iFixIt Gives Surface Laptop Lowest-Possible Score

Posted on June 18, 2017 by Paul Thurrott in Microsoft Surface with 117 Comments

iFixIt Gives Surface Laptop Lowest-Possible Score

The teardown specialists at iFixIt have rendered a damning indictment against Microsoft’s new Surface Laptop. It’s not repairable in any way, and it will have a limited lifespan thanks to the design of its battery.

“The Surface Laptop is not a laptop,” the site concludes. “It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it.”

Granted, this isn’t the first time a Surface device was described as a repair nightmare. Surface Pro 4, for example, was likewise cited for its terrible repairability. But Surface Pro 4 was at least awarded 2 out of 10 points, apparently because its SSD is replaceable.

Surface Laptop? It received 0 out of 10 points. Yes, zero.

Here’s why:

This laptop is not meant to be opened or repaired; you can’t get inside without inflicting a lot of damage. There are no screws, so iFixIt needed to use a Jimmy blade and an iOpener to forcibly peel away the Alcantara-covered keyboard lid, which is held on by overly-strong adhesive and welding glue. Once it’s ripped off, it cannot be replaced because the unit is destroyed by this process.

The CPU, RAM, and onboard storage are soldered to the motherboard, making upgrades a no-go. What you get with Surface Laptop is what it will die with: None of the core components can be replaced or upgraded.

The headphone jack, while modular, can only be accessed by removing the heat sink, fan, display, and motherboard. And that is a daunting, multi-step process.

The battery is difficult and dangerous to replace, giving the device a limited lifespan. This is particularly disappointing, frankly. It’s like Surface Laptop was designed to be temporary.

This is a bit disheartening, frankly.


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Comments (117)

117 responses to “iFixIt Gives Surface Laptop Lowest-Possible Score”

  1. MikeFromMarkham

    Welcome to Microsoft's latest fast-release initiative... SURFACE-AS-A-SERVICE... That's right, you get to replace your over-priced hardware every 6 months along with your OS! No thanks...

  2. rafaelsolmaker

    The score is bad, but for that laptop (it's not a toy for a kid to play), that's not a big deal. These compromises in repairability to make this beauty strong and reliable are the lesser of my concerns and should be everyone's too. Even the soul of the PC's being customizable and upgradeable, if throwing that away to have a great portable computing experience, well, let's do it. Apple already jumped on that bandwagon years ago and Microsoft should follow suit.

    If you want power, customization and repairability, you should try a desktop PC instead, a mobility device is hardly any of these, and it will be worse the slimmer and thinner these devices become.

    • Eric Dunbar

      In reply to rafaelsolmaker:

      Why are sensible comments being downvoted? -4 for rafaelsolmaker? Huh.

      Thurrott, time to remove the downvote from your system. It achieves nothing when sensible comments are getting downvoted. Either that or the downvote system is completely broken but you're better off removing the downvote altogether anyway--it discourages people from commenting.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to rafaelsolmaker:

      Except Apple devices can actually be repaired in a shop. You CAN replace the batteries in iPhones (I've done it a few times), and iPads can also be serviced by heating the glue on the digitizer and gently prying. The MacBook is the worst offender because Apple glues the batteries down pretty hard. Even then, you can open the base with a screwdriver.

      Yes, it is a compromise for slimness and stability on both companies' parts, but I am surprised that it doesn't appear the Surface Laptop can be serviced by anyone without destroying it. I guess we'll see what MS says.

      • NazmusLabs

        In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

        Exactly. I feel Microsoft fans are way too ignorant of Apple.

        • Eric Dunbar

          In reply to Darmok N Jalad:

          Exactly. I feel Microsoft fans are way too ignorant of Apple.

          Yes, they are. And, it seems there are a lot of rabidly (jealously :) anti-Apple Microsoft fanbois out there but rafaelsolmaker comment isn't one of them. Apple's (& Microsoft's) practices are no different from anyone else who makes "seamless" devices.

          PS Portable devices are rarely, if ever upgraded. The only things I've ever seen upgraded on a laptop are extra RAM added and HDDs replaced. This is one place where manufacturers gouge consumers which is why a RAM upgrade and an HDD swap are so incredibly important if you're not inclined to spend money. You usually pay a huge premium for the privilege of having an extra few GB of RAM or an SSD instead of an HDD. For example, I got myself a $500 Dell 5378 i5 laptop and swapped in a $60 SSD for the HDD. Had I bought the SSD version of the Dell laptop I would've paid over $200 more for the same. That's quite a premium to pay for SSD :(. Of course, I bought the laptop with the knowledge I could swap out the HDD for the SSD.

