When I completed my undergraduate degree I was rewarded with the gift of a laptop through a joint effort from my parents and my brother. It was the perfect gift for me at that time since I was headed into graduate school. Six years ago, that laptop was brand new to me; officially I think it was refurbished.
In the following years the laptop has taken some punishment from the rigors of everyday use and a little pinch of clumsiness. I’ve dropped it twice which both times led to the monitor breaking. Fortunately for my broke ass graduate student self, it was still under warranty and was fixed for free both times. I’ve stripped screws trying to replace the RAM. The battery doesn’t hold a charge; its portability is laughable since it must be plugged in for it to operate.
Nonetheless, it still works. And it works very well for basics tasks such as surfing the internet, spreadsheet applications, word processing, and even some light gaming (hello Civilization 3 and/or Starcraft). It even has a DVD-ROM so that I can watch movies on it. I like to take it with me on business trips instead of the ones supplied to us by my employer since I like to blog, among other personal things, when I’m away. I’d rather not have that stuff on the company property, you know?
The biggest hurdle for its usefulness right now is its non-functional battery. It’s a pain to always search for an outlet in whatever airport I’m in. And even if I find an outlet there are about 34589734968 other business people charging their Blackberry/Treo/iPod/portable DVD player/phone.
A few years ago when the laptop was 4 years old I researched the price of a new laptop battery directly from the manufacturer: $150. I didn’t use it much back then so I thought I’d wait a few years.
Now that the laptop is 6 years old, I looked up the price again: $150. WTF. There’s no way I’m going to pay that much for a battery; it’s probably worth more than the laptop itself. I started to look for alternatives.
There’s two choices: (1) a compatible battery from an online dealer for around $90 or (2) a compatible battery from eBay for $50. Both seem a little dubious, but it beats buying a new battery for the 25% of a brand new laptop, right?
I’m going to do more research, and keep you updated.