Let’s face it, we love our Phones, Tablets, and Laptops when we first get them. But after a year or two they lose the edge they had. They may not be brand new products any more, but they can still be useful tools for us. Many times they just need some minor upgrades to make them useful again. Let’s look at some of the best device upgrades in 2016. These are inexpensive upgrades that will greatly extend the life of these devices.
Best Device Upgrades of 2016
Replacement Laptop Battery
It’s common for laptop batteries to lose their ability to hold a charge over time. Dell’s Support Site states that a typical user will notice a difference in run time in 18 – 24 months. In my own experience after about 3 years I start to see a major performance difference. Even to the point where the battery is unusable. Replacement batteries used to be relatively expensive, but now you can find good replacement laptop batteries at a low price. Picking up a replacement laptop battery for about $20 gives your old laptop brand new performance.
Replacement Phone Battery
Just like with laptops, phone batteries start to lose their run time after 2 years. However, unlike laptops, when a phone battery starts to fail it can cause the phone to shutdown unexpectedly or go into a power cycle loop. I’ve had this happen with several models of Samsung Galaxy phones. For Android users replacing a battery is usually as simple as popping off the back cover and putting in the new battery. Replacement phone batteries usually run about $10. You also have the option of replacing your battery with a larger high-capacity battery, just note that these batteries will be physically larger and require a new back cover.
Laptop SSD Drive
When most users think of improving the performance of their older laptop, they think about upgrading the laptop memory. But in most cases replacing the existing Hard Disk Drive with a Solid State Drive has an even bigger performance boost. An SSD drive makes a huge improvement on boot time, and also improves most application performance. Replacing your laptops drive will require a little bit of work, so make sure you do your research first, but the upgrade is worth it. Prices typically run from $100 – $300 depending on the size you want. I’ve had a lot of success with Crucial’s products and I’ve found them a good balance of performance and price.
Phone microSD Card
As with batteries, iPhones will not have an available microSD slot. But most Android phones do have a microSD slot. Recently we’ve seen the Samsung Galaxy S6 line not include a microSD slot. But for the Galaxy S7 it is rumored that the microSD slot will be back. Several popular tablets such as the Surface Pro 4, Galaxy Tab S2, and Xperia Z4 also have microSD slots. If your phone or tablet has a microSD slot it’s a great feature to increase your available storage. Simply popping in an inexpensive card immediately gives you 32, 64, or 128GB of storage for Apps or Photo/Video storage. Prices for microSD cards are very cheap right now. But you want to make sure you get the right card, as there are various levels of performance available. SanDisk has a great article detailing the different Classes of SD cards available. For the best device performance we want to make sure we’re getting either a Class 10 card or UHS 1 card. Class 10/UHS 1 guarantees the card can be written to at a minimum of 10MB/s.
USB Hard Drives
After you’ve replaced your laptop’s drive another useful upgrade to pick up is a portable external hard drive. This will not necessarily improve your laptop’s performance but it will certainly provide an inexpensive storage upgrade. For about $100 you can 2 terabytes of storage to your laptop. This is a great option for backing up data or even sharing files. Seagate’s external drive even provides 200GB of cloud storage for additional backup protection.
While technically not an upgrade to your phone or tablet, portable chargers have become a great accessory. These small battery packs fit in the palm of your hand and come in different sizes. Depending on the size you can get different amounts of charging out of them. The iXCC, for example, can re-charge an iPhone6 5 times. They’re compatible with most phones and tablets, and are a must have for people who are traveling.
If we’re looking at the best device upgrades, we’d have to include laptop memory. It’s one of the oldest upgrades in the book, but it’s still a valuable upgrade. Popping more memory in your laptop will always make an impact on performance. Memory prices continue to get cheaper and cheaper, with more and more performance. Most laptops that are around 5 years old will use DDR3 memory, but newer laptops can make use of the newer DD4 memory. DDR4 has faster I/O speeds and uses less power. As with any newer technology, DDR is more expensive, but usually around 20% more. It’s a worthwhile upgrade is your laptop can take it.