  3. SRLRacing

    In my experience how upgradable components aren't all that important in thin and light form factors. I have 2 Lenovo Yoga 2 Pros and the only reason I've taken them apart was to fix the misalignment in the panels due to poor build quality. The RAM is maxed out at 8GBs, not like you'll do a CPU upgrade, maybe a bigger SSD. In my Surfaces anytime anything has gone wrong with the hardware Microsoft has just given me a new one so why do I care? In larger desktop replacement laptops it is important to me because those are things you might want larger SSDs, even additional SSDs, or have more RAM slots to fill.

  4. zorb56

    I'm surprised so many care about this. My SP3 has been chugging along for 3 years or so (I think?) and I've never needed to open it or upgrade it in any way. I knew what I was getting and I was and still am happy with those specs. They are adequate for what I am using the machine for. Components don't just randomly go bad any more. I haven't known anyone to have an issue outside of the warranty period of a Surface device.

    • richfrantz

      In reply to zorb56:

      In my experience, components do randomly go bad. They go bad in the first couple weeks, or never.

    • ibmthink

      In reply to zorb56:

      A tablet is something different from a laptop. A laptop is much bigger and thicker and easier to construct in such a way that it is easily repairable.

      • lvthunder

        In reply to ibmthink:

        Have you seen the Surface Laptop. It's not any thicker than an iPad with a keyboard case.

        • ibmthink

          In reply to lvthunder:

          Surface Laptop isn´t extraordinarily thin, sorry. 14,5 mm, thats normal for an Ultrabook. And there are many Ultrabooks with this thinness that are much easiert to repair.

      • jwpear

        In reply to ibmthink:

        You hit the nail on the head. I just upgraded my mom's old Dell Inspiron with an SSD, bumped up the RAM to 8 GB, and installed a new battery to give it a new lease on life. Now her six year old laptop works beautifully. It was affordable (~$500) when we bought it and the upgrades were affordable. We'll easily get another three or so years out of it instead of having to chunk it.

  5. Ugur

    I don't mind that much when my phones have low repairability/user serviceability. Sure it would be nice to have it, but with how compact they are, i still get it most for those devices.

    Even there with my S8+ i miss the swappable battery of my Note Edge.

    For ARM tablets i already like it a good bit less, i feel like in that form factor they could totally make at least the ram if not also the storage swappable/user upgradeable.

    But ok, i still accept it more, because those are still (in most cases besides iPad) devices a good bit under 1k.

    As soon as one can't upgrade neither ram nor storage in a laptop though and not even service them nor have them be serviceable easily by the company who made it, yeah, it starts to feel way more off to me.

    I also don't get how/why some then argue that's how all would do it for laptops, because no, besides MS and Apple most actually still don't do it that way for laptops.

    And if it was really a case where something is so nano architecture that it just could never be user serviced, i'd accept that more willingly.

    But in a case like this, where all is glued on/in for no good reason really, yeah, annoying to me.

    I feel like they could have totally offered a non alcantara version of the keyboard or connected it by using velcro and then used screws for the internals instead of glue and there, it would have easily allowed to at least maybe swap/expand the storage/memory and/or clean out the cooling elements/fans etc some in between without sacrificing any of the thinness or sleekness of the device.

    Not something i think about while a device works well, but once it does not anymore, something like this can hit one back in really annoying way.

    Also more annoying since unlike Apple, MS does not have nearly as many stores where one could just go and get the device fixed/swapped in store right away.

    Also, to my experience, unless it's a bad day bad luck device one picked up, most devices start to show their bigger wear issues a few years down the line. When one does then not have the option of guarantee based easy hassle free swapping in case of an issue.

    So yeah, that all makes me a bit worried of the thing in long term.

  6. echew

    Not so sure this is even an issue. All the MS bashers will be quick to point out that this is a bad design yada yada yada. But last time I checked, Apple has similar designs and reparability as do a lot of OEM vendors of similar device type. Reparability in a device like this is the LAST thing I consider for our company. That's what extended warranties are for (if you're that worried). Nothing to see here people... Move along...

  7. pbeiler1

    Lets not be so quick to judge. The surface units have held up very well for me. I run the IT department of a small company. We have 15 surface pro1/2/3/4/book units. I used to get similarly priced Dell and HP units. I would get part failures within a year. While i could get the warranty work done, it has been cheaper to go with surface units. Are the surface units perfect? No, but they have outlasted and outperformed many of my other brands. My surface units are faster than the non surface units, and it is easier and cheaper to support one brand rather than 5 brands.

  8. Michael Rivers

    How does iFixIt know that nothing in it is long-lasting? Do they have a time machine?

    All my computers used to be fixable and upgradable. They were giant beige boxes that sat on the floor under my desk. (You could even put in a fat Agnus.) Nobody wants those anymore.

  9. hrlngrv

    So OEMs have little to fear. Too bad. I was hoping for more 3:2 screen options.

    Is this (predictable bad press) due to MSFT being so new and inexperienced in hardware?

  10. doubledeej

    Lack of any type of repairability or upgradability are two very good reasons that I can't possibly consider these products. Too bad. They look nice.

