My First Laptop: Dell Studio 14

I may be the last person on earth to own a laptop (sound so ulu) but I don’t care. I still want to blog about it. Haha I’m still a pc person at heart you know?

I wanted a HP laptop for the longest time but I don’t want to spend unnecessary amount of $$ for stuff that I can get cheaper elsewhere and for this case I can get higher and better specification too (except the Nvidia part). So that’s why I choose to get Dell as my first laptop. Though a bit reluctant at first to order online since this is biggie $$ stuff but that’s the only way to get a customize Dell. So no choice.

I placed my order on 12th December last year. And every day since then I check for the ETD date at the Dell website. First they mentioned the delivery date is 5th January (WTF??) and then it was changed to 1st January. I was like HUH?? HUH?? Do they need that long to build a laptop? Then on 23rd December I received a SMS informing me the laptop will be delivered the next day. True enough I got my laptop on 24th December. Still it took 12 days. Haii. It was delivered from China. But I still want to haiii…

Okay so here’s my review on Dell Studio 14 laptop (after 12 days of usage haha):

My camera capture the color plum purple as this but in actual it looks more to rustic, rusty and grunge.

The laptop cover which I thought is glossy plum purple turned out to be rusty plum purple. What a stark contrast from the picture from Dell’s website. Truly a shocker for me. It’s like al-cheapo sprayed color. But you know what? I started to like the rusty~rustic purple a day later. Hahaha It’s actually so me. I love rustic, rugged & grunge style. And I don’t have to be careful when I bring this baby anywhere. Remember I’m a super klutz? What happened if the cover is glossy and I accidentally knock it? Mameee! But not when it’s already grunge style. Haha

Attention girls: If you’re the girly girl type I don’t think you will like this cover so better don’t choose this ya. The official name is X Color with Black U-Trim. (X being any color)

Dell Studio 14 Laptop (back view) with 9-cell battery.

The features of Dell Studio 14 are common with every other laptop brands I guess.

On the right side of the laptop, we have audio out/headphone, audio in/microphone, USB port, Slot load 8x DVD+/-RW with DVD+R double layer write capability, AC adapter port, battery status light & power button.

On the left side, we have security cable slot, network port, USB port, eSata/USB combo port with USB PowerShare, VGA port, HDMI port, ExpressCard slot & 8-in-1 media card reader.

I have nothing to complain about. All’s good.

Software (Operating System)
The Dell Studio 14 come bundles with Windows 7 Home Premium (64-bit). I would have chosen 32-bit if I have a choice. Because of 64-bit, I have 2 Program Files folder (one for 64-bit and one for 32-bit). Thankfully you don’t have to break your head to decide which programs go where and where. Windows 7 will decide for you.

I’m starting to get used to the new features especially the bundle taskbar and just yesterday I found where the ‘Show desktop’ button is located. Guess where? Beside clock/date.

Windows 7 is easy to learn. More like once you know what’s in it, it’ll be like a snap in the finger. Dum dee dum.

My Dell laptop with own personalized desktop background. A photo from my house’s window.

Here is the main spec for my Dell Studio 14 laptop (customization in bold):

Processor: Intel Centrino 2 Core Duo Processor P8700 2.53GHz/1066 FSB/3MB Cache (original was 2.13GHz)
Memory: 4GB 1066MHz DDR3 SDRAM (original was 3GB)
Hard Drive: 500GB 5400RPM Sata
Video Card: 512MB ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4530
Display: 14″ High Definition 720p WLED (1366×768) with TrueLife
Battery: 9-Cell (original was 6-Cell)
Weight: 2.5kg (including 9-Cell battery)
Price: RM3347.00

Windows 7 start up time is really fast. Faster than my old PC using Windows XP or laptop using Vista. Shutdown time is really fast too. Wowza! No hiccup when using heavy programs (such as image processing; still very fast when I use both Photoshop & Lightroom at the same time). It has Facial Recognition feature which I’ve yet to try. Keyboard is sensitive (unlike my sis’ HP laptop… really insensitive). Graphics is good. (who needs Nvidia? hehehe). Sound system is okay too. There’s no keyboard light indicator when cap locks is ON and I find it no problem at all. Though I’ve read in the reviews quite a few complain about it. No problem because it will show on the screen telling you the caps is ON ma. Same goes with the Wifi key. And as long as you allow sufficient space for the heat to dissipate, everything’s good. I’ve yet to try playing hardcore games but I’m sure I will find no problem with the graphics (movement, etc).

