I’m a Dell user. I’ve been buying Dell products since long before there was Windows; since Dell had a different name. Now I have a Mac. I love it. Now Dell wants to go upscale against Apple’s PowerMac, PowerBook line. What’s up with that?
I still have a Dell PC. And a Sony. And a PowerMac G5 and a PowerBook. Except for business needs (as in, ‘do this or you’re fired!’) I won’t buy another Dell. Ever.
So what is Dell doing? They’re going after the high end of the desktop and laptop market with a new brand, XPS. A direct competitor to the upscale PowerMac and PowerBook line from Apple.
The Inquirer is reporting that Dell is going upmarket. They also called Dell a ‘cut price tin marketer.’ You gotta love those folks at The Inquirer.
What’s it mean when Dell goes upscale? Prettier plastic? Faster phone response in customer service; as in, an answer from someone who speaks English as a first language? More features? Windows?
Yes, to all the above, and kudos to the first Mac360 reader who figured it out. Yes. Dell wants you to pay more money for less. That’s a first. It used to be just pay less money for less. Maybe they’re eyeing Apple’s stock price and profits.
Dell’s new XPS brand is truly upscale. For Dell. Think of it this way: $2,700 for a Dell laptop? Is Kate Moss delivering for Dell instead of Chanel?
I just checked the Apple Store and the high end 17-inch PowerBook is $2,699. The Dell, likewise, starts at penny more. What do you get? A very heavy laptop that runs Windows. And faster customer service time. Five minutes faster.
Hmmmm. I have a PowerBook that ran 24/7 for about 30 months. No need for customer service. The hard drive pooped out, I bought another and installed it myself. It worked.
For the same money, I could have called Dell. Though I’d be surprised if the Dell XPS laptop would run 24/7 for 30 months without needed a call.
Apple’s PowerMac line starts at $1,999 which doesn’t compare favorably to the Dell desktop XPS which weighs in at $1,049, but climbs quickly to $2,000 if you need sufficient features to make it run.
Here’s one of the more interesting points from the Dell XPS features list. Customer service is high on the list. First on the list is the Intel dual-core processor. Sweet. I’ll bet Apple gets the newest version of dual core chips when the switch to Intel is complete.
Next on the list is Windows, right? Nope. It’s the XPS-Trained Sales Specialist. Next on the features list is the hard drive capacity, right? Nope. It’s the XPS-Trained Chat Representatives.
What about Windows? Isn’t that important to Dell? Almost. Next on the list of important is the 15-month Security Subscription. That’s followed up with the XPS Warranty Support with Rapid Response.
Wait! There’s more. The XPS Advantage features list continues, in order, with—you guessed it—the 1-Year Limited Warranty.
Now we’re ready for the really important points of difference between the high end Dell XPS desktop and the low end, sell-only-on-TV-for-$499 Dell. Windows XP Media Center Operating System. Except they don’t even mention ‘Windows.’ It’s just a Media OS. Hmmmm.
Then Dell lists the 17-inch flat panel display and shipping.
That, folks, is the XPS Advantage. Really. It’s armed to the teeth. Magnesium allow front. Dual graphics. Sleek chassis. Cutting edge power. A whole squad of University of Texas wannabe graduates worked weeks on that list; spell checkers, too.
That’s it. You think I’m pulling your leg, right? There should be more if Dell is effectively doubling the price of a desktop and laptop, giving it a new name and a brushed metal look, and calling it upscale, premium, top-of-the-line, right?
Hmmmm. I guess not.
What kind of customer buys this kind of Dell computer? The Inquirer says the new Dell customer will know what a dual core processor is (hint: it has dual cores), and will know that the DVD drive is not a coffee cup holder.
OK, how does that compare to a PowerMac G5 or a PowerBook with 17-inch display? I thought you’d never ask.
It doesn’t compare very well, so let me slim down and summarize the comparisons:
PowerBook vs Dell XPS laptop: XPS is heavy, ugly, faster, prone to break, runs some kind of Media Center OS. PowerBook runs OS X Tiger and is cool and works.
PowerMac G5 vs Dell XPS desktop: XPS is gamer ugly, faster, prone to break, runs some kind of Media Center OS. PowerMac G5 is to die for and runs forever.