Portable PCs are wasteful, whether we’re talking about your gaming laptop, notebook, or Steam Deck. These systems lack the repairability and upgrade potential found in their desktop counterparts, forcing you to buy an entirely new device a few years down the line if you want something more powerful, generating a substantial amount of e-waste. Enter Dell Concept Luna, which hopes to change manufacturing processes in service of a more reusable and recyclable future.
Dell has made some updates to its prototype after revealing it last year, which I can only hope will slowly make their way into the company’s best gaming laptop models. For those unfamiliar with Concept Luna, it’s essentially a modular notebook similar to those produced by Framework. However, it goes one step further by attempting to remove any and all screws needed for assembly, in addition to pesky ribbon cables.
In practice, this makes it extremely easy to replace components inside a laptop and dare I say even easier than a desktop PC. In the video demonstration given by Dell, disassembling all of Concept Luna took little effort and was accomplished in just a few minutes, screen included. This, naturally, should make more devices repairable and reduce the time needed to diagnose and conduct repairs either by human hands or that of a robot.
Wanting to reduce the more than 57 million tonnes of e-waste that enters landfills each year is a noble goal in itself, but modular designs could benefit consumers just as much as the environment. Say your CPU and GPU are falling behind the times, but you’re otherwise happy with everything else about your gaming laptop; wouldn’t it be great if you could just swap out your motherboard for a much lower cost? You wouldn’t have to put up with faulty components either, like a damaged screen or unreliable USB input, as you could simply swap them out.
It’s impossible to tell when Concept Luna will make the jump from prototype to working laptop, if ever. For now, companies like Framework are your best bet if you fancy something you can upgrade down the line and reuse parts from to build other systems. Here’s hoping that a future where a modular Steam Deck exists isn’t just pure science fiction, for the good of consumers and the planet.