Walt Mossberg

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Using an iPad Overseas and Extended Warranties

Q:

If you buy a U.S. 3G iPad and take it to Europe, can you swap in a 3G SIM card from an authorized iPad carrier there to avoid AT&T (T) roaming fees?

A:

I haven’t tried it, but Apple (AAPL) says the answer to this is yes. The company told me that if you insert a SIM from one its partner carriers, the carrier settings get set automatically when you plug in the SIM, though in some cases you might need to have connected your iPad to iTunes recently for this to work correctly. Apple adds that you can even use a SIM from a non-partner carrier, though in that case, you’d have to manually enter the carrier settings on the iPad. Note, however, that the iPad uses a new, smaller size of SIM card that not all carriers sell yet.

Q:

What is your view on extended warranties for a new laptop? My homeowner’s insurance covers accidental damage, but I am debating whether to buy a basic extended warranty for other problems.

A:

I typically shun extended warranties for relatively inexpensive electronics devices, especially those, like digital cameras or music players, that tend to be very reliable. But laptops are costlier, more complex, and more prone to failures such as broken hard disks, bad memory or screen problems. So, in general, unless the price is outrageous, I would buy an extended manufacturer’s warranty for a laptop.

You can find Mossberg’s Mailbox, and my other columns, online for free of charge at the All Things Digital website, http://walt.allthingsd.com.

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