Subscription services — such as Amazon Prime and the Birchbox beauty product care packages — are so hot right now that Best Buy's getting in the game.
The retailer just announced its Total Tech Support package, which gives members tech support for many of their gadgets they own, all for $200 per year. But should you consider it? Here's what you need to know.
What is Total Tech Support?
Built off of its Geek Squad support teams, which offer assistance at its stores, online and in your home, Total Tech Support provides assistance with fixing your computers, appliances and connected devices. For $200 per year, you get support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, so you can always get an answer, no matter when your tech is giving you a headache.
What products does Total Tech Support cover?
Total Tech Support members get help using and fixing a large amount of the products sold at Best Buy. The list starts with fixing issues on laptops and tablets, and extends to TVs and home theater equipment and includes smart home devices and connected car accessories. Personally, I can see the value in the smart home category, as I've tried (and failed) to set up a Google Home Mini to properly work with my cable box.
Coverage from Total Tech Support extends even further, beyond tech, as they'll also help install home appliances — such as dishwashers, gas ranges and garbage disposals.
What about smartphones?
Shockingly, the Total Tech Support website doesn't provide coverage for smartphones at all, but instead provides a discount for other Best Buy services (see below) that cover phones. A Total Tech Support plan that doesn't include cell phones may feel less-than-total, but it makes sense.
The likely cause of this decision is that smart phone support is a much more expensive, valuable and profitable business, that Best Buy wouldn't include with all these other perks at a $200 per year price. Hopefully, a future version of Total Tech Support, likely at a higher price, will.
What kinds of discounts does Total Tech Support offer?
Similar to the perks Amazon gives Prime members, Total Tech Support lets subscribers save 20 percent on protection plans from Geek Squad and Apple Care, which cover smartphone service and repair. A 20 percent subscription is also given to more-advanced work, such as "Level 2 or 3 Data Rescue," smart home camera installations, and "Advanced TV Mounting."
MORE: Tech Support Showdown
Are house calls included?
Total Tech Support won't send a technician to your home for free, but its rates for sending an expert to your residence are pretty affordable. No matter which service you're taking advantage of, house calls are only $50 a pop.
Should you get Total Tech Support?
If your smartphone has become the center of your computing needs, you might not need to consider Total Tech Support. Yes, the 20 percent discount for other services is nice, but the service still feels incomplete when you need to buy more to get truly comprehensive support.
On the other hand, if you're constantly having issues with your laptop, tablet, kitchen appliances, TV home theater or connected car, Total Tech Support may prove useful. Best Buy's support staff can help remove viruses, attempt data recovery and perform tuneups. Combined, these services cost at least $390 from Best Buy, but they're all included in the $200 per year subscription, if you can get to a Best Buy for in-store service.
If you find yourself stuck in technological quagmires on a monthly basis, it should prove valuable. If you can't afford that $200 per year price, though, ask around in the Tom's Guide forums, where our super-smart community of experts provide insights throughout the day, with select questions answered by our staff in our regular Help Me, Tom's Guide articles.