Infamous tech vivisectors iFixit have dug into the innards of Dell’s latest XPS 15 ultrabook. And what did they find? Philips screws, user-serviceable components, and very little adhesive.

That’s a good thing, as Reg readers will know. This discovery puts the equivalent MacBook Pro in an ever dimmer light. Apple’s laptop fare is known for having traditionally upgradable components – like the battery, RAM, and storage – permanently affixed with plenty of solder and glue. Collectively, these are all components that are liable to fail or otherwise degrade during the lifetime of a machine, forcing punters to fork out for expensive Applecare or out-of-warranty repairs. And if that isn’t an option, users are forced to replace the machine entirely.

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Meanwhile, the Dell XPS 15 uses conventional NVMe M.2 storage, which can be dislodged with a standard Phillips screwdriver. The battery is affixed with screws and a bit of tape. Meanwhile, the RAM is standard DDR4 SO-DIMM.

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Moreover, the fans and heatsink on the Dell XPS 15 are easily removed. This matters because laptops tend to run hotter as they get older. Fans get clogged with dust and debris, and thermal paste solidifies and becomes brittle. Adventurous techies can easily solve this by giving the fan a solid blast with compressed air, and applying a new blob of thermal paste.

iFixit did have a few complaints: firstly, the keyboard is intrinsically attached to the upper-case, making replacements potentially costlier. Compare that to various models of the Lenovo Thinkpad, where it’s attached by two screws and easily slides out.

Although the SD card slot sits on a daughterboard, the USB-C ports are part of the logic board. If you bend or break these, you could be looking at an arse-clenchingly expensive motherboard replacement.

But in the grand scheme of things, the Dell XPS 15 sits as an eminently repairable bit of kit, despite having similar dimensions to the 16-inch MacBook Pro. Indeed, it surpasses the latest 15-inch Microsoft Surface Laptop in many areas – including a battery that’s easy to remove.

iFixit gave the XPS 15 a grand repairability score of 9 out of 10. ®

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