I have had my Dell E4300 for two weeks now. At this point I think I can offer an opinion which is based on fact and real usage and opposed to first impressions and emotion.
What I like
- I really like the size and weight, it is thin and weighs less than four pounds.
- It is fast and it hasn’t crashed on me during normal use.
- The mechanics. It feels solid – nothing flimsy about it at all.
- Real docking station. I really like not having to plug anything when when I get to work or go home.
- Built-in BroadBand card. I really like this – it is nice to not have to worry about an external card.
- The color – I picked the bright blue and while it make no difference to how the machine works, it is nice to have something a little different.
- The neoprene sleeve that comes with it. Sometimes I don’t want to carry my computer bag so having the sleeve is a nice compromise.
What I don’t like
- Dell Control Point Connection Manager – this is the one thing I really don’t like about the machine. The DCP CM is a nuisance. For whatever reason it wants to create “Profiles” for each different configuration, why I don’t know. Each time I use the BroadBand card the screen flashes and a DCP window “informs” me about a profile change when all I want to do is make a connection.
- The “clicking” sound of the 7200 RPM SATA HDD. It sounds like there is something wrong with it but I guess that is just the way it works. Odd. It is loud enough to be noticeable.
- Windows XP. I may be one of the few who happens to like Vista but at this point, XP is old and running it on a brand new machine is a bummer. Unfortunately, my employer is reluctant to deploy Vista. I could probably push it but for now, I am living with XP.
- Undock: The way the release button on the docking station works it sounds like something is breaking. Each time I undock it I cringe a bit.
- Stand-By: I am seeing some flakiness coming out of Stand-By when using the docking station. I would guess about half the time the machine doesn’t come out of Stand-By correctly. I have a dock at work and a dock at home – my normal (and preferred) usage is to go into Stand-By when I leave the office, remove it from the dock, go home, put it in the other dock, and come out of Stand-By. It should work but doesn’t always.