I’m going to have to go against popular opinion here and urge you away from Dell. Here’s my story:
I had a Dell Inspiron notebook that I bought it in 2004 for University and I’ve regretted it ever since. This summer I finally sold it to someone and bought a new Presario. I don’t know what they’re like now, but when I ordered from them $900 was the least expensive (no add-ons like more space, wireless, memory, etc) and so that was I bought.
Anyway, I hated it because of it’s size (the cheapest laptops they sell are very heavy) and general service crappiness. I used the Dell for two and half years (essays, internet, downloading) and took very good care of it, but for no reason that I could detect, it just stopped working one day about a year after I bought it. I had to have the motherboard replaced and had to ship it to Dell to do that. Which meant I was computerless for about two weeks. And when I finally got it back, they didn’t include the adapter (which they asked me to ship as well) and so had to wait another few days for them to send me a new one.
Also, and this shouldn’t be a problem to anyone but me, but still… My grandmother actually purchased it for me as a graduation present, so they would only ship it to her. She lives with us now, but at the time she was moving from one apartment to another and, of course, it got sent to the wrong one. This is also where they decided to send my power cord (I was away at school in Halifax, a province away).
To this day, the laptop also overheats easily. I keep it clean and everything, but certain desk surfaces tick it off and it will decide to shutdown on me.
Also, never a buy printer from Dell because you have to order ink online. No one I brought the cartridges to would refill it, either. They said they weren’t able to, but I’m pretty sure it’s a Dell Conspiracy.
I’m sure I’m in the minority, but that was my Dell Horror Story (I have heard quite a few of them from others).