Author Topic: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?  (Read 17754 times)

hownowbrowncow

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Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« on: October 19, 2013, 04:36:10 PM »
Hello,

I have a Dell laptop I purchased in Fall 2010 when I started grad school.  Overall it still works fine but now needs a new battery.  I checked Amazon and looks like I can get a new battery for $14-40, free shipping.  So should I just do that and keep this thing going?

This was my primary computer during grad school (MBA) and now it's just my home computer.   I basically use it for internet at home (no TV so I watch DVDs or online movies/TV shows on this comp).

I have a nicer, newer, lighter laptop through work but I don't bring it home unless I have to.

Seeing as computers have gotten so much better in the past three years should I repair or upgrade?  Or make the switch to a tablet?  I don't have a burning desire for a fancier new machine but I was curious what others do in this situation. 

Thank you!

AccidentalMiser

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2013, 04:38:13 PM »
Does the laptop meet your needs?  Yes.
Is getting a battery insanely less expensive than buying a new computer?  Yes.

Buy the battery.

Zamboni

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2013, 04:49:07 PM »
^ +1

capital

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2013, 04:51:53 PM »
CPUs haven't changed all that much in the past few years-- many of the optimizations were targeted toward lower power usage, rather than higher speed. So if the computer's in good physical condition, there's no reason not to keep it.

Shop around when it comes to aftermarket batteries-- a lot of cheap ones apparently aren't very good.

Dropping 4GB or 8GB of RAM ($40/$80) into your computer will make a big difference in computer performance. Replacing the hard drive with an SSD would make an even bigger difference, but is a tricker and more expensive upgrade, on the order of a couple hundred dollars. Those are some of the main differences that new laptops have.

Spork

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2013, 04:54:38 PM »
Seeing as computers have gotten so much better in the past three years should I repair or upgrade?  Or make the switch to a tablet?  I don't have a burning desire for a fancier new machine but I was curious what others do in this situation. 

I'm not actually sure this is true.  Computers were doubling in speed and memory size sort of helter skelter there for a lot of years....  but I don't think they've really done so much in quite some time.   Even my work laptop is 4 years old...  My wife's laptop is from 2006.  My home server is from several years ago (and was only purchased because the previous one died a horrible death.)  All of them are of reasonable speed/performance for today.  (I'm not a gamer... Gamer systems are a different story.)

MilStachian

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #5 on: October 19, 2013, 05:05:09 PM »
Does the laptop meet your needs?  Yes.
Is getting a battery insanely less expensive than buying a new computer?  Yes.

Buy the battery.

Hownowbrowncow,
I'm constantly fighting a battle with myself to replace an aging MacBook Pro with a new or (less) used laptop.  The battery just died as well and will set me back $70.  Ouch! 

HOWEVER, despite being four years old and a bit of a beast, it's still a great computer and works without issue.  The nerd in me wants to go buy a new Chromebook for $250, but I know I can make this computer go longer.

Until your computer is absolutely incapable of doing what you need it to do, buy the battery, maybe upgrade the RAM, and make sure you back up your files often enough.  That way your concern about it dying is lessened as you know your files are nice and safe.

DocLago

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #6 on: October 19, 2013, 05:16:05 PM »
For 15$ I'd say just work with the battery.
I bought my laptop Fall 2010 as well and got lucky and had my battery replaced just as the warranty was going to expire.  Literally the day before.  Every once and a while I want to go grab a new one, smaller(mines 17in), touch etc.  But really my laptop more than serves its purpose and the upgrades available for decent pricepoint just don't seem very appealing.
Sometimes it is worth it just for peace of mind though.

mustacheme

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #7 on: October 19, 2013, 05:20:56 PM »
It sounds like the computer does everything you need it to do. I'd just buy the battery. $40 is way less than the $400 minimum you'd pay for a new one. Sure the new one might have more memory or speed, but if you're not needing it why pay for it. You might be surprised too at how little computers have changed the past few years. I have a dell I bought around 2010 that quit working. I took it to a repair place and told them I didn't know if it was worth fixing. They nearly laughed me out of the store. Turns out it has one of the top line Intel chips, and the guy said lots of people really dislike windows 8 so the windows 7 on it is probably better to keep.

Reepekg

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2013, 08:39:56 PM »
Battery is way cheaper than a new one.

MMM points for doing what I did in grad school and just leaving it plugged in all the time once the battery can no longer hold a charge. Sounds like you're just using it around the house anyway.

cheeselover91

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2013, 08:58:01 PM »
Thumbs up on the battery replacement. It's tempting to upgrade but everybody upgrades. I was thinking about upgrading when the 4 key quit on my laptop. Stupid I know, but I needed a reason to upgrade! I mean because my laptop is big and old... long story short I fixed it myself for $14. So empowering and much funner than a new computer.

