My mom's a "computer person." Or at least that's what I call her, mostly because I can't say that I honestly understand what she does. She does computer work for the government. She used to do computer work for the White House. We had a PC before people really had PCs, and I can't remember a time in my life when we didn't have a computer in the house. So when she found out that I could get a laptop with financial aid, her eyes sort of glazed over and she looked like a small boy just discovering the beauty of video games for the first time. I didn't know the first thing about what I needed in a laptop, so I told her to order it for me.
The day before I was due to leave for Austin, my laptop came in. Only, there was nothing "lap" about it. My 11 lb. monster of a machine was about 3-4 inches thick when closed and was just all-over enormous. My classmates regularly made fun of the size of my laptop, joking about how I was compensating for something or how it was the cause of global warming or how it might break the desk when I set it down. But the real joke was on my back, because the laptop + law books = impossibly heavy. I had two choices: I could either get a roller bag and then really be the butt of jokes, or I could go computerless in class. I opted for the latter.
Eventually I started bringing The Beast back to school as my study habits changed, and there was never a point when it wasn't a pain in the ass due to its sheer size. But its size was actually the only problem I've ever had with it (well, that and the fact that the fan is kind of loud). Other than that, I never had to replace anything but the power cord and even that only happened once. I've never had a virus (viruses are scared that they'll get drop-kicked by The Beast), I've never needed a new battery or motherboard or mousepad or anything. I finally couldn't deal with the inconvenience of having a huge computer and got a much nicer (read: smaller) HP, but my mom still uses The Beast on a daily basis (which is fitting, since she picked it out).
So I think the lesson we can all take away from my experience is that Dell is actually capable of making sturdy, reliable, quality machines.
It's just not capable of making them for under 11 lbs.