At Computex 2019 in Taiwan, Dell held a wonderful showcase, with their latest and greatest products for the year. Many of these products were extremely beautiful and thin, yet robust. However, with so many updated products with new and improved hardware, we had some questions in mind. Dell offered us the opportunity to interview a couple of their executives and we were delighted at the chance. Below is the interview sessions we held firstly with Steve Lu, the Director of Global Consumer, followed by an interview with Matt McGowan, the Director of Dell Gaming.
Interview With Steve Lu, the Director of Global Consumer NB Product Marketing
Hey Steve, thank you for taking some time out of your busy schedule to conduct this interview with us. The first question we have for you today is, regarding the Inspiron and Vostro lineup. What separates the product lines of Inspiron and Vostro?
Both product lines have been evolving. One targets consumers, one targets businesses. Vostro products are mainly sold through Dell.com or we work directly with the customer. Meanwhile, Inspiron is sold through retailers like Best Buy.
The feature set on both product lines also vary. For example, the Vostro line comes with business for Skype and they used to pack VGA ports. As for the Inspiron lineup, it comes with features to make content consumption all that better such as Dell Cinema, and Maxx Audio.
How does the model numbering system work?
There are four digits. The first digit represents the series. Second digit is screen size, so if it’s a 5, it’s a 15-inch screen. The last two digits usually represents the processor generation, but it’s more for internal usage. The model number makes it easier for users to find drivers online.
Could you describe the durability of the Inspiron series, particularly the 2-in-1 variant?
The hinge is initially loose when you open it, but then becomes tighter. When laptops become thinner, some manufacturers compromise the safety of it. However, we wrap our batteries to ensure it isn’t compromised. When it comes to temperature, we ensure that certain parts of the laptop don’t hit a certain temperature. All our specs follow an extremely strict guideline to ensure safety and satisfaction to our standards.
All our specs follow an extremely strict guideline to ensure safety and satisfaction to our standards.
I would also like to point out the ports. We include a wide variety of ports on such a small laptop. We don’t cut corners, cause doing so only brings a short-term value, and won’t help us in the long-term.
We don’t cut corners, cause doing so only brings a short-term value, and won’t help us in the long-term.
I noticed the new Vostro has a thinner body, but the thermals have been improved. How do the thermals work? And how much better is it compared to the previous variant.
I don’t have exact figures for the comparison but we improved on the X and Y dimensions a lot, and it’s more compact and thinner. As for thermals, the materials we selected even for the fans, was highly scrutinised. But we needed to balance the fan speed and also the noise generated by the fans. We also didn’t cut corners on the heat pipe width. We also have adapted thermal software to adjust cooling. Those play a big part on how we were able to improve thermals and make it thinner.
The current market for laptop manufacturers is rather tough. What are some of the challenges faced by the Inspiron and Vostro lines at the moment?
On the consumer market, it is super challenging because people want to buy the greatest and latest at the lowest cost. For example, some of the things I talked about earlier, it is very hard to market those. The challenge is getting people to understand your products, and we definitely want to share that with you but it takes time. Dell has been in the industry for a long time, and we have a breadth of knowledge in terms of hardware and software.
The challenge is getting people to understand your products, and we definitely want to share that with you but it takes time.
Interview with Matt McGowan, the Director of Dell Gaming
Why doesn’t the latest XPS 15 OLED variant support touch?
The OLED panel is a pretty expensive feature. When we add touch to it, we want to make sure it is as affordable as possible. We looked at the possibility but chose to have a non-touch version until OLED gets more popular.
What are the key points that you emphasise on the affordable G-series to make it stand out?
Our gaming portfolio, we think of it fully as G-series and Alienware. G-series was created a couple of years ago with a more affordable price tag. We didn’t want it to pull down the name of the Alienware lineup which comes with the latest and greatest hardware we can offer. When we look at the G-series we wanna make sure we’re making the right choices. The products are designed to be versatile enough to be gaming devices. When we look at technology, Alienware is really our innovation engine, and if it makes sense we pull it down to the G-series. For example, we use the same keyboards, and also the same batteries amongst others.
We look at the G-series we wanna make sure we’re making the right choices.
Do you see screen burn-ins being an issue on the XPS 15 OLED variant?
The OLED variant has been available for the past three years, and based on feedback over the years, we didn’t receive much or any complains of screen burn-ins. Initially it was a concern for us too, but the data simply didn’t show a cause for concern.
Was it a major design change to shift the webcam from the bottom to the top for the XPS series?
It was a huge design change. It took years for us to bring such a change. A webcam is usually 5mm but we managed to shrink it to 2.25mm. We worked with our panel vendors to shrink the top part of the panel where we thought it could still deliver an infinity edge panel and still have the webcam on top. Until we were able to achieve that, we weren’t ready to concede the infinity edge just yet. The video quality is also much better compared to previous generation.
How does the webcam quality compare to the previous one?
It’s much better, it’s a multi lens camera now. Noise reduction has been greatly improved as well, and if you do a side-by-side comparison, you’ll be able to tell the difference.