August 22, 2006

Disk Drive Warranties:

As our warranty tour continues, we've finally found a product segment for which warranties vary tremendously from one company to the next. And competitive marketing strategies seem to matter more than either product specs or price.

Who knew that computer disk drive warranties were so variable? After a week spent looking at MP3 players and digital cameras, most of which featured either short or very short warranties, one could be forgiven for assuming that the same story would be told with hard drives.

But as we got deeper into our research for this week's roundup of internal and external hard drives, and flash memory-based pocket-sized units, it became clear that warranty varies tremendously from one vendor to another. In fact, we were originally going to do a roundup of both magnetic and optical storage this week, until the list of just the magnetic products grew too long by half.

It turns out that hard drive warranties vary all the way from 90 days to five years. And that's just within one vendor -- well, if one counts Seagate Technology and Maxtor Corp. as a single company. Though they've now merged, the market still lists their products separately, as we have done here. And while Seagate's internal hard drives include a five-year warranty, some of Maxtor's external drives carry only a 90-day warranty on both parts and labor.

Warranty War?

In the August 2 newsletter, we failed to find a computer covered by a five-year warranty, and the best computer monitor warranty found in the August 8 edition was four years (at NEC). Only a handful of printers featured multi-year warranties, and they tended to be of the older impact type. But in at least the first list below, it's clear that there's something of a warranty war raging, with Seagate in a dogfight with Fujitsu, Hitachi, and Western Digital.

In the external hard disk segment, vendors aren't as brave, with most providing only one-year warranties (though two vendors provide three-year warranties for some of their products). but hold on, because now there's a new type of external memory, called a USB drive, which plug into the Universal Serial Bus now included on many desktop and notebook computers. Those that follow the USB 2.0 standard don't even need their own power source, because they can run off the computer to which they're connected. And although some of the external hard drives have now shrunk down to the size of a paperback book, most of these USB drives are no thicker than a fat magic marker.

Most of the USB drives are built using flash memory, which essentially means there are no moving parts. But a few vendors, for instance Verbatim Corporation Inc., have managed to shrink the rotating platter of a typical hard drive down to magic marker size. Though they look small enough to be flash memory-based, they're actually just miniature external hard drives.

Then there are all sorts and shapes and sizes of card-based or stick-based flash memory. For instance, many digital cameras and some MP3 players use removable memory sticks or cards that can plug into a USB port. We listed a few, including some that operate much like the old-fashioned floppy disks (but at much higher capacities), but the intent here was to follow the market. And most of the merchants we checked with seem to be stocking all those different shapes and sizes merely as a courtesy to their customers, while they tout and push the external hard drives and the external USB drives. In fact, a few seem to have cut their prices just in the last week.

Sampling of Manufacturers & Products

Not every manufacturer is included, and for each vendor not every model they sell is listed. For instance, Dell resells storage products from Adaptec, ADS Technologies, Apricorn, Archos Technology, Belkin Components, Buffalo Technology, Buslink, CMS Products, Hitachi, I/O Magic, Iomega, LaCie, Linksys, Maxtor, Micronet Technology, Seagate, SimpleTech, SmartDisk, Teac America, US Robotics, and Western Digital. Dell also sells a handful of internal disk drives and external flash memory modules under its own brand name. Only the latter are included here.

And, we should note, flash "Memory Key" products sold under the Dell brand name carry a one-year warranty. We had to call India to make sure of that, because Dell doesn't reveal its warranty periods until after you've made your purchase. "To determine which warranty came with your hardware product(s), see your packing slip or invoice," the company states on its Web site. Or, if you want to know the warranty before you buy, you can send a letter to headquarters.

There is, however, a good side to Dell's hard drive warranties. The internal hard drives sold under the Dell brand name have a standard one-year warranty, or they can follow the warranty of the system into which they're installed -- whichever is longer. So if the notebook or desktop is out of warranty at the time the hard drive is purchased, the disk drive's warranty is one year. But if there are 18 months left to run on the system's warranty, the hard drive's warranty will also extend for 18 months. If the computer's warranty has two years to go, the hard drive is warranted for that entire period. And so on.

