Broken Laptop: To Repair or Replace, That is the Question
by Larry Alton
Computers, smartphones, tablets, wearables–who doesn’t love a good gadget these days? Unfortunately, with such advanced hardware and software comes the risk for viruses and breakdowns. If your laptop is broken, should you repair or replace it?
What’s Wrong With the Laptop?
First, you need to find out what’s wrong with your laptop. Are you dealing with a physical hardware problem – like a broken screen, unresponsive mouse pad, or busted speaker? Or are you having software troubles – such as an inability to connect to the internet, constant freezing, or a tricky virus that won’t go away?
With each problem – hardware and software – comes a different solution. Knowing the severity of the problem will give you a pretty clear idea of what you should do.
“The most obvious factor you'll consider when deciding whether to repair or replace a computer will often come down to relative dollar cost,” repair technician Mike Hurt explains. “But this evaluation isn’t quite as straightforward as it seems. In some cases, it may be possible to work around a problem instead of getting it fixed.”
Hurt uses the example of a cracked screen. If the crack is small, it might just be a minor annoyance. Do you want to have it fixed, or are you fine dealing with the annoyance in order to save the money?
“Next, it's important compare how much it’s going to cost to fix the problem to the computer's current ‘market value,’ as well as how much it would cost to replace the equipment,” Hurt continues.
This issue is perhaps the most interesting. If it’s going to cost you $400 to fix an issue with your computer, but the laptop is only worth $500 to begin with, do you fix it or move on? This cuts to the heart of the sunk cost fallacy, which causes most people’s decision making to be tainted by the emotional and financial investments they already have in an item.
The biggest takeaway is that everything is relative. Knowing whether to repair or replace comes down to a myriad of factors – ranging from the underlying problem itself to the cost analysis of repairing versus replacing.
Be Careful When Paying for Repairs
In most cases, a repair makes more sense – especially when the laptop is fairly new and the issue is a common one. In repair situations, the biggest thing is knowing who you’re hiring to repair the device.
You can find plenty of people who will fix your computer. From message board geeks and college students to big-box retailers and small specialty shops. As a rule of thumb, you should only work with companies that have a proven track record and know how to repair your specific model.
Tips for Buying a Laptop Replacement or Upgrade
Sometimes it doesn’t make sense to repair your computer. Either the problem is beyond being fixed, or it will cost more to fix than to buy a new laptop. In these cases, you’ll need to quickly turn your attention towards researching and identifying a laptop that fits your budget.
Considering that you just dealt with computer problems and are about to pour a considerable amount of money into new technology, there are some specific things you’ll want to think about when researching your options.
Reliability is obviously the first thing to evaluate. What sort of history/complaints do current users have and how likely is it that you’ll suffer the same fate? Warranties are also important. What sort of manufacturer’s warranty is there, and is it cost-effective to get an additional warranty through the company selling the laptop?
Just be smart – that’s the main point. Use your critical thinking skills and make a choice that fits your budget and meets your computing needs.
Read More By: Larry Alton