Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

Discuss hardware related to portable usage, including the kind of storage devices people use, and how they use them.
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Midas
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Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#1 Post by Midas » Tue Mar 09, 2021 1:02 pm

Hot on the trail of EU's right to repair rules, recent finds that seem intent on reversing the long trend of bigger, more expensive and rapidly disposable tech...

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At Framework, we believe the time has come for consumer electronics products that are designed to last. Founded in San Francisco in 2019, our mission is to empower you with great products you can easily customize, upgrade, and repair, increasing longevity and reducing e-waste in the process. Today, we are excited to unveil our first product: the Framework Laptop, a thin, lightweight, high-performance 13.5” notebook that can be upgraded, customized, and repaired in ways that no other notebook can.

= 2 =
Teracube 2e has a replaceable battery, is DIY repairable, made from recycled material, and comes with a sturdy biodegradable case.


While I don't anticipate buying these anytime soon, it's encouraging to see that at least someone is trying.

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Andrew Lee
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Re: Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#2 Post by Andrew Lee » Tue Mar 09, 2021 11:13 pm

Nice!

For laptops though, there's usually quite a bit of life left in "old" business laptops that can be purchased on the cheap from eBay.

I bought a Thinkpad T450 for $250 recently and replaced the battery with a brand new genuine extended battery for $120. Also did some tinkering with the storage, so I have 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD total (paid $200 for the SSD, HDD was migrated from old laptop). For <S$600, I have something I am pretty happy with. :D

Similarly, I bought my kid an ex-lease Thinkpad X1 Carbon for ~$600 for school. Great value there too.

I believe these legislations from the EU are definitely a step in the right direction. As long as companies are disincentivised from making dickish moves like non-removable batteries, anti-teardown casing, proprietary charging ports etc., there will be people in the population who will try to squeeze value from old gear and reduce the amount of stuff going to the landfill.

The worst offenders are actually devices that require a proprietary server/service to work. Once the service shuts down, the gear becomes effectively useless. It also makes recycling of old gear more difficult. Recently, a friend of mine bought a 2nd hand Segway scooter from eBay. Unfortunately, he didn't know each scooter is bound to the previous owner via an app. So you can't make changes to the settings unless the previous owner unbinds the device so that you can bind to it. Luckily he was able to trace down the previous owner and got him to unbind the device.

Come to think of it, doesn't 2nd hand iOS devices, and even Teslas, have the same problem?

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Re: Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#3 Post by Midas » Wed Mar 10, 2021 9:41 am

Andrew Lee wrote:I bought a Thinkpad T450 for $250 recently and replaced the battery with a brand new genuine extended battery for $120. Also did some tinkering with the storage, so I have 1TB SSD + 2TB HDD total (paid $200 for the SSD, HDD was migrated from old laptop). For <S$600, I have something I am pretty happy with.
And you should be. I know I would. I'm aware Thinkpads are really cheap across the pond but prices tend to get really hiked here in Europe -- e.g., here's a now sold out 6th generation I5 T460 with a price tag of more than double of what you paid...


Me, I paid over 500 Euros on Ebay for my used X220 almost ten years ago and it had to be sent from the UK.

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Re: Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#4 Post by Andrew Lee » Wed Mar 10, 2021 10:09 pm

I didn't know used Thinkpads are so expensive over there. Just checked. I can get a T460s for about ~S$470, half the price you quoted.

Maybe the dynamics are different there. Here, business laptops are typically offloaded every 2 or 3 years when the warranty runs out. Which is fantastic if you know what you are looking for, since business laptops typically have better build quality, and easier to find spare parts for.

Most consumer laptops, especially the cheaper ones, have terrible build quality and are designed to be one-off, disposable products. It is difficult to find trustworthy replacement batteries even if you are willing to take the laptop apart and replace the battery yourself. Terrible proposition if you ask me..

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Midas
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Re: Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#5 Post by Midas » Thu Mar 11, 2021 6:11 am

They could get a little cheaper if you look around, but not by very much. I wish I could get easy access to the US used business laptops (EU custom charges make it very unappealing).

The dynamics are in fact different here, and then there's the wealth gap between Northern and Southern Euro regions. My brother is this high grade software consultant and mostly buys his own gear (at price ranges way out of my league, btw); he then flips it on the second hand market when he's done with it. It's been working nicely for him.

I have had problems with all kinds of well known consumer brands (in my experience, the cheaper ones turn out to be better for lack of bells and whistles, but don't expect any customer service or any reasonable after-market replacements). Mid-noughts I turned my household into a Thinkpad only zone and, as the one and only sysadmin, never regretted it...

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Re: Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#6 Post by h3kt0r » Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:24 pm

For laptops though, there's usually quite a bit of life left in "old" business laptops that can be purchased on the cheap from eBay.
Same here ! Got myself a refurbished "Matsushita/Panasonic" CF-MX4 toughbook for 400$:
Image

It is good as new : i saw in the bios total runtime for the machine was 418 hours. Upgraded storage with 1Tb WD blue SSD (80$) and a spare battery (60$).

Less than 600$ grand total for a very decent machine that was sold 2000$ back in 2015...

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Re: Portable devices to fight planed obsolescence

#7 Post by webfork » Sat Mar 13, 2021 9:09 am

h3kt0r wrote:
Fri Mar 12, 2021 5:24 pm
Less than 600$ grand total for a very decent machine that was sold 2000$ back in 2015...
I love this kind of thing. Well done.

There's this vague cultural tendency that I can't quite explain but definitely a part of, where part of bragging about something you own is the addition that you got a deal on it and ideally it was used, but only slightly. The latest Apple device will never have a draw for this crowd.

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