It is always a treat to purchase a brand new fancy laptop just for yourself. The presentation looks sleek, the screen is smooth and unsmudged, the graphics are phenomenal and the keyboard is not covered in bread crumbs or other food objects. Ah yes… what a harmonious experience. Unless… your computer starts giving off a foul odour. Livid computer user’s have reported that their newly purchased Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook is smelling strongly of cat urine. Why would that be the case you ask? Did all of these people have their cat’s pee over their laptop without their knowledge? Or is it something completely unrelated? We check out the facts.
Around mid June 2013, a thread began on the Dell support website regarding a user’s recent purchase of a Dell Latitude 6430u Ultrabook. They commented that the keyboard is giving off a smell as if it had been immersed in a cat litter tray. Other people started coming out of the woodwork also commenting about the horrid smell emitting from their laptops. We sought a professional opinion from sydney vet Dr David Hughes and presented him with a Dell 6430U Ultrabook. Dr Hughes has been a vet for at least 10 years and he completely agreed that the smell is akin to cat urine. With Dell keeping quiet on the issue, users were steadily believing that it was their own cats who were the perpetrators… sneaking into their zipped up cases or hopping onto the laptop to relieve themselves when their owner’s weren’t looking. Sneaky devils! Some users were at the end of their tether and were seriously thinking of euthanising their cats.
Almost 3 months after the initial reports began, Dell finally put out a statement in mid September that they were investigating the issue carefully and would seek out the root cause as soon as possible. On 30 October 2013, Kevin Dane, Executive Directory of Reliability, Validation and Quality at Dell officially posted on Dell Support that the smell was not at all a biological hazard (thank gosh!), however, the assembling process for the palmrest was the culprit. Dell have since resolved the way the palmrest is manufactured and the odour should no longer be present on newly manufactured units. For people who have already purchased a Dell laptop, they can now get a replacement of their palmrest by simply contacting Dell Technical Support in their relevant country. What a relief!