Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

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knpstr
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by knpstr »

protagonist wrote:
Lenovo support used to be fabulous, and I think it's less fabulous now—but still much better than Dell.
This morning I called Lenovo to change my order on my new Thinkpad- add a larger SSD. When I called the msg. recording said it would take 7 minutes for an agent to respond. It took 45 minutes.

And that was the SALES department! They want my business (or so I would think). I can imagine how long support for an existing unit could take.
I could absolutely be wrong as this is just an assumption, but doesn't the majority of telephone support get outsourced to call centers? Isn't it highly likely the HP/Dell/Lenovo/etc phone support is all handled by very similar standards if not the same people?
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hudson
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by hudson »

protagonist wrote:Reviewers across the board seem to lavish incredible praise on the Dell XPS 13- most choose it as the best ultrabook available. Here is an example from a reviewer I consider generally reliable: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-be ... ultrabook/

Yet it gets mediocre reviews from users, who have loads of complaints about build quality and other issues. This is true on multiple sites. On Amazon the XPS 13 gets a 3.7 rating with 21% rating it as "poor" (1 star).

Can anybody explain the discrepancy?
I've had one almost a year..."XPS 13, Windows 10 Home 64-bit English...$749.99" I've had zero problems with it and I would buy it again.
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Toons
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Toons »

Get the Dell
One Year In home service/
Use it if you need it.
:happy
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by amd2135 »

knpstr wrote:
protagonist wrote:This morning I called Lenovo to change my order on my new Thinkpad- add a larger SSD. When I called the msg. recording said it would take 7 minutes for an agent to respond. It took 45 minutes.

And that was the SALES department! They want my business (or so I would think). I can imagine how long support for an existing unit could take.
I could absolutely be wrong as this is just an assumption, but doesn't the majority of telephone support get outsourced to call centers? Isn't it highly likely the HP/Dell/Lenovo/etc phone support is all handled by very similar standards if not the same people?
The last time I called Lenovo for support I was connected to an IBM call center in Atlanta. They were knowledgeable and prompt. That was a few years ago though- my most recent experience was through their "managed technical support" website. It's a bit clunky but they were, as always, prompt and paid for next day air shipping of a box to me, to them, and back again.

I don't have experience with their sales line but I suspect that Black Friday volumes have something to do with it.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by protagonist »

knpstr wrote: doesn't the majority of telephone support get outsourced to call centers? Isn't it highly likely the HP/Dell/Lenovo/etc phone support is all handled by very similar standards if not the same people?

That's an interesting theory. I bet you are right. It would explain why so many people complain about customer service regardless of what make computer they own. That even seems to be true about Apple, which surprises me since I was under the assumption that a major selling point for Apple was their superior tech support. Consumeraffairs.com show 81% of Apple users give their tech support a 1 star rating. That is still better than Dell or Lenovo, but not by much. (In fact, the reason I initially switched from iPhone to Android was a horrible customer service experience. I have never tried Google tech support for Android, if that even exists, but I imagine that it would likely be useless as well).

Regarding build quality, I doubt if it ultimately matters what make computer you buy. Comparisons I have seen online often are comparing apples and oranges (no pun intended)- models with markedly different specs. Sometimes you are lucky. Sometimes not.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by United2008 »

I've had an XPS 13 (8 gb ram, i5) for about 6 months. Very pleased. I did self-upgrade to a 1TB hard drive, which was very easy to do and cost a bit over $100. The computer is very thin and light, and I can easily get over 8 hours from the battery. The only negative I've noticed so far is the well-documented coil whine issue, which does not affect performance and for me generally is not noticeable. The thin screen bezel is great too - the laptop has the same form factor as my wife's 11 inch Macbook Air, but has substantially more screen space.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Pajamas »

I know nothing about this computer but professional reviewers likely spent less time with it than consumer reviewers.

Professional reviewers might also be comparing its features and specs against similar devices and use software tests for performance. Consumers care more about how well it does what they actually use it for and how well it holds up over time.

Professional reviewers also tend to review the new models available to them for review and consumers review what they have, especially if they are unhappy with it. Many a consumer review is really a complaint in the form of a review.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by saver007 »

After using my new xps 13 for few days, I have to say I love it!. I was initially sceptical about reviews but now I will vouche for it!
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by udenyyp »

saver007 wrote:After using my new xps 13 for few days, I have to say I love it!. I was initially sceptical about reviews but now I will vouche for it!
How about the keyboard and display? I can't make a decision between XPS 13 and ThinkPad X1 Carbon. I heard it is hard to reset dell xps password as Dell makes a strict policy towards it.
Last edited by udenyyp on Thu Mar 23, 2017 9:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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celia
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by celia »

Too many people have gone off topic and started talking about their own computer when the questions is: Why do "professional" reviews give different reviews than users?

When I saw the title of this thread, I had an immediate answer, that hasn't been discussed, with the exception of:
Broken Man 1999 wrote:What is important to one person might not be important to someone else.

Kinda like Consumer Reports rating something on THEIR idea of what makes an item worthy of purchase. Might not be the focus of YOUR idea of worth at all.
I think that the "professional" reviewers are geeks who are "up" on all the latest technology and what can be done on computers these days. The average person isn't. They just want something reliable that does what they typically do, probably surf the internet, skype, play games or music, work on documents or spreadsheets. I see users as more like yelp reviewers. People don't go around all day and critique the burger they had for lunch, the gas they bought at the pump, or the doctor they last saw. But if they had a very good or very poor experience with any of these, then they want to spread the word, and thus write a review.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by lazydavid »

knpstr wrote:Congrats, IMHO 8gb is the way to go now days. 4gb no longer seems to really cut it. So I think you made the right choice there.
4GB hasn't cut it for the better part of a decade. I buy about 50 laptops per year (run an IT shop at a midsized company), and the last ones I ordered with 4GB were 8 years ago. I wound up having to recall all of those for a memory upgrade before they were due for replacement. All the laptops I've bought in the past 4 years have been equipped with 16GB, to avoid having to repeat that experience.