Jamesqf

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2013, 10:55:29 PM »
Why do you even need a new battery, if you just use it at home?  Plug it in, and be happy :-)

I use a laptop as my main machine.  When I first bought it, back in 2008 IIRC, I travelled quite a bit with it, but nowadays...  Well, I don't think it's been out of its dock yet this year.

TygerTung

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2013, 12:18:30 AM »
My computer is from 2004 and still runs lightening fast, so you don't need to buy a new one seeing as it is much newer.

Just replace the battery. I just use a desktop, so you could just leave it at one place?

lhamo

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2013, 03:53:49 AM »
Another vote for the battery.  I'm typing this on the IBM Thinkpad X60 I bought in July 2006 when I decided I was not going to be staying much longer at my previous job.  I have replaced the battery twice already, and should replace it again, but as it is clearly on its last legs I've been putting it off. 

If it isn't too expensive, you might want to have the interior professionally cleaned.  I did that with each of my battery replacements.  Actually part of the reason my laptop is probably acting like it is dying is because I haven't had it cleaned for awhile.  the fan seems to be all clogged up -- it overheats when I run too many programs at the same time.


Kriegsspiel

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #13 on: October 20, 2013, 08:22:18 AM »
MMM points for doing what I did in grad school and just leaving it plugged in all the time once the battery can no longer hold a charge. Sounds like you're just using it around the house anyway.

This is what I just started to do last week when my battery died. I didn't realize leaving it plugged into the wall on a fully charge battery was a problem (which is what The Internet told me).

sleepyguy

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #14 on: October 20, 2013, 08:26:34 AM »
Definitely get a battery... you can probably get by with those ebay chinese OEM knockoffs... they generally work about 70-80% of the REAL OEM but are generally good enough for a fraction of the cost.

Jwesleym

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #15 on: October 20, 2013, 11:11:54 AM »
Beware the cheap batteries, they don't have the same safety features as the OEM. I recommend batteryrefill.com, it is cheaper than OEM and uses the original protection circuitry. They also guarantee better performance than OEM. You just have to look up videos of Li-ion battery fires to know safety is important for these.

CommonCents

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #16 on: October 20, 2013, 12:20:38 PM »
How is it running beyond the battery?  I recently tried to be ultra frugal and not replace a laptop I bought in 2010 with performance issues. Foolishly, I did not back it up. With a month, my laptop and my husbands laptops died, and the old one my dad gave to me got a blue screen of death (still working though). $250 to Best Buy Geek Squad to get things off my laptop, if the device I borrowed from a friend doesn't work. So don't be penny wise and pound foolish. If the laptop has other issues, consider a new one.  Otherwise, yes buy the battery.  And always back up regularly!

frugaldrummer

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #17 on: October 20, 2013, 10:07:32 PM »
Is the laptop a PC?  If so, and it still runs ok for what you use it for - you might want to keep it until the next version of Windows.

I managed to avoid the unpopular Windows Vista version, by hanging on to my old Windows XP machine until Windows 7 came out.

But do back up your stuff; I lost some stuff once when my hard drive died.

Miss Growing Green

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #18 on: October 22, 2013, 06:52:29 PM »
I vote buy the battery!

Even if you do decide to upgrade, you should sell your old laptop, and you will get more than the cost of the battery back if you sell it with a working battery.

MrsPete

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #19 on: October 22, 2013, 06:54:54 PM »
Does the laptop meet your needs?  Yes.
Is getting a battery insanely less expensive than buying a new computer?  Yes.

Buy the battery.
My philosophy exactly.  In fact, I did this recently.  My phone just wouldn't hold a charge. I bought a new battery from eBay for about $6.  Works as well as when it was new. 

adesertsky

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #20 on: October 22, 2013, 07:18:18 PM »
I'll also vote for the battery.  2010 is pretty recent.

My laptop was purchased in 2009, cannot be run without being plugged in, and the screen cannot be opened further than an 80 degree angle or else it goes blank.  I'm planning on keeping it for some time to come.

catccc

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #21 on: October 23, 2013, 11:37:34 AM »
Just bought a new battery for our circa 2010 hp laptop a few weeks ago.   Didn't even consider getting a new computer.  So I say go for the battery.

gimp

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Re: Replace battery or buy new laptop or tablet?
« Reply #22 on: October 23, 2013, 11:47:04 AM »
Agreed with everyone else.

Laptop improvements have almost all been battery life. IPC might be up, what, 50% since Nehalem?  Whereas battery life will  just about double between 2012 and 2014.

Huge performance improvements in phones and tablets, which are growing upwards. But my Penryn laptop purchased in 2009 is still faster than many new laptops (well, the cheaper ones at least). New battery is $100, new laptop is $1000.