Monday, March 27Welcome

2022 Guardian Tech Review: Repairable, Long-Lasting Devices | Gadgets

W.After a year full of pressures on our wallets, comfort and climate, 2022 puts technology in second place. But change for the better is slowly happening as big tech companies wake up to consumer demand for better, longer lasting and more sustainable products. device.

The trends established in the last few years continue to gain momentum. Recycled materials have become mainstream. Devices containing at least some recycled plastics, metals, or minerals are available in nearly every category. The range of recycled materials is expanding. This is an important step towards a circular economy, although it is far from fully realized.

One of the side effects of a tighter economy is the accelerated propensity to reuse devices. Trade-ins for new purchases exploded as manufacturers and retailers tried to boost sales, frequently offering deep discounts in exchange for older devices, which were then refurbished, resold, or recycled. Recovered residual value.

Design changes to facilitate repair

Bottom of iPhone 14 showing screws and ports.
The iPhone 14 and 14 Plus may look like their predecessors on the outside, but they’re redesigned for the better inside. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Keeping your device on for as long as possible is the best option for both the planet and your wallet. CCS Insight data shows that people keep their phones on average for 4.2 years, making access to affordable and effective repair options important.

Apple has taken an amazing step in the right direction this year. This year’s iPhone 14 looked identical to its predecessors on the outside, but a new internal design allows it to be opened either through the screen or the back. is faster, easier and cheaper.

This is quite different from the modular, user-repairable design ideal demonstrated by the 2021 Fairphone 4. But iPhones sell more than any other phone, and the industry typically follows wherever they go, so the move away from Apple is a big deal.

A person takes apart an iPhone on a blue antistatic mat.
Taking apart a phone is difficult, but with enough skill, the right tools, and spare parts, it can be done at home. Photo: Apple

Apple also expanded its DIY repair program to the UK and Europe in December. Taking an iPhone or Mac apart is not recommended for beginners, but it gives technicians easy access to genuine replacement parts and repair manuals. Apple still uses Digital Lockdown to thwart unauthorized repairs, so there’s still work to be done.

Other manufacturers have also made changes this year to aid in repairs. In it, Microsoft promised to provide service guides and spare parts for Surface laptops and tablets, allowing users to upgrade some parts such as the solid state drive (SSD). Valve has made it easy to access his authentic DIY repairs for the Steam Deck, a handheld gaming PC, including spare parts, manuals and tools. Meanwhile, the French Repairability Index continued to force the release of more formal repair documentation from reluctant manufacturers.

Framework laptop is open on a wooden table.
A framework laptop looks like a regular laptop on the outside, but like a desktop PC, you can open it up and repair or upgrade components. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

One of this year’s highlights was the Framework Laptop. It really lived up to its promise of not just taking the laptop apart and fixing it, but upgrading it yourself. Not only was the first version a surprisingly good laptop, but the company kept its promise and made available the components to upgrade the 11th Gen Intel chips to the latest 12th Gen models. May it last long.

However, true wireless earbuds continue to be a low point. However, there are very few that are repairable, it is impossible to replace a dead battery, and it is eventually disposable. Last year he sold more than 252 million units, and in his first nine months of 2022, he sold 170 million units, according to International Data Corporation (IDC) Device Tracker data. Especially disappointing given the quantity.

long lasting device

OnePlus 10T charging on a wooden table.
The OnePlus 10T’s battery charges in 19 minutes and lasts up to 1,600 full charge cycles (more than double that of a normal cell), but its software support is poor. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

Hardware generally lasts as long as you don’t drop it, but batteries typically only retain 80% of their original capacity after about 500 charging cycles. As a result, the phone’s battery life shortens towards the end of its second year.

One way to make your battery last longer is to improve efficiency so that your battery doesn’t need to be recharged as often. However, you can also prevent degradation for longer by changing the structure of the battery and implementing a system that maintains the state of the battery while charging. OnePlus equipped his recent 10T with a battery that can hold at least 80% charge for 1,600 full cycles, effectively making the phone last at least 6.5 years.

Sadly, the company only supports 10T in four years of Android updates since release. This means that your hardware may work longer, but you should not use your phone after August 2026 due to potential security issues.

Software support is especially problematic for phones. Apple, Google, and Samsung provide at least five years of security updates for their high-end and mid-range phones, while many more last just two years. This is unfortunate. The longer a phone has software support, the longer it can stay in circulation, even if it has a second or third owner.

More efficient for the planet and your wallet

Skystream box and remote control on wooden table.
Modern devices such as Skystream boxes are more energy efficient, better for the planet and cheaper to run. Photo: Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian

The drive to improve battery life in portable devices has also had a ripple effect on the efficiency of plug-in devices. Because these devices usually use similar chips and technology.

Tasks that previously required demanding and power-hungry processors can now be performed on cheap, low-power chips. This generally means that modern devices are more efficient and have lower operating costs. Sky’s new no-satellite Stream TV box is a case in point, consuming a third of the power of his satellite Sky Q box when watching TV.

This is a positive trend and will continue as the cost of living crisis puts energy use in the spotlight.

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