I bought a Dell Inspiron 8500 November of 2003 for over $2000. Since then I have had nothing but problems:
- Keyboard failed: the backspace key stopped working about a week after I got it, had to send it back, was without for 2 weeks
- Hard drive failed: about a week after I got it back from getting the keyboard fixed the hard drive started getting read errors
- Power supply failed
- I dropped it and broke the display. My fault, but I sure wish they could make displays which were harder to break. $550
- Battery is down to lasting about 70 minutes. For the first hour it reports dropping from 100% to 50%, then rapidly drops to 6% in the last 10 minutes.
- replacement power supply failed, Dell thinks maybe the charge controller in the laptop is the problem, I get to send it back again and be without for another couple of weeks.
In addition to all of that, many of the features don't work well or at all under Linux:
- Touch pad: everyone claims that Dell's have synaptics touch pads, but the synaptics driver doesn't recognize it, so I can't turn off tap to click (and every time my thumb brushes the pad it throws the cursor across the screen and clicks somewhere random, which is really annoying.
- Suspend: After much work I was able to get ACPI working well enough to suspend the machine, but the battery goes down as fast as if it were on.
- I get some sort of weird interaction with PCMCIA wireless network cards. I have a few different ones, but they all occasionaly freeze the machine during startup or shutdown (removing and reinserting the card will usually fix the problem).
- Even with speed-step enabled this thing runs really hot most of the time.