First, Dell told them to try cleaning it with a soft cloth. That didn’t work. Then they suggested compressed air, but as the complaints of laptops with keyboards and track pads that smelled exactly like cat urine piled up, Dell was forced to admit there was a problem. Yes, you read that correctly: Dell Latitude E6430u laptops manufactured before October smell strongly of cat urine.
How much like cat urine? Apparently, the laptop is basically unusable, and innocent cats are in danger of being blamed.
From the Dell Forums:
I almost started the week with my cat at the vet…getting the needle…but after checking my bag (smelled fine) and the kitchen table (the only place that the laptop wasn’t in the bag) I can’t blame the cat. Now I read this…good gosh it stinks.
I have been blaming a new kitten who I swore was creeping into my closed back pack at night and magically only hitting the PC with a concentrated urine stream which then magically evaporated. Glad to hear I am not alone (people see my smelling my PC and think I am insane!) and my apologies to the cat.
Dell has now apologized and offered replacement laptops to users with the cat-pee version. Apparently, a manufacturing problem (rather than an, um, biological agent) is responsible for the distinctive odor.
SteveB, official representative for Dell on the issue of cat-pee-scented computing, says:
What we do know at this time is that this smell is absolutely not urine or any other type of biological material. The parts have been tested and we have confirmed this 100%. The smell is caused by a manufacturing process which has now been changed and we are confident that the issue is resolved for all new E6430u currently shipping.
The next step for owners of the special litterbox edition? Replacement.
And for of you who were about to buy a Dell Latitude E6430u? You shouldn’t hesitate, says SteveB. “If you order an E6430u now, it will not have the issue,” he says.