  11. WayneRobinson

    Should come with a sticker: NO USER SERVICEABLE PARTS INSIDE

    Seriously though, it's the nature of the beast these days and I for one couldn't care less. Mine's due for delivery today!

  12. MikeGalos

    Realistically, either modern laptop/tablet/phone devices are replaced under warrantee or replaced.

    You want access to the motherboard for repairs? Fine. Get a full-weight, full-thickness device. That's the trade-off you pay for light and thin.

  13. Waethorn

    Has anyone looked at recycle-ability of modern computers like this?

    Why is it liberals like all their cheap Chinese-made gadgets and doo-dads, but they won't stop to look at the pollution caused by making them? I thought they were all "pro climate change"....

  14. Narg

    Buy and extended warranty. There, fixed.

  15. YouWereWarned

    An expensive, sophisticated device is worth extra money when design effort is expended to make it repairable AND thin. Battery-dependent devices without easily-replaceable batteries--what is crazier than that? The marketers try to convince everyone that maintainability is an unreasonable expectation, which is pure BS and only serves their profit motive. And then they attempt to make us believe being overpriced is some sort of virtue. Feeling manipulated and disrespected? You should.

  16. Jeff Jones

    Only a 1-year limited warranty too.

    How do you deal with a battery that goes bad at the 2 year mark? That's really too early to be throwing a $1,300 laptop away. Does Microsoft have a pro-rated replacement plan for things that would be considered a simple repair in other laptops?

  17. PincasX

    "Glue-Filled Monstrosity" Will be the name of my new shoe gazer band.

  18. red.radar

    If it was cheaper I wouldn't care to much. But Microsoft wants a premium for these things. I like to know when The warranty is up the battery can still be replaced should it prematurely fail.

    Pass... But to be fair I wasn't too high on the fabric keyboard. On the surface it's ok. It can be replaced.

    Wait for gen2!

  19. warpdesign

    If this cannot be opened at all, what does it mean for under-warranty repairs? I guess there will be none, and Microsoft will simply issue replacements?

  20. normcf

    At least you're pretty sure the NSA didn't plant a bug in it during shipping :)

  21. Nonmoi

    Since Paul did not lay it out flat for you, let me give it a try.

    Poor fix-ability score create 2 major problems for Microsoft Surface (and there is one more potential problem I will discuss at the very end).

    1. If it is hard to repair, the chances are majority of all repairs cannot be done on site (in retail stores), and thus raise the over all cost of after sale services which will resulted in consumer dissatisfaction, decrease overall profitability, or both. Remember Microsoft dropped Band 2 partially because the hardware issues that cannot be easily fixed (broken band) due to its lack of fix-ability.
    2. Low fix-ability will be a major problem for Surface adoption in enterprise, where in house IT department handles majority of minor fixes both base on cost and need for security. Business oriented PCs tend to have very clear instructions and was designed with the ease of maintenance in mind for these specific reason. And enterprise market was supposedly what Microsoft wants to target. I would imagine education market is similar to the enterprise markets but with users that tend to demand more regular maintains like cleaning the fan(s). So a 0 on MSL is indeed a bad news as the design failed at addressing major need of the targeted group.
    3. This is not a problem today, but it may eventually become one as Microsoft is pushing towards connected devices (aka. e-sim on board of Surfaces). The poor fix-ability means may potentially be a huge problem for ISPs. Palm was dropped Verizon shortly after release, largely because it required to be send back to repair centers to be fixed, thus created a lot ill will on the ground for both ISP vendors and consumers alike very quick. And, you bet that people will bring their connected PCs to their ISP, especially since there are just not a lot Microsoft Stores around (unlike Apple). This alone may cause some ISPs to rethink their connected device offerings.

    These are the cost and potential cost for a "beautiful" design, is it worth it? I guess time will tell. But what can be said is that beauty can be achieved with repairability too.

    • richfrantz

      In reply to Nonmoi:

      I'm going to disagree with you on the education market, only because I think the "IT Dept" in my kids school was staffed by stopping teachers in the hallway and asking them if they knew anything about computers.

      • Nonmoi

        In reply to richfrantz:

        I could be wrong, but I believe that in the US most K-12 education systems have district level IT departments which handles the real IT stuff, and Unis in the other hand tend to have their own IT department which is independent of the CS department while they do use students as lab assistants and usually is lead by professor(s) from the CS department, they still have fully employed IT stuffs.

  22. jwpear

    I refuse to accept this new, non-repairable hardware model. I will not be buying this crap. Sure, the internal hardware is durable, but we all know keyboards get crap spilled on them, the devices get dropped, and batteries die. The Alcantara keyboard will be filthy within a year of solid use. How is that going to make the Surface brand look?

    Why is it that a device this expensive can't be repaired while the cheap hardware can? Shouldn't it be the opposite? When are folks going to wake up and demand the ability to repair their devices?

