Concept Luna: the repairable laptop of the future according to Dell

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At a conference on December 14, 2021, Dell presented a more durable, less polluting, and easily repaired laptop concept. A glimpse of what our future computers could be?

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The durability of electronic products is not an easy task. And if manufacturers gradually become aware of the need to reduce their ecological impact, hardly any concrete steps have been taken in the laptop market. However, a few initiatives are popping up here and there, such as in the smartphone market and Fairphone, which has been on the way for a few years now. But it is still a drop in the ocean of connected devices that are currently available.

With Concept Luna, in any case, this is the promising path Dell intends to take. As the name suggests, this PC is currently only a prototype, but the manufacturer is exploring through it the avenues that would ultimately offer a more durable computer to consumers (and the planet).

© Dell

A redesigned design

It was only in terms of design that Dell shook up the codes. Aesthetically, we keep a modern PC, in line with XPS in particular, but the size of the motherboard is reduced by 75% and the number of components by 20%. Dell thus estimates the reduction of the motherboard’s carbon footprint, undoubtedly one of the most polluting elements on a PC, by 50%.

The motherboard is located behind the screen.  © Dell

The motherboard is located behind the screen. © Dell

In Luna, optimization is also considered on the component placement side. If the battery remains in the chassis, the motherboard is placed behind the screen, with the aim of improving the passive cooling of the whole and no longer having to install ventilation. Energy efficiency is, of course, the key to supplying components properly, charging the computer less frequently and extending overall battery life.

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© Dell

Technically, all of this already seems to be available with the advent of ever smaller and more efficient SoCs, as some manufacturers such as Apple have been able to demonstrate recently. However, this currently involves limitations on the side of computer scalability, an issue that Dell wants to circumvent.

Repair ability at the center of the project

The manufacturer would like to make the repairability of the computer much more accessible by first reducing the number of screws (divided by 10 on Luna), but also by avoiding the use of glue or adhesive thanks to clipped or magnetic systems. Thus, the replacement of components would be much faster and easier for the largest number of people who do not necessarily have specific tools.

Only four screws remove the base from the chassis.  © Dell

Only four screws remove the base from the chassis. © Dell

On the other hand, the supply of spare parts must also be easy and, above all, possible over several years, which is currently not always the case with the various manufacturers.

Materials that pollute less and are easier to recycle

Dell would also like to limit the impact of its Luna concept by using, for example, an aluminum chassis made of hydraulic energy that produces less waste, as well as printed circuits, partly made of vegetable fibers. In particular, these will make it possible to use less plastic and facilitate the separation of materials for recyclers.

© Dell

Concept Luna will not be sold as such, but Dell would like to implement these few tracks in its production unit over the next few years. Commendable innovations, of course, but which should be in place as soon as possible to really reduce the environmental impact of the technology sector.

© Dell

It is also to sensitize the readers of Digital that we recently decided to include the repair index for computers but also smartphones and televisions in the calculation of their final score. Depending on the products tested, it now represents between 10 and 20% of the rating and can therefore earn them – or lose – precious stars and disrupt their ranking in our comparisons!

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