Expensive Junk

Going through my gadget junk yard over the weekend, it is amazing how much junk i have acquired over the years. The oldest is probably the Philips TurnTable and a pile of records i got from my Pop (Never been able to bring myself to encode the records to Mp3). I still have my hifi “Master Blaster” deck and speakers from my University days (those where the days…), pile of cassette tapes,CDs and DVDs,handhelds of all types, VCRs, mini HiFi, Video Editor equipment,satellite receivers, CD labellers, 3 laptops and 2 Printers, rechargeable batteries, etc. The list goes on and on. One uncanny thing they all have in common is that they were all in an irreparable state.

There is a problem here, that is, apart from my tenacity for acquiring gadgets. The problem stems from the fact that products are no longer designed to be durable. Flashy, yes, but why don’t they ever “last”? By “last”, i mean active usage for at least two years. I am not referring to the ocassional users here, but those that put their toys to full use. So how long do we expect our gadgets to last? I spoke with a laptop vendor sometime ago, he was of the opinion that laptops should not last more than two years. He was talking from experience and the statistics suits him just fine, or how does he expect to make sales when a laptop lasts forever? I couldnt help but wonder if that is the view of the manufacturers too.

The product that irked me the most was my Samsung N110 netbook, it is still working but the cheap plastic casing literally fell apart after about 6 months of use. Its successor, the 8hr battery-life wonder Asus laptop had a nasty hard disk crash just about 4 months after purchase? I’m sure a lot of people have a lot sad tales to tell about these latter day products so i decided to “google” the issue of gadgets and their expected life expectancies and my findings were quite revealing. For laptops, references were continually being made to the Dell and Apple Mac brands as being the most durable, with Macs having the ace. Of course, that is debatable but one thing most agree with is that if you buy the cheapest PC, you’ll run into lifespan issues. Cheaper models are built with cheaper materials, so if you’re looking for a computer that will last three to five years or longer, invest in a laptop with quality hardware. But is that guaranteed?

People also say that different laptop computer brands have different life expectancies. Some even say you should expect your laptop to last as long as the warranty you take on it, well, that is definitely debatable too.

The lithium-ion batteries used in most laptops have a typical lifespan of 300 to 500 charge/discharge cycles. Full discharge of your laptop’s battery should be avoided to avoid shortening the lifespan. Under proper operating conditions, lithium-ion batteries will last two to three years. Heat is attributed to being the most common cause of failure of Li-ion batteries.

Smartphones, on the other hand, have a very short consumer lifespan. The common consensus from cell phone manufacturers is, guess what? Less than two years !!! And that is if the battery does not give up on you before then. Some people find that as a phone ages, the battery will die more and more quickly; the phone must be recharged more often. This is due to the breakdown of the lithium ion battery. A battery will begin to lose the ability to charge after about 18 months of daily use.


  • Eyebeekay

    .'You wouldnt want to buy a new car and use it for a few years then thrash it?'..yes o! gives one a chance to always be abreast of the latest innovations. if money is not an issue, i will not mind changing my car EVERY year..then it can be recycled to make another..

    • Eyebeekay, could you please browse this site from your phone's default browser and see if the new mobile theme is loaded. Can you criticize the theme. If it doesn't load, try browsing from opera mini. There have been some talk about Opera being a native browser now, it sure is not working on my symbian phone.

  • But you need to take the second hand value of some of these gadgets into consideration. You wouldnt want to buy a new car and use it for a few years then thrash it?

  • Eyebeekay

    This observation that most items (not just gadgets) do not lasting like they used to – is right on the ball. They don.t make them like that ANYMORE! The evidence is all around us. One of the reasons why this is so is the drastically reduced purchasing power of most of us. You need to pay good money to get grade A products. These o products exist,- they just cost more. Many of the products shipped to this part of the world are of inferior quality. Most times, you get what you pay for, like you implied. My strategy in recent times is to get the best that i can afford – always. It always pays in. the long run. There are situations where you do not really need your product to overlast, though! Do i need my laptop to last and last? My smartphone,? My flat screen tv? Probably not! Do i want to use the same car for TEN years? No, no! With the rate at which technological products get bitten by the obsolescence bug, longevity is not what i am looking for in those items. I am looking for service and reliability -within the short lifespan. I want to be ahead of the curve with cutting edge devices! To make your products last longer though, treat them with care. No rough handling. Service as stipulatd with the correct materials. Using the right personnel.. Even a human lives longer with minimal health issues by being commonsensical!

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