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The Shrinking Laptop

In our previous post “The Desktop PC – Still Relevant?”, we touched on how the industry is trending more mobile, and the sizes of the devices we use are changing. Laptops are cheaper than they’ve ever been. They are thinner and lighter than ever, and they are much more powerful than they were even a few years ago. With that being said, we’d like to delve into a few minor setbacks to the cheaper, thinner, lighter laptops of today.

Manufacturing

Arguably, the most troubling changes to laptops have been in the manufacturing process. Laptops from the beginning have never been the most upgradeable machines, but the average laptop still had RAM and hard drive upgrade options. The drive to make ultra-thin computers has changed that. The latest generation of mobile computers (looking at you Apple) has made previously upgradeable components now a permanent part of the motherboard. Meaning that the only way to upgrade RAM, or possibly even storage (like some low-end HP notebooks), is often to buy a new computer. Now you may not think this is a big deal. You may say “just buy the computer you think you will want,” and that is a valid point. You should buy a laptop with the future in mind, but the lack of upgrade options isn’t well advertised by manufacturers who are cutting costs and integrating laptop components more and more like tablets or smartphones.

Repair

Another side effect of the slimming of laptops is repairability, and especially repair outside of warranty or by third-party computer repair shops.. Third-party repair (like your local computer shop) has been a part of the computer equation since almost the very beginning. With the latest generation of computers, that is changing for the worse. Not only are components like RAM and SSDs being permanently soldered to the logic board, but other components like batteries and LCD screens are being almost entirely secured with adhesives, making what should be a fairly standard repair/upgrade a much more labor intensive procedure or a more expensive repair if an entire touchscreen display needs to be replaced instead of just the LCD panel. Laptop manufacturers are definitely swerving away from their consumer devices being serviceable.

The Future

Don’t take this this as a rant against laptops. Mobile computing is the future. Laptops fill a niche that won’t be eclipsed by any other device anytime soon (although tablets are making noise in that direction). Geek Easy Computers just wants you to be informed to help you make computing decisions that you will be happy with, and prepared for. Stop in or give us a call with any questions or concerns. Or contact us via email, Facebook, Google+, or this website. We want to make your technology purchases easier!

 me_smile Adonis Pointer is a photographer, a collector of vintage razors, and a certified technology geek!

Adonis has been involved in computer technology since well, a LONG time! He has been involved in nearly every aspect of the industry from sales to repair to training to consulting. As the Social Media Manager he writes the majority of the posts on the Geek Easy Computers blog.

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