Friday, March 26, 2010

Welcome HP, So Long Dell (and don't let the door hit you in the ass on your way out)

(warning: this is another rant. Sorry!)

Here's another improvement in my daily life: after more than a year of space-shuttle-lift-off noise, short-but-brutish uptimes, and countless curses, family's lean old Dell XP "work"station is out for good. Its only agreeable attribute was its slim neat looks (and sort of neat mechanism used for case, allowing its easy opening -- too bad there's not much to do even if you can open it easily). Good riddance, music to my ears.

The replacement, HP Pavilion Slimline, actually looks every bit as good as its predecessor. But otherwise the two are polar opposites: new box is quiet, as reliable as expected (i.e., "just works"), and its only design flaw is that it comes with an OS written by a company based in Redmond. But that I can live with, since it's not my work machine. :-)
And even Windows seems to have improved a bit between versions (new one has Windows 7, previous one whatever preceded Vista).

Anyway: I just thought I'll share my distaste with Dell products (maybe I should actually include "not-so-good" lists on my semi-professional home page?) now that I am getting rid of them.

It all started couple of years ago, when I decided to stop wasting my time on building my own PCs from components (which made sense after college, could save some money). I figured that with time I spent building PCs, and then troubleshooting problems with components, it just didn't make a whole lot of sense. And so I thought I'd go with something that other customers in general had found usable: back then Dell had highest customer ratings of all PC companies; and save for one friend of mine (who had already fought with Dell's phone "support" people, due to problems with memory chips that were failing; and that no amount of rebooting would ever fix), I wasn't aware of huge problems with the company or its products.

What I found out by experience makes me suspect that the company that had gotten good reviews had been abducted by aliens, and replaced by an ersatz replica or something. Correlation between happy customers and company that produced crap I bought just is not there. I am not talking about customer support (no point calling them wrt. badly designed piece of hardware, IMO, it is not not something a script-reading underpaid remote helper can help a lot with), but rather about quality of hardware. My experience beyond PC fiasco was that their products are competitively priced, but have low quality. For example, laser printer that I bought to replace trusty old Apple writer (which, after having bought second hand, served us for 8 years; for total lifetime of probably 15 years; and would have worked well but I couldn't find new toner cartridges for reasonable prices any more!) was inexpensive, and worked fine for a while. Like, maybe a year. And then broke down. The only thing left are LCD monitors, which I have to admit were reasonably priced, and still work. In fact both are still in active use. So I guess they do produce something other than lemons.

Thinking about that last sentence: I guess I could put my feelings into fitting slogan: Dell -- General Motors of Computers.
Feel free to quote.

ps. I am happy to admit that after kicking that incompetent CEO of theirs out, HP seems to have done nice comeback. Good for them, and us.

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