How Often Should You Buy a New Laptop?

How Often Should You Buy a New Laptop

Let us guess. Your laptop has been acting up more frequently lately and you’re wondering if it’s time for an upgrade. If your laptop is running at snail’s pace or showing other signs that it’s no longer working the way it should. Then maybe it’s time for a new one. But not so fast – Considering the hassle of buying a new laptop and transferring all your data to the new software. Should you just hang on to the one you have and fix it? You need answers. And the most pressing is, how often should you buy a new laptop? Keep reading to find out.

The Average Life of a Laptop

Experts say that a laptop should last 3 to 5 years.  However, this estimate is affected by a lot of factors:

  • If you use your laptop on low-performance settings that don’t put too much stress on the CPU, it will probably last longer.
  • Cleaning off the dust and checking the cooling fan also guarantees that your laptop will last longer.
  • Keeping your laptop in a dry cool place will also extend its lifespan.  Extreme temperature changes have a negative effect on the way a laptop functions.
  • In short, if you pay enough attention to maintenance, your laptop can last up to 8 years. However, this is not the main problem that laptop users face.

Unlike desktop PCs, it’s sometimes difficult to upgrade laptop components.  Some hardware – especially the ones on cheaper laptops – are soldered directly onto the motherboard.  

This means that your laptop might still be running, but it won’t comply with the system requirements of the latest programs and applications like PC games.

It’s recommended that you check the applications that you use most of the time.  If you feel that your laptop is unable to keep up with them, then it’s a sign that your laptop is due for a replacement.

Signs that You Need to Replace your Laptop

It’s important to keep a keen eye on the health and efficiency of your system.  Here are just a few signs that could mean it’s time to replace your laptop:

1. System Runs Low

If your laptop is taking too long to boot up and power down, it’s time to replace your laptop. You can also determine this by paying attention to how long it takes programs to load.

Things don’t slow down all of a sudden, but you will be able to notice changes as time goes by.  In some cases, you might be able to upgrade components to improve the laptop’s performance.  However, after a while, replacing the laptop will become more affordable than constantly fixing and repairing problems.

2. Laptop Shuts Down Unexpectedly

Another sign that it might be time for a replacement is overheating.  An overheating laptop will unexpectedly shut down.  This happens when the fan isn’t working the way it should anymore.

If the fan is noisier than it used to be or your laptop gets too hot easily, you could attempt to fix it first.  But in some cases, repairing the fan won’t work, and you’ll just have to replace the laptop.  Seeing a blue screen – also known as the Blue Screen of Death (BSoD) – is also a sure-fire sign that the laptop is failing in some way.

3. New Software Won’t Load

Even if your laptop is running, it might still be useless:  If you try to upload a new program and your laptop doesn’t meet the minimum system requirements.  You should likely be considering an upgrade or replacement.

New games and software programs have ever increasing demands on the system.  Your aged laptop might be able to cope and maybe not.  This can be a real problem if you need a heavy software program for school or work.

4. Outdated Security

In the world we live in, we don’t need to stress how important it is to protect your data from cyber-criminals.  As we surf online, we’re constantly subjected to viruses, malware, and hackers.

Make sure your laptop’s software is properly updated.  A laptop that’s in good condition can accept security software updates to protect you and your system with no problems.

Things to Consider When You’re Buying a New Laptop

If you’ve decided that now is a perfect time for an upgrade, there are lots of fantastic models on the market.  But going into the laptop buying process with blinders on is a good way to end up with a system that’s barely able to keep up with your needs. 

Or purchasing a machine with features you’ll never use.  Should you decide that it’s time for a new laptop, here are a few critical specs you should consider:

Size

From 11 to 17 inches, there’s a wide variety of models to think about.  If portability is a fundamental concern, prioritize laptops with a smaller footprint.  They’ll be more convenient to carry around.  

12-inch and 13-inch laptops offer good viewing options and are great companions if you’re always on the go.  Many business notebooks like the Lenovo ThinkPad 14 are 14-inch laptops.

Larger laptops usually have more advanced hardware like a dedicated instead of integrated graphics card.  They’re well suited for demanding software programs and PC games.  Larger laptops have more ports too, and the larger size means a larger viewing area.

Type

In addition to traditional laptops, there are newer versions that suit different needs.  Ultrabooks are extra lightweight and highly efficient when it comes to power and battery life.  

Netbooks offer a balance between power and portability, so they represent a good investment if you want a robust laptop that you can easily move around.

2-in-1 laptops are quite popular nowadays because you can use the laptop as a tablet after removing or flipping the keyboard behind the screen.  This is an excellent option if you’re watching a movie on a streaming service.

Screen Quality

Touchscreens are very practical if you’re using a hybrid laptop and want to access different functions without using the keyboard.  However, touchscreens tend to have a glossy screen which are highly reflective in well-lit environments.  This might affect your experience if you’re watching or editing video content.

Most laptops offer a Full HD viewing option, which – these days – is the primary screen we consistently recommend.  4K screens are also available, but they tend to make the laptop more expensive.

If you’re a video editor or photographer you might be interested in these high-end models.  If you’re into games, you should consider the refresh rate and response time of the display.  This will give you a competitive advantage, especially when you’re playing online games.

Keyboard

You want to make sure that the keyboard offers a decent experience with a comfortable layout and full-sized keys.  Backlit keyboards are extremely practical, especially if you tend to use your laptop in poor lighting conditions.

CPU

The quality of the processor is a BIG concern when shopping for a new laptop.  If you’re thinking about a laptop with an Intel Core Processor, you should consider one with a Core i5 or Core i7 CPU.  

You can get one with a Core i3 if your computer activities aren’t that demanding.  But overall, they’re not that practical as they’re often un-able to operate the most advanced software programs.

Laptops with Core i9 processors are finally available.  These offer desktop-like performance but they’re expensive.  AMD’s Ryzen Mobile APUs are appealing to gamers because you can pair them with AMD graphics cards for a quality gaming experience.

RAM

You’ll need at least 8 GB of RAM to operate essential software programs and multitasking with more than a handful of tabs.  If you’re a power-user consider at least 16 GB of RAM.  We’re starting to find laptops with up to 32 GB of RAM for around the same price.

Storage

When you’re buying a thin and lightweight laptop, a bigger hard drive can be a problem. However, quite a number of thin and light laptops are showing up on the market with an un-heard of 512GB SSD storage.  And in many cases, a laptop with a fast SSD is paired with 1TB MHD (mechanical hard drive) for optimal performance.

Conclusion

This is not a decision to make capriciously. If you’re still not sure about keeping your laptop or biting the bullet and buying a new one. Take some more time to weigh your options.  But either choice is going to cost you something in the long run. If you’ve decided the time is now to move forward with a new laptop, at least you have some criteria on which to start basing your buying decision. On the other hand, if you decide that your current system is worth salvaging, and you haven’t sunk a lot of money into fixing issues already, then fix it. You now have the information you need to better make that call.