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This modular laptop promises sustainability and DIY upgrades

Modular laptops are a niche but growing segment of the PC market aimed at DIY enthusiasts and eco warriors alike. Now, a new option has launched that hopes to help cut down on waste and give users more choice and upgradeability at the same time.

The PrimeBook Circular is the first laptop from Swiss company Prime Computer, and offers users a product whose parts can be swapped out at will, theoretically helping to extend its life span as old and outdated parts get replaced by more modern alternatives over time.

Made for Decades: The PrimeBook Circular - A Lifelong Companion

For instance, the laptop’s CPU, GPU, memory, and Wi-Fi are all contained in modular sections, meaning you could upgrade to a better processor when you want to eke out some more performance (assuming the chip shortage is back under control by that point).

As for options, you have a few choices. The base model comes with an Intel Celeron 6305, 4GB of memory, and Intel UHD graphics. You can bump that up to an Intel Core i5-1135G7 with 8GB of memory and Intel Iris Xe graphics, or an Intel Core i7-1165G7 with 16GB of memory and Intel Iris Xe graphics. You can equip the laptop with up to 1TB of NVMe SSD storage. Right now, there’s no U.S. keyboard layout.

The use of 11th-generation Intel chips is a little disappointing, but then again, the whole point of the PrimeBook Circular is that you’ll be able to upgrade them in the future, so hopefully they won’t stay outdated for long. The lack of discrete graphics options, however, means this definitely isn’t a gaming laptop.

Based on an Intel design

A person using the PrimeBook Circular modular laptop on a desk.
Image used with permission by copyright holder

Not every part is replaceable, as it appears you won’t be able to upgrade the display, chassis, or trackpad. And speaking of the display, the PrimeBook Circular comes with a 3,000 x 2,000 resolution panel offering 400 nits of brightness and 100% coverage of the sRGB color space. That’s not the brightest laptop screen we’ve ever seen, but you might find the high resolution attractive.

As for ports, you’ll get a Thunderbolt 4 slot, two USB-A ports running at USB 3.2 Gen 2, HDMI 2.0b, Mini DisplayPort 1.4a, a 3.5mm headphone jack, and Gigabit Ethernet. For connectivity, there’s Wi-Fi 6 and Bluetooth 5.2.

According to Tom’s Hardware, the PrimeBook Circular is a rebranded version of the Intel NUC P14E laptop, another modular device that launched in September 2021. However, what makes the PrimeBook Circular different is that it promises to offset 408kg of carbon emissions during the manufacturing process, making the laptop carbon neutral. The company also claims this covers the distribution of the laptop and its first five years of life.

It’s not the first modular laptop we’ve covered here at Digital Trends. In July 2021, we reviewed the Framework Laptop, and we were very impressed with its upgradeability and bright display. Hopefully the PrimeBook Circular can offer something just as good.

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