Dell introduced the Latitude 6430u business ultrabook back in the early summer of 2012, and soon after complaints regarding a peculiar odor began surfacing on the company's product forums. According to many owners, the laptop is off-gassing an odor that smells, for lack of more sophisticated phrase, "like cat pee." Though the company responded with typical tech support advice like cleaning the vents with compressed air, today it released a more official response.
The odor has been consistently described by owners as foul and apparently ammonia-laden, with a quick look at the company's forums revealing all sorts of complaints about the issue. Many were given generic advice, such as using air to clean out the vents, which some said simply resulted in a more widely-dispersed odor. Others were told to wipe down the keyboard with a soft cloth, which didn't help solve the problem.
As the complaints continued, Dell started replacing the foul-odored units from those afflicted, and as such investigated to find the cause of the problem. As it turns out, the laptop's palm rest is to blame for reasons due to an unspecified "manufacturing process that has now been changed." How many units were affected wasn't specified, and it isn't immediately clear when the new palm rests will be available.
Said Dell in a note to owners: "The smell is not in any way related to biological contamination
The smell is not at all health hazard. If you order an E6430u now, it will not have the issue
As soon as we have final engineering failure analysis, more information will be posted on how to immediately resolve the issue. We hope to have the information this week so please keep watching this thread."