When I buy a new or used laptop computer, the one thing I look for above all — before I check the speed of the processor, the type of graphics card, or even drool at the gigantic LCD screen, I check the laptop’s lid/monitor hinges. Roughly going by Moore’s Law, a laptop should last you about 18-24 months but is that really the case? I use my laptop as a desktop. I’m constantly on it, and it’s always being opened and closed, moved around, etc.
Back in 2004, I bought a slightly used Dell Inspiron 4100 on eBay. It was so new that it was still under warranty for another couple of months. I paid just under $900 with shipping and it was a beauty. 1 GHz Pentium 3-M, 256MB RAM, 40GB HDD. To give you an idea of how long ago this was — the computer came with a Windows 2000 CoA. It arrived in flawless condition and I used it as my only computer throughout 2004 until one day I opened it up and bam. One of the hinges broke in two exposing the LCD monitor cable.
Now there was nothing else wrong with the laptop. All the keys were “strong,” and the mouse buttons firmly in place. You could still use it by propping up the broken lid against something or hooking the laptop up to an external display, but after that day its portability was done for. I now had a desktop laptop, a rare breed of broken computer that frequents eBay in search of a new home at a discounted price.
I would estimate from the time it was purchased new from Dell until it died at my hands, the laptop was in use for roughly 2 years. Finding new laptop cases or hinge parts seem to be hit and miss from eBay and often you risk damaging further parts by trying to fix your laptop. It’s not like you can go to the store and buy a “laptop case” and swap out your LCD, keyboard, optical drive, trackpad, etc. It’s not as flexible as a desktop computer that people commonly build from scratch.
Now you can find laptops in plastic, aluminum, carbon fiber, titanium, etc. but I’m ever careful when I open and close my laptop. How long have your laptops lasted?