  23. Bats

    I fail to see the reason why this "0" score is important. The Surface Laptop is a computer and a device. It's not a toy, Why would someone would want to spend precious time in their lives to perform upgrades to CPU, RAM, onboard storage etc.,, is beyond me. What makes me laugh is...who really wants access to the headphone jack?

    Any problems with the computer should just be given back Microsoft and let them deal with it. Granted, it might be costly endeavor, but that's the price you pay investing in your tech with a company who's obsessed with Apple. I'm sure when Panos designed this computer he said, "If Apple can do it, so can we!"

    • Eric Dunbar

      In reply to Bats:

      Upvoted your comment to reduce the negative votes. The vast majority of laptop users never upgrade their laptops. For that matter, the majority of desktop users never do either.

      However, you do miss the point that laptops do have a much longer lifespan than tablets (they are more expensive) and that most people do not have a cool $1000+ to drop every year or two on a laptop that is likely to break.

      Even Apple has an ecosystem that includes reasonable prices for battery replacements.

      Yes, Microsoft is playing the Apple game. It's strange though because they're a software company yet they're now trying to tie hardware to their name. Perhaps they should spin Surface off as a wholly owned but independent subsidiary that no longer uses the Microsoft name?

      It only serves to confuse the market place as to what Microsoft is. Are they a hardware manufacturer that is after the high end Microsoft OS market (they're not making "demonstration" devices... these are meant to generate profit) or are they a software company? By going into the high end market they're hurting HP, Asus, Dell, Acer etc. The $1000+ is the only place where there's money to be made. Siphon off those profits from your hardware manufacturers and you limit the opportunities in the low end. Limit the low end and you start competing exclusively with Apple's Macs. At that point you allow Mac to start gobbling up a historically disproportionate share of the desktop market, because, a rather large portion of Windows desktop users, when given the choice between equally pricey Windows and Mac devices will choose the Mac alternative.

    • RobertJasiek

      In reply to Bats:

      We understand there are different kinds of endconsumers (and enterprise customers):

      1. do not care, if it breaks, will buy new, buy new every 1 or 2 years anyway
      2. decide about the right configuration when buying, do not need upgrades of SSD or RAM, expect these components to last long, but want repair / replacement of components known for short average lifetimes, such as battery, WLAN module, fan dust cleaning, want to use the device longer than having a, say, 20% risk of failure of any of these without getting acceptable repair conditions
      3. want upgradability and repairability with good conditions

      That some endconsumers are of type 1 does not mean that devices should be only for their needs. Even the manufacturer gains from also meeting the needs of types 2 and 3 because of gaining reputation and, in the mid to long term, earning more from selling to more customers than making the fast buck from ripping of those needing repair and permanently losing trust in the manufacturer due to terrible service experience.

      • Eric Dunbar

        In reply to RobertJasiek:

        Your point 3 is only half correct. Upgradeability is a moot point and it's always been a moot point. The majority of users of upgradeable machines never upgrade them. They like the idea of an upgrade and often pay a premium so they can but never do it.

        Laptops have never been particularly upgradeable with the exception of drive and RAM.

        As for repairability, that I agree with. Users do certainly expect that their laptops will last more than two years, and, a fully glued together machine prevents that.

        Unless Microsoft is using the highest quality components they can expect major PR headaches in a year or two when the batteries start failing. Even Apple has a battery replacement program that is quite reasonably priced .

      • Randall Lewis

        If the Surface Laptop were the only laptop available on the market, then I'd be much more sympathetic to the excessive hand-wringing by ifixit and Paul "damning indictment" Thurrott. Thankfully, computer manufacturers make a wide variety of types of devices to cater to the vastly different types of customers. I actually prefer things this way. Consumer choice and all. I wouldn't buy a MacBook or a Surface Laptop or Surface Pro with an eye to upgrading the guts. As for repairs, I've found Microsoft great to work with on the rare issue I've ever had with a Surface device.

  24. brettscoast

    I would agree that this is slightly concerning although not the end of the world. For one you have multiple hardware choice options when you purchase a surface laptop, key here is choose wisely and future proof so you won't ever need to worry about upgrading hardware down the track. You are buying a premium device so spending extra and getting it right the first time is key. There are a number of PC manufacturers that produce ultrabooksthin light laptops in which hardware is hardwired to the motherboard and so long as consumers are made aware of this its not a deal breaker. Given that the score from ifixit is not particularly good on paper.

  25. Waethorn

    Do like most good consumers and just vote no with the almighty buck.

  26. glenn8878

    Seems like every device needs an extended warranty. Not a good thing.

  27. Roger Ramjet

    It should be noted that with the SL, Microsoft have stated clearly they expect it to last 4 years. If they back that with a reasonably priced and few questions asked service, warranty and replacement policy, then zero repairability by independent services isn't a problem. Essentially, they could be trading off higher reliability for lower repairability, and the other design benefits the device offers.

