Surface Pro gets autopsied, don't even think about trying to repair it

 

The lust for smaller, faster and sleeker devices comes with one, major, drawback. If you purchased a Surface Pro and happen to have a part fail out of warranty and hope to fix it yourself, be prepared for some serious frustration.

The crew over at iFixit has taken the Surface Pro and performed their work on the device and has splayed it for all of us to see. The bad news is the Surface Pro was given an overall "repairability" rating of 1 out of 10, as it said the device would be very difficult to repair. The Surface with Windows RT, by comparison, was given a 4 out of 10 repairability rating and the most recent iteration of Apple's iPad was given a 2 out of 10 repairability rating.

The Surface Pro has over 90 screws holding the machine together (which iFixit called "a tad crazy"), but the good news is that the battery is replaceable and so is the SSD but opening the machine up to do this is a difficult chore. And finally, iFixit says that unless you open the tablet exactly as Microsoft specified, you will likely shear one of the four display cables.

So there you go, hit up the source link to see the entire breakdown, but know that if your device has a component failure, the chances of you being able to successfully fix the issue yourself are quite slim.

While we don’t expect Microsoft to work on improving the design of the device to make it easier for end users to self-repair, considering how hard it is to repair the device, we will be curious how Microsoft plans to fix any devices that are brought in for service.

Source: iFixit via: Engadget | Images via iFixit

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I'm surprised the iPad even got a 2/10. Probably just not as many screws.

What I'm curious about are the good Ultrabooks that are really super slim. Haven't gotten a chance to crack one open yet, if it's even possible. I'm sure those are no fun to upgrade components in.

In a decade the last thing left for fix it yourselfers will be desktops, and they'll be somewhat rare.

Boyd Petersen said,
Where are the Apple haters now? Technology like this is not meant to be repairable. Get used to it.

no small scale tech ever was... but when you glue a laptop battery in, that is another story...

Surface Pro hardware cost is around $489.54 instead of $899.99 & $999.99 :? I remember RT hardware cost is little $200 last few months, right?

The toy mentality or paradigm continues. A pretty expensive throw-away item. It may be suitable for electric razors, but for a tablet?

Funny that when apple does it every anti-apple cries, screams, shots, and has a hay day saying how stupid it it to not be able to fix. Now that MS does it anti-apple people are yay, good job, shouldn't work on it anyways, etc etc.... silly haters.

its too obvious, that MS don't want users (or capable but non-authorized technicians) able to fix it themself.
should samething happened to your surface tablet, MS WANT you to buy another Surface tablet, instead.

common bussines practicew i suppose, and Apple practice this regulary.

Considering most users that 'think' they are hardware geniuses don't have their cobbled together desktop computer configured right and running properly; I don't think it is a bad thing that Microsoft is continuing the 'laptop/notebook' model and discouraging people from modifying the hardware.

If you search for overclocking or a specific CPU or mainboard, 99% of the information you will find, even on sites like Tom's hardware is 99% inaccurate and at a level that is freaking 'scary'.

This is why I'm not excited about the Surface Pro/RT. But I do like Windows 8 because it is a redesign of Windows 7 --faster, lower hardware requirements, more versatile, more cloud-centric, more people-centric, integrates various devices seamlessly-- and still the best platform to run productivity software, esp the Office suite. Therefore, my next device is going to be a hybrid tablet/ultrabook from vendors like Asus and Acer. They make devices that are easier to upgrade (e.g. add more RAM, more SSD capacity, etc), unlike Microsoft who is trying to be "closed" and very "proprietary" like Apple.

trololololol this is a turn up for the books, gotta love Neowin.

retina macbook pro = wouldn't touch that shiz, cant replace parts.
surface = you'd be crazy to open this up, use warranty for something so expensive and compact.

Uplift said,
retina macbook pro = wouldn't touch that shiz, cant replace parts.
surface = you'd be crazy to open this up, use warranty for something so expensive and compact.

One's a tablet, one's a laptop. Slight difference there.

