Dell/Toshiba Laptop Advice

  SURVEY 17:02 05 Jan 2005
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Tried to purchase a Dell laptop over the last few days and I am finding purchasing from Dell much more difficult than it used to be (I have bought 3 other computers from them some 7-8 years ago).

First call - I could not understand a word that the sales person was saying as calls appear to be routed through India. Then eventually spoke to sales in Ireland and the broad Irish accent was difficult to understand. The Irish chap was helpful and promised to email me the quote - it never arrived. Phoned again today, 3 attempts to get through, twice cut off, then got an Indian again very difficult to understand indeed. Asked about XP Home and asked what 'no media' in their spec meant and she told me that this was No Media Player. Also told that no XP disks are provided and when I queried what would happen in the event of a recovery being necessary she said - no disks provided again!! Previously the operating system had always been provided by Dell.

Why no Media Player, why no operating system disks? Why having to strain to understand the accent at the end of the phone. I am giving up on Dell until they get their act together. This is taking cost cutting too far.

I am looking for something like a Pentium 4, 512 MB RAM, 40+GB Hard drive and preferably 64MB graphics, CDRW or DVDRW. Any suggestions for a reliable machine supplied with operating system disks? The laptop is for my daughter who lives in Sardinia and I want to ensure as far as is possible that the laptop is as reliable as possible. Dell has a pan-European warranty that would have been very useful but they appear to have blown it with me!

I will probably have to go with a Toshiba from PC World. I am looking at the £800 Equium A60-173. Good spec - anybody any comments? As I cannot find any assistants to serve me at the two PC World shops I have visited, can anyone tell me of any problems with the standard warranty at PC World, whether the operating system disks are provided and whether SP2 is loaded?

  Diodorus Siculus 08:47 06 Jan 2005

I can only speak from my experience in answering your queries. I was looking at Dell but in the end went with Toshiba from PCW for the similar reasons - good spec and it was there to take away.

"any problems with the standard warranty at PC World?" - there should be none - it comes with a one year warranty and current consumer legislation is pretty good. If you do have a problem go to PCW with all relevant facts and you will hopefully find them helpful.

"whether the operating system disks are provided" - yes, in the form of a recovery disk as well as three other disks with various programs and utilities.

"and whether SP2 is loaded" - it was on the one I bought on Dec 27th.

This was for a friend but had it been for me, I would have gone for a centrino machine - lightweight with good battery life. Your final decision will depend on what you want - a desktop replacement or otherwise.

  SURVEY 09:09 06 Jan 2005

Diodorus Sirculus - thanks for your reply. Stuck with a laptop as my daughter has very little room in her temporary accommodation in Sardinia; would have had better value with a dssktop but it can't be. I felt that Toshiba has a good reputation and my worry was PCW. However your response has been very useful indeed so I am probably going to go this route.

  anchor 09:57 06 Jan 2005

I agree; Toshiba notebooks are one of the leaders in the field. Their web site is excellent for driver, etc, updates.

Note: John Lewis stores provide a 2 year warranty, and will price match other high street retailers. In my opinion, they are also probably the most customer orientated retailer in the UK.

This seems a good one for you to consider:

click here

  Al94 10:12 06 Jan 2005

Agree anchor but seems an expensive option for the apparent purpose. Would this click here to be a good option?

  SURVEY 12:00 06 Jan 2005

Thanks to you all. I have looked at teh alternative suggetsed by Al94 but I feel 512MB RAM is really necessary thes days to run most software. Also I prefer a Pentium to Celeron for the same reason. Thus you cannot really escape a price tag of about £750-800.

  bunz 17:05 06 Jan 2005

I am posting from my Dell Lappy which I bought thru their website about 3 months ago.

I has media player, and a stack of disks came with it, XP Home is there but doesn't look like one of MS's disk, but it is def there

I've spoken to the call centre once, the person I spoke to did have an indian accent but obviously had better english than the one's you have encountered.

Personally I wouldn't be without my Dell, superbly built, good value for money and I got to chose what I wanted thru their site. I'm happy.

click here This is the basic version of what I have, I tweaked a few things which I wanted, paid just over £800 (or my other half did hee hee)

Hope this helps :)

  SURVEY 17:28 06 Jan 2005

Bunz - I am sure that your Dell is OK. The computers that I had previoulsy bought from Dell were generally OK. Having re-checked that Dell will not provide Media Player and is thus giving a cut-down version of XP seems really mean and perhaps reflect their emphasis on cost cutting. gald you were able to comprehend the sales desk accent better than me! Although informed that Dell would now not supply any disks i am sure they must provide a Recovery disk that probably does contain their cut-down version of XP but the very fact that the two or three sales assistants I have spoken to seem to not know what is or not provided seems to herald future problems. I have also read on this forum that the same problem of understanding the service call centre can be demanding (I know that support is not a strong point of many computer suppliers but I know worry about Dell - do the really care at all??)

  The Regster 18:07 06 Jan 2005

Just thought I would add this link regarding Media Player and XP click here.

In a recent judgement MS were held to be abusing their dominant market position by Euro judges. They are being forced to remove MP from the OS package to allow other providers (Real et al) a fighting chance in the media player 'market'. I suspect this is why Dell are selling a version of XP without Media Player.

Most other machines have presumably been built in advance and already shipped to the suppliers with XP & MP included (before the appeal judgement in December).

Now that MS has failed in its appeal I think they are probably following the rules of the original judgement. As Dell build machines to order there is no delay in MS shipping the latest versions of XP.

I don't think this has anything to do with Dell trying to sell a stripped out budget version of XP.

As for the recovery disks - that's another thing altogether ;)

  The Regster 18:09 06 Jan 2005

A more recent link to the MP story...

click here

  SURVEY 18:20 06 Jan 2005

Thank you all for the advice. I now understand about the Media Player ruling. If I was to go for the Dell laptop, how easy is it to obtain Media player 9 or 10. I have Media Player 9 on my desktop, can it be transferred easily or do I have to download it? If a download I am on dila-up not broadband - how large a file is it?

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