Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 receives lowest repairability rating from iFixit

A year ago, the iFixit website took their screwdrivers in their hands and tore down the Surface with Windows RT (now known simply as Surface), tearing apart Microsoft's first tablet to see how easily it could be repaired. Ultimately, the site gave it a rating of 4 out of 10; in other words, difficult but not impossible. Later, the site gave the Surface Pro a 1 out of 10 repairability rating, and now it appears the Surface Pro 2 retains the repairability issues as its predecessor, as it's kept the same rating.

iFixit's recently posted teardown of the Windows 8.1-Intel Haswell-based product and, according to its findings, the Surface Pro 2 will be hard for anyone, even experienced repair workers, to fix.

One of the reasons? The tablet has a whopping 90 screws. As the site states, "Mechanical fasteners are great, but frankly, we draw the line at 89." Glue is used quite a bit to keep major components in place, such as the display and battery. iFixit also says that just opening the tablet is a heart stopper, saying that if one mistake is made "you'll likely shear one of the four ribbon cables in the edge of the display."

The site's 1 out of 10 rating for the Surface Pro 2 means it's unlikely most users will want to even attempt repairing the tablet. Instead, it appears Microsoft remains the only realistic option should the tablet break.

Source: iFixit | Images via iFixit

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Just another reason to avoid the Surface. If one has serious work to do, stick with a decent laptop or continue using a desktop. It is showing more and more the attributes of an expensive toy--use and when broken, discard.

My Sony TV is having trouble but I got out the pipe wrenches and a hammer and got it opened up. My only problem is now I DON'T have the part to fix the things I broke and I don't know the cause of the original problem. /s

This is why when I buy a laptop I look at the maintenance manual and make sure the hard drive is easy to remove as it should be. Which is also why I love the HP Probook line of laptops.

Clearly the ones asking why someone would bother taking one apart to fix clearly don't work in an IS role. When you have 5-10 users a week come in with hardware issues ranging from normal wear and tear to dropping something... you don't go out and buy a whole new PC, you talk to your vendor who you've most likely arranged an agreement with for accidental damage/extended warranty and order replacement parts and fix it. When selecting systems, you can bet how easy something is to repair is a top deciding factor for businesses. It's just another reason why the Surface won't take off in a large corporate setting, aside from wowing customers when demoing something.

Maybe that is one reason corporate customers are not buying Surfaces. They have better things to spend their money on than expensive toys.

I'll fix a desktop any day. I'll look at a laptop and consider it. I won't go near a tablet. So much stuff just jam packed in there. If the thing breaks I just hope it's under warranty.

This website has to have news sites in its pocket, as every time a new device comes out the "ifixit teardown" is posted. Way, way less than 1% of people who read these websites actually care.

riot said,
This just in...complex devices are harder to disassemble/reassemble and repair.

You are kidding, right? ;-)

I remember when the same was said about the rMBP everyone was up in arms about it... i'm glad other companies are facing this challenge so maybe it will become more widely accepted that upgradability is no longer as important as it once was.

Most devices these days come equipped with everything it needs to be able to handle everything thrown at it until at least the next generation (maybe 2 or 3 gens later) before it needs upgrading at which point the majority will be replacing them anyway... with that in mind its a waste of time creating devices 'the old way' and instead give us nicer, thinner, lighter devices.... if that doesn't float your boat there is plenty on the market that you can upgrade.

If you read what iFixit has to say about the issue, it is more of an issue of excessive waste and environmental concerns. The often write about it on their blog: http://ifixit.org/

For instance, ease of repair allows for a longer lifespan of the device. Even by the time the device "needs replacing with a faster/better one" to us (we are the power users right?), the devices can be handed down to others with less intense requirements. Li-ion batteries for example will deteriorate with time, and these devices can still be used if only the battery can be replaced with a good one.

Furthermore, by the time the device is really dead, ease of repair = ease of recycling. I've seen some Dell laptop manuals (older ones, not sure about the current ones), they tell you how to separate the electronics from the plastic chassis, which can then be recycled separately. With a device like the rMBP, one concern is that you really need specialized knowledge for proper recycling. Aluminium can be recycled quite effectively, but when you have the batteries glued to the chassis, it requires careful disassembly and removal of the glue in order to remove the batteries and other electronics from the chassis. Making things more difficult to recycle definitely does not help with the already-low electronics recycling rates.

