Thursday, February 2, 2012

XPS 15z: Why you should not buy a premium Dell laptop

UPDATE: Please scroll down to the bottom for updates on my issue. Probably, I should change the title since Dell offered a satisfactory solution to me.

I recently purchased a USB 3.0 external HDD (Toshiba Canvio 1 TB USB 3.0 portable external HDD) and found that my Dell XPS 15z laptop does not recognize the HDD on the USB 3.0 port.  I called the technical support and they sent a technician. He came to my apartment to fix this issues along with a couple of other issues which included manufacturing defects of the laptop hinge part and the bottom casing. Well, yesterday I saw how poorly this laptop components are manufactured/assembled and how poorly the Dell technicians are trained. Unfortunately, the attempted repair did much more damage than any issues I previously had. See the pictures of my laptop after an attempted repair by a Dell approved technician.

Well, I thought Dell will take the responsibility to resolve the unfortunate situation and step up to support it's customer for the inconvenience caused; especially since I've purchased premium support from Dell and since I'm a Dell Preferred Account holder. But Dell telephone technical support in India has totally let me down today. It's quite disappointing especially since I considered myself loyal to the company products. If you read my older posts, you'll realize how much I liked my Dell XPS 15z. I've also posted helpful hints for fellow XPS 15z users since Dell Inc was incompetent to provide user friendly manuals for it's customers. In fact, some of my pages are on top ten hits for Dell XPS 15z related Google search for a reason; simply there is no other online resources available to the XPS 15z customers. 

My observations:
  • The XPS 15z casing components are very flimsy. It'll deform easily if not delicately handled. (Don't attempt to replace the battery or RAM memory or internal hard disk yourself unless you are skillful; it is such a mess to open the case)
  • When the technician opened the casing, I saw that many of the internal components were made by Foxconn, which makes parts for Apple MacBooks, iPhones etc. (Probably, that's why Dell chose to contract them for XPS 15z parts?)
  • The contract based technicians are probably not trained to open and handle XPS 15z
  •  The Dell telephone tech support teams were not friendly. They appears to me as adamant and unhelpful adhering to rules rather than trying to provide a good solution to the frustrated customer.
  •  I would really like to have a support team and shop in my city, so that I can drive there and get a solution from the experts rather than untrained contract technicians. But I believe I don't have a choice with Windows PC manufactures. I have to compromise on that.
 I'm awaiting for the solution by Dell and let me see how Dell will handle the situation. One thing is sure, I will not recommend a Dell product to anyone looking to purchase a premium laptop. I'm willing to pay more money for a better customer experience and product support. Dell is simply not the company that can provide you that. 

I wrote a clear e-mail stating my problems, my service tag, customer number, my contact number etc to Dell CEO Micheal Dell attaching the above pictures. Within 24 hrs, I got a call from Dell corporate office. They have acknowledged the issue and offered me a full refund or a brand new one at the earliest they can configure and ship. I opted for a new one. I think I'm satisfied now since they took effort to reach me and offer a satisfactory solution. I would still buy another Dell product if I find the product is worth my hard earned money. I'll update the story as it unravels.

I also want to know whether these USB 3.0 external hard drive configs match for the stated devices. I'm not sure at this moment whether it's a specification mismatch problem with my laptop or it's the external HDD. I would suggest you not to buy  Toshiba Canvio 1 TB USB 3.0 portable external HDD if you are a XPS 15z user. I'll update the issue as I have some.


  1. I opened the case myself to replace the hdd, and when I put it together again, it aligned perfectly. I am not even a tech guy, just regular joe. I believe you had very poor technician. I did watch youtube video on how to open the bottom case, so I was mentally very careful and took my sweet time opening the case (took me like 2 hours to open the case and put the case back perfectly)

    1. Thanks for sharing your experience. You are right. Since I had to take the laptop to office, I tried to put it together myself and it aligned well. But the bezel got broken because the technician was not aware it was flimsy. Also the replacement parts they shipped to the technician were defective.

      I guess the technician didn't care to put it back because the laptop was expected to be shipped to the Dell depo.

  2. Hi, I'm having the same problem with my Dell XPS 15z, the Canvio I have is not detected, when it is detected the driver failed. I tried it on another Dell product, the Inspiron One and it worked fine, and also tried it with a Toshiba notebook, again it worked OK.

    The thing is I'm in Indonesia and Dell does not have the support as where you are, I am hoping that this can be fixed somehow, I would still opt for Dell product.

    Also, I might try the option of getting a USB 3.0 power adapter split Y cable, but the speed would be different right?

    Anyway, the article helped, thanks a bunch.

  3. sorry this should have been on a different article... :)

  4. 'Dell Approved Technician' such a joke!
    What Dell does will as some 3rd party to come and fix it.
    Not to say this itself is a bad idea...but those technicians have no idea about the new design of Dell XPS 15z
    Now, what is the result of that horrendous practice...they are basically learning the design at your expense (just great!)

    ok, in my case, technician came trying to replace my LCD (for a bezel issue) and he just had mo idea how to open the lappy...resulting in a messed up the lappy...dents and all.. and apart from that, messed up the webcam such that there is no sound on the webcam!
    Fast forward, call DELL again and they suggest replace LCD again (lol) to fix the audio issue. Come the same technician, replaced the LCD and the main issue is not resolved :(

    So what does Dell do?
    They say we can't fix it, so will send a refurbished laptop! - why refurbished? because it is more than a month (sheesh!)...only reason I accepted is because trying to fix that already messed up lappy is just no use.

    Just to compare my old lappy - Thinkpad Z60t - the only issue I had to call support for was a bad battery and that was after a year.

  5. my XPS 15z also didn't recognize USB a hard disc at first (actually 2 hard discs)

    I searched under Computer Management > Disk Management and it was there, but without a Letter (like D: ) assigned to it.

    So I assigned it a letter and since then everything went well.

    And the notebook overheats terribly :(

    1. In my case, the HDD lights blinked and made clicking sound. It never get connected/recognized.

      If your notebook overheats, some CPU intensive process is running crazy. Find it out what it is and kill/stop/disable it.

  6. Our company purchased 2 xps 15z with the 1080p screen and both had same problem as in photo you posted above. Dell send 2 replacement but the replacement were also just as bad. I am done with Dell, never getting another one again.

  7. I bought a xps 15z in dec 2011 and I also had nothing but trouble. On one of the very few occasions that I used the machine as a portable device, the silver rim around the machine broke at the rear corner. It is made of very flimsy plastic, not smooth to the touch, and obviously breaks easily. I wrote to Dell to get it repaired under warranty(this happened 3 months after purchase), but got the response back that as this was not stopping the machine from working and was purely cosmetic I would have to pay for it myself. So I offered to drive round to their offices to have it repaired, but no, a technician would have to come to my house, so the whole repair would have cost me 260 euro - you can buy a new laptop for that! And all this on a brand new machine. I used a bit of clear tape to fix the rim so it does not brake further and left it like that. Not very pretty, nor particularly stable, but workable. But certainly not what I would expect from a premium Dell machine. I wrote to them that after having bought already 3 machines from them I would NEVER ever buy a Dell again. This did not help but perhaps I should have directed the letter to Michael Dell directly. I did not think of that!
    I also agree that the user instructions are bad. So thanks for posting the tips of the track pad, because even though I have owned the laptop now for more than a year I had not worked these things out. Whether they actually will work for me only time will tell.
    Next time it will be an Apple after all!!!