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Climate Emergency

It's official then - the UK Parliament has declared a climate emergency. This will mean big changes to the way we act and that surely has to include the way technology is constructed and recycled.

Ideally, devices should be designed with easily interchangeable parts in order to keep them running as long as possible; however in our experience, device lifespans are getting shorter and more costly to repair. The average life expectancy of a new laptop or desktop is now reckoned to be 3-5 years, with few replaceable parts.

Most low-cost laptops which are completely solid-state have all their parts soldered together so it is extremely difficult to upgrade or replace the memory or storage components - which cannot be purchased off-the-shelf. The cheapest versions have so little storage that they can struggle to install the bi-annual Windows Feature updates unless the drive is wiped first and a clean install is applied.

Keyboards on almost all new laptops are integral to the case, so a coffee spill can easily write-off the device, due to the cost of a replacement and the labour required to swap it. The battery is usually internal rather than the slot-in version found on older machines. On one particular machine we repaired, we had to remove a number of components just to get access to the battery. And who on earth had the fantastic idea to bond touchscreen assemblies together, making them extremely difficult to replace cleanly and easily?!

Laptops from 5 or 6 years ago were far more modular in design with easy-to-remove keyboards, screens, memory and storage drives. In the drive to bring costs down it can be argued we're going backwards.

Maidstone PC Repairs has always championed the concept of keeping computer equipment running as long as possible through repairs and upgrades but the technology industry seems determined to make this harder.

It has to change.

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