Back OT, I haven't used the XPS 13, but just started buying the Latitude 7370 which is essentially the business version. Very sweet little ultrabook. Keyboard's a touch on the small side, which is kind of odd since there's room for a bigger one. No fans, so it's absolutely silent, and it has that gorgeous high-res touchscreen, with the matte finish that I prefer.
Last edited by lazydavid on Sat Mar 11, 2017 8:22 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by knpstr »

lazydavid wrote:
knpstr wrote:Congrats, IMHO 8gb is the way to go now days. 4gb no longer seems to really cut it. So I think you made the right choice there.
4GB hasn't cut it for the better part of a decade. I buy about 50 laptops per year (run an IT shop at a midsized company), and the last ones I ordered with 4GB were 8 years ago. I wound up having to recall all of those for a memory upgrade before they were due for replacement. All the laptops I've bought in the past 4 years have been equipped with 16GB, to avoid having to repeat that experience.
I definitely thing 8GB is adequate but certainly 16GB would be useful to "future proof" your hardware. Unfortunately for the XPS 13 to go from 8GB to 16GB (from Dell) you have to go from $1,050 to $1,750 price point. That is just a memory upgrade, but you can't buy a "lower end" with lots of memory from them.

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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by oldcomputerguy »

Simple. The magazine reviewers have to sell ads. It doesn't pay them to anger a large advertiser. On the other hand, the users have no skin in the game of keeping Dell happy, and can tell it like it is.

For my money, I will never purchase another Dell machine. It may be one of the most popular brands with magazine reviewers, but my experience has been that their support is horrible.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by SpringMan »

Personally I don't think reviewers do a just job on their reviews. Take Leo Laporte for example, he reviews technology on his TWIT TV podcasts and radio show. He buys almost every high end phone, laptop etc. There is not enough time in his day to adequately and objectively review the products he buys. He reviewed an Apple iMac "all in one" computer and remarked that it has no fan so consequently it is very quiet. They do have a fan. He reviewed a Dell XPS 13 and gave it high marks though the webcam is on the bottom because it has tiny bezels which is bad for Skype. Later he remarked how great it was after he installed Linux on it. He gave good reviews of Vizio TVs and did not even know that many Vizio models don't have tuners which cord cutters don't like because it rules out over the air reception with an antenna. I put little faith in Leo Laporte's reviews.
Best Wishes, SpringMan
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by mortal »

Shrug. I dunno what to tell you. I love mine. I don't tend to trust user reviews on the extreme good or bad end of the bell curve. Mine's a i5/8gb ram / 256 ssd for $850. Also, it has excellent linux support which is a must for me. The only issue I've had with it is missing the touchpad from my work MBP, but I'll dry my tears with the $1150 I saved :D
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by sambb »

had the xps 13
couldnt stand it
terrible trackpad
screen glare

much more happy with macbook or lenovo products
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by PFInterest »

XPS 13 9343
- i5 w. HT/8GB DDR3/256GB SSD. under-volted and replaced thermal compound (if anyone wants more info about this let me know).
- the early complaints of the wifi chip have been corrected with drivers.
- the update cycle was longer than expected, got a BIOS update in Dec 2016 more than a year after i bought it. so kudos to dell. i suspect no further devo will go into this unit which is fine.
- track pad uses precision drivers, but i use a wireless mouse primarily.
- screen gets plenty bright, rocking 1080p nontouch. has miniDP for external monitor if needed. the footprint of this unit is GREAT because of the bezels. 13 inch screen in an 11 inch form factor. Win-Win.
- can replace SSD in future if needed but unfortunately RAM is permanent. super easy to open, the SSD is front and center. SATA based not NVMe. for those not familiar it does not matter given work flow expected from this unit. plenty fast.
- it is a lower end liteon unit but random 4k R/W about 25/85 MB/s. (if anyone wants more info about this let me know)
- keyboard is passable, not great. the back light is great though. the only thing that is odd is my left ctrl key is finicky, oh well.
- i dont care about the webcam placement. ive used it once.
- build quality otherwise excellent. nothing else out of place or has become dislodged. the finish has not had any areas that have become worn, which is surprising.
- port selection is good. USB A 3.0 x2, SD card, above mentioned mini DP. new ones have been updated of course.
- never used the battery indicator on side but i can see it being helpful.
- speakers are....there. but loud enough to watch video in a coffee shop if needed.
- unlike iPhone 7 HAS A HEADPHONE JACK LOL #troll

tl;dr
in summary, has worked flawlessly. can get 8-10h of my workflow still 2 years later. still highly recommended as the go to thin and light Windows 10 laptop right now. the new units are always being appropriately updated. IMO theres nothing out there to challenge this unit yet. like apple, dell learned to stick with a winning formula for now.

to the OP, reviews are just that, reviews. they are not set in stone. i bought mine based on feature set, and i would have returned it immediately if it didnt work for me, but it did, so i have kept it. plan to replace it in about 2 more years.
Last edited by PFInterest on Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by PFInterest »

udenyyp wrote:
saver007 wrote:After using my new xps 13 for few days, I have to say I love it!. I was initially sceptical about reviews but now I will vouche for it!
How about the keyboard and display? I can't make a decision between XPS 13 and ThinkPad X1 Carbon
you need to try them for yourself. go to a local bestbuy or something. not a single one of us can tell you if itll work for you!
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by see_ping81 »

