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How to buy gadgets that will stand the test of time

When we buy gadgets in recent years, we rarely assume that they will last, and we are often in a hurry to replace them with new ones.

We only play with a video game console as long as companies create games for it. We use one smartphone or a laptop for as long as the battery lasts or until it can no longer run important software.

At some point, we think we need to upgrade our devices. We need to have the latest and greatest camera. We need to have applications running faster. We need to have brighter screens.

Here is the trap: These beliefs are cultivated by his professionals marketing, which enter our subconscious. The reality is that gadgets, such as your phone, computer or tablet, can last for many years. All you need is a proper research to get some kind of technology that will last.

"It's important to buy what you need, not what a company tells you you need," said Carole Mars, director of technical development and innovation at the Sustainability Consortium, which studies the sustainability of consumer goods.

Gadgets

The strategic choice of technology items with longer lifespan is not intuitive. It includes assessing how easy or not it is to repair a particular product and determining when it makes sense to invest more money. Here are some questions to keep in mind in the long run.

This is easy to repair gadget;

The next time you want to buy an online product, try this: Before you buy, find out if you or a professional can easily fix it. If so, then proceed to purchase it, otherwise do not get into the process of paying for it.

Vincent Lai, who works for Fixers Collective, a New York-based social network that repairs aging devices, has tried several approaches to assess whether a gadget can be fixed right away:

Consult it iFixit, a website that provides instructions on gadget repairs. For some products, the site separates the gadgets and analyzes their ease of repair. The iPhone SE of Apple, for example, has a score of 6 out of 10 (10 is the easiest to repair), so it could be a device worth buying for long-term use.

Check that local technicians can service the device. Many technicians have the tools and ability to repair popular phones, such as iPhones and devices. Samsung Galaxy. If you want to buy a cell phone from a less popular brand like OnePlus or Motorola, it's worth finding out if anyone can fix it in case something goes wrong.

Gadgets

Find out if there is a community around the product you want to buy. Sometimes there are no technicians who can help with a product, but there may be people who write their own guides that you can follow. Although you probably can't find anyone to repair her electric toothbrush Philips, there are instructions on how to maintain it in iFixit.

Is the battery being replaced?

One of the clearest indicators of a product's durability is whether the batteries can be replaced. Wireless gadgets are powered by a lithium-ion battery, which can be charged at specific times before being damaged.

Fortunately, most phones and laptops have batteries that can be replaced by professionals. However, other products have components that are glued together and sealed well, making it impossible to replace their batteries. Wireless headphones like AirPods Apple and Bose QuietComfort 35 are examples of popular products with non-removable batteries.

Therefore, if you are buying anything that has batteries, search the internet to see if they can be replaced.

Is the product reliable?

Like home appliances, technology products have failure rates - the ratio of functional to defective units. These percentages can give you a sense of the credibility of a brand.

Consumer reports gather similar reliability data for smartphones, laptops, tablets, TVs and printers.

People tend to have more problems with gadgets that have moving parts, such as printers with ink cartridges, than with electronics such as TVs or tablets, said Jerry Beilinson, technology author at Consumer Reports.

Do I have to spend more?

Another rule to keep in mind is to invest more in a product to make it last longer. This does not mean that you have to buy the most expensive phone or computer on the market. But that you invest in products that will leave you satisfied in the long run.

Let's use one iPad as an example. If you want an iPad, you could pay $ 329 for the base model with 32 GB of storage. But it might be a better idea to spend $ 429 on the 128GB model - that's four times the capacity you can use to hold apps, games, photos and videos for the coming years.

In technological language, this strategy is known as "futureproofing".

Is the software easy to update?

Because many modern gadgets, such as smartphones and tablets, usually lack spare parts, their software plays an important role in determining their longevity. When a company stops providing software updates on a device, you will experience problems, such as your favorite applications running out of order.

This is a point where iPhones have an advantage over Android. Every year, when Apple launches a new operating system for the iPhone, it works on all the phones of the last five years. (The iOS 14 Apple, which will be released this fall, has been supporting the iPhone 6S since 2015.) This means that when you buy an iPhone, it will likely have new features and stability improvements for at least five years.

Typically, Android makers provide software updates for two or three years.

For some phones Android, said Mr. Lai, there are fans who offer so-called ROMs or custom operating systems, which can be installed to update the software in the long run.

Does it solve any problem?

Many so-called smart home appliances offer interesting benefits, such as a refrigerator with a camera that sends a notification to our phone when the milk is exhausted.

Just keep in mind that smart home products can create more problems than they solve. A trash can that automatically opens its lid when you shake your hand may seem magical, but it relies on batteries and moving parts that eventually break down.

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