You're probably aware that some brands' devices are easier to repair than others, but an influential advocacy team may have just confirmed your suspicions. The Verge notes the US Public Interest Research Group has published a repairability report card grading major laptop and phone brands both on the ease of fixing their devices (based partly on French repair scores) and the company's overall stance on repairs. As you might guess, Apple, Google and Microsoft fared poorly with D grades and one F for iPhones — their historically sealed-in designs, lack of parts and lobbying against Right to Repair legislation didn't win them any points.
No company on the report card received an A grade. However, there were some highlights. Laptops from Acer, ASUS, Dell and Lenovo all earned solid B grades for easier access and reduced opposition to Right to Repair, while Motorola was the only phone maker to match that performance with its relatively fixable phones. HP and Samsung each mustered a C grade.
PIRG's aim is clear. As with its campaign to open up ventilator repairs, the interest group wants PC and phone makers to factor repairability into their designs, after-sale service and politics. Easier-to-fix products reduce e-waste and save money, PIRG argued.
The tech industry is already evolving to some extent. The Biden administration has ramped up pressure on American companies to embrace Right to Repair, including a plan to enforce pro-repair laws. Some of the companies are already changing their attitudes, if partly to head off potential legislation. Apple will start selling parts to customers this year, while newer Microsoft Surface devices are relatively simple to fix. PIRG's clout may still help, but it isn't the only one nudging the tech world toward better repairability.