Really late reply I know, four years later=)

I have a Gen 6 X1 Carbon and I love it. I got it because I had an older Thinkpad before and I loved the keyboard on it. I did consider getting an XPS 15, but not really the XPS 13 because of the too small screen size. Anyhow, I ultimately decided against the XPS 15 because of all the issues mentioned across the web, including on Reddit. What's surprising is that even on Dell's own website reviews are not so great--probably 3.9/5, which I don't consider a great score. But reading all the reviews reveals that while it's a great product in terms of features, quality is hit and miss. If a website like Wirecutter loves the XPS 13, then I'm not at all surprised since they only tested one machine, which shows nothing about overall reliability/quality. After a year or so, I somehow also caught on to the fact that manufacturers do put a lot more time and resources into making sure business customers are happy, which are the ones buying notebooks meant for businesses like the Latitude and much of the Thinkpad line-up. As the XPS 13/15 are pro-sumer laptops, they're not going to get first-rate quality control or even support from Dell. For that you'll have to spend much more. I used to work at Best Buy where 95% of notebooks are consumer notebooks and I really got the impression cheap laptops really don't last very long.
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4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by hudson »

hudson wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:06 pm
protagonist wrote:Reviewers across the board seem to lavish incredible praise on the Dell XPS 13- most choose it as the best ultrabook available. Here is an example from a reviewer I consider generally reliable: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-be ... ultrabook/

Yet it gets mediocre reviews from users, who have loads of complaints about build quality and other issues. This is true on multiple sites. On Amazon the XPS 13 gets a 3.7 rating with 21% rating it as "poor" (1 star).

Can anybody explain the discrepancy?
I've had one almost a year..."XPS 13, Windows 10 Home 64-bit English...$749.99" I've had zero problems with it and I would buy it again.
Old discussion...I'll update my experiences with the XPS 13...
My XPS 13, now 5 years old is still doing fine; I'd buy it again. It's not my main computer. My power cable has been "borrowed" by a family member, so I probably need to order another.
Dell Service:
I worked in IT for years; we were a Dell only shop going through hundreds of computers, servers, and laptops. Dell Pro Service was excellent.
I really like Dell's support website. I usually don't need to call for non-business support. I've gotten good service when I have called...probably not at the level of Dell Pro Support....but good.
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by SmileyFace »

hudson wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:56 am
hudson wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:06 pm
protagonist wrote:Reviewers across the board seem to lavish incredible praise on the Dell XPS 13- most choose it as the best ultrabook available. Here is an example from a reviewer I consider generally reliable: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-be ... ultrabook/

Yet it gets mediocre reviews from users, who have loads of complaints about build quality and other issues. This is true on multiple sites. On Amazon the XPS 13 gets a 3.7 rating with 21% rating it as "poor" (1 star).

Can anybody explain the discrepancy?
I've had one almost a year..."XPS 13, Windows 10 Home 64-bit English...$749.99" I've had zero problems with it and I would buy it again.
Old discussion...I'll update my experiences with the XPS 13...
My XPS 13, now 5 years old is still doing fine; I'd buy it again. It's not my main computer. My power cable has been "borrowed" by a family member, so I probably need to order another.
Dell Service:
I worked in IT for years; we were a Dell only shop going through hundreds of computers, servers, and laptops. Dell Pro Service was excellent.
I really like Dell's support website. I usually don't need to call for non-business support. I've gotten good service when I have called...probably not at the level of Dell Pro Support....but good.
I wonder if its only certain models that have troubles. I bought 2 9365 versions of the XPS-13 (the 2 in 1 version) and both crapped out right after warranty period ended. Bought them after I tried out a relatives - loved the size/weight and feel of the machine. Neither of mine would power up any longer andnsame thing happened to relative after 18 months. I went online and Dell allowed me to extend the warranty for $100 (even though original warranty had expired by a couple of months) so I did so on one of the two machines hoping to get more time out of one of them. I reported the issue and sent it in for repair.
Well - I am now wishing I didn't spend the $100 as I have just thrown more money away - the machine is now on it's way back to Dell for the 3rd time - spends all its time back and forth to Dell for repair. Logic board replaced twice already - they claim they don't use refurbished parts on repairs but I wonder. Looking up reviews it appears I am not the only one - this laptop is a lemon for sure. I Just bought a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga. I will never buy any Dell again after this experience.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by nisiprius »

1) IMHO all reviews are much more valuable for descriptions of salient, specific characteristics than overall quality. For example, I recently bought a monitor as a gift for a grandchild, and I was about to buy monitor X until I noticed that some online reviews mentioned that the speakers are supported through an audio jack but not through the HDMI input. This is a detail that might not matter at all to some buyers, yet be a deal-breaker for others.

2) Reviews in publications suffer from several major problems. A big one is that the reviewer only uses the product for a fairly short time, and thus isn't really judging long-term reliability or customer support.

3) I am convinced that manufacturers put higher-performance components into the very first production runs that reviewers get, and that the review units are customarily better than the one you will probably be getting. The reason I believe this is that for about ten years I wrote drivers for device with a real-time data stream demand, and disk "speed" as measured by internal transfer rate was critical. We bought models to see if they "qualified" to drive the device... and regularly found that a model might qualify in the early days, but that the "same" model bought six months later would be slower. And the official spec for the computer never committed to anything beyond drive capacity, rotational speed in RPM, and SCSI interface type. Hey, they promised 7200 RPM and a "fast SCSI" (10 MHz limit) interface and they delivered 7200 RPM and "fast SCSI," but the actual effective data speed--e.g. measured by copying a large file--was often a good deal lower in models shipped later.

4) Most publications are taking advertising and have a kind of "see no evil" policy. It is common to have a five-star rating system and for no product from an advertiser to ever get less than a three-star rating.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by SmileyFace »

A bit more info to my post above for someone that may be dealing with problems with one of these lemons (since I spent some time troubleshooting 3 of them). If yours doesn't power up:

- If the front LED is on when plugged in it may be a battery failure (this happened to 1 of the 3 I dealt with - we replaced the battery which gave us a couple more months then it crapped out entirely). To find out take out the bottom cover and locate the tiny-little battery cable (do this with power DISCONNECTED). Unplug the battery. Then plug it in and power it back on - if it now boots up you have a battery that has failed. Many report they fail after just a year - some say Dell will replace them for free. I ordered one and replaced myself since I was out of warranty on said machine. Gave me a couple more months before the machine died entirely.
- You can try holding power-button without power connected for more than 30 seconds to assure machine is fully down. Then plug back in and see if you can now power. If not - attempt to power-up again by holding F2 and Power at the same time (this is supposed to power you up in boot mode).
- Press the battery indicator button to see if you have signs off life. Also note if the keyboard light comes one when you hit power. If this is the case you have a better chance of booting in Boot mode. But even if this is the case you might still have a bad board.
- If you have given up on this piece-of-#@$# and want to pull stuff off the hard-drive you are in luck. These use an M2 form factor SSDs and the hard drive is likely good - pull off the bottom cover and locate it. Note that earlier versions of the these used a PCIe interface while newer versions are now SATA. You should see small writing on the drive that indicate the type of drive it is (and note the arrangement of pins on the interface after you pull it out). You can then spend $20 on an enclosure so you can plug the drive into another computer. Depending upon the drive type (make sure you know what kind you have - read online description of drive-enclosures carefully) you need either something like this: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B08C2THR25 or something like this: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07W4YMVQJ
Once you put the drive in the enclosure; if your drive was encrypted you will have to log into your Microsoft account to get your bitlocker key to access it.

YouTube can help you will much of the above.
I read the bad reviews for the first generation of these machines but since I was buying a later generation I had hoped all the bugs were worked out - not the case. The one I was personally using was lightly used - I have a separate work-laptop as well as a separate personal desktop (for most finance; photography; etc.). I bought this machine for some travel and light use while around the house and it still died shortly after the 1-year warranty.

It was no surprise to me when I bought a ThinkPad for personal use to replace it the extended warranty was FAR cheaper than what Dell charges to extend warranty on their machines.
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by hudson »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:29 am I bought 2 9365 versions of the XPS-13 (the 2 in 1 version) and both crapped out right after warranty period ended.
SmileyFace,
Mine is an XPS 13 (9343) purchased on Nov. 25, 2015.
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by SmileyFace »

hudson wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:43 am
SmileyFace wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:29 am I bought 2 9365 versions of the XPS-13 (the 2 in 1 version) and both crapped out right after warranty period ended.
SmileyFace,
Mine is an XPS 13 (9343) purchased on Nov. 25, 2015.
My two 9365's where both purchased earlier in 2019 - nothing but problems. My relative's was bought in 2018.
All three have died. The one that we extended the warranty on will be back from it's third repair tomorrow - will see how long it lasts this time - hoping to get at least another 6 months from it. I won't extend the warranty.

I've used ThinkPads for work for well over 15 years, traveling the world with them, using them very heavily - never an issue. But this Dell experience did make me decide to buy an extended warranty for the Lenovo Thinkpad (have never bought/needed extended warranties for computers before this recent Dell Laptop issue) I just bought for my in-college daughter to assure she doesn't get stuck without a computer the way these Dell's have vexed us. I decided to buy the extended warranty for 4-years - and pay extra for 1-day on-site - just to assure I am not spending all my time dealing with any issues going forward. The warranty from Lenovo was far cheaper than what Dell charges - that alone should tell us something.
Last edited by SmileyFace on Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:03 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by hudson »

nisiprius wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:02 am 1) IMHO all reviews are much more valuable for descriptions of salient, specific characteristics than overall quality. For example, I recently bought a monitor as a gift for a grandchild, and I was about to buy monitor X until I noticed that some online reviews mentioned that the speakers are supported through an audio jack but not through the HDMI input. This is a detail that might not matter at all to some buyers, yet be a deal-breaker for others.
I agree!
No matter how much research I do in advance of a purchase, I always miss something. This summer, I rented a mountain house in a remote location. The heat and air systems were old school; a call to the owner helped us learn the ropes. The marginal water supply was shared by 2-3 rental houses. The wifi was also shared very creatively by at least 2 rental houses. We were required to haul off our own trash. The location was perfect, so we'll probably rent there again, but we'll go in with our eyes wide open.

Digging deep into the reviews is always a plus.
Sometimes you just have to buy it and be ready to box it up and send it back.
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by SmileyFace »

hudson wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:01 am
nisiprius wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 8:02 am 1) IMHO all reviews are much more valuable for descriptions of salient, specific characteristics than overall quality. For example, I recently bought a monitor as a gift for a grandchild, and I was about to buy monitor X until I noticed that some online reviews mentioned that the speakers are supported through an audio jack but not through the HDMI input. This is a detail that might not matter at all to some buyers, yet be a deal-breaker for others.
I agree!
No matter how much research I do in advance of a purchase, I always miss something. This summer, I rented a mountain house in a remote location. The heat and air systems were old school; a call to the owner helped us learn the ropes. The marginal water supply was shared by 2-3 rental houses. The wifi was also shared very creatively by at least 2 rental houses. We were required to haul off our own trash. The location was perfect, so we'll probably rent there again, but we'll go in with our eyes wide open.

