NOTICE: Many laptop manufacturers are hypocritical when it comes to durability. They claim to care about the environment and launch products made from recycled materials, but still encourage you to buy the next iteration of the laptop a year later.
Laptops with a long lifespan are likely to be more beneficial to the environment than those that need to be replaced every year or so, even if they have recycled components. And what’s the best way to improve the lifespan of a laptop? Besides using high quality components, the best thing a manufacturer can do is make it easier for users to repair or upgrade their own systems.
This is exactly what Dell has done with its new Lunar Concept laptop. This prototype looks a lot like a Dell XPS 13 laptop, but has many additional features that make it more environmentally friendly.
First, Dell has reduced the number of screws you have to remove before opening the laptop. This will apparently reduce the total time it takes to repair a laptop by 1.5 hours. A video shown to the press showed how easy it is to detach the keyboard and screen, so you don’t have to be a tech expert to do it.
And since no glue solvents are used to secure the components in place, Dell has made it easy for the user to replace an internal component on their own.
Dell also reduced the size of the motherboard by 75% to fit behind the laptop screen. Since this section of the laptop has a larger area exposed to the cool air outside, Dell suggests that a fan is not needed to cool the processor. This means you have one less component to worry about breaking down and needing a replacement.
âOur position is simple. We have to go from using, then recycling to using, reusing multiple times, then recycling when the material is no longer usable in its original form, âsaid Glen Robson, chief technology officer of Dell. âThis iteration of Concept Luna does exactly that. It shows a vision of what could be.
Of course, Dell’s Luna laptop is just a concept right now, so you won’t be able to buy it anytime soon, if ever. But it’s always nice to see a laptop maker with that mindset, and there is a possibility that features will emerge in an XPS laptop in the future.
By comparison, manufacturers like Apple have made it noticeably difficult for users to repair or upgrade their MacBooks. Apple doesn’t even provide a repair manual on its website, encouraging people to send in their laptops for repair.
I don’t want to criticize Apple too much, because it has excelled in other areas in terms of sustainability. The new MacBook Pro case is made from 100% recycled aluminum, and Apple is committed to making all of its products carbon neutral by 2030.
It’s also important to remember that Apple recently announced a self-service repair program, which will make Apple-made components available for purchase for those who want to repair their iPhone or Mac on their own. This is a step in the right direction for Apple, but there is still a lot of work to be done.
I truly believe that if laptop manufacturers are to reduce their carbon footprint, they need to make their laptops easy to repair for the average user. And if Dell is able to incorporate the functionality of the Luna Concept into a Dell XPS 13 laptop without making significant compromises, I don’t see why competing manufacturers couldn’t follow suit.
Ctrl + Alt + Del is our weekly IT-focused opinion column where we delve deeper into the world of computers, laptops, components, peripherals and more. Find it on Trusted Reviews every Saturday afternoon.