How Long Does Technology Last?
Technology can do a lot of amazing things, but it doesn’t work forever. From smartphones to laptops and tablets to TVs, the useful life of our tech declines over time. All tech—top brands and budget buys alike—has a limited window during which you can expect optimal performance. For some devices, that window closes faster than others.
Here’s a look at some of the most common devices and their average years of peak performance.
On average, desktop computers operate at their best for about five years. A desktop’s useful life can vary, however, based on maintenance, care and use. Desktops contain many interchangeable parts and hardware that can be upgraded, sometimes extending a desktop’s life beyond the typical five years.
The lifespan of the average laptop is about three to five years. Laptops have a shorter life than desktops, usually, because they are less durable, harder to upgrade with newer physical parts, not as well ventilated, and as with anything portable, experience greater wear and tear on components.
Most tablets typically last five to seven years. Tablets are made to be toted around, and are generally pretty durable, but components—especially the LCD screen and battery can deteriorate over time.
Generally, you can expect four to eight years of top performance from the average smart TV today. The lifespan of your TV varies based on hours of use and environmental conditions such as exposure to heat.
Printers generally last three to five years. Over time, as a printer’s internal parts wear out, print quality declines and page output slows down.
Old or outdated routers will not be able to receive signals as efficiently, so if your router is several years old, it might not be able to consistently deliver a strong signal or support connectivity for newer devices. The average life of a standard router is about three to four years.
Smartphones last, on average, about two to three years. Aging phones slow down over time, batteries lose their effectiveness The average smartphone lasts two to three years. Toward the end of its life, a phone will start to show signs of slowing down. It's important to take stock of these so you can prepare for what comes next.