Why doesn’t Dell sales support understand Dell products?
I was in the market for a new laptop computer and, altho I'm employed by a corporation that has a relationship with Lenovo, I decided I wanted to buy from someone else since I got pinched by Lenovo's deceptive rebate program last time. I chose Dell, for all the obvious reasons, but as I got close to the point of purchase, a question arose that Dell's website couldn't answer. I decided I'd better check with a human about the resolution of the LCD screen I wanted. Nice idea.
I chose the Dell E1505, a laptop recommended by CNET and pretty much everybody else. I don't need a top-of-the-line machine for home use. My practice for the last few years is to buy a middle-of-the-road laptop every year and give the previous one away. I have a lot of nieces and nephews who put them to
I view buying a computer with Vista as a little like buying a new car that automatically comes with two 500-pound marble benches for seating. "What happened to the XP iron benches?" you ask. "They only weighed 300 pounds each."
"Oh, these marble benches are much nicer," Microsoft assures you. "But we do recommend the V8. Stop looking across the street at the Linux dealership. Sure they're light and fast, but you have to install the vinyl interior yourself and some cups don't fit in the cupholders. Now take a look at our ceramic tile dashboard."
The problem arose on the page where you pick the LCD display. Note the choices: WXGA, WXGA+ with TrueLife, and WSXGA+ with TrueLife (forget the fact that all three say "widescreen" but only the middle one has a W; that's nothing compared to the rest of this mess). Now, I'd lost track of screen resolutions with the XGA format. VGA was 640x480; Super VGA was 800x600; and XGA was 1024x768. But after that, it became a bizarre mess of Ss, Us, Ws, Qs, and plus signs that could make a geek weep faster than throwing away his "Get a Life? I got a Second Life!" T-shirt.
This confused me, since it was not what the selection page had. Where was WXGA+? I looked it up in Wikipedia. WXGA+ is 1440x900. Wikipedia being what it is, I also did a Google search, which had numerous entries that confirmed this.
So I chose the WXGA+ screen, figuring it would be 1440x900. That's a good resolution for a 15.5" screen; my current machine has a 14" screen with a resolution of 1400x1050, and pictures and text are often uncomfortably small. But 1200x800 is basically the widescreen version of 1024x768, which I find annoyingly "big."
I had a question about the tax showing up on my checkout screen, so I decided to connect with Dell's online support chat and answer both questions..
Turns out Dell now charges sales tax for all states; I don't know why, and the support person had even less of a clue than I did after a quick Google search.
After waiting 15 minutes to chat, I got "Ronald" (who, I know, was probably just some poor shmoe in Bangalore trying to get by while studying for a technical degree). Here is my chat with Ronald. The gist is this:
Nearly two hours later, and 16 minutes past the "any time between 9 AM and 10 PM" window I gave Ronald, I got a call out of British Columbia from a female rep whose name I didn't get.
I still can't be sure if the middle choice is supposed to be WXGA+ or just WXGA. Dell's support FAQ has a neat little table that explains exactly what resolution the crazy letters stand for. But the purpose of the letter codes is to provide a short and simple name for something that is otherwise complicated and hard to remember. So if the letter codes are more complicated than the resolution numbers, why not just list the resolution numbers in the first place?
Damned if I know. And you can bet Dell sales support doesn't know anything more.
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