For all of the vendors below, we sampled the respective product line to discover whether every brand and every model has the same warranty period, or if there are differences between product families. In each of the three charts that follows, the name of the warranty provider comes first, followed by a string that hopefully contains a brand name, a model number, and a brief description of the product.

Size Matters?

We gathered information on capacity (MB is a million bytes, GB is a billion, and TB is a trillion), rotations per minute (5400 rpm, 7200 rpm, etc.) and interface (SCSI, FireWire, Serial ATA, etc.) in the false hope that this would have some bearing upon warranty. The only physical attribute that seems to have any bearing upon warranty is size -- and by that we mean physical size, not capacity. For instance, both Hitachi and Toshiba give their slimmest 1.8-inch units the shortest warranties. And they're more expensive than their thicker cousins with the same storage capacity.

On each of the three lists below, the products are listed in ascending order based on the parts warranty, and within that, in ascending order based on price. Of course, prices aren't included, first because we're not publishing a shopping bulletin, and second because prices vary tremendously among retailers. In cases where we relied upon street prices, we collected them as many as we could from one merchant. However, some manufacturers helpfully included list prices, making it unnecessary for us to collect street prices for their product lines.

In addition, all models were checked to see if in fact they were for sale. For instance, some internal hard drive manufacturers have announced very large capacity units designed for notebooks, which seem to have not yet reached the market. And while some flash memory manufacturers tout product lines that range from the very small to the very large, most retailers have stopped selling the small ones and have not yet started stocking the large ones. And for discontinued, used or refurbished models, anything goes when it comes to warranty.

