Byte Me Article 355 – Laptop Purchase Help

3rd March 2018

A Hard Knock Life For Laptops

As is often the case, the basis for today’s article comes from events that transpire at our service centre during the week.  In this instance I was making a coffee out the back and eavesdropping on the conversation that one of my techs was having over the phone.  He had a customers’ laptop in front of him and he was talking about their options in fixing or replacing it.

In this case it was a Hewlett Packard ProBook 250 that we had sold around 3 years ago and it was quite apparent that it had lived a hard life.  Laptops are a portable device and some people haul them around daily whereas others never shift them from a desk.  In the case of the former it is no different to a mobile phone, a wallet or your car keys, they get knocked about.

If you are carrying a laptop every day there is little doubt that it will get dropped occasionally, exposed to sunlight or simply the heat of sitting in a closed car.  It will also have its lid and hinge mechanism operated constantly and it will also likely have weight placed on or against the screen.  The laptop in this story had certainly experienced all the above hardships and it showed.

So, what was going wrong?  The battery was dead, the screen displayed some dead vertical lines and the CPU was throttling back in power due to heat issues.  Overall however, it was still booting up into Windows and still working overall.  What a tough little cookie!  These are the models that we sell 90% of the time and they outlast everything else up to double their price.

You could spend money on this laptop with a new battery at $160, a new screen at another $180 (fitted) and a good clean out of the CPU fan and heatsinks at around $60 to total $400 in repairs.  But we advised against this as no IT guy can accurately predict when the hard drive was going to start failing or when the motherboard will fail due to its hard life.  Basically, you could spend a lot of money on this device but that only gives you warranty on those individual new parts.

At $849 you could replace the entire laptop with a more recent Hewlett Packard ProBook 250 with more modern specifications and a full 12-month warranty.  On the subject of warranties, we had a customer asking for a quote on a particular Toshiba laptop the other day and a quick lookup of their warranty terms and conditions reveals that Toshiba still do not offer an onsite warranty as standard with any of their laptop models.

Hewlett Packard offer either a 12-month or a 36-month onsite warranty as standard with any of their commercial models starting with the 250-series mentioned above.  Just to be clear, it is not only Toshiba which lack this much better warranty feature.  Lenovo are the same, as well as Asus, Acer, Samsung, MSI & Panasonic.  With these manufacturers to claim upon their warranty you need to send your laptop back to the manufacturer and wait.  This wait is around 3 weeks and can be for as long as 2 months.

So what else can go wrong with a laptop?  Next week we will look at some more laptop’ weakness and discuss how to best avoid them. 

Future Byte Me topics can be emailed to [email protected] and Bruce is contactable at Kerr Solutions, 205 Musgrave Street or on 49 222 400.

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