Being an Alienware owner, I have been asked this question by several people, some being random people that see the bright glowing alien on the front (or back, depending on how you wish to orient it), or close friends who know I own one. So, I’m sure several people that are reading this article have either A) looked at the Alienware website and been awestruck by the flashing lights and fancy marketing, or B) read hundreds of reviews about Alienware laptops on the internet. So, now down to business, should you get an Alienware or not? Well, my first instinct is to say yes, I love my blue glowing alien, we’re good friends. But, in order to better answer the question for the rest of you, I decided to do some research. After reading hundreds of reviews on blogs, dedicated opinion sites, and shopping sites, I have come to some conclusions.
Dealing With Customer Service
First of all, everyone is probably wondering what experience I had with the company (or maybe not, but I’ll share anyway). I received my computer in less than the 10 days plus shipping, which they had estimated. The model of the computer is an m9700 (approximately 3 years old now), which I promptly took it out of the box, and everything was working great. Of course, after I start college, the motherboard shorts out, as you have probably heard at least one hundred times on the opinion sites. But this isn’t exactly a rare occurrence with laptops, especially higher end ones. Sometimes, there are just so many upgraded parts that require a lot of power, and generate a lot of heat, that they make for a very stressful internal environment.
So, I wasn’t too distressed about the problem; I called Alienware, and explained to them what happened. We went through the normal diagnostic procedures, standardized for pretty much every company, and determined it was the motherboard, though both myself and the representative knew it was from the start. That’s ok, standard procedure is standard procedure. Then, low and behold, the various nightmare stories about losing the laptop for 3 weeks came up (though unfortunately I was so enticed by the lights and marketing on their website, that I didn’t bother to do a lot of searching for reviews; I wish to think I have learned from that experience). Anyway, I decided I could either take the 3 week period lying down, or do something drastic, like threaten a lawsuit. So, that’s what I did, and long story short, the laptop left my dorm room and was received back there in exactly 3 days. Everything worked great, though there were some scratches on the bottom of the chassis, oh well, you can’t have your cake and eat it too, I guess. So, there’s the whole bad ordeal that you have all probably read about, and now is out of the way.
A Work of Art
All customer service platitudes aside, the computer is a work of art on the outside, and runs optimally, even 3 years later, on the inside. I haven’t had any other problems, and also as a serious ex-gamer (we’ll see how long the ex lasts), I am very impressed. Laptop technology quickly upgrades, and while 2 GB of RAM was the top back then, laptops can now climb to more than triple that amount. But, my blue, glowing, friend is still competing with the best of them. So, without getting too sentimental here, I would like to say that their computers do uphold the top specs and a good quality, assuming they’re not DOA (dead on arrival).
And, as far as I can see now, the specs on their website are still leaps and bounds over several others, integrating things like dedicated GPUs and separate physics engines (which at this time, goes above and beyond any game requirements out there). I’m sure you can probably find something better, faster, and maybe even prettier, if you really looked hard, maybe at Falcon Northwest, or Voodoo, but in general Alienware has done a good job of keeping their top of the line industry standard.
Ok, so now you know two things, Alienware has sub-par, at best, customer service, and they make cool, flashy, top of the line computers. But, this probably doesn’t make your decision any easier than it was when you first started reading this article (or maybe it does, and you quit reading two paragraphs ago), but let’s address the main issue at hand: what are the chances you get a lemon? Well, the answer is very, very hard to come by, because of two reasons. First, I called Alienware, on a whim, and asked how many returns, or repairs, they performed on their laptops.
Well, another long story short, they wouldn’t tell me, which is pretty much to be expected, but I thought I’d give it a shot. The number is obviously not low enough for them to be bragging about. Anyway, the second thing to consider is that the percentage of laptops that you think have problems (from Alienware, or from any other company) is drastically skewed. This also holds true for just about everything else that can be reviewed. The reason for this is plain and simple, if you had a bad experience, you want to vent, and you want the world to hear your pain, so you go and post your bad experience on the internet. Don’t worry, if you’re one of these people, its just human nature, I don’t blame you.
On the opposing side, if you have a good, functional product, you are a lot less likely to go and tell the world about it, which is, again, due to human nature.
Sorry to say, but people tend to be lazy and leave well enough alone, which is probably something I would do, so I don’t blame you if you’re one of these people either. Obviously there are exceptions to either of the aforementioned scenarios, but you get the general point. So, to put it all into perspective, you’re going to see a lot more negative reviews than positive reviews usually, but this doesn’t equate to there being a lot more lemons than non-lemons. In any given situation, it’s probably safe to say there are more non-lemons than lemons, but exactly how many more is up to you to decide.
I’m sure most of you are getting tired of me not telling you what to do by now, and the truth is I can’t really tell you what to do: whether to buy an Alienware or go for something else. I can tell you that there are probably more Alienware lemons than there are for most other computer companies, but I can also tell you that Alienware makes a great laptop. I can also tell you that, even though I love my blue friend and hope we never have to part, the truth is that I do not want to deal with the chance of having a lemon.
Quite frankly, I pay good money for my technology, which is no doubt marked up to such an extent, that the company is making several hundred percent profit per laptop. Because I pay good money, I would like prompt service, always, and an ultimately low rate of lemons. If I could somehow be assured that the laptop would be up to its advertised standards, then I would buy one in a heartbeat. But because of the current state of affairs, I think I’m going to avoid Alienware, at least for now. Hope this helps anyone out there considering buying an Alienware, or just a laptop in general.