Internal Hard Drive Warranties

  Brand, Make, Model & Description  Parts  Warranty  (years)  Labor  Warranty  (years)
  Dell 341-2579 80GB 5400rpm for Latitude 1 1
  Dell 341-3680 500 GB 7200rpm for Dimension 1 1
  Dell 341-3808 320 GB for Precision workstation 1 1
  Dell 341-3364 73 GB SCSI Internal for PowerEdge Server 1 1
  Fujitsu MHV2040AT 40 GB ATA 4200rpm 3 3
  Fujitsu MHV2160BT 160 GB SATA 4200rpm 3 3
  Fujitsu MAX3036NC 36.7 GB SCSI 15krpm 5 5
  Fujitsu MAY2073RC 73.5 GB SAS 10krpm 5 5
  Fujitsu MAW3300NC 300 GB SCSI 10krpm 5 5
  Hitachi Microdrive 3K6 6 GB CF+ 3600rpm 1 1
  Hitachi Travelstar C4K60 Slim 1.8'' 30 GB 4200rpm 1 1
  Hitachi Travelstar C4K40 Slim 1.8'' 40 GB 4200rpm 1 1
  Hitachi Deskstar 7K80 80 GB 7200rpm SATA 3 3
  Hitachi Travelstar 4K40 40 GB 4200rpm 3 3
  Hitachi Travelstar 7K100 100 GB 2.5'' 7200rpm 3 3
  Hitachi Deskstar 7K500 500 GB 7200rpm SATA 3 3
  Hitachi Travelstar 5K160 160 GB 5400rpm SATA 3 3
  Hitachi Ultrastar 15K147 73.4 GB Ultra320 SCSI 15krpm 5 5
  Hitachi Ultrastar 10K300 300 GB Ultra320 SCSI 10krpm 5 5
  HP PY276AA 80 GB 7200rpm SATA for desktops 1 1
  HP ET354AA 80 GB 5400rpm SATA 1 1
  HP EM172AA 80 GB 10krpm SATA 1 1
  HP EA788AA 250 GB 10krpm SATA 1 1
  HP PV943A 500 GB 7200rpm SATA 1 1
  Lenovo ThinkPad 60 GB 40Y8723 SATA 5400rpm 1 1
  Lenovo 3000 N100 Series 41N3026 100 GB SATA 5400rpm 1 1
  Lenovo ThinkPad 100 GB 40Y8721 SATA 5400rpm 1 1
  Lenovo ThinkCentre 40GB 22P7185 SATA 7200rpm 3 3
  Lenovo ThinkCentre 80GB 09N4248 SATA 7200rpm 3 3
  Lenovo ThinkCentre 250GB 41N3015 SATA 7200rpm 3 3
  Maxtor Ultra L01M160 160 GB SATA 7200rpm 1 1
  Samsung Spinpoint P Series SP0411N 40 GB SATA 7200rpm 3 3
  Samsung Spinpoint P Series SP2514N 250 GB ATA 7200rpm 3 3
  Samsung Spinpoint M Series HM080JI 80 GB SATA 5400rpm 3 3
  Samsung Spinpoint M Series HM120JC 120 GB SATA 5400rpm 3 3
  Samsung Spinpoint T Series HD400LJ 400 GB SATA 7200rpm 3 3
  Samsung Spinpoint V Series SV1604N 160 GB ATA 5400rpm 3 3
  Seagate ST3120026A-RK 120 GB ATA 7200rpm 5 0
  Seagate ST3200822A-RK 200 GB ATA 7200rpm 5 0
  Seagate ST980815A-RK 80 GB notebook ATA 5 5
  Seagate ST3400632A 400 GB ATA 7200rpm 5 5
  Seagate ST3750640AS-RK 750 GB SATA 5 5
  Sony Vaio 80GB Hard Disk Drive Bay Unit VGP-HDBX08A 1 1
  Sony Vaio 80GB HDD Bay Unit VGP-HDBX08 for notebooks 1 1
  Toshiba MK2008GAL 1.8" 20 GB 4200rpm ATA 1 1
  Toshiba MK8007GAH 1.8" 80 GB 4200rpm ATA 1 1
  Toshiba MK4032GSX 2.5" 40 GB 5400rpm SATA 3 3
  Toshiba MK1234GAX 2.5" 120 GB 5400rpm ATA 3 3
  Western Digital WD3200JBRTL 320 GB 7200rpm ATA 1 1
  Western Digital Caviar WD1600JBRT 160 GB ATA 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital Caviar WD2500JBRT 250 GB ATA 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital Scorpio WD1200VERTL 120 GB ATA 5400rpm 1 1
  Western Digital Caviar WD4000KDRTL 400 GB SATA 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital WD5000KSRTL 500 GB SATA 1 1
  Western Digital Scorpio WD600VE 60 GB EIDE notebook 2.5" 3 3
  Western Digital Scorpio WD400VE 40 GB EIDE 5400rpm 2.5" 3 3
  Western Digital Raptor WD740ADFDR 74 GB SATA 5 5
  Western Digital Raptor WD1500AHFDRTL 150 GB SATA 5 5

Seven out of the 11 internal hard drive vendors had at least some product that carried multi-year warranties. Seagate and Fujitsu were the only two whose entire internal drive lineup was multi-year. And as we'll see in a moment, Seagate's external lineup is entirely single-year.

Note also that a handful of labor warranties are listed as being zero years. This doesn't mean that workmanship is not warranted. Rather, it means that in the event of a warranty claim the company will ship a new unit to the customer, who will have to do the replacing themselves. In other words, labor is not included.

In the chart below, there are a couple of additional instances of this. It's far more common with the USB drives in the third chart, frankly because replacement is really the only option should there be a warranty claim. Also, in almost all the cases where the actual warranty policy was spelled out in detail, the company states that it is not responsible for either lost data or its recovery. So if a unit is replaced, it will most likely arrive empty. The only reason we mention this is because one of the latest innovations in extended warranties is to team up with a data recovery company.

