Laptop and Tablet Warranties: What They Cover

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What's covered in your warranty?

Whether your shiny new laptop or tablet was dead on arrival or developed a serious problem after a few months of wear and tear, you'll probably rely on the manufacturer's warranty to get your device fixed. Every hardware vendor offers some kind of warranty on its products, but these protections are not created equal, which is why when you buy a product, you need to know: "What does your warranty cover?"

The problem is that warranties are dense and full of legal jargon that few people read and even fewer understand. To cut through the confusion, we've taken an in-depth look at the standard warranty coverage from the biggest laptop and tablet manufacturers in the business. Many of these companies offer extended coverage for an additional fee, but below we analyze what you get right out of the box, including the length of coverage, who pays for shipping costs and whether upgrading your device voids the agreement.

Brands Covered

ACER

Acer is a good baseline company for warranties. For consumer-grade laptops in the company's Aspire line as well as tablets, Acer gives one year's worth of protection against manufacturing defects. Its business line of notebook computers, the TravelMates, have two years of coverage, which is above and beyond what can be found among most business-model computers. For desktops, Acer offers three years standard, something almost unheard of without paying for an extended-warranty option, which can literally run into hundreds of dollars.

Standard Warranty Length

  • Chromebooks, Aspire Laptops and Tablets: 1-year limited warranty
  • Desktops: 3-year limited warranty
  • TravelMate Laptops: 2-year limited warranty
  • Acer Aspire Models S7-392-7837, S7-392-5454 and SW5-171P-82B3: 2-year limited warranty (varies by model between one- and two-year warranty)
  • 90-days of software support on all products

MORE: Acer Tech Support Rating 

Standard Warranty Coverage

Acer's warranty includes product repair, either by the company or by an authorized and certified shop. Replacement of a product or product parts with either the same item or one of comparable specifications is covered. Acer also offers a refund of the cost of the product minus depreciation if it is determined that the item cannot be repaired or if the customer opts for a refund rather than repair.The warranty must be activated and the device must be registered with Acer to receive coverage.

Shipping Costs

The consumer (you) pays for shipping, insurance, taxes, fees and everything else associated with sending the product to Acer for warranty repairs. The company pays for return shipping.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Upgrading your hard drive or RAM does not, in itself, void the warranty. However, any damages caused by the upgraded equipment, or damages incurred during the removal of the old hardware or installation of the new hardware are not covered, nor is the upgraded hardware covered by the Acer warranty.

While it is generally true that upgrading your computer will not void the warranty, some products carry a seal that voids the warranty if broken. That means you should avoid breaking that seal for any reason, even if you are doing it only for upgrade purposes.

AMAZON

Though Amazon doesn't manufacture much in the way of high-end electronics, the company's Fire tablets have been gaining ground against iPads and items like the Note tablets from Samsung. Amazon's standard tablet warranty is good, with shipping completely covered by the company. Its extremely abbreviated 90-day warranty for its newest inexpensive tablet isn't great, but Amazon breaks the mold with its worry-free coverage of tablets for kids, products which tend to endure the most abuse of any piece of electronic equipment.

Standard Warranty Length

  • 7-inch Fire Tablet: 90-day limited warranty
  • All Other Fire Tablets and Kindle E-Readers: 1-year limited warranty
  • Kids Edition Tablets: 2-year worry-free warranty

Standard Warranty Coverage

  • Standard Warranty: The standard warranty on most tablets and Kindle readers covers manufacturing defects. If you have a device that's under warranty, you can opt to have it repaired by Amazon or an authorized repair shop, or Amazon will give you a replacement new or refurbished device that is equivalent to the one you have. The company does not offer repairs or replacement for accidents or misuse unless you own a Fire Kids Edition tablet.
  • Kids Worry-Free Warranty: In addition to what is covered under the limited warranty, the Worry-Free edition that comes standard with Kids Edition tablets covers basic accidents such as spills and drops. It does not cover fire or misuse (such as using the tablet in a way it was not intended — treating it as a coaster, playing catch with it, etc.), commercial use, personal repair or alterations.

Shipping Costs

Amazon pays the cost of shipping the product to be repaired or returned by sending you printable shipping labels. The company also pays to ship back the repaired items or any replacements.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Any unauthorized upgrading or repair of any Amazon tablet or Kindle device will void the warranty.

Recent Changes to Amazon's Warranty

When Amazon released the 7-inch Fire tablet, complete with special offers for just $50, the company also dropped the warranty on that tablet to only 90 days. All other Fire Tablets — along with Kindle products, the Echo and the Fire TV Stick — get a one-year limited warranty.