    • RobertJasiek

      In reply to Roger Ramjet:

      If. If. If.

      Maybe they offer such services for enterprise customers.

      For individual endconsumers, I checked a couple of weeks ago for Surface Pro in Germany. I could not find out, because doing so required first being registered or telling the product number. In order to inform myself before buying a device, I do not want having to buy it just to find out. Microsoft hides information (cost, warrantee conditions, will one get a new or only a refurbished substitute, number of guaranteed years of availability of such a service) about repair and battery "replacement" service for a reason: it is expensive (according to reports, €500 or more) and the conditions are bad.

      There is no such thing as a ressonably priced, few questions asked service.

  28. derylmccarty

    Agree with Darek...reparability is not part of my computer buying decision. Certainly reliability is, but that is determined through a processed called ORLA. The integrator of parts to form a computer (or aircraft, bus or car for example) Microsoft in this case, specifies to the sub-contractor that a part must last X cycles (on-off or hours of operation etc.). And that in total the computer (bus, car, aircraft) must not fail for XX cycles. Then the testing ensues to verify and if it meets standard then make item to minimize repair requirements which are substantially costly. We then have a "sealed unit" that costs more to repair than to replace, so they give you a new one rather than fix. I suspect that the physical failure rate is pretty low for MSFT Surface and Apple iPad type units (software perhaps a different story).

    • Waethorn

      In reply to derylmccarty:

      You don't know anything about Chinese manufacturing.

      Anybody that knows the business will tell you that the Chinese manufactures throw-away garbage. All you have to do is look at the warranty period to tell you that - everything has been reduced to a one year warranty because of average expected lifespans.

      • Nonmoi

        In reply to Waethorn:

        Come on, now.

        Since that China require all electronics sold in the country to carry 2 years warranty by default (Yes, Apple got sued for 1 year warranty on iPhone in China, and lost. So even Apple products are carrying free 2 year warranty in Mainland.). By your logic, average expected lifespans of any device that is made and sold in China, Surface line of products included, should have double the average lifespan in you comment.

        • Waethorn

          In reply to Nonmoi:

          QA testing and warranty are intrinsically related. I can buy an extended warranty for up to 3 years on consumer hardware. Doesn't mean it's going to last any longer - it's just insurance. The average life of consumer products is 3 years, but the failure rate is so unreliable that they use the lowest-common denominator of 1 year for components. The only reason they inflate it to 2 years is because of local laws. It likely costs them money in repairs that they don't account for, compared to regions that don't require more than the minimum. They're increasing it because they have to - not because they are more reliable in those regions. That's just a silly argument you're making.

          Also, OEM components have a 1 year warranty while retail-boxed components have 3 years or more. Why? Because parts packaged for end-users in retail boxes have a better (lower) QA failure rate. Literally, you have lots (i.e. shipping "lots", not meaning "many"....sort of) with higher defect rates and other lots with lower defect rates. The lower defect rated lots get the retail treatment, while the higher defect rates get discounted for OEM's to use in product manufacturing and bulk sales.

          What does this mean, ultimately?

          If you build your own computer, the computer has a lower component defect rate, meaning, based on averages, your self-built computer will last longer than an OEM computer.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to derylmccarty:

      Dunno about you, but for all my family members and people in my same department at work rating laptops, in my experience 1 out of 4 laptops need replacement batteries between the end of 90 day manufacturer's warranty period and 12 months. If those odds are OK for you, fine, but you may not be typical. Note: MSFT can specify all it wants, batteries have MEAN expected life: some last a lot longer, some last a lot less. Run your battery down 3 or 4 times, and good luck.

      • derylmccarty

        for hrlngrv. I fully understand your point, and I could have been clearer in my writing. ORLA is a predictive mechanism and represents tradeoffs just like in any manufacturing process. The failure rate specified in a contract (regardless of who is the manufactory, they abide by a contract or not get the business) is an MTBF or MTBM. (Meantime between failure or between maintenance). MSFT in this case can specify that it wants the CPU to have an MTBF of, say, 25,000 hours. samples are submitted by Intel (in this case) or they submit their own testing proving the MTBF and MSFT buys the item. If it fails then Panos Panay comes to some meeting and stammers saying more testing is needed or ...? But no matter what, it is MEAN time between failure. 95% of the items are above that mean, but some one of us somewhere will get the bottom end at one hour. But the price of the unit already covers the bottom end failure rate and they will give you another unit. Batteries in the past were too tough a nut to crack I suspect. So the battery was not soldered in but had a door or latch or... But batteries nowadays may be a different breed (well except for some Samsung phones.) It is entirely possible that MSFT can successfully demand a pretty high MTBF for batteries and make it work. If this process is done right, it saves us a lot of money in the meantime because there is no repair overhead with the attendant spares sitting on shelves collecting dust not money. We were part owners and managed a local computer repair and build from scratch store for 20 years or so. But we watched as fewer and fewer customers came in for repair as we went from desktops to laptops then sealed units like iPads and even MSFT phones. We closed the store last year after growing from one store to three to two then one with only 2 then 1 minimum wage tech. And they were good. We could have invested more to learn how to open and repair sealed units, but the failure rate was too low.