Internal vs. External

The difference between an internal and external drive is obvious. The reasons for the warranty differences are less so. Compare the chart above to the chart below, especially the entries for Western Digital and Seagate. Equal specs does not mean equal warranty. We suspect the difference has more to do with the possibility that external units could be dropped or damaged, and that such accidents might be passed off as warranty claims. As with notebook computers and handhelds, spills and falls are not supposed to be covered, but it's not always possible to diagnose the real reason for a failure. It's also not good customer service to tell your customers you don't believe them. And so, a shorter warranty is the result.

External Hard Drive Warranties

  Brand, Make, Model & Description  Parts  Warranty  (years)  Labor  Warranty  (years)
  AcomData Photon 2.5 PHD040U2E-54 40 GB USB 5400rpm 1 1
  AcomData E5 Series HD080UE5-72 80 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  AcomData E5 Series HD320UE5-72 320 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  AcomData mini Pal HD080FPMM-72 80 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  AcomData Photon 2.5 PHD100U2E-54 100 GB USB 5400rpm 1 1
  AcomData mini Pal HD320FPMM-72 320 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  Buffalo Technology MiniStation HD-PHS40U2/UC 40 GB USB 5400rpm 1 1
  Buffalo Technology DriveStation HD-HB160U2 160 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Buffalo Technology Gigabit LinkStation HD-HG400LAN 400 GB USB 1 1
  Buffalo Technology TeraStation Pro NAS TS-2.0TGL/R5 2 TB USB 1 1
  Edge Tech DiskGo 1" Mini 8 GB pocket USB 1 1
  Edge Tech DiskGo 2.5" Ultra Portable 160 GB pocket USB 1 1
  Edge Tech DiskGo 3.5" Network Hard Drive 400 GB External USB 2.0 1 1
  Fantom Drives Titanium IEEE 1394 FireWire 80GB 1 1
  Fantom Drives Titanium IEEE 1394 FireWire 400GB 1 1
  Fantom Drives G-Force MegaDisk 500GB 1 1
  Fantom Drives Ultra 320 36 GB SCSI 1 1
  Fantom Drives Ultra 160 18 GB SCSI 1 1
  Fantom Drives G-Force MegaDisk 1.0TB 1 1
  Fantom Drives Ultra 320 300 GB SCSI 1 1
  Fantom Drives Ultra 160 300 GB SCSI 1 1
  HP HD1600 160 GB USB 1 1
  HP USB Mobile Hard Drive DQ550A 40 GB for notebooks 1 1
  HP HD4000 Personal Media Drive 400 GB USB 1 1
  Kanguru Zipper KZD-1U 1 GB USB pocket 1 0.25
  Kanguru Zipper Pro KZD-PRO-40U 40 GB USB pocket 1 0.25
  Kanguru RAIDBank U2 K-RAID-U2-320 320 GB USB 1 0.25
  Kanguru RAIDBank U2F K-RAID-U2F-800 800 GB USB FireWire RAID 1 0.25
  Kanguru U2-HD35-80 80 GB USB 3 0.25
  Kanguru QuickSilver FW-HD2-20 20 GB FireWire pocket 3 0.25
  Kanguru SonicStor U2S-HD35-80 80 GB SATA 3 0.25
  Kanguru QuickSilver FW-HD2-80 80 GB FireWire pocket 3 0.25
  Kanguru SonicStor U2S-HD35-500 500 GB SATA 3 0.25
  Kanguru U2-HD35-750 750 GB USB 3 0.25
  LaCie 301074 Mobile 80 GB USB 4200rpm 1 1
