How long should a laptop last?

The question of how long a laptop should last can be looked at in two ways: first, how long the hardware it uses can provide optimum performance, for example, how long the battery should ideally last. When an essential component of the laptop such as the battery stops functioning properly, the entire laptop can no longer be used in the way it was designed to be used.

The other way that this question can be addressed is in terms of general laptop functionality and lifespan. How long should that last? Well, all these factors will be addressed in depth in this article. Let’s begin.

How long can you expect your laptop to last before you need to replace it?

a picture of and old, broken laptop

As aforementioned, different factors will determine how long your laptop will last before it becomes unusable or obsolete. The first among these factors is your laptop’s hardware. Laptops with quality hardware last longer when compared to lower quality ones. Thus, hardware is one of the major factors that affect laptops’ lifespans. Usually, the very first thing that breaks is the keyboard, which i’m sure every writer with a laptop can back up.

Laptops could also be rendered obsolete because of outdated processors, graphics cards, RAMs, and their storage. Technology today is progressing at a rapid pace, with new components and parts being introduced to the market on an almost daily basis. When these components get outdated, the laptops that rely on them instantly become irrelevant or unusable for advanced tasks.

The next factor here is how you use the laptop. How you treat your laptop plays a major role in determining how long it lasts. A typical laptop will last longer when it is treated with a lot of care. If you don’t use and maintain your laptop well, then it won’t last you long.

Generally, the duration that laptops last is highly dependent on the amount of money spent on them. Basically, the more you pay, the longer its lifespan should be:

  • If you pay less than $600/700, you should expect it to stay for 2-4 years.
  • Laptops that cost between $700 to $1,000 last an average of around 3-5 years.
  • If you spend more than $1,000, you should expect it to last for around 4-7 years.

The tasks that the laptop performs on a daily basis also plays a role in determining its lifespan. Heavy tasks like gaming, graphic design, video editing, among others will make your laptop perform optimally for only a few years. Lighter tasks like emailing, watching videos, web browsing, among other such tasks will make laptops last longer. They could even last much longer than average if this is all you do with them and if you treat them well.

Therefore, the kind of hardware inside the laptop, how you use it and what you use it for will all work together to affect its lifespan. For example, a mid-range machine should probably last you 4-5 years, but it could also last for a year or two depending on its daily functions.

How long do Gaming laptops last?

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For simple tasks like sending emails, browsing, and watching videos, most affordable laptops could last 5 years or so. That is provided you take good care of it.

Gaming laptops, on the other hand, are different. They are built with superb features, but the nature of the demanding video games means that gamers should expect a shorter life from them.

Just like everything to do with technology, games also keep advancing and getting more performance-demanding as time goes by. And as they do so, gaming laptops need to be built with increasingly better hardware to handle the advanced graphics.

This is why even some of the most advanced gaming laptops today only have a few years to run before they start having difficulty running newer games. So to sum this up, if you are a gamer, use the following guidelines to try and gauge how long your laptop should ideally remain relevant:

  • If you purchase a gaming laptop worth $700, expect it to last for around 2-3 years.
  • Good Gaming laptops that generally cost around $700-$1,500 last for around 3-4 years.
  • For $1,500 or more, for laptops like the MSI GL72M, you can expect at least 4-6 years’ worth of service.

Just keep in mind that this is simply the general idea of what to expect depending on the amount of money you are willing to spend on a gaming laptop.  

Generally speaking, more expensive gaming laptops will give you a better in-game experience. So if you start small and you’d like to play your games with better graphics, then you’ll have to upgrade to a newer, faster machine. This can happen sooner than the timelines outlined above. However, if you don’t mind lower graphics on your games, then there’s no need to buy an expensive machine.

How to increase your laptop’s lifespan

It is obvious that if you take care of your laptop, you will increase its lifespan. Below is a list of things to do to prolong your laptop’s life:

  • Always unplug the charging cable when you are done charging your laptop.
  • Clean your laptop regularly. Open it up after a couple of months and do a thorough cleaning job to remove all dust or grime. Follow proper cleaning procedure.
  • Keep your laptop away from food or any sorts of liquids.
  • It is good to use a laptop cooling pad to keep your laptop running at low temperatures.
  • Purchase an antivirus software to keep your laptop safe from malware.
  • It is also good to upgrade your laptop whenever possible to optimize its performance. You can add more RAM or use a better storage drive, such as SSD storage.

How long should a laptop’s battery last?

This question can be looked at in two ways. First, how long your laptop’s battery should last on a single charge, and second, how long the battery should serve you before it becomes completely unusable.

The duration for a single charge ranges from one machine to another depending on two things: The quality of the battery and how the machine is used.

Your battery’s quality is partly dependent on how much you spent on your laptop. However, you should know that there are some powerful machines out there that don’t have batteries that match their price. The laptops are expensive, with great hardware, but their batteries are weak.

This is a good reason to do your research before you purchase any laptop. You can easily do this by checking a few reviews of the laptop you want. This way you know what to expect.

Generally, quality laptop batteries last over 8 hours on a single charge. Weak batteries could last for only 2-3 hours on a single charge. Again, these figures depend on what you are doing on your laptop. Some tasks will drain your charge faster than others.

Sometimes, when a battery breaks, all you will see is that the battery icon will go missing. If that is the case, you have to make sure that it is in fact the battery what is faulty and it isn’t just a windows setting turned off.

Graphics intensive tasks such as serious gaming will drain your battery very rapidly. You will be lucky to get more than 3 hours of charge out of your battery if you are playing some modern games. On the other hand, when you use your laptop for mail, web browsing, or any other kind of simple tasks, then a good battery should give you 5 hours or more of continuous use. Expensive laptops with very nice batteries can give you as much as 12+ hours of battery life for simple tasks.

Another factor that will affect your battery’s strength is its age. A new battery will obviously last longer than a used 1 to 2-year-old one. After a year or so of battery use, you’ll notice that a battery that used to last 4-5 hours will only last 2-3 hours before it needs to be charged again.

To sum it up, if you are looking for something that is portable and you can carry it with yourself, we recommend buying a laptop. But keep a lookout for prices, as there are seasonal discounts on a lot of websites.

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About the Author

I'm a tech geek from Hungary. Latest laptops? I got em. I love testing and breaking things, although most of the time I fail putting them together, but that's another story...

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