Review of "Dell"

published 05/08/2002 | GR-Design
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"Dell, the best of the best"

You could say I have had a lot of experience with Dell machines....I work as a freelance medical practice IT support bloke (I don’t really know what to call myself, I suppose engineer would do!) and a lot of the time I’m asked to install PC’s as medical suppliers basically rip practices off with their huge prices, therefore I undercut them and get the work! Now, I’m going to have to tell you to read dave27’s opinion on Dell machines when you’ve finished this one, as he talks a lot more about the company, whereas I haven’t had much experience with the company itself, just the machines. So read both this one and dave27’s op and you’ll get a very good insight into Dell!

Recently Dell have won the contract to supply the medical sector with their PC requirements. This tells you everything really as they have got to be a good firm to win the contract, although you may have little faith in the old NHS! Yes, medical establishments can still buy their machines from anyone they wish, however, they get incentives, like discounts, a great warranty and good customer support. So, over the past few months I have been in and out of surgeries installing brand new machines for them. Out of about 50 machines, every single one of them has been a Dell machine, and so far, the only problem I have come across with one of those machines, was a missing mouse. Now, I have dealt with a lot of other large companies too, namely Time, Tiny and Viglen. Out of 3 Time machines, 2 had to go back as they didn’t work, Viglens customer support was awful and Tiny are overpriced for the kit and seem to take ages to deliver the goods. However, on saying all this, I can’t really blame any of the companies for what’s happened, as medical systems come through to you in a different way to the norm, so it could be something to do with the line it has to come down, but I doubt it. Dell has definitely come out tops over every company we have used so far!

So, what experience have I had? Well, I have dealt with older dell systems, aswell as the brand new P4 systems on the market right now. I have also dealt with the different ‘series’ of systems that dell offer you, including the Optiplex and Dimension series. I have had the LCD monitors, normal monitors, desktop cases, tower cases, different models of different series, windows 95, 98, 2000, NT, CD writers, DVD, backup devices.... I think I’ve made my point!

- The Machines

The machines are in a word...excellent. You could say that about a lot of suppliers machines though, and in any case, any machine is excellent when your just opening the box! The thing that gets me with big suppliers is when they make you go back to them for any upgrade or you will void the warranty. Dell are completely different, they make it easy for you to upgrade, with easy to open cases, theres no screws on the latest machines to loose either, just push some buttons and you’ve got a side of the case off. The manuals that come with your machine will even give you upgrade procedures and tell you what will and what won’t void the warranty.

Dell machines now mostly come in a black casing. Now, I do prefer the black, depending on the room that the computers going in. It does actually make a difference, a black machine can look pretty bad in an untidy room, whereas if the desk your sticking it on is nice and tidy, the computer will look really good, especially if you have one of the newer LCD displays. The computers are sturdy and not lightweight, infact I should think the P4 systems are heavier than most PC systems. Why this is I don’t know, but it certainly does give a quality feel to the systems. Another thing which is really noticeable is how quietly the system runs. I’m not going to tell you a lie and say there is no noise whatsoever, but place one of the Optiplex towers down the side of your desk and you honestly won’t hear a thing, even if it’s chugging away with some huge task you’ve set it on.

I so far have had no problems with any Dell machines in about 3 years as a computer engineer. Not even a CPU fan has starting moaning and groaning, and that’s saying something! Why can’t all PC suppliers be a bit more like this?!

- Packaging

An important aspect to a lot of people is how well a system is packaged, after all, you’ve probably just shelled out over £1000 for this bit of kit, you want it packaged right don’t you! Well, Dell can stand proud over this aspect of the system aswell. I’m sick of dell boxes, but a lot of the staff at the workplaces like to take the boxes home and use them for storage, one bloke even took a couple of boxes home to keep spare car parts in, so it shows you how strong the boxes they ship the computers out in are.

However, it’s no use having strong boxes if your computers floating around inside. Don’t worry though, they are so tightly packed in with polystyrene that you’ll have a job getting the damn things out! However, at least you know they haven’t been hitting the sides of the boxes while the junky delivery van driver tackles the A roads!

- Buying

Buying your PC is another of Dell’s strong points. Not only can you buy over the phone, but you can also buy over the internet. I’ve never bought over the phone or the internet myself, but I have arranged lots of quotes on the net using the buying system and it is extremely good. You start off by choosing what series of system you need or want, from there, you choose a system in that series and then you can tailor your system to your specific needs. For example, you can change the Hard Drive from a 10gb to a 20gb or add a CD Writer etc. The price at the bottom of the page automatically updates itself according to whatever extras you add on. Pure genius! Supposedly once that’s done, you can just buy your system in the usual steps used when buying systems online.

- Overall

Dell systems are quality systems. Yes, you do pay more than you would for the same spec PC from another supplier, but your paying for quality, and like we have all found out, buying a cheap PC can end up more costly than spending an extra £100 on it in the first place. Oh, and by the way, you usually get a 3 years warranty as standard with dell systems, although you’ll probably not need it!

Dave27’s opinion.

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Comments on this review

  • comradeward published 07/01/2003
    Thanks, very useful- I'm just about to buy a Dell PC so I found your comment really helpful and detailed.
  • Wolfie1974 published 05/08/2002
    Great op, these are very good machines, all of the machines at work are dells and have had hardly any problems at all, My next home PC will be a dell for sure, regards .. Mark
  • Manofmanywords published 05/08/2002
    Great review, thanks
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Listed on Ciao since: 14/05/2002