Friday, December 19, 2008

New laptop on the way: Dell XPS M1330!

NOTE: If you are looking for a good deal on a refurbished Dell XPS M1330 (and maybe 1530), read on!

My current and only machine is a 4.5 year old 15.4" laptop. It's held up surprisingly well, but a Pentium M just isn't cutting it anymore and I really want a smaller and lighter form factor. I had been eying 13" Dells for quite awhile (the XPS and Inspiron models), and was looking at paying around $1200 for a new XPS M1330. After discovering Dell Outlet (refurbished, returned, et al) and finding some decent machines for about half the price I was originally looking at, I decided to turn my focus there.

I wasn't finding anything amazing in the Outlet at first, since so many people are snapping up all the deals very quickly due to Christmas and such. However I discovered a little trick! The Product Red XPS systems are listed separetely from the others with no obvious link. But once you get to a listing of machines for a particular model, you can manually look at Product Reds by changing the model drop-down from say, "XPS 1330" to "XPS 1330 PRODUCT RED". Assuming you don't mind red (it was actually my preferred color), now you'll have a list of machines that a lot of people aren't seeing. Sort by price and you can find a few for $759, and a bunch of "Scratch and Dents" (lots of good experiences with these online, it seems) for $799. I chose a refurbished one for $759 with a 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo processor (8100), 4 gigs of RAM, Nvidia 8400 128MB graphics card, 6-cell battery, Wireless N and Bluetooth, and integrated 2MP webcam for $759 with free shipping. I was about to bite at this price although I was slightly hesitant as the tax brought it to just over $800, and was really hoping for a coupon to make it sweeter. As I was heavily debating it and rather close to buying it, someone on SlickDeals pointed me to http://www.e-junkie.com/coupon where you can get free one-time use coupons, including 15% off Dell Outlet XPS!

I was quickly let down when the coupon didn't work online though, as it isn't valid with any other promotions, and the free shipping promotion is always there with no way to remove it. However as the coupon expired Dec 24th and the shipping Jan 5th, that meant it actually wasn't possible to use it, and figured a call to Dell could rectify this. Sure enough, I was able to get both promotions by ordering over the phone, and got the machine for $645 pre-tax!

So in summary:
  1. Go to dell.com/outlet, select XPS laptops, then change the model to the PRODUCT RED version from the drop-down.
  2. Add one to your cart to secure it for 15 minutes. Repeat as necessary throughout every 15 minutes.
  3. Visit http://www.e-junkie.com/coupon and grab a 15% off Dell Outlet XPS coupon.
  4. Call Dell Outlet (1-866-492-6721), explain that you have a coupon but can't use it because of the shipping promotion, and they should do the order over the phone for you (if you are nice enough :)
I am very happy with the purchase, and it comes with a 1-year in home parts and labor warranty. When I was considering new XPS systems for over $1,000, I was going to get a 3 or 4 year warranty for $200-300, but at this price (half of what I was originally considering) I can afford a new laptop in 1-2 years anyway if it breaks down, and have a nicer system for those extra years!

I'll probably post this to SlickDeals eventually but I thought I'd give the Ubuntu community a head start. Let me know what you think of this deal in the comments, positive or negative, and if you had any luck doing the same.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Cool find! Thanks a lot!

Me said...

My M1330 died after about 8 months. I turned it off in the morning, and that afternoon it wouldn't power on; totally dead. Also, the AC adapter's light went out when I plugged it into the laptop. Turns out the "power rail" failed, according to a forum thread. Thankfully I have a 3-year on-site service plan--I probably wouldn't have paid for that, but it came with the special after-Christmas inventory tax-reduction sale. Now I'm very glad I have it.

After about 45 minutes on the phone to Indonesia (sigh), a service call was scheduled. It failed on a Thursday, and the guy came on...Monday or Tuesday to fix it. He couldn't come until the part was shipped to him. He came to my university campus and repaired it while I was in classes. AFAIK the motherboard and the black plastic part between the hinges, including the touch-sensitive buttons was replaced. He also replaced the adapter, but annoyingly, the cables on this one are still...wavy from the way they were bent and coiled up, compared to the original which had smooth and straight cables.

It's been fine since then, but I was very disappointed that it totally died so suddenly and so quickly; I haven't even had it a year yet. It happened at a rather bad time, too, as I had a project due the next day.

If you can afford to wait, you might catch a good deal around January-early February, and you might consider that extended warranty. :/

Roshan George said...

Another person with a failed XPS M1330. The 8400M GS apparently has a known heating problem. Dell extended the warranty on the motherboard one year for this.

I've already had mine fail once. Consider extending the warranty.

Roshan George said...

Just re-read that and it makes it sound like the laptop isn't nice. I love using it, it's light enough and everything works great with Ubuntu 8.04 64-bit.