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August 17, 2004

Beware Dell's Pricing

It's computer-buying season for U.S. students headed to college.

If you're considering buying a Dell, hold off on the purchase and let me save you a couple bucks: chances are your "special education prices" are the most expensive prices available.

For the purpose of this demonstration, I configured three Dell Inspiron 8600 laptops identically. One was configured using the individual education store, one using the home store, and one using the small business store. Note that no matter which store you order from, you're getting exactly the same product with exactly the same technical support lines: in other words, when I say I configured them identically, I mean it, down to the experience you'd have with Dell support.

If you're curious, the system I specced out was designed to closely match Apple's current 15" PowerBook model. Bluetooth, 802.11g, a 60GB hard drive, and a couple software solutions were added to the base model.

Education Store
$2020 (less $100 mail-in rebate)

Home Store
$1910 (less $100 mail-in rebate)

Small Biz Store
$1904 (no rebates)

If your journeys through the American school system have taught you anything, it's that $1904 is the smallest number there. The eagle-eyed will notice something even more shocking: the "discounted" higher education rate will set you back a full $110 more than what you'd pay as a "full price" home user!

It's also worth noting none of these prices include shipping (which other vendors usually don't charge for on purchases of this scale), which will set you back roughly $40 more.

The Point
So please, if you absolutely insist on buying a Dell, shop around before you blindly purchase how the university and common sense would suggest. If you want to see how education discounts should work, try IBM or Apple, both of whom consistently sell their discounted systems at lower prices than their full-price systems (amazing, that!).

Now, grasshoppa, take the money I've saved you (or your parents) and use it to buy books. Or booze. Or both.

Posted by Colin at August 17, 2004 7:49 AM

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