I’ve had three Tech chats and one customer email. All went pretty well.
1st Tech Chat: I requested a 64-bit Vista DVD for my M4400. The support agent was no hassle, and only asked if I had worked with 64-bit operating systems before. I said yes, and he set up a DVD which arrived Tuesday, as promised. Overnight delivery, which is amazing just for a little DVD.
2nd Tech Chat: This is the time when I started to discover the DPC latency problems. The support agent told me to run through some diagnostics. Everything is 100% normal, but still high DPC. I told him that it was three components, and the reply was to wait for firmware updates. It wasn’t the most helpful chat, but it did confirm that my laptop is defective in a legitimate way and that I should be able to return it. Free of any fees or penalties.
3rd Tech Chat: This one was interesting. The support agent told me to hold as he read up on DPC latency. He suggested some methods, which I already have done. He suggested I switch parts, but I’m sure there’s no one in 100 feet of me that knows what the M4400 is. Great help though, and it just further strengthened my own case against customer service.
Email Return: I sent one on Monday, MLK day. No reply until today. I missed the email that arrived this morning approving my return, and stupidly sent two more requests. One to a wrong email address. As I was doing some final hardware verification, the UPS guy came by with the return label. That was fast, efficient, and well, just plain good service.
Maybe I’m one of the lucky ones. I don’t get to the infamous Dell India support. I never called them. Intended to this morning, but decided to wait for the email oblivious to my eyes. Right now, my package is scheduled to ship back tomorrow. Out of my hands, and if anything happens, it’s on UPS.
I’m sad to see my M4400 go. The LED screen is a thing of beauty, but the DPC latency destroys system performance. Right-clicks sometimes don’t even register at the first try. And what’s worse was that my mother said we won’t be buying another laptop “anytime soon”. There will be a new laptop in the household, but it’ll have to wait until mid-2009.
As a customer, I cannot keep or use a defective unit. I believe it’s a design flaw and whatever they do to replace it will only be temporary. If a product does not live up to its image, then I have every right to return it. I wasn’t picking faults. I can prove this DPC latency issue, and it is confirmed to be problematic by many users.
In the future, I will consider the Dell Precision line. Refurbished items don’t scare me (this one was a refurb). But next time, I’ll need a Quad Core and LED screen standard. These dual-cores just don’t get my blood pumping fast enough. And I’ve seen the glory of LED backlighting. One cannot go back to CCFL.