Our team always recommends that clients purchase their PCs, laptops and servers from 1st tier manufacturers such as Dell, HP or IBM/Lenovo. We do this for one reason: support.
Many people will lecture that extended warranties are a tax on the stupid. I disagree completely. Especially on laptops and servers. $100 per year is a small price to pay for the insurance that should anything break, the vendor will replace the parts.
Computers are prone to failures. From a hard drive failing to a monitor melting down to dropping a laptop, it’s virtually guaranteed that it’s going to happen within 3 years. All of the top providers offer extended support, that can include accidents (like driving over your laptop) and any type of failure.
Think of the cost of dropping a laptop. Let’s say it’s minor – hard drive fails (and is backed up). Cost for parts alone: $150 for a new drive. That’s already 50% of your extended warranty cost through Dell. Imagine now that you cracked the screen. Or dropped water into your keyboard. Dell sends the parts within 24 hours, and a technician to replace them. I’d gone through this process, many a time.
Getting our team to find parts and replace them is far more expensive. Of course, there’s the big if there – parts may not even be available for older machines. If you’ve dropped water into a laptop with no accidental damage protection warranty, you can generally write it off. Not good for your $1000-$2000 investment.
I know companies like Future Shop offer this kind of warranty as well. Note that for them, it’s depot warranty and the on-site component is not generally available. Depot warranty means that laptop is out of your hands for days. When my Compaq failed, Future Shop had it for 3 weeks! Thankfully I had a spare laptop, or I would have been in big trouble. Clearly on-site, next business day service would have been worth the extra couple dollars.
In the next few posts I’ll talk about our experiences with the support teams from the major manufacturers.