I guess the only con is the noise during loading/unloading CD/DVD but I don’t really bother about it. It’s just a moment ma. I was mortified at first. But I get used to it pretty quick (see? I’m cool haha). The sound makes me think I have a robot inside the laptop working for me. Hahaha (what an imagination!)

Ok so all in all I’m very satisfied with the laptop performance. If I were to take this spec and put into a HP (with Nvidia) do you know how much I need to pay? over RM4k or maybe RM4.5k above. DUH!!!

So if you’re looking for a laptop, I say go Dell. πŸ™‚

Updated on 11th January 2018:
Guess how long did I used this very first laptop of mine? Read on to find out the history that brought to its demise.

30th June 2014 – Laptop no display problem was resolved by changing a BGA chipset on the motherboard at a computer shop. Damage: RM310. Was told it could probably last a year only.

17th July 2016 – Laptop no display again!!! I nearly forgot this is a recurring problem. Yup, I managed to make this laptop lasted 2 extra years! Along with no display, it also beeps 6 times (means Video BIOS test failure). I can’t remember if the problem in 2014 has beeping sound or not. First thing I did was bring it to the computer shop again. After considering the estimated repair cost (RM350), it seems not worth it. Plus those newbies doesn’t seem like they know what they’re doing. So I bring the laptop back and search for my own solutions.

21st July 2016 – Since I knew it probably has to do with the video chipset, I tried the bubble-wrap method. The idea is because over long period of time, the chip’s solders are no longer in contact with the motherboard. By wrapping with bubble-wrap, very hot heat is created inside the motherboard, thus melting the solder and the chip ‘sort of’ resolder back to the motherboard. In another word, reflow. You can check I referred to it.

I was skeptical to try this method. Since it’s either I do something crazy about it or nothing at all, I figured doing something crazy might be the best choice.

Resurrecting laptop MacGyver style 1.

Resurrecting laptop MacGyver style 2.

Did this method works? Oh YES baby!!! My heart was literally jumping up and down with joy. Oh gosh my beloved laptop is alive again.

The next day, the laptop has display still. However once I restarted the laptop, it’s back to no display. I waited a bit and it’s back on. While it was on, I quickly backup-ed all the important files.

26th July 2016 – The above method promises no permanent solution, so I went and bought thermal compound, open up the laptop, remove motherboard from the plastic case, remove the heatsink and fan, clean the old thermal paste and reapply new ones on all 3 chips which uses thermal paste for conducting with the heatsink.

The heatsink and fan.

After reassembling it back, the problem persisted. Going back to the wrapping method, it manages to display again but sparsely.

9th August 2016 – Officially retired my Dell Studio 14. It was awesome while it lasted. The laptop was still going incredibly fast even after nearly 7 years later. The no display problem forced me to retire its service. πŸ™

Dell Studio 14 at 6 years and 8 months old… dirty battered but well loved. πŸ’ž

p/s: It took me this long to update its last day but update I did.

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  • Reply xin January 6, 2010 at 10:47 am

    sweet!!! πŸ˜€

    I have been a laptop user for almost 8 years already πŸ™‚ my first notebook was compaq, then dell, then acer and now lenovo at work. ^_^ other than this lenovo notebook, my most exp purchase would be my dell then, it was a 12″ and cost me ard 5k in year 2004/2005 (father paid hehehehe). 12″ was the super mini back then. LOL. it is still functioning fine now but since i bought a new acer, i passed it to my sis alreaydy

  • Reply Jason January 6, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Dell FTW!