Digging deep into the reviews is always a plus.
Sometimes you just have to buy it and be ready to box it up and send it back.
The biggest problem with these laptop reviews that I see is they don't consider reliability records. I just went and scanned an updated version of the original review and the "How we picked" says nothing about reliability. It's nice if a laptop is feature-rich with high-performance and has everything you need - but if it breaks after a short lifetime it does you no good.
teCh0010
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by teCh0010 »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 7:29 am
hudson wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:56 am
hudson wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:06 pm
protagonist wrote:Reviewers across the board seem to lavish incredible praise on the Dell XPS 13- most choose it as the best ultrabook available. Here is an example from a reviewer I consider generally reliable: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-be ... ultrabook/

Yet it gets mediocre reviews from users, who have loads of complaints about build quality and other issues. This is true on multiple sites. On Amazon the XPS 13 gets a 3.7 rating with 21% rating it as "poor" (1 star).

Can anybody explain the discrepancy?
I've had one almost a year..."XPS 13, Windows 10 Home 64-bit English...$749.99" I've had zero problems with it and I would buy it again.
Old discussion...I'll update my experiences with the XPS 13...
My XPS 13, now 5 years old is still doing fine; I'd buy it again. It's not my main computer. My power cable has been "borrowed" by a family member, so I probably need to order another.
Dell Service:
I worked in IT for years; we were a Dell only shop going through hundreds of computers, servers, and laptops. Dell Pro Service was excellent.
I really like Dell's support website. I usually don't need to call for non-business support. I've gotten good service when I have called...probably not at the level of Dell Pro Support....but good.
I wonder if its only certain models that have troubles. I bought 2 9365 versions of the XPS-13 (the 2 in 1 version) and both crapped out right after warranty period ended. Bought them after I tried out a relatives - loved the size/weight and feel of the machine. Neither of mine would power up any longer andnsame thing happened to relative after 18 months. I went online and Dell allowed me to extend the warranty for $100 (even though original warranty had expired by a couple of months) so I did so on one of the two machines hoping to get more time out of one of them. I reported the issue and sent it in for repair.
Well - I am now wishing I didn't spend the $100 as I have just thrown more money away - the machine is now on it's way back to Dell for the 3rd time - spends all its time back and forth to Dell for repair. Logic board replaced twice already - they claim they don't use refurbished parts on repairs but I wonder. Looking up reviews it appears I am not the only one - this laptop is a lemon for sure. I Just bought a Lenovo Thinkpad X1 Yoga. I will never buy any Dell again after this experience.
I was issued a 9350 in 2016 as a work laptop, after 12 months I exercised my right to buy it and gave it to my kids. It is still humming along and is a good machine. My main complaint it the location of the camera below the screen, it shoots up your nose for zoom.

I was issued a 9365 as a replacement, I sent it back after a year. The ultra low power processor used in the 2 in 1 wasn’t working out for me. Replaced that with a MacBook Pro TouchBar that has been a good machine. Main complaint about both the MacBook and 9365 is that they didn’t include one regular USB port for connecting a thumb drive or USB clicker. When I present in big auditoriums (or used to pre covid) the AV guys have their own clicker systems they want to use and I end up needing my USB C dongle to connect them.
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SmileyFace
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by SmileyFace »

teCh0010 wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:45 am
I was issued a 9350 in 2016 as a work laptop, after 12 months I exercised my right to buy it and gave it to my kids. It is still humming along and is a good machine. My main complaint it the location of the camera below the screen, it shoots up your nose for zoom.

I was issued a 9365 as a replacement, I sent it back after a year. The ultra low power processor used in the 2 in 1 wasn’t working out for me. Replaced that with a MacBook Pro TouchBar that has been a good machine. Main complaint about both the MacBook and 9365 is that they didn’t include one regular USB port for connecting a thumb drive or USB clicker. When I present in big auditoriums (or used to pre covid) the AV guys have their own clicker systems they want to use and I end up needing my USB C dongle to connect them.
My work laptop is a ThinkPad P1 - I can't imagine using one of these Dell's for work.
Regarding USB-C - over time they may become the new standard; Thumb Drives, clickers, etc. are already starting to ship natively for them. In my years of travel I have always traveled with a handful of dongles for non-native ports on my machine regardless to handle any projector or clicker or other A/V item I might be faced with (USB, HDMI, Display-Port, RGB, etc.). If I not the speaker, I am that hero that runs to the front of the room for the speaker when they (and the conference center A/V expert) are having trouble hooking up lending out connectors.
Note they do sell very small USB/USB-C dongles (much smaller than the ones that Dell ships with).
Independent George
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Independent George »

Besides the aforementioned conflict of interest between advertisers and publishers, I think there are a couple other issues inherent to any professional review:

1. A professional reviewer will, by necessity, spend a limited amount of time with a machine before moving on to the next assignment. Besides being unable to answer questions of durability, it also means they are less likely to encounter the idiosyncrasies that every machine has.
2. Groupthink. Tech reviewers tend to have very similar backgrounds to each other, use their machines in similar ways, and to a certain extent write for each other rather than the much broader audience of people reading them. As such, I've noticed they tend to get fixated on small things which I'm sure makes sens to them, but which I never cared about (for example: the bezel thickness on a screen; does anybody actually genuinely care about this? Meanwhile, hardly anyone even makes mention of memory sticks or SSDs being soldered into the motherboard anymore.).