APPLE

Apple will give you a way to pay for shipping your product to the company's technicians, but its warranty is best for anyone who lives in a populous area where access to a Genius Bar is available. The fairly staid warranty itself gives a basic form of coverage, but the capacity to receive warranty help directly from Apple technicians or employees at any of Apple's retail locations can save buyers innumerable worries and avoid the headache of dealing with phone menus and customer service reps who cannot physically see what is wrong with a device.

Standard Warranty Length

  • iPads, iPad minis, iPad Airs, MacBooks, iMacs, Mac minis, Mac Pros: 1-year limited warranty
  • 90-days of technical support

MORE: Apple Tech Support Rating

Standard Warranty Coverage

The standard warranty protects only against manufacturing defects, with no coverage for accidents, fire, water or damage caused by repairs or upgrades attempted by any unauthorized person. It will not help with defective parts that are deemed consumable, such as batteries, and won't cover cosmetic damage or damages caused by other products, including any cables, mice or other third-party accessories that are attached to the device. Any acts of nature or external forces are expressly not covered.

You may receive product replacement, repair or servicing by either sending your device to Apple or taking it to one of the company's retail locations or a certified repair outlet. In some cases, Apple will offer you DIY repair services. Typically, this will be done only if you speak to support either online or via telephone. Once a product is taken to Apple for repairs, the company will handle the repairs rather than giving instructions and parts to a consumer.

For all DIY repairs, hardware will be sent to you along with instructions for doing the repairs yourself. If this happens, you will not be compensated for any labor costs you incur during the repair procedure. Any damages you cause while performing the repair are also not covered.

Shipping Costs

If you need to mail your product to Apple, the company will send you prepaid shipping labels for free. To ensure your product is not damaged when you send it in, Apple will also typically give you the packaging materials to be used with your product so it can be properly protected while in transit.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Replacing most components, including but not limited to hard drives and RAM, will not void the warranty unless you use incompatible hardware or do damage to the machine during the upgrade process.

ASUS

For gamers, Asus stands out from the crowd. Among the company's gaming lines of laptops and desktops, buyers can expect to receive either lengthier coverage — as is the case with Acer's business and gaming desktops — or will get expanded coverage for spills and accidents, as is the case with the Republic of Gaming computers. The ordinary warranty is fine, if unremarkable, but clumsy buyers with a passion for gaming will appreciate the company's willingness to cover damage caused by the user.

Standard Warranty Length

  • Desktops, Laptops, Chromebooks, Hybrids and Tablets: 1-year limited warranty
  • High-End Desktops: 3-year limited warranty for business or gaming computers (consumers must check individual product to determine which warranty applies).
  • High-Range Notebooks: Some notebooks, such as those in the ROG (Republic of Gamers) line, have one-year warranty coverage that also includes drops, spills, accidents and acts of God. It also has two-way shipping for warranty service.

MORE: Asus Tech Support Rating

Standard Warranty Coverage

Each warranty covers parts and labor to repair a product, and you can exchange some items for comparable product replacement.

Shipping Costs

Whether or not you pay for shipping your product to Asus for repair depends on your individual product. The more expensive the product, the more likely Asus is to pay for shipping both ways. Asus will pay to return all products to you.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Any tampering, repair or modification by unauthorized personnel voids the warranty, so you cannot upgrade, enhance or fix any part of your Asus machine without it nullifying your warranty.

DELL

Dell is the computer for the everyman and everywoman. As such, the company's warranty shows a lot of parity. You'll get nearly exactly the same level of service whether you buy an inexpensive piece of equipment or the top of Dell's line. The company has everything from DIY repair to on-site coverage, though its on-site repair options are mostly limited to the Alienware line of gaming computers, the only place Dell lacks egalitarianism.

Standard Warranty Length

  • PCs, Laptops, Tablets: 1-year limited warranty
  • Refurbished products have a 90-day limited warranty.

Standard Warranty Coverage

The type of service you receive from Dell's standard warranty is a bit different, depending on the type of computer.

  • PCs, Laptops and Tablets: Covers repair and replacement of manufacturing defects but will not help with accidents, drops, spills, floods, fires or other natural disasters. Mail-in service only.
  • Alienware Laptops and PCs: This typically includes on-site service for any manufacturing defects or problems after a remote technician has diagnosed them. Though it includes on-site help, the warranty will still not cover any accidents or defects that result from use by the consumer.
  • Online Chat: Part of Dell's warranty service includes customer service via chat or over the phone, during which time the representatives can remotely access your PC and attempt to diagnose and repair any issues you may have. Any repair attempts done at the direction of Dell service are completely authorized and will not void further warranty service down the line.

