Inspiron 8600, 1.4 Mhz, with the nVidea card. 3-year extended next day service. Had the following fail:
Keyboard worn out after less than two years (same on my previous 8000). SOme keys didn't work every time anymore, and as the mouse was also starting to fail, I got a new keyboard.
Network card failed periodically, got a new main board in the process as network card is built into mainboard.
128 MB nVidea screen card failed. blue screen of death and all that. Was away from home, Dell couldn't fix it (in the Emirates). Calling support eventually revealed to them that I had used my Dell as a portable device, taking it to other places than room temperature. A Dell is not made to be transported on aircraft, not to be used outside if not room temperature. My warranty was voided from that point of!!!
It P me off that whenever you call support, no matter what the problem is, first thing they want you to do is to reinstall windows. As if it was a kitchen appliance or something. For a 100% sure hardware failure (the periodically broken network card), they wanted me to reinstall windows? I eventually had to lie to them, just to get it fixed. I could not send them a screen shot, as they have no direct email (company policy).
After my 3-year 500$ warranty was voided, I had to fork up for a new video card myself, at own expense. Also, delivery time is 2 weeks or so, there was nowhere I could enter a store or shop to buy it off the shelf. If my service hadn't been void, they would have fixed it next day - so how can they get parts for service in less than 24 hours, when it takes 2 weeks for part ordering? The same was for when I ordered a bluetooth card, it took three weeks for it to be delivered.
Dell service and policy is very arrogant and stiff, the employees were in general polite in support, but they have to abide but the most stupid set of rules. I realize they have to protect themselves against software errors before they send a technical repair serviceperson, but this is too extreme.
First I had an Inspiron 8000, with no extra warranty. As keyboard and other things failed after two years, I got a new one, the 8600 with three year 24 hour on the spot service (extra 500$ or so), to make me feel secure about the product.
I joined these forums in search of the most reliable notebook. One you can use indoor and outdoor, it must be able to go on regular flights (I travel a lot by air), and I don't want flaky hardware (like nVidea!). By the way, the new video card I have ordered is NOT nVidea, I will try the ATI now - hope it is more reliable. I have read that there are many problems with BSOD on nVidea cards.
So, now I don't know whether to get a Dell the third time, with a three year on the spot warranty again, or wheter to get a Fujitsu Siemens, Toshiba or what. Who has the best service plans? Where (Europe) can I just take my notebook in for repair, buy parts from a normal storage (no 2 weeks+ delivery time plz)?
If I DO nuy a Dell again, it will be with the extra warranty, but this time I will lie to them and say that I only use my notebook in my living room, I never move it, and that I have done everything the manual says. If they ask me to reinstall Windows, I will say that I already tried that, but it didn't help.
Any suggestions then ... ?