Max Norris said,

One's a tablet, one's a laptop. Slight difference there.

I would never mess up with any laptop in general. I increased the Memory in some of them, but that is as far as I would go.

Max Norris said,

One's a tablet, one's a laptop. Slight difference there.

You realize you are arguing the point of the OP. If you said the Surface Pro was a desktop unit that should be user accessible, then you would be 'arguing' your point.

ok sorry, the surface pro with the keyboard attached. it looks and functions and has the power to match a laptop.. it's a -in the middle- product that CAN be used as both a tablet and a laptop.. therefore, it's both.

Uplift said,
ok sorry, the surface pro with the keyboard attached. it looks and functions and has the power to match a laptop.. it's a -in the middle- product that CAN be used as both a tablet and a laptop.. therefore, it's both.

It just (subjectively) looks like one, doesn't make it one. Adding an external monitor, mouse, hard drive and optical drives to my tablet doesn't turn it into a desktop or even a laptop... it's still a tablet.

Max Norris said,

It just (subjectively) looks like one, doesn't make it one. Adding an external monitor, mouse, hard drive and optical drives to my tablet doesn't turn it into a desktop or even a laptop... it's still a tablet.

It's not just about looks it's about function and it does what a laptop does.. it's a known hybrid why are you trying to side step it? ipads and other tablets don't do what laptops do... the surface does.

Uplift said,
It's not just about looks it's about function and it does what a laptop does.. it's a known hybrid why are you trying to side step it? ipads and other tablets don't do what laptops do... the surface does.

Not sidestepping anything. By that same argument you can put a tablet and a desktop in the same category... they do the same thing too. (And before you say it, yes I do include running the same software, there have been x86 tablets before the Surface was even announced.) Different class of hardware.

Max Norris said,

How is it both? You do know the difference between a laptop and a tablet right?

Yes and Tablets do not come, Thanks God I would add, just in "Slate" format. What is a "Convertible" Tablet? For me is my favourite Tablet form but it also resembles a laptop in its shape.

nub said,
Don't see any reason you couldn't.

"battery is replaceable and so is the SSD but opening the machine up to do this is a difficult chore*"
(*) most of the time, difficult chore = dangerous operation. :-|

Or what a Haynes manual would classify as a 5 spanner job, like swapping out the clutch on a 2004 Vauxhall Astra (it took a good Vauxhall mechanic over 4 hours to do mine). Basically, don't even try.

You can tell Microsoft has no experience with beautiful hardware engineering. While the outside does look quite nice, the insides are quite a mess of hot glue.

volodoscope said,
You can tell Microsoft has no experience with beautiful hardware engineering. While the outside does look quite nice, the insides are quite a mess of hot glue.

so who else has a full i5 inside this small of a form factor? Not event Sony or Apple.

BajiRav said,

so who else has a full i5 inside this small of a form factor? Not event Sony or Apple.

I'm sorry, Vaio Z disagrees. They have a full voltage quadcore i7 in an ultrabook that is probably thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro. And the previous generation Vaio Z was another ultrabook-sized laptop with a full-voltage i5, fast dedicated graphics and a DVD drive in that size. It's not that hard.

BajiRav said,

so who else has a full i5 inside this small of a form factor? Not event Sony or Apple.

Check the coming Lenovo Helix.... It will probably be my next Tablet..

Ambroos said,

I'm sorry, Vaio Z disagrees. They have a full voltage quadcore i7 in an ultrabook that is probably thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro. And the previous generation Vaio Z was another ultrabook-sized laptop with a full-voltage i5, fast dedicated graphics and a DVD drive in that size. It's not that hard.

It and their i5s are a full inch thicker and weigh twice as much.

There 'will' be some impressive devices coming out, and I like you expect Sony to have one of the leading 'tiny' configuration models as they have been known for creating for nearly 20 years.

However, they don't yet, and nobody else does either, at least not with the specifications, especially the active digitizer screen that is not as light as the cheaper 'touch' only screen like you find on an iPad where resolution is not important.

