Is the new Dell XPS beautiful, expensive and… less practical to use than its predecessors? Why does the company decide to experiment in the most expensive segment?
We are used to the fact that in our country, where the currency does not have much purchasing power, the prices of electronics are simply horribly high compared to countries like England, France or the States -United. Many phones cost more than a monthly salary, and with laptops that figure can even triple. If the prices of new devices are the subject of complaints even abroad, it is not surprising that in Poland very few people can afford top-of-the-range models. This is mainly seen when the discussion is about new Macbooks, which are usually the most expensive computers available, which are bought either by fans of the brand with excess money or by people who use them for work. , thanks to which such a purchase will simply be paid for in the form of saving time.
However, in this case, the laptop becomes more of a working tool, which slightly changes its perception.
When I moved into my new apartment not too long ago, I had the privilege of being able to design my workplace from scratch (which you can see on AntywebTV). My goal was to include as much functionality as possible in the smallest space possible, so while I’m extremely happy with the vibe of the studio, it’s a far cry from the sterile, modernist, minimalist ideas that the can be found on the web. In my case, functionality took precedence. Why am I talking about this in terms of expensive electronics? Well, looking at what modern equipment looks like, it just irritates me that the producers don’t seem to have the same opinion about it.
One of the examples that led to this writing is Dell’s latest laptops in its high-end XPS series. I don’t have anything for the laptop itself, because when it comes to the premium segment, I don’t suspect that Dell is capable of messing things up like, for example, the keyboard or the screen. After all, we are talking about equipment, the price of which starts (!) From 6 thousand. PLN, and probably ends around 10 thousand. for the highest configuration. However, you can see at first glance that it is different from a “traditional” laptop. The first thing that catches your eye is the lack of a touchpad. In other words – it is of course in the device, but there is no visual or haptic indication of where it starts and ends, because the whole pit is made of a block of glass. This, in turn, will mean that while the gear looks great, its owners will quickly experience a lot of frustration with such basic activities as moving the mouse around the screen.
The second thing is the row of function keys that… aren’t there. Instead, we’ve got touch-sensitive keys, which are actually an impoverished and not-so-successful crop of what’s been in Macbooks for the past few years. Note that in the case of the new Macbook Pro, Apple has backed away from Touch Bar ideas, and as we know, Apple is a company that “usually knows better” what its customers want. The lack of a Touch Bar is a clear sign that community opposition (as with the faulty keyboards) was so great that even the Cupertino company bowed to the pressure. What does this have to do with Dell? Well, the fact that I am convinced that the above two “characteristics” distinguishing this generation of computers will meet with the same reception. Dell, in turn, has to fight all the competition from Windows PCs and can’t afford the comfort of being coerced into checking whether the solution will be adopted after a few generations. It’s just that its sale would suffer too much, so I’m sure that in the next model we will return to normal function keys and tochpad.
And this, in turn, brings us to the conclusion – why are we getting such an experience at such a price?
I understand that producers have to do “something” to distinguish the old model from the new or the sale will go wild. In addition, it often happens that the importance of certain innovations (see iPhone) is only noticed after a certain time. So there’s a shadow of a chance I’m wrong, and thousands of people who forced Apple to retire the Touch Bar suddenly fall in love with its even less functional form, although the odds are as slim as for JKM’s presidency. So I don’t mind changing the usual patterns, but it’s not without reason that almost all other manufacturers don’t do this in their most famous product lines, and have separate branches or even sub-brands for it. A good example of this is Asus, which with ROG is doing some really crazy things for enthusiasts, often to see what people want and fun things to do to improve the PC experience.
On the other hand, we have manufacturers who have done the same as Dell. One that comes to mind first is LG, in particular – the company’s smartphone department. In the Top V series, they had a new idea practically every generation, but as soon as we had another year, the previous idea was thrown in the trash and made room for the new one. This meant that LG phones weren’t ultimately the best in every category, and the new products they introduced often turned out to be unpolished and equally impractical (like air gestures). I’m not saying Dell is making the same mistake here, but such experimentation with customers paying for a premium device has often been cited as one of the main reasons for the brand’s decline in the smartphone market.
The old idea that something is special doesn’t make it useful. The line between evolution and experimentation is very thin and often boils down to very subtle details. Long-term sales and customer reviews will show if Dell’s experiment has succeeded. After all, nobody tells us to buy this particular model, and thanks to the fact that there are many laptops with Windows at all price levels, choosing an alternative costs nothing.
The more I wonder why Dell decided to make such a drastic change. Ideas?