Dell continues tinkering with what it hopes to be a repairable laptop like the Framework Laptop. Last year, it showed off Concept Luna, a clamshell designed to easily disassemble for easy repairs, upgrades, and harvested components. This year, Dell showed the press an updated Concept Luna that could support more power while being even simpler to dismantle. The vendor is also exploring how to automate the process, from disassembly to parts diagnostics, on a broad scale.
Now more repairable (still unavailable)
Dell’s Concept Luna laptop is comparable in size to a Latitude with some Dell XPS 13 Plus-like stylings. In person, it looked similar to the Concept Luna demoed last year, including appearing to be a functioning PC. But Dell’s representative was able to open this year’s version up and pull out internal parts much more rapidly—well under 60 seconds.
The computer was easier to take apart because it doesn’t have screws (last year’s Concept Luna had four). Dell’s rep simply stuck a pin (it could be anything that fits, they said) into a hole in the security lock slot on the right side of the system’s deck.
That allowed Dell’s rep to pull off the keystone north of the keyboard and then slide the keyboard up and out. Once the system was open, the speakers, fan, motherboard, and battery were removed instantly thanks to pop-out modules, which, Dell said, are recyclable. The concept laptop also got rid of the cable connecting the battery, so there are no cables, adhesives, or other types of connectors.
Dell built Concept Luna with simple display upgrades and repairs in mind as well. Dell’s spokesperson promptly removed the system’s LCD by inserting a pin into a hole in a keystone south of the screen and then took off the keystone, releasing a latch underneath the piece, and plucked the display off the chassis.
There’s also potential for better accommodations for beefier components in the updated Concept Luna. Last year’s version used passive cooling, while the new one has a fan. The fans lock into the motherboard, keeping it in place.
There’s already a modular laptop you can buy
If swappable laptop parts in an easy-to-open chassis sound familiar, you may be thinking of Framework’s line of modular laptops. They’re not concepts; instead, they arguably offer the most readily available, repairable laptop design today. As we detailed in our Framework Laptop review, the computer is remarkably DIY-friendly, from swappable port bays to simple, detailed repair guides that only require a screwdriver.
A tech giant like Dell releasing something like Concept Luna could certainly give the younger Framework a run for its money, but Dell still isn’t talking about releasing a laptop with Concept Luna’s repairability. And it could ultimately decide not to.
However, in addition to advancing the laptop’s design this year, Dell also looked into automation techniques that could further this concept on a scale that could extend beyond a single product.