        • Waethorn

          In reply to derylmccarty:

          Your forget something in your comment: anything a manufacturer could do that would extend the lifespan of a product and cut into their economy for re-purchases due to failures just won't be done. Apple would have a whole calculation on failure rates vs. customer-brand attachment. Microsoft too. Every smart manufacturer does. Manufacturers that offer long lifespans on products don't understand consumerism.

          Gotta keep the slaves happy.

      • lvthunder

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Good thing they come with a year warranty then.

  29. Darekmeridian

    Maybe I am a horrible person but I can't remember the last time reparability swayed my decision for purchasing a product. I usually invest In things like Apple Care and extended warranties, which mean a re-furbished replacement of some type. Also think Microsoft is still relatively new at this end of the hardware game, and they still have a LOT of lessons to learn.

    • Rcandelori

      In reply to Darekmeridian:


      Furthermore, in Australia we have statutory warranty protection which basically means that irrespective of the asserted 12 month warranty, manufacturers are required to warrant their products for longer particularly if its expensive and would be expected to last longer than 12 months.

    • Narg

      In reply to Darekmeridian:

      While I personally prefer reparability, I understand and appreciate a very tightly built machine too. It's all personal choice. I would have zero problem with a Surface Laptop in my house, as well as a Clevo laptop (you know, those monster build it yourself laptops...) People just need to get over themselves it seems. So many folks want to force you to follow their ideas. You know, to be unique just like everyone else.... :/

  30. bbold

    Many laptops are a monstrosity to open up these days, no big whoop. The MacBook and MBP are the same way. How's the Surface Laptop any different than those? I love mine, it has great build quality and works great, that's all I really care about. As long as it lasts me 2-3 years, I'm good.

    • jwpear

      In reply to bbold:

      When you say 2-3 years, is that for personal hardware or are you using it professionally? Just curious.

      I try to get 5 years out of my personal computers, particularly those at this price. It seems like I'm in the minority. I just replaced my Dell XPS 15 after five years. It is/was a great machine. I just wanted something lighter with better battery life. Still using a 2012-era custom desktop (i7) as my primary developer machine when working at home. No plans to replace it anytime soon.

  31. mike2k

    To be fair, everything has a limited lifespan. I get it, like others say, the thinner/smaller the device the less likely it is to have upgradeable parts. But at a premium price? Now that's kinda chitty

  32. DocPaul

    As I said under the Surface Pro review, I'm always hesitant to buy anything that doesn't​ offer easy access to the heat sync and fan. In my experience that requires cleaning every two years or so. I certainly expect a laptop to last longer than two years.

    If you can't clean out a heat sync then you're accepting a device who's performance is guaranteed to deteriorate after a year or two.

    Also, given how likely the alcantara is to stain, I've been curious to see if anyone finds an easy way to replace it.

    Looks like I'm sticking with ThinkPads for now.

  33. rameshthanikodi

    Like a dude already mentioned, if the warranty policy is basically replacing the whole device, then there's no problem with this. The flipside (upside, really) of zero repairability is that the laptop is basically not user-destructible. Macbooks also have low repairability scores but that never stopped Apple from having a reputation of solid hardware. You know what's better than easy repairability? Not needing a repair in the first place. You can't destroy a laptop that can't be taken apart easily.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to rameshthanikodi:

      I guess it would still be possible for MS To reuse the old device. They'd just need to add a few new components. I know there are refurbished Surfaces out there, so I guess we'll see if they start selling refurbished SLs.

  34. obarthelemy

    Can you at least de-gunk the fan ?

  35. RobertJasiek

    There is no excuse for no (or, for other devices, low) repairability and very expensive (€500 or more) whole device replacements, even if only the battery or WLAN module must be repaired or a fan cleaned (parts or actions worth €0 to 50). I do not buy such devices, especially because I want to use them 6+ years. Reasonably thin and light, repairable notebooks, tablets, 2-in-1s exist.

    Microsoft offering battery replacements for Applelesque prices? Where? You are dreaming.

    Complaining? Of course, we have been for years, do, and will about missing or low repairability and astronomic "service" prices. A company thinking only of the next shareholder meeting instead of its customers deserves to die quickly.

    Elegant design and repairability are not mutually exclusive.

  36. arknu

    And you can say precisely the same of all of the thin and light laptops/tablets. It's just the nature of things - the thinner they get the harder they are to repair. I doubt the new Apple MacBook is any better. It might not be glued together, but you can't replace any parts. Or how about the iPad.

    If you want replaceable parts, buy a desktop computer.

