Modular repairable, recyclable (eventually) laptops

Dell has a concept laptop. Framework has some shipping.

Oh, excellent! If Framework convinces the OEMs to go this way, so much the better.

That’s 90% of the laptop work I do, right there. Keyboard and top case (ideally separate, I won’t fight too hard if they’re one unit, though I would prefer further modularity), fans, and batteries. Fans usually just need a good blasting out, but every now and then I have to replace one.

I bought a framework laptop for a customer. It came with the ram and ssd not-installed, and it took less than 5 minutes to unscrew the bottom (captured screws!) and install the parts, then reassemble. Super easy!

For the removable USB-c modules, I’m less sure about them. they’re quite hard to remove, as in my (retired age) mother does not have the coordination or skills to remove them, and would have to call my niece (college graduated age) who lives her to remove them to swap out. The dells back in the 90’s/2000’s that had removable cdrom bays (and hdd and battery) were TOO easy to remove. I recall someone closing their laptop on a podium after giving a speech, walking back to their seat, and both modules fell out (batteries iirc). clunk! I think a middle ground of a coin-operated, half-turn screw to simultaneously unlock and eject would work better, even though it means that it’s “not toolless”.

Even as a tech savvy person (IT background), I believe that It should be easy to upgrade RAM, replace storage (hdd, ssd), and eventually the battery (screws, no glue).

I like the “slide latch to remove” style bays, ideally with a security screw option. If you don’t want it to come out, leave the screw in. If you want it to come out, pull the screw, and you can now slide the lever. No idea how the Framework bays work.

How’s the laptop in terms of just general “I expect this thing to last” feel? They seem like they’ve done a good job with it, but I’ve never actually played with one.

Framework does not provide screws to inhibit removal, but since they provide cad models for the card slot, it’s wholly possible someone could print one, add a heat-set machine thread insert (I have these, they are cool; way better than captured nuts), and then you only need to drill a small hole through the laptop case so that your screw has something to latch into. My main complaint is that they’re so thin that I can’t have a DB8 serial or RJ45 ethernet port; custom “dongles” will be required.