Dell this week unveiled a new proof-of-concept laptop designed in collaboration with Intel to be more eco-friendly and easier to repair. The company is calling it Concept Luna, and if it comes to market it could be a significant hit for Dell, especially among the right-to-repair crowd.
This is potentially a big step for Dell and a big win for customers, especially if the design elements which make Concept Luna so repairable are introduced into popular laptops like the Dell XPS 15 OLED.
I've been hoping to see this kind of public commitment to building more repairable laptops from companies like Apple, Dell, and HP ever since I first saw the Framework Laptop earlier this year. If you're not familiar with it, the Framework Laptop is a new ultraportable that's explicitly designed to be easy to take apart, modify, and repair. It's also one of the best laptops you can buy. In our Framework Laptop review we dubbed it the anti-MacBook, and with good reason: Apple is one of the worst offenders when it comes to selling technology that's difficult (if not impossible) to repair without sending it back to the manufacturer.
With Concept Luna, Dell claims to have designed a device that's a bit more repairable than your average laptop. Notably, the company says you only have to deal with four screws, instead of hundreds, in order to access the internal components for repair. It also claims Concept Luna uses modular components and has an easily removable display, just like the Framework, so it should be easier for third-party repair shops (or you) to disassemble and reassemble the laptop. And unlike the Framework, Concept Luna is designed with a bio-based PCB (printed circuit board) made with flax fiber (in place of plastic laminates) and water-soluble polymer which can be dissolved for easier recycling.
This is the other half of Concept Luna's promise: in addition to being easier to repair, Dell is trying to build something that's easier on the environment. The company claims Luna could have half the carbon footprint of a laptop like the Latitude 7300 Anniversary Edition, a feat achieved through tricks like shrinking the motherboard by roughly 75% and cutting component count by roughly 20%. Intriguingly, Dell says the smaller motherboard could be relocated closer to the top cover, increasing cooling and potentially eliminating the need for a fan. It could also allow the laptop to function with a smaller battery, and Dell claims the advanced deep-cycle cell battery used in Concept Luna could last longer and be more recyclable than most laptop batteries.
All of this adds up to an exciting step forward for Dell. The company appears to be following in the footsteps of Framework with Concept Luna, and I hope other laptop manufacturers take note and follow the same path.