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Break's Over

I know that some people don't like extended warranties, but my solid piece of advice for buying a computer: factor in the price of the nicest warranty you can get for it. Maybe you'll never need it. If it's a Dell, you probably will.

Actually, I shouldn't pick on Dells. I've known Dells that went forever and a day without a breakdown, and I've known machines that were supposedly legendary for quality that broke on a regular basis. Sometimes, I think, people just get a machine out of a bad batch.

Anyway, if there's one thing I will say for Dell, it's that their Hong Kong-based customer service beats the heck out of their US version. Only two choices faced me on menu tree, a customer service representative answered the phone almost immediately, they gave me no static before sending out a repair person, and when he arrived, he did his job with an admirable speed and grace. The machine was gutted and rebuilt in fifteen minutes, and he only had to reopen it once to put the bluetooth card back in. (Unlike the US-based techs I've known, he stuck around not only to make sure I could boot up the machine, but also to let me test out the features--otherwise we wouldn't have caught the missing bluetooth card.)

Anyway, that's the long version of the story. The short version is, I'm back, and you'll be hearing from me soon.


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I don't like extended warranties either as a rule - I worked in retail sales (electronics) for years and was flatly told by my supervisors to push them because they were generally 100% profit (most people forget they have them). Also, a lot of companies (including both of my former retail jobs) pay employees "spiffs" for each one they sell. However for computers, and especially laptops, I highly support buying an extended warranty. I bought one for the Gateway from Hell and it's paid for itself. I had to have both the screen and the motherboard replaced within 3 years.
I second (or third? :-) the opinion that laptops are one of the few things that extended warranty converage makes sense for. For desktop machines I'd only get one for a proprietary machine for which parts are hard to come by (or for servers). In any event, at least in the US I think that buying good computer insurance (safeware.com is the best, IMHO) is a much better deal than extended warranty converage: what extended warranty is going to cover something like dropping your laptop off of a bridge? Or lightning damage? Safeware has saved my ass more than any warantie I've ever had! I think that just about the only thing they DON'T cover is leaving your gear in an unlocked auto; otherwise they cover things no homeowners or renters insurance will.
I agree - buying a the warranty for you laptop is a good idea. Just this year I somehow managed to magnetize my laptop (evidently this is a bad thing) and it really screwed with how it operated. One call to the 1-800 #, and I was off to the races. It was fixed in under an hour I must say though, I own a Mac, and the "Apple Care Protection Plan" is really quite reasonable - less than $200 Canadian for my iBook. Well worth the cost - and it even covers it if I drop it accidentally. I don't know if that means the Brooklyn Bridge - but hey, I would call and ask should I ever be in that position.
I'm beginning to regret not to get a warrantee for my Dell laptop (barely 1 month old). Think it's too late to buy a policy? Maybe the labor cost in Hong Kong's a lot cheaper, thus Dell's able to offer extensive coverage in comparison to the U.S. plan.

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