  • Reply tekkaus January 6, 2010 at 3:53 pm

    A~lar, don’t show off lar. LOL πŸ˜€ Congrates Che-cheh! :p

    Nope, you are not. I don’t even have a lappie ler. πŸ™

    Your new lappie is gorgeous. πŸ™‚

  • Reply Che-Cheh January 6, 2010 at 8:50 pm

    Xin, wah you’ve used so many laptops already. Which brand is the best?

    Jason, haha

    Tekkaus, nah not showing off. Just wanna review it so that whoever is looking for this will find some good information. πŸ˜›

  • Reply foongpc January 7, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Your first laptop? Congrats!! Must be enjoying it daily now! Haha!

    I’m still using my very first laptop which is HP which I bought last year. So far so good! : )

  • Reply jam January 7, 2010 at 10:08 am

    I am using an Acer and had been using it for 2 years now. Quite satisfied with it but there is some problem recently. I may visit the Acer centre next week to get the problem fixed.

  • Reply Che-Cheh January 7, 2010 at 10:14 am

    Foongpc, not really enjoying it. Feeling is just the same with using a pc haha.

    Jam, my desktop pc was an Acer and my previous desktop was an Acer too but they hang quite a lot. So I didn’t choose Acer this time. Enough for me liao.

  • Reply Cecil Lee January 7, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    Congrat to your new laptop! It’s really a good bargain for the spec you’ve got with DELL!! I think it’s even cheaper than an ACER Aspire Timeline. The biggest problem of my HP is battery life. How long could your DELL’s 9 cells battery last?

  • Reply fufu January 7, 2010 at 6:17 pm

    i am going to get my first laptop soon also… toshiba or fujitsu…

  • Reply bengbeng January 7, 2010 at 6:43 pm

    The color is modern.RM3347? Good value for money

  • Reply Dawn January 7, 2010 at 10:01 pm

    Nice, like it much. My first lappie was a Compaq (2000)..that thing sucks. Then hubs and I bought a Dell 2 years later and we are still using it albeit tons of upgrading! πŸ™‚

  • Reply Che-Cheh January 8, 2010 at 12:07 am

    Cecil Lee, I’m very satisfied with the spec. DDR3 somemore. hehe
    My 9 cells batt will last about 5 hours.

    Fufu, What’s the laptop price in Germany? cheaper or pricier?

    Bengbeng, I purposely choose purple. Didn’t realize it’s the same color with my blog. Haha Yes definitely value for money. I’m very satisfied with the spec I got.

    Dawn, ooo so Dell is good eh. πŸ˜‰

  • Reply xin January 8, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    hmmmmm i don’t know which is the best for me, but the most ergonomic keyboard has to be lenovo’s one.

  • Reply kampunginvestor January 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm

    I am still waiting to buy my very first laptop and trust me it will be a Dell as well. Kudos on Che Cheh for picking a Dell Lappie because Dell provides one of the finest after sales service in the industry.

    Oh yeah Che Cheh, you are not the last… I also don’t have.. Pinjam n using my sister’s laptop at the moment! wakaka πŸ™‚

  • Reply Che-Cheh January 8, 2010 at 10:50 pm

    Xin, ohhhh πŸ™‚

    Kampunginvestor, but I heard the after sales service is $$. Is that true?
    Haha ok thank god I’m not the last one to own a laptop. πŸ˜›

  • Reply Bryan January 9, 2010 at 2:43 am

    Your laptop is more keng chao then my PC lah! LoL…

    64bit + 4GB RAM, that’s a good combination to bring out the power of 64bit!

  • Reply Che-Cheh January 10, 2010 at 8:28 pm

    Bryan, yes good combo. I’m happy with the spec. Hehe

  • Reply keeyit January 17, 2010 at 9:11 pm

    Dell, cheap, affordable, high specs. I am also using Dell but mine is red color. Purple is romantic le..

  • Reply Irenelim January 28, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    Nice laptop… the best think about Dell is their onsite service. Nobody can beat them in this department!

  • Reply Che-Cheh January 30, 2010 at 1:01 am

    Keeyit, hehe I thought red is romantic? Purple no lomantic la. πŸ˜›
    Totally agree with your points.

    Irenelim, oh yeah I’ve heard about it… but $pricey$ wor.

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