When to Replace Laptop


Today’s Question: In follow up to reading about your life plan to only have a laptop, I was wondering how or when you made the decision to replace the old laptop with a new one?

Tim’s Quick Answer: In my view there’s no need to consider replacing a laptop unless there’s a clear benefit in terms of performance or user experience.

More Detail: When I recently replaced my laptop my existing laptop was already a few years old, but I was still happy with the overall performance and specifications. However, I started having some hardware issues including problems with the keyboard and USB ports that started to be unreliable. These are certainly issues that could have been fixed, but I decided to invest in a new laptop rather than upgrade my existing laptop.

Having hardware problems obviously impacts the user experience, but often these issues can be resolved with a repair. While I was happy with the performance of my prior laptop, I knew the newer model would provide a considerable performance boost, in part because it included the new Apple M1 processor.

Another factor that impacted my decision was that I was able to get a surprisingly good trade-in value for my existing laptop. Since I was eager to test out the new M1 processor anyway, this sealed the deal for me, and I opted to upgrade.

It can be challenging to evaluate new features, upgraded performance specifications, and more, without actually getting an opportunity to do a hands-on test of the new computer. Fortunately, I was able to perform some basic testing, and could also review performance tests online, so I knew I would be happy with the new computer.

Each user is different in terms of how various considerations are weighed. If money is no object, you could certainly upgrade your computer on a regular basis. I tend to feel that it is worth considering replacing a laptop after around three years or so, but only based on an evaluation of what is available at that point and how it will improve your experience by upgrading to a new computer.

My laptop of choice is a MacBook Pro, and you can get the details of a nicely equipped 14-inch model (a 16-inch model is also available) here: