After nearly 20 years of using some sort of portable computer without incident, I recently found myself in a hotel room far from home with a notebook that refused to power on. I knew this would happen sooner or later, but I had no idea where to turn. I figured I wasn't alone; thus, this column was born.
Considering the rough-and-tumble nature of business travel, knowing how to get help when your notebook takes ill should be an important check-off item during the purchase process. Most IT services companies and resellers will offer reasonable service options when you buy a notebook from them, but if you're buying your system from an internet or retail office supply store, make sure the manufacturer has things covered.
What can you expect to pay for this on-the-go insurance? For $175 to $575, Lenovo offers ThinkPlus EasyServ warranty repair services. The company will even pick up the system and return it once it's repaired. Service takes an average of five business days.
Hewlett-Packard offers similar coverage through HP Total Care, which is handled by its network of IT service providers and resellers. It promises notebook repairs in three to five days, at an average cost of $460 for three years.
Our charts below outline these and other options from five leading notebook companies. We also offer names of several independent technicians. (This list is not all-inclusive, nor does Entrepreneur endorse any particular facilities. They are merely offered as options to cope with emergencies.)
Pass it off to the Pros
- iRepairLaptops.com: Mail-in repair service; offers diagnostic quote for about $50 and LCD replacements for about $300; handles a range of major brands
- Laptop Rescue: Mail-in repairs completed by technicians qualified to service all brands, including Apple; repair services range from $49 to $149, plus parts; offers free upfront repair quote and can complete repairs in one to two days
- Laptop Service: Mail-in repair service center certified to repair systems from Apple, Dell, Compaq/HP, IBM/Lenovo, Panasonic, Sony and Toshiba; offers free laptop repair estimates
- PC Laptops (Las Vegas and Utah): Regional IT consultants that specialize in building notebooks and desktops; will repair any major notebook brand at any of its nine locations; certified to represent Intel and Microsoft technology; mail-in laptop service not offered
- PC Service: Mail-in service certified to represent major notebook brands with 24-hour turnaround; offers warranties on new parts
- SparePartsWarehouse: Mail-in repair service center that promises one-day repair turnaround after authorization (which takes up to three days); can handle Apple, Compaq/HP, IBM/Lenovo, Sony and Toshiba
- Apple: Call or visit apple.com/retail/genius bar to find a service location near you with technicians standing by.
- Dell: Dell CompleteCare Accidental Damage Service covers accidental damage associated with everyday use or a drop/fall.
- Hewlett-Packard: Notebooks come with one-year warranty support. HP Total Care, priced about $460, extends coverage for three years for accidental damage, including pick-up and drop-off. Repairs are made in three to five business days, not including shipping time.
- Lenovo: ThinkPlus EasyServ repair service ranges from $175 to $575, depending on options, and includes pick-up and drop-off. Allow an average of five business days.
- Toshiba: Toshiba's Notebook Depot repair service is part of the standard warranty on its notebooks. You can extend service for three years through SystemGuard for about $279; ServiceExpress (starting at $49) will expedite your repair; and On-Site Repair (starting at $249) will send a Toshiba technician to you.