MORE: Dell Tech Support Rating

Shipping Costs

Dell will pay the shipping both ways for all mail-in repairs or replacements, but you need to supply the box. In some cases — such as if you no longer have the original product box or request additional packaging from the company — Dell will dispatch a box for shipping along with payment to ensure your product is properly housed in transit. Dell may also send you a replacement part, which the company's customer care reps will instruct you on installing. The company covers all shipping for these parts.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Hard drive and RAM can be upgraded without voiding the warranty, but damage to the system incurred during the upgrade process is not covered. Also, your warranty will not cover any new parts you add. Upgrading the video card, CPU and most other components will void the warranty.

GOOGLE

The many items that seem like they would be made by Google, such as Chromebooks and the Nexus tablets, actually aren't manufactured by the search engine giant. The one item that is Google-made, the Pixel, has passable warranty coverage. However, Google's lack of outlets for repairs, and the fact the warranty doesn't cover shipping for service makes this warranty slightly less helpful than average.

Standard Warranty Length

  • Tablets: Google doesn't actually manufacture any of its own tablets, so the company does not offer a warranty. Nexus devices bear a warranty from the manufacturer, with nearly every Nexus made by a different company. The manufacturer of each Nexus is as follows:
    • Nexus 4, 5, and 5X: LG
    • Nexus 6: Motorola
    • Nexus 6P: Huawei Technologies
    • Nexus 7: Asus
    • Nexus 9: HTC
    • Nexus 10: Samsung

Most of these companies offer one-year limited warranties that include basic service and repair.

  • Pixel Chromebooks: Covered by a one-year limited warranty in the United States, or a two-year limited warranty in most of Europe.

Standard Warranty Coverage

Google's warranty covers repair parts and labor for the Pixel. It does not cover accidental damage.

Shipping Costs

You pay the shipping to send your Pixel to Google for repair or replacement, as the warranty doesn't guarantee payment of transit costs.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Swapping out the RAM on your Pixel will not void the warranty. You cannot change or remove the integrated SSD memory without enormous difficulty and high technical know-how, but even if you do so, it will void the warranty.

HP

HP offers a fairly common one-year warranty on its products. However, the company pays shipping costs for sending products in for service, something not all manufacturers do.

Standard Warranty Length

PCs, Laptops, Chromebooks and Tablets: 1-year standard global limited warranty.

Standard Warranty Coverage

With the standard one-year limited warranty, you will be covered for repair or replacement of parts deemed defective. The warranty does not cover accidents, abuse or use of an HP product outside of the standard-use instructions included with the product.

In some cases, HP may provide instructions and parts that enable you to service your own device. The company may also determine that you must mail in your machine or take it to local representatives for work to be completed. During DIY service, so long as you are acting in accordance with the instructions provided by HP, the warranty will cover your repairs even if you damage the system while acting as HP instructs.

MORE: HP Tech Support Rating

Shipping Costs

HP picks up the tab for shipping in both directions, including parts you remove and return to the company at HP's direction. HP will often provide you with shipping materials if you do not have the original boxes and packing materials in which your device came, to protect your product when you send it.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Upgrading your computer's RAM or hard drive will not affect your HP warranty unless you break something during the upgrade process or the upgraded components damage your system.

LENOVO

Lenovo offers several types of standard warranty, based on the type of laptop or tablet you bought. The warranties vary not only by length but also by who pays the shipping costs of sending your product in for service.

Standard Warranty Length

  • Mainstream Consumer: 1-year limited mail-in warranty
  • Premium Consumer and Mainstream Business Laptops: 1-year depot warranty
  • Premium ThinkPad Configs: Some configurations of higher-end ThinkPads, such as the T450s, W550s and X1 Carbon, come with three-year depot warranties standard.

Standard Warranty Coverage

Lenovo's standard warranties cover parts and labor, but not necessarily shipping (see below). Accidental damage isn't covered.

  • Limited Mail-In Warranty: Consumer pays shipping costs to send the product in for service.
  • Depot Warranty: Lenovo pays shipping costs and even provides a box for shipping the product back safely.
  • Self-Repair: If the defective part is consumer-replaceable (e.g., a battery, RAM or storage drive), Lenovo may send you replacement parts and instructions on how to perform the repair.

MORE: Lenovo Tech Support Rating

Shipping Costs

You pay for all shipping and packaging when mailing products to Lenovo.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

You can upgrade or modify most Lenovo products, including upgrading the hard drive and RAM, but only if those parts bear no warranty seal. Breaking of any warranty seal, or damage caused during repair or modification, are not covered.

MICROSOFT

Microsoft's Surface tablets and laptops have a solid warranty that covers both the systems themselves and peripherals such as the Type Cover and active stylus. Unlike some other manufacturers, the Redmond software giant covers shipping costs for products you send in for repair.

