School Projectors - Warranty and Support
The 2012 Classroom Projector Report is sponsored by:
5/12/2012 - Art Feierman
There are basically three aspects to the overall warranty and support issue. Two relate to the warranty: Duration, and Replacement Programs.
Comparing projectors for those two aspects is fairly straightforward, but with an occasional twist. If you wish to take a quick look at warranty duration, click on the dynamic Specifications chart, where you can 1 touch click to sort by warranty. We discuss some exceptions and additional programs below.
Support, on the other hand, is hard for us to get a handle on. Some companies seem to have a superb reputation for support, but for the most part, I don't get enough feedback to make determinations. In fact when I do comment, it is usually in part based on my previous experience as owner of a large online projector reseller, and that's getting dated. Having sold that business, I don't have much recent experience with manufacturer support to go by.
Projector Warranty Duration:
All of the projectors considered in this 5/2012 comparison report offer limited warranties. A full warranty implies, that if it breaks, a brand new unit would be sent to you, and no one offers that. Virtually all warranties we deal with in life are limited.
This year, of the fifteen projectors, only one comes with a one year warranty, and that is the Acer. Two year warranties are provided by Epson and NEC. Hitachi has 3 a year warranty on one of the two models we reviewed, and four years on the other (two different series of projectors). Of the remaining eight manufacturer with reviews, all but InFocus offer three years. Technically, InFocus gets the top prize for warranty duration, with five years on parts and labor!
It's not always that clean, however. Some examples:
For schools Epson has their Brighter Futures program which provides a third year warranty.
|Acer S5201M||3 years P/L|
|Acer K330||1 year P/L|
|BenQ LW61ST||3 years P/L|
|Canon WUX4000||3 years P/L|
|Casio XJ-ST155||3 years P/L|
|Casio XJ-M145||3 years P/L|
|Epson PowerLite 435Wi||2 years w/overnight replacement|
|Epson BrightLink 485Wi||2 years w/overnight replacement|
|Hitachi iPJ-AW250N||3 years P/L|
|Mitsubishi WD380U-EST||3 years P/L|
|NEC U310W||2 years w/1 yr. Instacare|
|Optoma ML500||1 year P/L|
|Optoma TW610STi||3 years Optoma replacement service|
|Optoma ZX210ST||3 years Optoma replacement service|
|Panasonic VX-400NTU||3 years P/L|
|Viewsonic PLED-W500||3 years, 1st year express exchange service|
Projector Replacement Programs:
These companies will replace a projector with warranty problems for the timeframe specified, with one out of a loaner fleet. That isn't a guarantee of a brand new unit, but rather one out of a pool of units set aside for this type of program, and those units are typically projectors that came back to them with a problem, have been repaired, and added to their replacement fleet.
Note: Replacement programs are pretty popular with business and education projectors, they're fairly uncommon for home theater projectors. As you can see from our main chart, 6 of 13 projectors have some form of replacement or loaner program.
Some, like Mitsubishi, NEC, and Epson, once you call and they determine its a warranty issue, will ship you out a replacement. When it arrives, you send the broken one back in the box the replacement came in. The manufacturer pays all freight. Done!
By comparison, Sharp, has you send yours in. They will either repair it in 24 hours, or ship out a replacement. Not quite as fast, but few will complain, and hardly a deal breaker. Most of the others resemble one of these two.
Sanyo is an oddball. They aren't officially as fast. You send in a unit they ask 72 hours to repair it. They will ship it back the same speed you sent it in. If you second day it, they will second day it back. That's typical of all the other non replacement warranties, except that Sanyo's the only one of the seven that guarantees a maximum time to repair.
One other note: Replacement programs normally require you provide credit card information. The manufacturer will hold that information, and put a charge on it for the value of the projector, in the event that you don't return the broken projector, and keep them both. For schools and districts however, most of these companies likely have a more convenient solution.