In 2020, a milestone for the impact of technology will be reached when half of the world’s households had access to a computer. The estimate is based on 80 percent of owners from developed and 30 percent from developing countries. In 2005, the global figure was 27.3 percent with the 2019 figure increasing to 49.7 percent. What the figures don’t show is the general decline in the purchase of personal computer units, replaced by the use of smartphones and tablets. Some sectors have bucked the trend; the gaming industry made US$12.1 billion through gaming laptop sales in 2018 and expects 61 million units globally to be sold by the end of 2020.
Technology for the Masses
The increase in household ownership and the decline of overall sales is not only because of changing preference but also because of the maturing market and the life of the product. So, how long is a laptop supposed to last? The short answer is between three and five years for a mid-range model costing between $700 and $1,000. However, there are several caveats.
The two main components to the answer are 1) the lifespan of the laptop, and 2) the duration of its battery. The laptop’s lifespan depends on the user and the hardware: what functions does the user expect from their unit and how well do they look after it?
The capacity of the unit to accommodate increasingly demanding programs and apps, through selecting a version with more RAM and larger storage, will prolong its usefulness. Also, installing antivirus software and investing in a laptop cooling pad keeps operating temperatures down and avoids overheating. Simple care for the laptop to avoid damage includes keeping food and liquids at a safe distance, cleaning the unit every couple of months and removing the charging cable after the laptop battery is full. The quality of hardware components, such as the processor and graphics card, and availability of spare parts as newer models become available, determines its durability. If the laptop is damaged, computer repair stores can fix cracked screens and other hardware and software problems. Expect a gaming computer to cost a little more for the same lifespan.
Long Life Battery
How long the battery powers the laptop after one charge again depends on the quality of the product—so researching before purchase pays off since a better battery doesn’t always relate to the cost of a new computer. How heavily you use your laptop will determine the extent of life; emails and web browsing on a cheap battery will probably last for four or five hours whilst gaming on a high-powered laptop will only last for two or three. The user-time after one charge also reduces with the age of the battery.
Ways to prolong the use from one charge include programming the laptop beforehand to time out quicker, reduce the screen’s brightness and turn off the Wi-Fi if not required. Also, reduce the number of programs open at once and browser tabs when online. Another energy-saver is to use headphones instead of the computer’s speakers.
Overall, a computer’s battery should last for 300 to 500 full charges. So, to extend the life of your laptop, buy quality and storage, take care of the unit and drain the power before recharging.