One perk of a new job is getting a new computer and monitor. I made several terrible mistakes. Here we go…
The Wrong Laptop
I did some research and decided on the Dell XPS 13. It has crazy high 4k resolution (3200 x 1800) and a super fast processor. Plus a touch screen. In hindsight, these were all mistakes. I really don’t need a touch screen, I don’t need the high resolution. Windows doesn’t handle high resolution perfectly, especially with a second monitor.
The Wrong Port
The XPS 13 comes with a USB Type-C (3.1) port. It does NOT have a DisplayPort, a Mini Display Port, HDMI Port or Mini HDMI Port. It has none of those. So connecting it to another monitor requires an adapter.
Here is a rundown of what I learned about ports. All of the following can be used to connect to a monitor or projector.
So immediately the problem was that the Dell XPS 13 did not come with a USB Type C adapter. In fact, they have no available docks to buy. You have to go to Amazon and buy a separate adapter. It sounds like a miracle port that can do everything, but until there are adapters and docks, it’s all a pain in the ass.
The Wrong Monitor
On the page where I picked out the laptop was a nice large 32″ Monitor. I didn’t think that carefully when I picked it out because I was a bit in a rush and the monitor was literally on the same page as the laptop. It was touted as an appropriate accessory.
First problem was the price. This is just way too much for a monitor. I understand it does 4k, but I don’t really need 4k for designing interfaces. Second problem was the most important. No adapter would work. The back of the monitor has inputs for HDMI, DisplayPort and Mini DisplayPort. (See graphic above) Remember, I need to end up in the USB-C port to make it work. I tried a USB-C to DisplayPort and a USB-C to Mini DisplayPort. Neither worked. I ordered a USB-C to HDMI port, but that one came with the internals literally upside-down. I couldn’t slide the HDMI cable into it because of this flaw. So I need to wait a little longer to try the HDMI path. Even if it works, the HDMI should limit the resolution to 2560×1440. (Not 4K)
The Wrong Support Rep
When I called to try and fix the problem, they had me do all sorts of things, none of which worked. Then they said they would send me a monitor. This was a bad idea (in hindsight). The problem is software drivers, not hardware. So now I have TWO overpriced monitors and need to return them. They keep misunderstanding the issue.
I should have went to Best Buy and actually felt the laptops in my hand. I think the Lenovo Yoga is even sexier than the Dell XPS. I should have looked closer at the monitor and chosen a more reasonable one from Amazon. I should have realized what a usb type-c was and avoided it unless it ALSO had a Mini DisplayPort.
What a mess. Well, the good news is that I earned some good luck karma points for the future.