Back to school: how to choose a PC that is portable and durable?

Back to school: how to choose a PC that is portable and durable?

Ensuring that your new laptop will last over time necessarily involves careful selection before purchase. What are the criteria to pay attention to? Follow the guide.

At a time when consuming in a reasoned and sustainable way is more necessary than ever, and when going back to school is sometimes synonymous with computer equipment, it seemed relevant to us to summarize the good questions to ask yourself before choosing a portable PC , in order to use it as long as possible. A problem that revolves around a well-known triptych: upgradeability, repairability, maintenance.

Take a look at scalability

Whether you’re rejuvenating an old laptop – always a better option for the planet – or buying a new one, paying attention to its upgradability is paramount. For our tests, we systematically open the computers that go to the lab. In particular, we check if the RAM and storage can be upgraded in the future, and if the battery is easily accessible to be able to change it one day.

With the exception of a few models designed for scalability (like the awesome Framework), laptops unfortunately don’t allow processor swaps. However, models released 6 or 7 years ago, or even longer, can still run Windows and do a lot of modern office tasks, especially if you can add a little RAM to them or change their storage system. Therefore, there is a real interest in checking these points before selecting your future machine. Too bad office/multimedia computers are generally not the best students in this area. The roomier chassis and design of gaming PCs (with a dedicated graphics card) makes them more scalable most of the time, but they are also more expensive and more massive (therefore less suitable for general use). mobile) of a student. ).

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Last point that should not be overlooked: the connection. That a computer has numerous, varied and modern ports (USB-C, for example) is also a guarantee of durability over time.

More information on repairability (and reliability)

On the repairability side, more consumer guidance has been given since the establishment of the repairability index, which is mandatory from January 1, 2021. A criterion taken into account in the laptop tests published by Digital, and which represents 20% of the final mark attributed to each product. Although imperfect (it is only declarative and the score table opens the door to some abuse), this index still has the merit of providing effective information on the level of repairability of a computer thanks to a score out of 10.

This note takes into account the ease of disassembly and access to parts, the duration of the availability of spare parts by the manufacturer as well as their price or the supply of technical manuals. Paying attention to it when choosing your computer, or even turning it into a justice of the peace in case you can’t decide between a handful of models, is therefore a good reflection to take. Note also that all retailers are supposed to display it, while manufacturers must, in full transparency, provide access to detailed rating sheets for each product.

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Finally, keep in mind that some large retailers publish their after-sales service statistics from time to time, which can give some clues about the reliability of a particular brand (an important point when you want your laptop to last longer). ). possible time). Thus, according to Fnac-Darty, the three laptop brands that have caused the fewest returns in after-sales service in 2021 are, in this order: Apple, HP and Lenovo. Less formally, looking for information on user forums or looking at reviews of a certain model can, to some extent, inform the long-term reliability of a machine.

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Maintain, to make it last longer

Charge your laptop before leaving it turned off for a long time, protect it properly when you move it, take care of its charger and cables, check that its ventilation system is not clogged by dust… there are a lot of obvious recommendations of this style, which without However, it is never useless to remember. You should also know that more than half of laptop after-sales service steps are related to software issues. Keep your operating system and applications up to date (which is also a great advantage from a security point of view), carry out maintenance checks from time to time with reliable software, do not hesitate to ask a loved one who is more comfortable with computers to maintain your machine, here are some common sense tips as well.

The day a breakdown occurs, before thinking of changing your computer in a hurry, it is probably better to go to a specialized repairer (once the warranty period has expired). Those who are not afraid of a motherboard can even find many tutorials and tips online to tackle the problem themselves. This is, for example, the specialty of the iFixit site, which has disassembled hundreds of computers, sells toolkits, and offers documentation so you can access certain repairs yourself.

And if, unfortunately, you have to throw away your computer, do it with an organization that you are sure will handle the recycling correctly. An important point, to the extent that 70% of hazardous waste for health and the environment are of electrical or electronic origin.

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some clues

In conclusion, let us encourage you, in addition to this article, to read this excellent file from our IT department on things to know and consider before buying a laptop.

It should also be noted that while Apple’s MacBook M1 and M2 are very attractive and have made their mark on the market in recent years, they are particularly closed computers from a hardware point of view. There goes everything soldered, even the SSD, and to change the battery you have to change a complete block that also includes the keyboard and the speakers, which is sold for $500. In terms of scalability and repairability, we’ve seen better.

In contrast, Framework, slightly larger and more expensive than an equivalent PC lambda, sets the bar for what to do in terms of scalability and repairability. HP’s EliteBook models, without going that far, also have a good reputation in this area. With no Windows required, the Asus Chromebook C202 was designed with maintenance and repair in mind, as well as being a “rugged” model suitable for life in the classroom.

Since the turn that the market is taking towards eco-designed and eco-responsible products, reconditioning, the circular economy and repairability is irremediable, it is a safe bet that other references will bet on this bet in the coming months (we call it in any case with our best wishes). Our experts will obviously be there to examine them.

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