One of the reasons? The tablet has a whopping 90 screws. As the site states, "Mechanical fasteners are great, but frankly, we draw the line at 89." Glue is used quite a bit to keep major components in place, such as the display and battery.

Nothing worse than putting a mobile device up to your ear, shaking it, and hearing parts inside move. I applaud MS for making this thing solid.

jamieakers said,
I do. Viewsonic ViewPad and I've doubled the SSD inside it and added a WWAN card. So yes, there are people out there!

You and five others.

jamieakers said,
I do. Viewsonic ViewPad and I've doubled the SSD inside it and added a WWAN card. So yes, there are people out there!

How did you get the OS back on it?

ice-dogg said,
seriously though, which users repair their own tablets...

Gotta agree with you. I've been putting together my own PCs for well over 25 years now, and even if the Surface had a better so-called "repairability score", I'd still have zero interest in opening one up.

doniam9 said,

How did you get the OS back on it?

toke an image and restore it into the new drive.

doesn't take rocket science man

slimjeezy said,
Does anyone know how this compares to the iPad?

I looked and the last gen iPad (iPad 4) scored 2/10, and the surface pro 2 scored 1/10 - so they rated it even worse than the iPad.

They don't want you working on their hardware, just like Apple. They want to sell cars that you can't raise the hood on. It's all bull, and why I won't stop using, and buying desktops I CAN work on.

margrave said,
They don't want you working on their hardware, just like Apple. They want to sell cars that you can't raise the hood on. It's all bull, and why I won't stop using, and buying desktops I CAN work on.

I don't know that it's so much that they care -- I mean, once they get the sale and you likely void your warranty it doesn't hurt them -- it's more that they're doing it because it's most feasible for them.

you don't have to get desktop Class, even some All-in-One touch PCs have snap in back cover so you can change RAM or replace hard drive by snapping the back door out.

margrave said,
They don't want you working on their hardware, just like Apple. They want to sell cars that you can't raise the hood on. It's all bull, and why I won't stop using, and buying desktops I CAN work on.

In the tablet market, tablets live and die based on their physique. I doubt MS's goal was to hurt their users by making the hardware nearly impossible to work on. More like, their primary goal was making it as small as possible.

They designed this thing for the mass market. You only represent a small minority. They didn't design this specifically for you, they designed it for the folks who don't want to perform maintenance on their hardware.

margrave said,
They don't want you working on their hardware, just like Apple. They want to sell cars that you can't raise the hood on. It's all bull, and why I won't stop using, and buying desktops I CAN work on.

Exactly, if I want repairabilit, I'll get a desktop. But I want a thin and light tablet, so this suits me just fine.

Shadrack said,

In the tablet market, tablets live and die based on their physique. I doubt MS's goal was to hurt their users by making the hardware nearly impossible to work on. More like, their primary goal was making it as small as possible.

They designed this thing for the mass market. You only represent a small minority. They didn't design this specifically for you, they designed it for the folks who don't want to perform maintenance on their hardware.

Sorry you actually had to explain that.

Shadrack said,

In the tablet market, tablets live and die based on their physique. I doubt MS's goal was to hurt their users by making the hardware nearly impossible to work on. More like, their primary goal was making it as small as possible.

They designed this thing for the mass market. You only represent a small minority. They didn't design this specifically for you, they designed it for the folks who don't want to perform maintenance on their hardware.

I was hoping I wouldnt have to type something like this.

Are people really that silly? With how thin this device is and how many components it has... it's really no surprise that it'd be hard to take it apart.

Well to be fair. The Surface is one of the sturdiest tablets you can get. I'm sure its reputation for being able to survive a fall off a car roof, (and maybe even get ran over) and still work will not be doable if they didn't try and integrate so many points for all the stress to be distributed between.

When you buy a tablet, your first thought isn't can I take this apart and fix it. It will more likely be, does it do what I want it to do, and will it survive the punishments of every day life.

margrave said,
They don't want you working on their hardware, just like Apple. They want to sell cars that you can't raise the hood on. It's all bull, and why I won't stop using, and buying desktops I CAN work on.

Ah yes, because before any products are launched they should be given your OK or otherwise they're going to fail.

The sense of grandiosity of ones own opinion is strong in this lad.