Thursday, January 29, 2009


Okay. I know that this blog is supposed to be positive and about all of the good things in my life. But I don't have any other blog where this would be any more suitable. So this is my chance to vent. So please forgive this moment of negativity...

Alienware used to be one of the top PC systems out there. Then they were bought by Dell. Now they are pure garbage.

My company bought four laptops for our use out on the road. Well at least three of these four, after about 1 1/2 years, are practically shot. ALL of the laptops have had display driver issues since out-of-the-box. This means that periodically the screen will go black, and when it returns it tells you that a display driver failed and recovered.

At least one of the laptops had a microphone that had to be repaired. There may be more microphone failures in the other laptops, but we haven't even tested them.

The speakers are HORRENDOUS! You turn the volume up full blast, and *still* have to hold the laptop up to your ear to hear what is going on. And on at least two of the laptops the volume wheel has some sort of short in it so that as you try to turn the volume up or down, the sound actually goes in an out. Not like it's supposed to! You can have it full blast, turn it down just a notch and it will turn off completely, so you *tap* the wheel and the sound comes back on again.

And now on the laptop that I am currently typing on, the volume wheel has become shot, so it just spins in a circle, around and around, as the volume goes in and out. And you can no longer turn the volume totally off on this computer-- you can only turn it *down*.

We just returned from a show, and we discovered a BUNCH of problems with the laptops, which we weren't even aware of. Out of three laptops, one has multiple weird little issues going on, and the other two have video issues causing them to either not work with any projectors, or work with the projectors only on 800 resolution (you would have the resolution set to 1024, turn on the projector, F4 to show the laptop screen on the projector screen, and it would switch to 800 resolution. F4 again to take the laptop screen off of the projector screen, and it would again switch to 1024 resolution. The shot below shows two of the laptops side-by-side. The one on the left is successfully staying at 1024 resolution when running on the projector. The other switches to 800 resolution, and therefore looks much larger and shows much less on the screen.


At one point, one of the computers was staying at 1024 resolution, but it was cutting off the left and right sides of the screen when displaying up on the projector screen. Only switching it down manually to 800 res resolved the issue.

Nearly every single time that I boot up this laptop I am using right now, it has a crash dump or some other error, or it tells you that it was improperly shutdown last time (which is untrue-- it is always properly shutdown).

Battery life is also poor.

The mouse pad is so sensitive (seems to maybe be *heat* sensitive), that you can not even touch it, but just the movement of your fingers *over* it while you type causes your cursor to jump all over the screen.

We were *so* excited when we got these laptops, knowing their reputation. And we have been *so* disappointed with them. Now we are planning on selling all four of them, and just buying two or three cheap laptops (these laptops cost about $1500 each).

What a huge disappointment. I will never buy an Alienware computer or a Dell again! Buyer beware!

UPDATE 1/31/09: Now, in addition to everything else, my mousepad on this laptop has failed. I cannot move my cursor, not scroll up or down. I am having to use an external mouse.


Lori Anderson Designs said...

Good to know, as this computer is old and feeling like retiring (without giving me advance notice).

Great-Granny Grandma said...

Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience with your Dell Laptops. I love mine. Do you think you might have gotten a bad batch of lemons?
Have never heard of Alienware.
Anyway, just wanted to thank you for entering my giveaway and giving me a chance to meet you. Am enjoying visiting your several blogs.

nfmgirl said...

Hi, Lori! Yep, I'd definitely stay away from Alienware, but you probably would have already avoided it. They aren't something you'd buy in a general electronics store, but are special-ordered from the company.

When it's time for a new one, take a look at HP or Acer or Asus, or something of that nature. These days you can get some really good laptops for not a lot of money. There recently was an HP laptop with a dual-core processor for about $500 at Best Buy. Awesome deal!

Great-Granny: I'm glad that your Dell has done well by you. Alienware used to be a top-of-the-line system commonly used for gaming. So we had high hopes with the four that we bought. If we had only bought one, I would definitely give them the benefit of the doubt and think maybe I just got a lemon. But problems with all four laptops? Naw. There is at least some serious issues with the Alienware M5550 model, if not Alienware systems in general. I've become disillusioned with them. But "Rock On" with your Dell. I hope it gives you many good years of service!

Thanks for stopping by!