Ambroos said,

I'm sorry, Vaio Z disagrees. They have a full voltage quadcore i7 in an ultrabook that is probably thinner and lighter than the Surface Pro. And the previous generation Vaio Z was another ultrabook-sized laptop with a full-voltage i5, fast dedicated graphics and a DVD drive in that size. It's not that hard.

Uh...No. The closest sony has to Surface is their new Duo line and even then it is heavier, thicker and has a smaller battery.
It is a good system but my point stands that as of today Surface has no competition. Thinkpad Helix as mentioned above will be its true competitor.

Probably the reason they put 90 screws in the box when it really only needs 10...is probably so that you don't try to repair the machine yourself.

texasghost said,
Probably the reason they put 90 screws in the box when it really only needs 10...is probably so that you don't try to repair the machine yourself.

Or maybe to keep it held together without anything becoming lose. But what do I know.

texasghost said,
Probably the reason they put 90 screws in the box when it really only needs 10...is probably so that you don't try to repair the machine yourself.

Two screws to open my galaxy tab according to some description on the net.
I hope I'll be able to replace the battery soon , it died.

Rip it apart? No thanks, I'll just take advantage of the warranty... stuff like this isn't exactly a do-it-yourself project to begin with.

Max Norris said,
Rip it apart? No thanks, I'll just take advantage of the warranty... stuff like this isn't exactly a do-it-yourself project to begin with.

It is not only about to fix troubles but:
a) resale vale, a sealed device has a poor resale value if any.
b) add a new ssd or add a new memory.

Brony said,
a) resale vale, a sealed device has a poor resale value if any.
b) add a new ssd or add a new memory.

A) I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't buy a used device that's been tampered with by some random person... a device that said random person f'd with has absolutely zero value as far as I'm concerned.
B) If I wanted a device I could swap parts on, a tablet wouldn't be anywhere near the top of my list.

Max Norris said,

A) I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't buy a used device that's been tampered with by some random person... a device that said random person f'd with has absolutely zero value as far as I'm concerned.
B) If I wanted a device I could swap parts on, a tablet wouldn't be anywhere near the top of my list.

I agree on both of these points completely.

Brony said,
a) resale vale, a sealed device has a poor resale value if any.

Tell that to the iPhone, iPad, MacBook Air (non-standard screws plus proprietary components) and iMac (although the iMac does allow messing with memory rather easily).

I have personally taken apart a 24" iMac to replace its dead hard drive after its warranty ran out, and it's much easier than the iFixit report on the Surface, but it was not something that I would enjoy repeating. In fact, I ended up breaking the glass at the very end when I was reseating it by putting a little too much pressure onto it. Fortunately the glass just splintered rather than shattering, and I was able to replace it (at my own expense).

The sealed nature I would actually say helps their resale value. People have a pretty good idea that you have not been tinkering with it, except the rare case where they trust the individual more than the manufacturer.

StrikedOut said,
How many tablets can be taken apart to be fixed by a competent home user?

Every single one of them. If they manage to put them back together, working, afterwards is another matter

So true, I can confirm like so many others, after you take it apart, even it by the stroke of luck it still works, you'll find yourself with extra parts. Maybe extra screws or a thingie that never seems you can find the right place to put it back in.

zeta_immersion said,
So true, I can confirm like so many others, after you take it apart, even it by the stroke of luck it still works, you'll find yourself with extra parts. Maybe extra screws or a thingie that never seems you can find the right place to put it back in.

I've had plenty of thingies left over. Lawl.

> I've had plenty of thingies left over. Lawl.

If you did it enough times and ended up with more spare parts each time, I wonder if you could put together a second one from all the spare parts...

epple said,
Fair amount of unused PCB from the images. Hopefully they can make it more optimized in a Surface 2.

Possibly for spreading the heat around? Lot of "hot" stuff in there.

epple said,
Fair amount of unused PCB from the images. Hopefully they can make it more optimized in a Surface 2.

PCBs have multiple layers. The blank space you can see on the top side in these images most likely has components on the other side, or tracks within the many layers in between.