Round seven: warranty and support
Who's got your back?
It's all fun and games, until something breaks.
It's impossible for us to judge the quality of service when it comes to interaction with support staff, timeliness and responsiveness, indeed, this will change from customer to customer. But we can look at what support infrastructure surrounds each product.
Dell covers parts and labour for one year on-site (with a technician usually coming to you in one to two days), although this can be upgraded to two years for AU$89, or three years for AU$140.80. All warranties come with 24/7 phone and online support, and either free on-site help from Gizmo if you're in a service area, or three-year phone support from Dell. Manuals, drivers, FAQs and self-help knowledge bases are provided online.
By comparison, Apple also offers a one year warranty, but with only 90 days of phone support on 1300 321 456. It provides an excellent support database on its website, as well as manuals, software updates and downloads, an active community forum is present and helpful, and you can even check the progress of a repair. If you're near an Apple Store, you can make use of its "Geniuses", who can assist with any technical query or issue.
To upgrade to three years (including phone support) costs an offensive AU$419 for the MacBook Pro 13 — which is at least better than any other MacBook Pro that weighs in at AU$579 extra.
Winner: while both companies offer deep and helpful support mechanisms, the huge price to extend to a decent warranty term on the Apple cripples it. With on-site service, Dell walks this one in.
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