Generally speaking, your typical mid-range laptop should last roughly three years. And if you take good care of your computer, it may even last a bit longer than that.
Still, what’s considered peak performance may start to drop off, especially as its hardware loses relevance and the battery life becomes significantly reduced. That standard estimate isn’t a hard-and-fast rule, because laptop lifespan really depends on quality, use, and care.
It’s really all subjective; a gaming laptop that’s being overclocked will no doubt wear down more quickly than a device primarily used for email and web browsing.
With that in mind, let’s look at the factors that go into choosing the longest lasting HP laptop for your needs.
Laptop elements that last
Unfortunately, some laptop parts simply have a shorter lifespan than others, and they include RAM, motherboards, and batteries in addition to those with mechanical parts that more easily wear down over time, such as traditional HDDs.
However, there are some components that have staying power so investing in the latest technology now could mean your next laptop will be with you for a while.
While not every laptop has a Windows OS, a majority use this platform. In the past, every version of Windows (i.e., Windows 98, Vista, XP) required more hardware and power than the version that came before.
However, the release of Windows 7 marked a clear shift. Microsoft began focusing on leaner software than in the past, which means Windows 10 laptops do not require any more processing power than Windows 7.
If you’re looking at units like many of our HP laptops, there’s a good chance you’re considering a group with an Intel® processing core.
As far as lasting power, these processors are built for the long haul. Intel’s last significant innovation took place back in 2009, when the company introduced their Core™ i3, i5, and i7 processors.
While there have been subsequent generations of processors since then, earlier Core i5 and i7 laptops are more than capable of handling the basics like internet browsing, email, and Microsoft office.
If you’re a gamer, a multimedia professional, or a power user of any kind, however, an i5 processor won’t cut it. Instead, you’ll want to opt for a 7th Generation i7, which you can find in our HP OMEN X, so you can overclock without worry.
For demanding photo and video tasks, consider the HP Spectre Laptop, which comes with an 8th Generation Quad-Core Intel processor that brings fast speeds and graphics performance to the table. Additionally, if you have anything older, say, something with the name Pentium® or a Core 2, you’ll be lucky if you can perform basic computing tasks.
Long story short, when you’re looking at long-lasting HP laptops, consider looking into a unit with an 8th Generation processor and Windows 10. You can upgrade your RAM or SSD down the road, adding a few extra years with proper care.
Signs it’s time for a new laptop
If you’re staring down a blue screen of death or see no signs of life from your device, it’s time to say goodbye.
Also, when you’re considering things like performance or how you’re unable to run programs as efficiently as the latest models on the market, it’s time to consider upgrading.
The following are good indicators that you aren’t getting the most out of your laptop experience, potentially to the detriment of your work or play.
You don’t have enough memory
Maybe your laptop still works okay, but you don’t have enough RAM to run Windows 10 or play music and surf the web at the same time.
These days, even entry-level laptops come with a minimum of 4GB of RAM. The more RAM your computer has, the more programs it can juggle at a time.
By contrast, if you’re using a laptop with 4GB or less, you may notice your computer slows down if you open too many programs or have too many open tabs in your web browser. 8GB is sufficient for most users, even for casual gamers.
At 16GB, you’re getting capacity to do professional level work, for example heavy-duty software like the Adobe programs or other photo editing software. 16GB laptops can handle many modern games, too, and almost all users won’t need anything over 32GB.
You may also be able to increase the amount of RAM in your existing laptop by purchasing and installing it yourself. However, some older laptops may be limited in the amount of RAM they can hold, which means you may be better off upgrading to a new device if you need better performance.
The battery doesn’t hold a charge
On average, a laptop battery has a lifespan of between two and four years (around 1,000 full charges). Total lifespan depends on the battery type, how you treat the computer, and how often you use your laptop. Additionally, using demanding software programs, your computer reaching high temperatures, or long periods of non-use can cause the battery to lose capacity more quickly.
Batteries slowly degrade over time and with each charge-recharge cycle. To combat this, HP laptops are designed to discharge a small amount of power after fully charging. The battery starts to charge again when the charge drops to 95%.
Also, factors like display brightness, backlit keyboard, processing speed, and using external storage can have an impact on how long your charge lasts in the long term. Some users will even find that after a few years, their laptops no longer hold a charge at all.
