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When to replace your gadgets

Are you wondering how old is too old for that television set or internet router in your living room? The New York Times personal technology columnist Brian X. Chen explores when to consider replacing four of the important gadgets in our lives.

I’m an advocate for making your technology last as long as you possibly can. But at some point, it’s time to replace your phone, computer, TV set and internet router. It’s hard to know when, though. Here is a cheat sheet for when to consider retiring your current models:

Smartphones: It’s wise to replace your device when your phone can no longer receive operating system updates. When that happens, some of your favorite apps may stop working properly, and you won’t easily be able to get security enhancements that protect you from attacks and malware.

Apple iPhones typically can get software updates for five years, and Android phones normally get software updates for two to three years.

Computers: Similarly, when your computer can no longer get important software updates, it’s probably time for it to go. But Windows and Mac PCs tend to get these updates for far longer than smartphones — from nine to 15 years. (I’m still rocking an iMac that I bought nine years ago.)

Within that time frame, though, other parts like your hard drive, laptop battery or screen may fail. When repair costs add up to become impractical, it may be time to look for a newer model.

Television sets: You could hold on to a TV for decades if you don’t mind missing out on improvements in video quality. But also think about what connects to your set. If your TV is so old that you can’t plug in modern devices that you want to use — video game consoles, streaming video sticks and audio equipment — then it’s probably time to retire it.

Internet routers: Your Wi-Fi hub is a critical piece of infrastructure that affects everything that connects to your home internet. Generally, new Wi-Fi technologies hit the market every five years. If your router is more than five years old, you’ll want to get on the latest Wi-Fi technology, because you’ll probably see meaningful improvements to speed and coverage.
The New York Times