About 1 year ago I purchased an Alienware M14X. I had high hopes for it when I bought it. It looked amazing when I got it. 4 months down the line it started acting up. While my daughter’s learned to listen and understand our language, I’ve had to tone down my curses at the Alienware.
I paid a premium and bought the laptop because I wanted a sturdy one for gaming. I knew that it would be bulky but I had heard some good things about Alienware. My closest friend Osky uses one and I could see that it was a well built laptop. Not flimsy like the rest of the lot. So “armed” with this information I bought a laptop – an Alienware. Boy was I happy about it. I paid about 300 more than a comparable rig (XPS) but boy was I happy to get a well built laptop. It had an awesome resolution, a really funky bunch of options for all the LEDs on the keyboard and oh oh oh amazing horsepower. Team Fortress 2, Crysis, Far Cry3 all ran amazing on it. Boy was it awesome.
Yes, that was all the honeymoon period. Lasted exactly 2 months. Then the issues started cropping up. First the speakers started with a weird tearing sound. I thought that it was bad quality input but DVDs started playing a tearing sound. Since I was in India I could not do much but when I came to the US, I asked for the speakers to be replaced because the system was under warranty. Good service though – a Dell representative showed up in 3 days, promptly fixed the problem by replacing the existing speakers and off we went. Amazing sound. Brilliant sound. For exactly 1 month. Then the dreaded tearing sound returned. In the meantime the warranty also ran out so I did not bother with getting it fixed. Sure I could have bought extended warranty but why should I buy extended warranty? Didn’t I pay a premium already? Also is there like a timer? 1 year and things start falling apart.
About 6 months into the purchase I started noticing that the keyboard was rather flaky. The keys would pop out and the spacebar looked like a bunch of elephants banged on it. I use my left thumb to hit the space bar and the bar was and still is tilted to the left. The enter key started rattling first and now all the keys have a cheap plastic knocking on the door sound to them. I realised that most of the key pads were wearing out and some of the plastic latches have already broken off. 1 year and this happens? Weird. I’ve used cheap keyboards in the past 10USD ones – and they lasted 2 yrs. This one is supposed to be Alienware. More like Worn Down now.
I did not spend more money to end up with the same bad parts. Come on!! And then there was the issue with drivers. I had to re-install the OS and it was might hard to spot the ethernet drivers. For some reason the filters against my login/tag don’t list an ethernet driver. After searching on the Dell forums, I realised that they were listed under a different name and this driver did not show up in the list I filtered from my laptop tag.
Anyway, spending extra money on a laptop that’s turned this bad this soon is not a worthwhile investment. Don’t get me wrong the CPU, GPU, RAM and HDD along with the screen are still amazing. I thought I bought a laptop – not assembled one. I want to see if I can replace the keyboard but I can always stick a USB keyboard and get along. It’s just that these repeat issues don’t leave a good feeling when we talk about “premium” laptops. I’ve already used a Lenovo T420s. I guess I’ll stick with Lenovo Thinkpads. They cost about the same and they have rock solid build. The keyboard is a sweet thing.
I also realised that most online reviews only review what they can see for a few days. Understandably that is the case but I’ve realised that it is time to use reviews to know what is bad – not what is good.
Tah tah Dell/Alienware. Hello Lenovo/Asus.