Standard Warranty Length

Surface and Surface Pro Products: 1-year limited warranty with 90-days of software support.

Standard Warranty Coverage

Microsoft's warranty covers repair or replacement of any manufacturing defects of the device itself, as well as the Touch Cover, Type Cover, Surface power supply cords and adapters, and Surface pens. The warranty does not include accidents or damage caused by unauthorized repairs, drops or abuse by the consumer.

MORE: Microsoft Tech Support Rating

Shipping Costs

The company will issue a prepaid shipping label for you to send the product back for servicing. Microsoft also pays for return shipping.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

You cannot open or tamper with any Microsoft product without voiding the warranty. You also cannot use any Microsoft product with any non-Windows operating system without voiding the warranty.

MSI

MSI's standard warranty backs the entire system for one year, but important individual laptop parts like the CPU and motherboard have longer coverage. The one big drawback of the MSI warranty is that it doesn't allow for upgrading your RAM or hard drive.

Standard Warranty Length

  • Laptops: 1-year warranty for repair of defective parts or entire systems. The company also offers two years of warranty coverage for replacement of defective parts that does not include system-wide issues.
  • Tablets: 1-year limited warranty for repairs or replacement of parts.

Standard Warranty Coverage

Defects are covered by MSI's warranty, but accidents, damage caused by the consumer, spills or natural acts are not covered by the warranty.

MORE: MSI Tech Support Rating

Shipping Costs

MSI advises customers to take the product back to the store where it was purchased and have the retailer ship the device back to the manufacturer, or to take it to the nearest MSI service center. http://www.msi.com/page/service-location/. Customers are responsible for packaging the products so they won't be damaged in transit.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

The warranty will be voided if the customer performs any modifications or alterations to the device without authorization. This includes simply removing parts.

SAMSUNG

The Korean electronics giant offers a fairly vanilla one-year standard warranty in the United States. If you need to send your laptop or tablet in for repair, you must cover your own shipping costs.

Standard Warranty Length

PC, Laptop, Chromebook, Laptop Hybrid and Tablet: 1-year limited warranty

 Standard Warranty Coverage

Samsung's warranty coverage includes repair for manufacturer defects and replacement of parts or replacement of the entire system with a new, refurbished or equivalent replacement.

The warranty does not cover accidents, spills, acts of God or equipment damaged by the user for any reason.

MORE: Samsung Tech Support: 2015 Rating

Shipping Costs

You must ship the product to Samsung at your own expense for warranty service. The company will return the repaired product to you at no cost.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

Samsung reserves the right to refuse to service your computer if your RAM or hard drive has been replaced, since the company's warranty bears a clause stating that "altered products" will not receive warranty service. Any damage incurred while changing out the components is not covered.

TOSHIBA

Toshiba's standard warranty is similar to that of most of its competitors, with a one-year guarantee on parts and labor, but not accidental damage. Prepare to pay your own shipping costs if you need to send your system back.

Standard Warranty Length

PC, Laptop, Chromebook, Laptop Hybrid and Tablet: 1-year limited warranty

Standard Warranty Coverage

Parts and labor are covered by the standard warranty, meaning repair and replacement of any defective parts or an entire system fall under the purview of the warranty. Accidents or harm caused by the user are not covered, nor are acts of God or damage caused by unlicensed repairs.

MORE: Toshiba Tech Support Rating

Shipping Costs

You pay for shipping and packaging a device when sending it to Toshiba for warranty service. The company will pay to return the device once it has been fixed.

Will Warranty Be Voided If RAM or Hard Drive Is Replaced?

The warranty will remain in effect after you upgrade your hard drive or RAM, unless you break a warranty sticker seal, damage the product while making the upgrades or install incompatible equipment that damages your device.

Image Credits: cover image (anyaivanova / Shutterstock), calendar icon (Gena96 / Shutterstock), delivery truck icon (Biro Emoke / Shutterstock), motherboard icon (Golubovy / Shutterstock)

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3 comments
  • FoxTrot Says:

    Hello. I recently bought me a DELL laptop, which is faulty, I upgraded it with an SSD, and want a repair. But acording to them, the warranty voids after upgrading! Why does it say that it dosent in this post.

  • Victor Says:

    In Israel (and Europe too) Dell has 3 year warranty on your site. (inc delivery)

  • Ziyai Says:

    Hello,
    I was cleaning the hole in my laptop between the plastics around the screen and the back lid of the screen. However, in the process I cracked some plastics that hold the plastics around the screen attached to the bakc lid. I did no damage to the screen or the internal parts. There's just a minor cosmetic damage which cannot be seen without pulling the plastics. Will my warranty voided? I am using an Asus laptop

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