    • ibmthink

      In reply to arknu:

      Many other Ultrabooks such as the Dell XPS 13 or the Lenovo ThinkPad X1 Carbon still allow the user to open the chassis up and at least upgrade the storage if they wish to, or clean the fan / swap in a new battery.

      This device meanwhile can´t even opened by service without destroying it. And thats very bad.

  37. vigilant

    This isn’t necessarily a bad thing as long as Microsoft is willing to treat Surface Laptop repairs the way Apple treats iOS device repairs. This could be a good thing long term. I love being able to walk into an Apple Store with an broken iPhone and being able to walk out with a replacement. If Microsoft can do that with the Surface Laptop cool.

    • Darmok N Jalad

      In reply to vigilant:

      You can actually service iPhones yourself fairly easily still. The waterproofing adds a dimension of complexity, but I've been able to replace batteries on older iPhone models. Digitizers can be ordered and installed as well. Warranty swap-outs are nice...when you still have warranty left!

  38. Watney

    All's you guys do is complain. Complain, complain, complain. Complain about Windows 10S. Complain about how the Laptop is made. Good grief. It gets disheartening to pay to read everyone trash talk Microsoft and other companies that get in the way.

    No one stops to point out the new Surface Laptop is perhaps the most beautiful Windows laptop ever made, or that it has the smoothest trackpad for a Windows laptop ever, or it boots the fastest, or it's the safest.

  39. Rcandelori

    Paul I remember the days when you used to talk about "letting go" of needless complexity. User-accessible parts are long gone with many premium appliance machines, including from Apple.

    • jwpear

      In reply to Rcandelori:

      Let's be honest, this is purely a way for Microsoft and others to squeeze more money out of folks. Serviceable and thin and light are not mutually exclusive. I'm okay with soldering RAM and storage. I'm not okay with the inability to open the device up without destroying it. Things do fail and accidents do happen. We need to be able to get in and make repairs.

    • ibmthink

      In reply to Rcandelori:

      Mostly only from Apple. PC notebooks haven´t followed Apple here too much. Particularly soldering the SSD is bad and something not many PC manufacturers do. Microsoft sells this device with a 128 GB SSD, you can´t upgrade it if you run out of space.

      Being able to open up a machine isn´t needless complexity.

      • Rcandelori

        In reply to ibmthink:

        It comes with Windows 10 S - which tells you all you need to know about its target audience.

        Nevertheless, if you're buying the entry level machine, you also accept the entry level limitations - less RAM and less storage. With cloud storage and the return of OneDrive placeholders (with competing solutions from Dropbox), the need for super large hard disks is reducing. Having said that, if you require a lot of storage to begin with, you wouldn't be buying the entry level model. Don't forget - nothing is stopping you from using external drives via USB.

        • ibmthink

          In this case, yes, the entry level machine is very limited. In the past and with other manufacturers, you were/are able to buy an entry level machine and upgrade later if needed. With such a machine, you are forced to pay very high prices for RAM/SSD.

          The problem with the cloud is that you always have to have an internet connection, which is not always a given. If this machine offered WWAN, things would be different, but it doesn´t.

          External drives are always possible, sure. But that kinda contradicts the point of an elegant thin/light machine when you have to carry external drives to make it useful.

  40. skborders

    Most normal people neither upgrade nor repair a laptop outside of it's warranty period. They run it until it dies, then replace it. The people that read sites like this do and would probably buy something else.

  41. nbplopes

    This is a shame. Ive never mind tech arriving to such level that i could not repair it myself. But now even people trained to do so are not able to due to very very poor engineering .... give me a break.

    How is this ok? Explain this one beyond ones selfish and careless ego apart from winning the small talk?

    • Roger Ramjet

      In reply to nbplopes:

      MS can still reuse components when the devices are returned. Further, there must be some upside to this, in reliability say, for the low repairability trade off otherwise MS will be losing money relative to prior designs when malfunctioning equipment are returned, if even they can't refurbish and have to throw whole computers out because one thing thing went wrong.

      • Daniel D

        In reply to Roger Ramjet:

        I doubt very much that components in a design like this are reused in any way by Microsoft. Some parts may be recycled, but In four years time, your shiny new laptop becomes landfill. An incredible waste of our planets resources.

        Its like Microsoft took the worst attribute of the MacBook and took it to eleven. This is not what our planet needs, We already have a massive problem with mobile phones and do we solve it? No. We add a ton of laptops instead.

        Make no mistake this is the equivalent of GM selling a car with the hood welded shut, so when you need an oil change, you throw the car away. It is not progress.

  42. webdev511

    My co-worker bought the i7 version and it is a thing of beauty. Too bad repair means calling in to support and getting a new one.

  43. TallGuySE

    How can you have a fabric keyboard cover and not have at least that replaceable?! Seems disgusting for something designed to be used for a couple years.

