Dell, one of the world’s major PC makers, is working on bringing more user-friendly repairability to its laptops. It teased us last year with an early version of Concept Luna, which promised to use fewer screws and more sustainable materials in its build. Now that concept build is headed toward full modularity.
The latest Luna device can be dismantled almost entirely in under a minute—only the display and chassis stay behind once the layers are removed. Unlike the similar DIY Framework Laptop, which announced a Chromebook version a few months ago, you don’t need a screwdriver to take apart Concept Luna. But it does involve a push-pin tool that serves as an unlocking mechanism of sorts. Dell also touted the robotic automation it implemented to help disassemble and service the laptops at a large scale, emphasizing that “nothing goes to waste.”
At the very least, Concept Luna suggests more serviceable laptops are on the way from Dell, which the company says brings it “closer to a future where more devices are engineered with a modular design.” For instance, the Luna’s individual part modules all have QR codes for them, which would theoretically allow a production version to more easily swap new parts in and out a la carte. This would also help Dell more easily recycle discarded modules.
Once a big brand like that gets on board with modularity in its manufacturing, the hope is that the rest of the industry will feel pressured to follow suit. That’s good news for consumers, especially those who prefer laptops because they’re space savers and don’t like feeling like they’re contributing to the everpresent demise of the planet. It’s also good news for the environment, because anything we can do to slow the apparent onset of climate change is better than nothing.
I also can’t help but think about my past repair experiences with Dell. I bought an XPS 15 last year, and it shipped without a working headphone jack. Dell sent out someone to help me, but that uncovered a faulty Bluetooth module, and eventually, I had to send the laptop back to Dell to fix it. It was an annoying experience! I would have loved to have access to something like the Framework laptop, which already makes good on letting you scan the QR codes of components inside the computer to bring up the help guide and work out the issue yourself.
Of course, the Framework laptop was also built to let you work on it yourself. Dell is still making soldered-together unibody laptops like the XPS 15 that aren’t yet a part of this revolution. Here’s to hoping Dell moves fast on Concept Luna, so we can all stop having to send our laptops in for fixing.