SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Nation/World

November 1, 2013

Dell laptop buyers make a stink over cat smell

NEW YORK — A noxious feline odor has some Dell customers caterwauling.

People who own Dell Latitude 6430u laptops are complaining that their pricey new computers are emitting a smell similar to cat urine. Some of them said on the company’s online customer forums that the odor seems to be coming from the keyboard or palm rest.

The Round Rock, Texas, company originally advised buyers through its forums to try cleaning their keyboards with a soft cloth or compressed air, but the smell persisted.

“The machine is great, but it smells as if it was assembled near a tomcat’s litter box,” wrote a customer using the handle “three west” on a Dell forum back in June. “It is truly awful!”

On Wednesday, another customer writing under the handle “passflips” said he felt terrible for repeatedly scolding his cat Jerry, because he thought the elderly cat kept spraying the computer. The poster also said he wasted money on veterinarian bills in an attempt to determine whether his cat had a medical problem.

Dell said yesterday that its investigation revealed strange scent is related to a manufacturing process, which the company has since fixed. But if your portable PC isn’t purrfect, Dell recommends contacting the company’s technical support team to have your laptop’s palm rest assembly replaced.

Company spokesman David Frink said the odor isn’t related to a “biological contamination” and doesn’t present a health hazard. He added that newly assembled laptops that are currently in stores aren’t affected.

The laptops in question are ultrabooks designed for business use. The base model starts at $900 on Dell’s website, but Dell charges close to $1,300 for higher-end versions that include Windows 8 and Intel Core i5 processors.

While laptop users may find the smell of cat urine offensive, “cat’s pee” is a term sometimes used by wine lovers to describe a wine’s aroma.

And while the smell coming from the Dell computers is apparently unintentional, more than one group of engineers is working on “Smell-o-Vision” TV to engage viewers’ olfactory senses. In addition, a host of recent smartphone add-ons make scents, too, including the Scentee, a Japanese smartphone attachment that plugs into a phone’s earphone jack and dispenses scented vapors through dedicated cartridges.

1
Text Only | Photo Reprints
Nation/World

Local News
  • Bandits hit 2 Beverly banks over 2 days

    BEVERLY -- Brazen robbers hit two Beverly banks in less than 24 hours. A man was arrested in connection with Tuesday's robbery, while the suspect in yesterday's incident remains at large, police said. It has been some time since this North Shore city

    April 17, 2014

  • 140416_SN_KYU_BAKER_3 Time to raise our game SALEM -- Swampscott Republican Charlie Baker has worked in state government for years, had success in the private sector and ran for governor in 2010. But the question he hears most on the campaign trail: Why does he want to run again? Baker said he

    April 17, 2014 3 Photos

  • Marblehead temple to drop mandatory dues MARBLEHEAD -- It might be a sacred space, but even the house of God gets bills. Temples have traditionally paid those bills by charging mandatory dues for membership -- dues that could run into thousands of dollars a year. Now Temple Emanu-El has la

    April 17, 2014

  • North Shore residents to run in 2014 Boston Marathon

    The Salem News asked those on the North Shore who are running this year's Boston Marathon to share their reasons for running. 

    If you're running the marathon this year, it's not too late to share why you're running. Send a brief paragraph, a photo of yourself and a link to your fundraising site (if applicable) to Cheryl Richardson at crichardson@salemnews.com.

    April 17, 2014

  • Hunters call for an end to Sunday ban BOSTON -- Mike Prendergast likes spending time outdoors, hiking through the wilderness, sleeping under the stars, and taking aim with his compound bow on white-tailed deer and wild turkey from his perch in a tree. Working more than 50 hours a week as

    April 17, 2014