  LaCie 300728U 250 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  LaCie 301063 Brick 300 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  LaCie 300794U 500 GB Big Disk Extreme 1 1
  LaCie 301017 100 GB Rugged Hard Drive 1 1
  LaCie 300990U 600 GB Big Disk External 7200rpm USB 1 1
  Matsunichi mobiledrive 4 GB USB pocket 1 1
  Matsunichi mobiledrive 6 GB USB pocket 1 1
  Matsunichi mobiledrive 8 GB USB pocket 1 1
  Maxtor Personal Storage 3200 U01E200 200 GB USB 7200rpm 0.25 0.25
  Maxtor Personal Storage 3200 U01H300 300 GB USB 7200rpm 0.25 0.25
  Maxtor OneTouch II E01E200 200 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Maxtor U01E100 100 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Maxtor OneTouch III F01E200 200 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Maxtor OneTouch III F01G300 300 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  Maxtor OneTouch III F01H500 500 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Maxtor OneTouch III Turbo Edition G01W010 1 TB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  Seagate ST3160203U2-RK 160 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Seagate ST9100801U2-RK 100 GB USB 5400rpm 1 1
  Seagate ST3300601C 300 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  Seagate ST3400601CB-RK 400 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  Seagate ST3750640CB-RK 750 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  SimpleTech Pininfarina SP-U25/40 40 GB USB pocket 5400rpm 3 3
  SimpleTech Pininfarina SP-U25/80 80 GB USB pocket 5400rpm 3 3
  SmartDisk FireLite USBFLB40 40 GB USB 1 0
  SmartDisk FireLite USBFLB80 80 GB pocket USB 1 0
  SmartDisk FireLite USBFLB60 60 GB pocket USB 1 1
  SmartDisk FireLite Xpress USBFLXP120 120 GB portable hard drive 1 1
  TEAC HD3C-80 80 GB USB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  TEAC HD2U-60 60 GB USB 5400rpm 1 1
  TEAC HD3U-160 160 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  TEAC HD1U40KIT 1.8" 40 GB USB 4200rpm 1 1
  TEAC HD3C-300 300 GB USB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  TrekStor USB-Stick CS-D 6 GB 1" hard drive USB 1 1
  TrekStor USB-Stick CS-D 8 GB 1'' hard drive USB 1 1
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go USB HD Drive 4GB 95129 1 1
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go USB HD Drive 8GB 95312 1 1
  Western Digital My Book WDG1U1600N 160 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital Passport WDXMM60WPN 60 GB pocket USB 3600rpm 1 1
  Western Digital Extreme WDXC1600JBRNN 160 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital NetCenter WDXE3200JBN 320 GB Ethernet 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital My Book WDG1U500N 500 GB USB 7200rpm 1 1
  Western Digital My Book Premium WDG1C400N 400 GB FireWire 1 1
  Western Digital My Book Premium WDG1C500N 500 GB FireWire 1 1
  Western Digital My Book Pro WDG1T5000N 500 GB FireWire 7200rpm 1 1

