Why I never buy a computer from Dell
I have never purchased a computer from Dell (although I did buy my Sony Clie PDA from them.) I have no general animosity towards them, but I seriously object to their sleasy price promotion. Just now I saw a display ad for a $499 notebook PC, but by the time you customize the default configuration to make it reasonably usable for mid-range computing tasks, the price jumped to over $1,400. Well, maybe it really didn't need some of those additions, so maybe the price would only jump to $1,200. Still, that is a very serious gap between promotion and reality.
I go over to ToshibaDirect.com and start at $783 and end up at about the same price. Toshiba used to be even better at giving realistic configurations up front, but competition with Dell has led them to stoop to similar sales tactics, although as not extreme and the starting configuration tends to be much more reasonable.
Toshiba does still do a fair amount of up-front promotion of very reasonable configurations that do not require massive Dell-like customization to make them reasonable. For example, the Satellite A305-S6845 for $1,250. It does not have Ultimate, but does come with 3GB of memory and a 200GB disk.
The key things that push the price up for me is to get to Vista Ultimate and to get a processor that is a reasonable leap forward from my current mid-range Toshiba notebook PC which will be three years old in June.
I am disappointed that disk and screen technology are not significantly better than my current machine.
I am not actually looking to buy a new machine just yet. I would like to spend my money on moving to New York City in a month or two and maybe get at least another six months if not a year out of my current machine.
If you want to know what my computer looks like, see the new movie 88 which is actually set in Seattle. There is a scene where the FBI agent is using his computer. It has a blue ("Peacock Blue") lid that says Toshiba. That's the same as my machine.