On the other hand, user reviews - especially for something as complex as a computer - tend to be all over the place. You definitely don't want to just glance at the average score, but want to read the details of the positive and negative reviews. Many reviews are written by people who have no idea what they're doing (for example, I remember one user review lambasting a company for not making it clear that an NVME drive would not connect with a SATA cable); others will clearly delineate specific issues which may or may not be important to you, and let the readers draw their own conclusions. You have to wade through a lot of trash to reach the treasure, and approach everything with a healthy skepticism, but they are worth reading.
Thegame14
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Thegame14 »

you cant trust reviews, companies buy/pay for 5 star reviews, and competitors do the same to give them 1 star reviews, it is a sham/scam game reviews I dont trust, id rather ask people who own the product or have used the service than trust online reviews. Or I will use the reviews and try to verify in person, so if I interview at a company and all the glassdoor reviews say owner is maniacal and the benefits suck and only 2 weeks vacation, I will ask on the interview about the management style of ownership and what are the typical benefits package looks like. Or if people say that battery life on product X is bad, I will ask about it before purchasing. So you have to take the reviews with a large grain of salt and look for specific examples, and avoid the reviews that just say it is great, but no specific examples and same with bad reviews...
DVMResident
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by DVMResident »

I only trust NoteBookCheck. They are scientific/very strict in their assessment so you can compare each device on a level playing field (not that they are perfect, but pretty dang close). User review OTOH are all over the map and often only written if they have a beef to pick or increasingly poke by the company, skewing towards best and worst reviews (and some are just fake).

I also think Dave Lee's "Every Laptop Sucks" video is worth a watch to get a macro understanding of laptops. While Dave Lee is technical, his video comes from the angle of an end-user.
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SmileyFace
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by SmileyFace »

DVMResident wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:43 am I only trust NoteBookCheck. They are scientific/very strict in their assessment so you can compare each device on a level playing field (not that they are perfect, but pretty dang close). User review OTOH are all over the map and often only written if they have a beef to pick or increasingly poke by the company, skewing towards best and worst reviews (and some are just fake).
But they too take money for ads which makes you question how honest they can be (e.g. don't want to upset Dell since they are collecting significant ad revenue from them).
This used to be an advantage of "Consumer Reports" - no ad-dollars meant no conflicts of interest.
wfrobinette
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by wfrobinette »

hudson wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 5:56 am
hudson wrote: Wed Nov 30, 2016 7:06 pm
protagonist wrote:Reviewers across the board seem to lavish incredible praise on the Dell XPS 13- most choose it as the best ultrabook available. Here is an example from a reviewer I consider generally reliable: http://thewirecutter.com/reviews/the-be ... ultrabook/

Yet it gets mediocre reviews from users, who have loads of complaints about build quality and other issues. This is true on multiple sites. On Amazon the XPS 13 gets a 3.7 rating with 21% rating it as "poor" (1 star).

Can anybody explain the discrepancy?
I've had one almost a year..."XPS 13, Windows 10 Home 64-bit English...$749.99" I've had zero problems with it and I would buy it again.
Old discussion...I'll update my experiences with the XPS 13...
My XPS 13, now 5 years old is still doing fine; I'd buy it again. It's not my main computer. My power cable has been "borrowed" by a family member, so I probably need to order another.
Dell Service:
I worked in IT for years; we were a Dell only shop going through hundreds of computers, servers, and laptops. Dell Pro Service was excellent.
I really like Dell's support website. I usually don't need to call for non-business support. I've gotten good service when I have called...probably not at the level of Dell Pro Support....but good.
The only thing I wish was different is the webcam. Being in the bottom left corner make it awkward for video chats.
DVMResident
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by DVMResident »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:51 am
DVMResident wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 11:43 am I only trust NoteBookCheck. They are scientific/very strict in their assessment so you can compare each device on a level playing field (not that they are perfect, but pretty dang close). User review OTOH are all over the map and often only written if they have a beef to pick or increasingly poke by the company, skewing towards best and worst reviews (and some are just fake).
But they too take money for ads which makes you question how honest they can be (e.g. don't want to upset Dell since they are collecting significant ad revenue from them).
This used to be an advantage of "Consumer Reports" - no ad-dollars meant no conflicts of interest.
Can you find any glaring bias in their reviews?

XPS 13 review is certainly no puff piece. For example, the review doesn't hold back on the webcam and cal out the Turbo Boost sustainability (which is fair because all XPS 13, 15, and 17 all aren't great for sustained workloads, e.g. gaming, which Dell will point you to Aleinware or Precision lines for gaming and heavy work).
mrmass
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by mrmass »

I got 3 to test. Gave them to 3 random employees. One big fail. not enough battery, no fan to cool, runs hot.
So overall They're likely fine for home use, but for domain realm, not good.
Tattarrattat
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Tattarrattat »

I'm typing on an xps 13 right now. It's at least four years old and it's been excellent. Best laptop I ever had. Does everything well and super reliable. The only criticism I would have at this point is now that Zoom meetings are a daily reality, is that the camera is in a poor position at the bottom of the screen, which shoots up at you in an unflattering way. Plus it shows your hands if you type during the meeting. Really need the camera at the top center. If I had to replace this laptop would otherwise buy the same one again in a heartbeat, as long as they fix the camera position. Otherwise, the Lenova yoga line is solid as well.
Independent George
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Independent George »

One thing I'd point out is that if you mention any make/model of a computer here, you will get a wide variety of responses on why it's fantastic and why it's horrible. You can find numerous examples within this thread.

The reason for this is that computers are multi-taskers that are used by a wide variety of people in a near infinite number of ways. A keyboard that is uncomfortable for some is brilliant for others. Ditto for perceptions on how intuitive an interface is. It's hard to judge unless you have the context for how it's used, and that's before we even get to the near infinite array of hardware configurations, software drivers, and security updates that are present (or not).

