the XPS Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Extreme X9000(2.8GHz/800Mh, the latest and greatest laptop that Dell had at the time.) My first order didn’t go through, that they didn’t notify me of. I ordered it again, and I was going to be in Round Rock, Tx so I changed the deliver place to Round Rock, (The house was 15 min away from Dell). Found out that they didn’t change delivering place was no going to be Round Rock, at that I called Dell, when it was on its way to me house in NY. I asked him if he was sure about it arriving before Friday, because on Saturday I was going to take off and fly back to NY, and Nidish said yes, it will arrive before or on Friday. Nidish told me that they would compensate me $350 for that mistake, for the time, money and frustration. I was pleased and thanked them. Friday noon arrived and I logged in to the Fedex website and saw that the laptop was only in New Jersey. Knowing that there was no longer a chance of it arriving in time in Texas, I called Nidish and told him to change the route. The laptop box arrived at my house on Jan 31, 2009. That was 31 days LATER then when I ordered it. I opened that box and couldn’t believe my eyes when everything was there, EXCEPT my laptop. I was very frustrated by now, I wasn’t sure about cancelling the order, but I thought about it and said it could have been in a unique circumstance were nothing is coming out right and that Dell had been a great business to go through all my life, I will give them the benefit of the doubt. On February 2, 2009 the laptop was reordered and hey informed me that I would be getting another laptop in about a week. On February 6, 2009 arrived and Nidish called to inform me that the video card that I needed was out of stock and that he didn't know when the order would come in. By now I had been without a personal laptop for about 3 1/2 weeks. (I was not knowing when I would be getting the XPS that I had ordered 38 days earlier. (It was a mess.) So I asked Nidish if there any way in which Dell could compensate me for the time, money and frustration that it was causing in work, from this order that didn’t come yet. They couldn't reimburse anymore then the $350 that already took place me. 41 DAYS had passed, from Dec. 31 2008 to Feb 9, 2009 and I would have to wait an additional WEEK, not withstanding any other problems that could arise by then, so I cancelled the order. I then had mailed a letter to Mr. Michael Dell and followed up by a email with no response. Now I hope that you will be frustrated the way that I do!!!
Posted 11 March 2012 - 11:51 AM
However, regarding the XPS 13, which impresses in some ways, I always come back to the same question: Don't they read any reviews? Do they do customer research? Why will they never release something perfect, and always leave something for the critics to ramble about?
Case in point, having a mediocre display on a premium laptop, why? Can't they offer an IPS display (or a higher quality TN panel) for better viewing angles? Why only a single, low resolution, display? OK, 1600x900 is way too much for most people on a 13" size, but at least the 1440x900 like the Mac?
And they took off a lot of important keys of the keyboard for no apparent reason. No "right-click" button, no dedicated "Home/End" buttons, same for "Page Up/Down".
And Oh my God! No SD card reader? Was it so difficult to push in?
And why is 4 GB of memory the max?
C'mon Dell, you can do better!
I will await the next update. I just can't buy it the way it is now.
Posted 12 March 2012 - 11:46 AM
Hibernation is completely disabled and Dell is aware if this critical issue and they cannot fix it.
Trackpad experience is horrible even with the latest driver update.
BIOS update to latest version A02 does not help above 2 issues.
Screen can be opened just a little past vertical, viewing screen while standing up is impractical.
Laptop arrived with Windows Defrag active and scheduled to run daily, this is horrible as this model comes with SSD hard drives only, and defrag should never be run on SSDs.
Dell has released this model before troubleshooting and testing properly. Do not buy this model.