Cheap tablets are the consumer electronics equivalent of candy bars stacked at a check-out stand—ready and waiting to be your next impulse buy. This makes these tablets prime Black Friday sale fodder. So how do you find a great deal but avoid making a purchase that will prematurely join the piling mountains of e-waste?
On Friday, we tore down Apple’s two newest iPhones and found something new lurking (quite literally) just below the surface. When we opened up the 6s, we discovered some mystery adhesive around a display that’s already secured with screws. Weird. It’s not as if past iPhone displays were in danger of falling out of the phone. So if the iPhone display didn’t need adhesive, what was Apple up to? We had our suspicions. Maybe—just maybe—it was designed to keep liquids out.
With a boatload of antennas, elegant design, and a huge speaker (of all things), the Google OnHub is like no router you’ve ever seen. There’s certainly experimental tech in here. But the speaker is just a speaker and the lack of microphones makes us wonder if the real home automation hub might happen in the upcoming ASUS version. Specs aside, do we think the OnHub was on-point in repair? Not quite. And that’s why we gave it a 4 out of 10 on the repairability scale.
How long do you think you could go without buying new clothes? As in, no new pants. No new socks. Not even new underwear. A couple of months, maybe? Well, a group of DIYers is swearing off new clothes for a whole year. Instead, participants of the challenge—which launched on a blog called My Make Do and Mend Life—will repair, repurpose, and “make do” with what they have. Neat, huh?
Fairphone isn’t your everyday mobile phone maker. While Google has a sprawling campus in Silicon Valley, Fairphone has just the one regular office in Amsterdam. And while Apple has sold 500 million iPhones, Fairphone has produced and sold just 60,000. The Fairphone project has the potential to change how we make, use, and reuse the phones in our pockets. Because Fairphone is building an ethical cell phone: ethically sourced, ethically produced, and now incredibly repairable.
Trends are, by definition, fleeting. And that’s especially true when it comes to clothes. So there’s a fun sort of irony in the newest fashion trend: clothes that are designed to last forever. The last few years has seen a resurgence of clothes and accessories that resist the impulse of fast fashion. Garments that are sustainable because they won’t go into a landfill anytime soon: they are easily repaired, made out of quality materials, and designed to never go out of style.
According to a new EPA report, Americans increased their overall production of municipal waste in 2013 to 254 million tons of waste—or 4.4 pounds per person per day. But e-waste was one of the few categories where recycling rates increased significantly—by ten percentage points in just one year. So, good job everyone: fewer electronics are winding up in the trash heaps. But we’re not done yet. Recycling is just one piece of the larger moving puzzle that is sustainable resource management.
Not only is this keyboard repairable—it’s got repair instructions actually printed on the circuit board. Designing a product for repair means making it durable, making it modular, and making repair documentation available from the get-go. The Ultimate Hacking Keyboard does all that and more.
I don’t think I ever realized how amazing mechanical watches are until I saw one dissected in front of me—its labyrinth of gears, screws, and wheels untangled and laid out on a worktable. Sure, mobile devices that send information from space to your pocket are pretty amazing too. But old-school watches are mechanical marvels: one-inch-wide, self-propelled machines—exact enough to track something as precise as time, engineered to last for generations.
In terms of slim, manufacturers are having a tough time beating Apple’s MacBook Air. Dell’s new Air competitor, the XPS 13, may have missed the mark by a whole millimeter—but we weren’t too put off. Especially since the XPS is considerably smaller otherwise, and still manages to include a 13.3 inch high definition display that looks like it’s floating in midair. The insides definitely aren’t as polished or streamlined as in a MacBook Air, but you could convince us the XPS was an Air prototype.
A couple days ago, my boss, Kyle, handed me a plain brown box and asked if I knew Bunnie. You know, the guy who (literally) wrote the book on hacking the Xbox. Apparently, Bunnie Huang started a Crowd Supply-funded project to make an entirely open source computer—and iFixit backed the campaign. “And here’s the computer,” my boss said to me, “so go do something cool with it.” All right, then: Challenge accepted.