The first thing I will do with a new laptop is create a boot disk, wipe the main drive, and reinstall windows; it solves 80% of the problems people encounter in a PC with lousy OEM bloatware installed on it, but it's not reasonable to expect most people to do that. But because I'm immediately doing something quite drastic that very few people would even consider, any experiences I have with a computer are going to be vastly different from what most other people do.

Likewise, my experience with the laptop my employer assigned me is vastly different than the consumer version of the same computer because of the different firmware. Most notably, the enterprise version of OneDrive I have is a horrible memory hog that slows everything down unless I pause it, but the consumer version on my personal machine is fantastic and invisible. If I did not have the home version installed on another computer, I wouldn't know that, and just assumed OneDrive is terrible. It's not; it turns out, my company's firmware is.

So when it comes to reviews - whether professional or on a retailer website - it's important to take each one with a healthy bit of skepticism. There is good information to be found, but the signal to noise ratio can be quite low, and it takes effort to tease it out.
mrmass
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by mrmass »

Tattarrattat wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:01 pm I'm typing on an xps 13 right now. It's at least four years old and it's been excellent. Best laptop I ever had. Does everything well and super reliable. The only criticism I would have at this point is now that Zoom meetings are a daily reality, is that the camera is in a poor position at the bottom of the screen, which shoots up at you in an unflattering way. Plus it shows your hands if you type during the meeting. Really need the camera at the top center. If I had to replace this laptop would otherwise buy the same one again in a heartbeat, as long as they fix the camera position. Otherwise, the Lenova yoga line is solid as well.
Yes def. the cam location should be changed.
increment
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by increment »

mrmass wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 2:19 pm Yes def. the cam location should be changed.
I read that they did that in last year's model.
Wrench
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by Wrench »

nisiprius wrote: Sun Nov 27, 2016 10:42 am P.S. I always ignore reader reviews with 1 and 5 stars. They are always the same. The 5-star reviews sound like they're Astroturfed. The 1-star reviews sound like they were either written by disgruntled employees or by legitimately-ticked-off customers, but no way of telling how big the problem really is. Amazon's "most helpful critical reviews" are often useful.

The 3-star reviews tend to be the most useful, because they are most likely to give specifics. "The product wasn't dead out of the box, but I was surprised to find this unexpected thing about it that might not be a problem for you, but was a problem for me...."

For example, Amazon's "most helpful critical review" says, in part:
Awful keyboard for extended typing, November 17, 2016
This review is from: Dell XPS9360-7336SLV 13.3" Laptop (7th Generation Intel Core i7, 16GB RAM, 512 GB SSD, Silver) (Personal Computers)
Even after forgiving the defective spacebar, the keyboard is a dealbreaker
- The travel is shallow, and the keys are light, so they bottom out hard and give no proper tactile feedback.
- The edge of the keyboard is hard to find by touch. It's sunken, with the top of the keys even with the palm rest, which is fine, but there's very little gap between the keys and the palm rest.
- To shrink its footprint, they lop off the ends of the left and right-most keys, there's no dedicated PgUp and PgDown, and there's no suspend Fn key.
So, let's see, did The Wirecutter alert us to a possible issue? They do not. In fact, they say it has "a great keyboard."
Reviews are a funny thing. I've seen reviewers give 1 or 2 stars to products because they don't have a feature that they want, but was never in the specs in the first place. For example an ultrabook that does not have a USB-A port. That's part of the spec. But some reviewers give 1 or 2 stars because it's not there. Duh! Read the specs before you buy. I also tend to discount personal preferences, like keyboard touch and feel. I have used an XPS13 and I am perfectly satisfied with the keyboard, unlike the reviewer above. What people like and don't like in keyboards really is a personal preference, kind of like, "I didn't like it because if was an ugly color". What I do tend to pay attention to is many reviews with early hardware failure, or someone reported that a device is louder than they thought it was going to be, or got hot, etc. Things that are not in the specs and reviewers may not note. Depending on what it is and how much it matters to me, those reviews may be a deal breaker for me regardless of how many stars they give.

Relative to OP question, I have no idea. I like the XPS line, and I have provided many to my customers and they seem to like them too. I will say that I try to give customers a loner unit for a few weeks of an ultrabook to test out the screen size and keyboard before they buy. Some people with big hands and/or fat fingers have problems with the smaller keyboards of ultrabooks, and some can't live with the smaller screens. Maybe the reviewers are complaining not so much about the XPS itself as the form factor they get with an ultrabook? Just a thought.

Wrench
teCh0010
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by teCh0010 »

SmileyFace wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 10:09 am
teCh0010 wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 9:45 am
I was issued a 9350 in 2016 as a work laptop, after 12 months I exercised my right to buy it and gave it to my kids. It is still humming along and is a good machine. My main complaint it the location of the camera below the screen, it shoots up your nose for zoom.

I was issued a 9365 as a replacement, I sent it back after a year. The ultra low power processor used in the 2 in 1 wasn’t working out for me. Replaced that with a MacBook Pro TouchBar that has been a good machine. Main complaint about both the MacBook and 9365 is that they didn’t include one regular USB port for connecting a thumb drive or USB clicker. When I present in big auditoriums (or used to pre covid) the AV guys have their own clicker systems they want to use and I end up needing my USB C dongle to connect them.
My work laptop is a ThinkPad P1 - I can't imagine using one of these Dell's for work.
Regarding USB-C - over time they may become the new standard; Thumb Drives, clickers, etc. are already starting to ship natively for them. In my years of travel I have always traveled with a handful of dongles for non-native ports on my machine regardless to handle any projector or clicker or other A/V item I might be faced with (USB, HDMI, Display-Port, RGB, etc.). If I not the speaker, I am that hero that runs to the front of the room for the speaker when they (and the conference center A/V expert) are having trouble hooking up lending out connectors.
Note they do sell very small USB/USB-C dongles (much smaller than the ones that Dell ships with).
Thinkpad P1 is a 15 in 6 pound mobile workstation, the Dell line equivalent would be precision mobile.