The difference between an external hard drive and a USB drive is not so obvious. First, many of the latest external drive models also use a USB connector, although some of the fastest follow the FireWire standard (or both FireWire and USB). Second, as is evident from a quick comparison of the charts above and below, some companies sell both.

In technical terms, flash memory has no moving parts, while hard drives have a magnetic platter that can rotate as fast as 10,000 times per minute. While that's not very interesting to most customers, it matters a great deal in terms of warranty. It's a simple rule of engineering: movement causes friction, friction causes heat, and heat causes damage. Or, to put it another way, moving parts wear out over time. That goes a long way towards explaining why there are so many products on the list below with "lifetime" warranties.

USB drives are the latest storage gizmo to make it to market. They typically provide between 64 megabytes and 8 gigabytes of storage capacity. We say typically, because as is clear from the descriptions of two units made by Kanguru Solutions, it's now possible to cram as much as 64 gigabytes into one of these magic marker-sized products. However, the Kanguru KFDM-64G also has a super-sized price: $2,800. And while Edge Tech Corp. and Kingston Technology Co. have 8 gigabyte units on the market (at prices of $250 and $400, respectively), several additional manufacturers have announced but not yet shipped units in that size. So one should consider 8 gigabytes to be the vanguard of this relatively new product class.

Retail prices for the smallest units typically fall below $10, making them affordable as giveaways (not much more, really, than other logo products such as umbrellas or T-shirts). And warranties can be as short as 90 days (at Cisco Systems), though two- or even five-year warranties are more typical.

What Is Life?

Then there are the "lifetime" warranties. We called a couple of vendors to ask them whose life do they base that on. Is it the lifetime of the owner, or the lifetime of the owner's computer? No, they said, it's the lifetime of the USB drive. Perhaps they were being a bit coy, because their warranties usually included some phrase such as "normal lifetime" or "expected lifetime," which is elsewhere defined as approximately 10 years.

In fact, one company that provides a "lifetime" guarantee in the U.S. inadvertently spelled that out in the fine print. Kingston Technology provides a "lifetime" warranty on its CompactFlash memory cards worldwide, but this unlimited attribute is expressedly limited to 10 years in France, Germany, and Austria. The corresponding card reader, meanwhile, has a five-year warranty.

So let's be reasonable. In the chart below, where it says "life," figure it's really 10 years -- which nevertheless is still twice as long as any of the numerically defined warranties. Then again, given how many companies are jumping into this market segment, and given how fast prices are falling, it's possible that what will matter most in the long run is the lifespan of the manufacturer.