You do have the option of buying a new battery for your laptop as well. However, if your laptop is older, chances are it has issues that go beyond battery life, so it may make more sense to buy a new laptop.
Many consumer laptops on the market come with low-resolution screens. This means less than 1366 x 768 pixels. If this applies to your computer, you’ve likely encountered some problems fitting text into your display, which requires extra scrolling and switching windows.
In other words, not only are you looking at a subpar image, you’re wasting time. Our recommendation is to look for a laptop with 1920 x 1080 pixels at least.
The tasks you need your laptop to perform will determine how long your laptop will last. And by last, we mean both how long the computer will remain in working order and how long it will be relevant to you.
Here are some things you should think about if you’re shopping with longevity in mind:
Hard drive: Look for at least 500GB to 1TB of storage space. If you need extra room, you can always buy an external hard drive down the road.
SSD: If possible, you may want to look for a computer with a solid state drive (SSD) instead of a standard hard disk drive (HDD). While they can be more expensive, SSD drives provide a faster and more responsive experience. A user who needs to create and store media files or plays games will appreciate the upgrade.
Processing: You can’t go wrong with a 7th or 8th Generation Intel Core i5 or i7, because both provide fast speeds while supporting gaming along with your day-to-day workload.
Memory: Again, you’ll want to look for something with at least 8GB of RAM, especially if you plan to download and use multiple programs in the future. Look at your usage now: does your profession require that you download the latest software or multiple programs? If so, you may want more memory for a longer lasting laptop.
Want a long-lasting computer? Go for the business class
When you’re considering if you want the longest lasting computer in our lineup, it’s important to know whether you’re buying a laptop for business or for lighter consumer use.
By business use, we mean someone who has replaced their office desktop with a laptop that allows them to work more easily on-the-go.
One of the critical indicators of a laptop's average lifespan is the hardware that lives inside. Better processing power, sufficient RAM, and higher storage capacity mean the laptop stands to remain relevant for longer than a budget computer.
If you’re using the computer to do the bulk of your work, a business computer is more than worth it.
HP EliteBooks must pass MIL-STD testing and they’re made with Corning® Gorilla® Glass and housed in a magnesium alloy chassis, which means they’re as durable as they are powerful.
Additionally, HP business laptops come equipped with more security features, protecting you from data loss, identity theft, and viruses that can damage your laptop’s performance.
Tips for a long-term relationship with your laptop
Once you’ve selected a laptop that meets your current requirements, you’ll want to take good care of it.
Here are a few tips:
Don’t overuse your charging cable: Again, perpetual charging leads to a shorter battery life. Too much heat gets sent to the battery, causing damage over time.
Upgrade when you can: Perform software updates when they become available, stay on top of your virus protection software, and invest in RAM or HDD upgrades if you start using more memory or storage than you initially had in mind.
Food and drink are not your friends: We all eat near our computers from time to time, but it’s a bad habit you should cut back on. Crumbs get lodged in your keyboard and sticky stuff can make for an annoying typing experience down the road, not to mention the damage liquids can cause.
Keep it clean: From wiping down the screen to removing dust from vents, it’s important to keep dirt and dust out of the computer as much as possible. Over time, dust can impact speed and cooling as well when it clogs fan vents. On that note...
Keep things cool: Overheating can damage your computer. Make sure you keep your laptop away from heat sources - for example, don’t leave it unattended in a hot car. Also, you may want to invest in a cooling pad for some extra protection.
If you really want to ensure your next computer will be a long-term relationship, you need to know your needs from the get-go.
If you’re a gamer, it may be worthwhile to seek the latest graphics capabilities like those in our HP OMEN series. And if you’re using your laptop for work, consider the processing power, RAM, and security features of the HP Spectre x360.
On the flip side, if you use your laptop less often, a less expensive mid-range model like the HP Chromebook is built for email and word processing and is sure to do the trick.
About the Author
Dan Marzullo is a contributing writer for HP® Tech Takes. Dan produces strategic marketing content for startups, digital agencies, and established brands. His work can be found in Forbes, Entrepreneur Magazine, YFS Magazine, and many other media outlets.
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