Most modern laptops are secure, but they’re not, like, end-of-the-world secure. That’s why MNT Research, a Berlin-based tech design firm, created the MNT Reform, an open-hardware custom laptop made for “hacking, customization, and privacy.”
The laptop prides itself on being the most secure and open-source laptop you can buy. It’s blocky and looks like something out of 1999, but that’s all part of its hyper-secure appeal. The MNT Reform has no microphones or cameras, leaving no room for anyone to spy on your quarantine antics. Oh, and it has an optical trackball.
You can purchase the MNT Reform on crowdfunding platform CrowdSupply for $1,300 — or you can save a smooth $300 by ordering the DIY kit and putting it together yourself. Both versions will ship worldwide on December 9, 2020.
Easiest repairs ever — Laptops are usually an absolute pain-in-the-ass to repair. Fitting all the necessary hardware components necessary for a complete computing experience into a slim, attractive shell means everything is crunched together. Even the most minute of repairs becomes a game of finger twister, and sometimes you have to take out half of the components just to get to the part you actually want to work on. And that’s if you can locate the hidden screws to open the laptop up in the first place.
The MNT Reform takes the opposite approach. The body is not slim by any means — this thing is rocking a thick bottom. That removes the traditional problem of cramped hardware, making repairs much, much easier. Plus the whole assembly opens up with the turn of just a single screw.
Unique hardware — The MNT Reform boasts some very unusual hardware choices for 2020. It has a fully mechanical keyboard with 3mm of travel, which will feel completely foreign to anyone who’s grown used to the flimsy, minimal travel keys of many modern laptop keyboards.
Rather than using a trackpad, the MNT Reform opts for a trackball with physical click buttons.
Perfect for the coming apocalypse — Listen, this laptop isn’t going to be the go-to for consumers looking for a new daily-use computer. For the $1,500 asking price you can effortlessly grab something with a lot more processing power and speed. Those options would also include a microphone and a webcam, which are more useful than ever now that we’re taking part in so many virtual video activities during the pandemic.
But MNT Reform isn’t going for the average consumer, anyway. This beast is testing the limits of an open-source, open-hardware design that pushes privacy and repairability to the extreme. The company wants to push the computing industry toward these utopian standards: everything open, documented, private, and easy to repair. It stands in direct opposition to companies like Apple that continue to make hardware repairs increasingly difficult for consumers to carry out on their own.
So if you’re worried about doomsday being right around the corner — or just want to be able to repair your own laptop — this one is for you. Just don’t expect to video chat with your friends on it.