One of the much-touted benefits of a reading-specific device or tablet PC is its go-anywhere capability, the luxury of having an entire reading library and audio collection on hand in any situation. When making the decision to purchase an e-reader or tablet, many first-time device buyers may have envisioned leisure time at poolside with a limitless supply of summer reads.
However, there are a host of reasons why a portable device can meet an untimely end on vacation. Water, temperature, luggage catastrophe, there are any number of reasons why recreation time with a portable device can be ruined. An obvious solution is to buy separate insurance on higher end items through companies like GadgetInsurance.com or opt for an extended warranty at the time of purchase. When selecting the amount of coverage, remember that the downloaded content in the device will raise the total investment above the original cost of the device, but some insurance plans will not cover the music, e-books, or audio books.
The first step, of course, is prevention. Plan accordingly for the care of any portable device by investing in hard shell cases for travel, even in carry-on luggage; with higher fees for checked luggage from most major airlines, more passengers are using the liberal carry-on allowances, meaning carry-on bags can be crammed into compact overhead bins. Some airlines are also requiring passengers to turn their carry-on luggage over to the crew to be stowed beneath the plane, and any portable devices in those bags are at the mercy of the baggage handlers who load them.
Be prepared for moisture, temperature, or sandy conditions, depending on where your summer leisure may take place. There are entire aftermarket sites that sell accessories to keep devices dry, many resembling nothing more than a giant zipper seal bag. The difference between a homemade ZipLoc solution and shelling out the money for a stylish waterproof case may mean the company is more likely to take on the liability if the device fails. TrendyDigital, M-Edge Accessories, and KwikTek, just to name a few, offer several waterproof cases that fit specific devices while still allowing you to utilize the device through the bag, perfect for accidental poolside splashes.
If the unthinkable should happen, Geek Squad offers some helpful and hopeful steps that must be taken immediately to possibly salvage the device. First, in case of an accidental splash or—gasp—submerge, resist the urge to turn the device on. Your first instinct may be to see if the device still works, but that can actually cause more extensive damage. Handle the device under the assumption that it has been thoroughly soaked. Remove the battery, if possible, and spend a few moments tilting the device towards the different corners to move as much moisture as possible away from the internal components while drying gently with a soft cloth. Place your device in a shallow pan and cover with uncooked rice or silica gel packets, which can be obtained from craft supply stores. Leave the device at least overnight in a cool, dry location.
Some online forums have made recommendations that Geek Squad strongly cautions against. For example, do not use a hair dryer to attempt to dry out any moisture, as this can overheat key components. Do not place your water-logged portable device in direct sunlight to try to dry it out, as this can also damage the device.
If sand is the culprit, avoid air dusters since those can effectively sandblast your portable. Instead, opt for a bulb syringe, sold in local pharmacies and stores, to gently blow away any small particles. If temperature and sunlight have caused the device to overheat or caused the screen to darken, allow the device to cool off indoors overnight before turning it on. Don’t place it in the fridge or your drink cooler in an attempt to salvage it, as the sudden switch in temperature extremes can actually cause moisture and further damage. And when in doubt, consult the manufacturer or a tech support location for any recommendations, as trying your own rescue attempt can end up voiding any warranty that may remain on your device.