XPS 13 is a 2.7 pound ultra book. Before covid I was on 130+ flights a year, I’ll take the ultrabook.
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SmileyFace
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Re: 4 years later...update to old discussion

Post by SmileyFace »

teCh0010 wrote: Mon Nov 02, 2020 4:40 pm Thinkpad P1 is a 15 in 6 pound mobile workstation, the Dell line equivalent would be precision mobile.

XPS 13 is a 2.7 pound ultra book. Before covid I was on 130+ flights a year, I’ll take the ultrabook.
I wasn't really trying to compare a ThinkPad P1 to an ultrabook. But if I wanted to save the couple of pounds for travel I would go with a ThinkPad X1 Carbon, a ThinkPad T490, (the other two machines my company hands out if you don't want a higher-performer) or (What I just bought for my daughter) an X1 Yoga. Before COVID I traveled heavily as well - Worldwide. To me it is more important to have a machine I know will work when I get there - and can meet all the demands I put on it - even if it costs me a couple of extra pounds.
Also - not sure where you got the 6 lbs. Starts at 3.75 lbs. Mine is about 4. Admittedly the Power Supply difference alone is likely a pound. But really - a couple of extra pounds in my laptop bag (or backpack) doesn't concern me.
02nz
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by 02nz »

I had a much earlier (2015) model of the XPS 13 and liked it. But while it "felt" premium, actual durability wasn't great. The newer ones have far fewer ports (I think just 2 USB-C/Thunderbolt, no USB-A or HDMI), so #donglelife. Getting rid of the ports may have allowed the computer to be a bit thinner, but it's no lighter than before - still around 2.8 lbs.

My recommendation would be the the ThinkPad X1 Carbon, which offers arguably superior build quality (although smudge-prone), lighter weight (2.4 lbs), a larger screen, better keyboard, and a much better selection of ports. It can often be had for less than a comparable XPS 13. The X1 Carbon isn't available yet with Tiger Lake processors, however, and the display is 16:9 rather than the 16:10 many prefer on newer XPS 13 models.
azanon
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by azanon »

Just one user here (of many years) of a Dell XPS 13, but it has been a wonderful laptop. Best of several we've tried. So I guess we agree with the reviewers.
gubernaculum
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by gubernaculum »

I have dell xps13. Works great for me. I bought the touchscreen version. The keyboard is not as good as think pad or latitude.
dwc13
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by dwc13 »

If a reviewer is compensated for his/her review of a specific product/service, the *boulder* of salt rule should apply. Move on, lol. Note that many review sites display ads from various companies. The ads might not be for the product being reviewed, but they could be from the same company (or a competitor). In general, negative reviews don't generate meaningful ad revenue.

Some reviewers are sent review units directly from the vendor. One would think these review units have been double-checked (beyond regular quality control) to make sure they're the best they can be before being shipped to the reviewer. Occasionally, a review mentions something was broken, missing, and/or out of spec. Oops. Even worse, however, there have been instances where reviewers were sent cherry-picked review units that performed better than those available to the general public. Finally, don't forget some reviewers have access to Tier 3 support in the event they encounter issues while reviewing a product. As for members of the buying public, uh, that's probably not happening for a tech product from a major company.

In many cases, the person reviewing the device only has a short period of time before it has to be returned. While tech reviewers are generally more knowledgeable and savvy about tech products than the average consumer and have better access to specialized test equipment, they're under time constraints to get reviews out quickly. But it's very difficult to effectively simulate long-term "everyday use" in a short period of time. Sometimes it takes a while before problems manifest. Reviewers typically don't have 3-6 months to use a device on a daily basis, unless it is one they have purchased for their own use. More than likely he/she will handle the item with considerable care since it will be returned; abusing review units is a sure way not to receive them in the future, as is regularly writing overall negative reviews, even if they are objective.

Finally, I'm of the belief customers who feel they have been "short-changed" on a purchase are more likely to post their experience online than those who are happy or satisfied. I recently completed a PC build and have been happy/satisfied with the major components thus far. The only formal review I have posted is for the motherboard; nothing (yet) on the CPU, graphics card, M.2 NVMe SSD, RAM or power supply.
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beernutz
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Re: Why do reviewers love the Dell XPS 13 but users don't?

Post by beernutz »

My wife and daughter both use Dell XPS 13s, both bought at Costco, and both have been rock solid for several years of general usage. There are a number of legit problems noted in the 1 star XPS 13 reviews on the Dell website which thankfully we haven't experienced such as faulty network adapter, blue screens, and noisy fans but the overall rating is over 4.
Head scratching/amusing 1 star reviews:

I don't like having to purchase additional products or having to sign in so often. I probably should have bought a something with Chrome since I have decided that's all that I need.

I wanted help to transfer the materials from my old Asus to my new Dell XPS13. All I got from the tech help was "I'm not trained in that and you'll have to pay for that help". I expected WAY more from Dell than that.

Overall very pleased with my XPS 13 which arrived in record time. I did experienced a few hiccups with setting the system up but have ironed most of these out now. However with exception of my email which I am still unable to set this up, as I understand this may be due to a recent Microsoft password change where one has to wait 30 days, very flustrating.

Nobody has contacted me so far regarding payment issue. How can I be running after the seller? Seems hilarious to me.
Don't gamble; take all your savings and buy some good stock and hold it till it goes up, then sell it. If it don't go up, don't buy it. --Will Rogers
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