Flash Memory Device Warranties

  Brand, Make, Model & Description  Parts  Warranty  (years)  Labor  Warranty  (years)
  Cisco Systems MEMUSB-64FT 64 MB USB for 7200 routers 0.25 0.25
  Cisco Systems MEMUSB-256FT 256 MB USB 0.25 0.25
  Crucial Technology 256MB Crucial Gizmo Overdrive CT256MBUFD life life
  Crucial Technology 512MB Gizmo Overdrive CT512MBUFDWHTH00 life life
  Crucial Technology 2GB Gizmo Overdrive CT2GBUFDBLKHA0 life life
  Dane-Elec zMate Pen 128 MB USB 5 5
  Dane-Elec zMate Pen 1 GB USB 5 5
  Dane-Elec zMate Pen 2 GB USB 5 5
  Dell 311-4340 High Speed USB 2.0 Memory Key 128 MB 1 1
  Dell 311-5277 High Speed USB 2.0 Memory Key 512 MB 1 1
  Dell 311-4341 High Speed USB 2.0 Memory Key 256 MB 1 1
  Edge Tech DiskGo USB 2.0 128 MB USB life life
  Edge Tech DiskGo USB 2.0 8 GB USB life life
  Fuji Film 25910348 128 MB USB life life
  Fuji Film 25910310 1 GB USB life life
  Imation Swivel 17052 128 MB USB 5 5
  Imation Clip 18403 512 MB USB 5 5
  Imation Pivot 18408 1 GB USB 5 5
  Imation Swivel Pro 18068 2 GB USB 5 5
  Imation Pocket 18078 4 GB USB 5 5
  Iomega Rev 33043 4-pack 35 GB disks 5 5
  Kanguru KFD-512 512 MB USB 2 0.25
  Kanguru KFD-4G 4 GB USB 2 0.25
  Kanguru KFDM-16G 16 GB USB 2 0.25
  Kanguru KFDM-64G 64 GB USB 2 0.25
  Kingston Technology DataTraveler DTI256 256 MB USB 5 5
  Kingston Technology FCR-HS215/1 USB card reader 5 5
  Kingston Technology DataTraveler DTI2GBKR 2 GB USB 5 5
  Kingston Technology CompactFlash CF/1GB-U 1 GB card life life
  Kingston Technology CompactFlash CF/8GB-U 8 GB card life life
  Lexar Media FireFly JumpDrive JDFF1GB-43 1 GB USB 2 0
  Lexar Media FireFly JumpDrive JDFF2GB-43 2 GB USB 2 0
  Lexar Media Secure II JumpDrive JDSE256-431 256 MB USB 2 2
  Lexar Media Secure II JumpDrive JDSE512-431 512 MB USB 2 2
  Lexar Media Secure II JumpDrive JDSE-1GB-43 1 GB USB 2 2
  Lexar Media Lightning JumpDrive JDA1GB-231 1 GB USB life life
  Memorex FlashDisc 32562316 16 MB disc 3-pack 1 0
  Memorex Mini TravelDrive 32509353 512 MB USB 2 0
  Memorex Mini TravelDrive 32509363 1 GB USB 2 0
  Memorex TravelDrive 32509373 2 GB USB 2 2
  Memorex M-Flyer TravelDrive 32509560 1 GB USB 2 2
  PNY Technologies Attaché P-FD256U20 256 MB USB 1 0
  PNY Technologies Attaché P-FD02GU20 2 GB USB 1 0
  PNY Technologies All-Terrain P-FD512H/AT-RF 512 MB USB 1 1
  PNY Technologies Attach´┐Ż P-FD04GU20 4 GB USB 1 1
  Power Quotient Int'l Traveling Disk U190 1 GB USB 2 2
  Power Quotient Int'l Cool Drive U339 1 GB USB 2 2
  Power Quotient Int'l Cool Drive U339 Pro 2 GB USB 2 2
  SanDisk Cruzer Micro SDCZ4-256-A10 256 MB USB 2 0
  SanDisk Cruzer Micro SDCZ6-512-A10 512 MB USB 2 0
  SanDisk Cruzer Micro SDCZ6-2048-A10 2 GB USB 2 0
  SanDisk Cruzer Micro S153-3140 4 GB USB 2 0
  SanDisk Cruzer SDCZ3-512-A10 512 MB USB 5 0
  SanDisk Cruzer Titanium SDCZ3-1024 1 GB USB 5 5
  Transcend Information JetFlash 2A TS64MJF2A 64 MB USB life life
  Transcend Information JetFlash 150 TS512MJF150 512 MB USB life life
  Transcend Information JetFlash V30 TS1GJFV30 1 GB USB life life
  Transcend Information JetFlash 210 TS2GJF210 2 GB USB life life
  Transcend Information JetFlash 160 TS4GJF160 4 GB USB life life
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go 95023 128 MB USB life life
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go Pro 95018 256 MB USB life life
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go U3 Smart Drive 1GB 95229 life life
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go 95236 4 GB USB life life
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go Pro 95237 4 GB USB life life
  Verbatim Store 'n' Go Corporate Secure USB Drive 4GB life life
  Viking InterWorks USB00256L2P 256 MB USB 1 1
  Viking InterWorks USB002GBL2 2 GB USB 1 1
  Viking InterWorks Viego USBSD512M 512 MB USB 2 2
  Viking InterWorks Viego Plus USBSS2GB 2 GB USB 2 2
  Viking InterWorks CF256M 256 MB card 5 5
  Viking InterWorks SD2GB 2 GB card 5 5
  Viking InterWorks FL128MDVA 128 MB card 5 5

A couple of things are worth mentioning. On July 1, Transcend Information Inc. lengthened its flash drive warranty from five years to "lifetime." Kanguru Solutions, in addition to providing only 90 days of free labor, also charges $35 for the repair of a broken USB connector, whether the unit is in or out of warranty.

As we noted up top, it was our intent to cover both magnetic and optical storage in a single column. But that seemed untenable, given the number of hard drive and USB drive manufacturers and the differences between their warranties. So we'll cover CD and DVD drives next week, and in an effort to hasten our warranty tour's entrance into the world of consumer electronics, we'll cover both standalone and computer-attached units, and both players and recorders.

Other Stops on the Warranty Tour

Automotive Warranties

Computer Warranties

Consumer Electronics

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