    • Waethorn

      In reply to TallGuySE:

      And this surprises you? Are you feeling okay?

      • TallGuySE

        In reply to Waethorn:

        It actually does surprise me. I'm fine with the laptop being non-upgradable, we've been headed in that direction for years. But being non-cleanable (especially the palm rests!) seems ridiculous by any measure.

        • Waethorn

          In reply to TallGuySE:

          The touch keyboard for the Surface RT was the same.

          I just don't know why it surprises you - Microsoft has been trying to copy Apple into the disposable "don't-call-it-a-computer" electronic device market for years now.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to TallGuySE:

      MSFT seems to have wanted to minimize weight and ignored most other design considerations.

    • ibmthink

      In reply to TallGuySE:

      Its strange that they constructed it this way. They could have had the Alcantera directly glued to the palmrest -structure and made the whole thing removable. Even if this keyboard-bezel part was screwed down with 15 screws and secured by multiple clips (that don´t break), this would have been better than this mess.

  44. jim.mcintosh

    It's different now that I'm retied, instead of getting a new PC / Laptop every other year, I go 6 - 7 years, so for me, upgradability is very important.

    Before I make a purchase decision, one of the first things I do is get a copy of the HMM (Hardware Maintenance Manual) to check to ensure that the RAM is NOT soldered, and see how much is involved in changing the things one would want to upgrade.

    Makes me glad that I just got a ThinkPad Yoga 370 to replace a ThinkPad X201. The old one was easy for many repairs / changes. You could remove 1 screw / cover and pull the HDD / SDD out of the side. In less that 5 minutes I could switch from my "production SDD" to my Beta / Insider HDD. The new one is much more involved, but doable. The Lenovo website has some "how to" videos of each step in the process, which helps.

  45. mclanasa

    I got mine on Thursday and it is the best laptop I've ever used. I've had the surface pro 2 and 3 and never needed to open one up.

  46. tommorton14

    I just bought one and got to say I love it. I could care less about reparability . I paid $1450 including complete care . This guarantees I will get a minimum of 2 years from this device. That breaks down to $14.40 per week for the tool that I use to earn my living . That is pennies I spend more on coffee. I buy a new laptop a least every other year so I always have the best battery life and performance. I gave my son my 2 year old X1 carbon to take to collage. It has never been apart and I am sure it will last a few more years.

    • jwpear

      In reply to tommorton14:

      I don't mind spending money on premium hardware, but I do expect to be able to make some adjustments and repairs when making that kind of investment.

      I bought my daughter a Lenovo Yoga, the first version, in 2012. We spent about $1200 on it with the expectation of getting her through high school and into college. She spilled nail polish remover on the keyboard about two years ago. Wasn't too kind to a few of the keys. No worries though, I simply purchased a replacement keyboard and replaced it myself. While I was in it, I added a larger SSD and bumped up the RAM. She's good to go.

    • hrlngrv

      In reply to tommorton14:

      If your son falls asleep a few times with the laptop on battery, I think you may have to opportunity to learn about repairability.

      • tommorton14

        In reply to hrlngrv:

        Again I don't care. I earned a living with it for the last 2 years at $15.00 per week. It owes me nothing, I buy them figure a $15.00 per week depreciation. If it lasts longer than that it is gravy, I remember paying $2500 for a Compaq Pentium 90 that probably was repairable. This tool makes me able to earn a living and my son able to earn an education for less than what we pay for coffee.

  47. canamrotax

    I operate a computer repair business, and this does not surprise me. Most devices are becoming more and more difficult to repair. Finding replacement parts is also becoming an issue, many devices parts are either not available, or are priced so high, that buying a new version on sale is actually cheaper.

    • Nonmoi

      In reply to canamrotax:

      Yeah, that is why the right to repair initiatives are important.

      I am not working in your industry, but from what I hear, that many of the parts nowadays need to be sourced from back channels or black markets. That is kind sad, really. Repair and re-purpose are good for the environment and should be good for the wallets too.

    • jrickel96

      In reply to canamrotax:

      It's the Appleization of the industry. They saw how much money Apple made despite the difficulty to repair their devices and they've adopted what they did. They don't want people keeping a product for too long.

      The the Surface Laptop, I'd guess it will last four years since that was the big concept behind the Edu presentation, but I doubt it'll last much longer than four years.

  48. Waethorn

    It's not a computer!! It's a "device".

  49. ponsaelius

    The throw away society. You never repair anything you just throw it away when it stops. Bad for the planet and great for profit. A sort of Trump compatible laptop.

  50. Jules Wombat

    What would Bill Gates feel, about Microsoft poor aptitude towards the depletion of the worlds precious metals by taking this casual and careless disposal approach on their devices. The day will soon come, when the computing industry will be subject to the same recycling targets most other manufacturing industries are expected to comply with.

    Disgusting aptitude. Next time the super excited Panos steps on stage, please ask what of the World precious resources he disregards.