Surface Pro teardown: Apple’s iPad wins the repair race

By , Feb 13, 2013

MS surface pro

Microsoft’s one-week old Surface Pro tablet already has some dings in its reputation. The device is more difficult to repair than Apple’s iPad, according to a teardown by iFixit. The Surface Pro makes extensive use of glue to secure everything, including the battery and display, giving Microsoft’s latest tablet a score of just one out of ten for repairability. And repairs could become common, given simply using the Surface Pro could be harmful to the hardware…

“Just opening the tablet offers a high probability of completely cutting one of the four cables that surrounds the display,” writes TechCrunch Wednesday.

At the same time the Surface Pro uses a freaky amount of glue to hold everything in place, there are also 90 screws inside the tablet’s case, a number that iFixit finds “exceptionally high”.

iFixIt gave the Surface Pro a repairability score one out of ten (ten is easiest to repair).

Although the Surface Pro battery is not soldered to the motherboard (no soldering is required to replace it) and has a removable SSD, iFixit notes that users risk killing their tablet by trying to open it.

There are over 90 screws inside this device. We’re proponents of mechanical fasteners, but this number is a tad crazy. The display assembly (comprising of a fused glass and LCD) is extremely difficult to remove / replace.

“Tons of adhesive” hold everything in place, including the display and battery.

Surface Pro (iFixiIt 001)

The findings for the Surface Pro are a bit odd, particularly since this version was touted as an improvement from the earlier Surface RT.

By comparison, iFixIt gave both the iPad 3 and iPad 4 a slightly higher repairability score of two out of ten. The Surface RT, however, was awarded a repairability score of four out of ten. The difference may not be glaring, but the peek inside suggests neither company want to make hardware upgrades by tablet owners easy.

In addition, both Google’s Nexus 7 and Amazon’s Kindle Fire beat the full-size iPad with a seven out of ten and eight out of ten repairability score, respectively.

Here’s the latest Surface Pro commercial.

The iFixit teardown also called Microsoft’s decision to glue-in the Surface Pro battery a sign of “planned obsolescence” as well as “completely unnecessary.”

The restrictions against popping the Surface Pro case and upgrading the tiny 4GB of memory even leaves some after-market hardware suppliers out in the cold, prompting us to bring out the old “buyer beware” sign – especially when it comes to these take it or leave it tablet designs.

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  • CollegiateLad

    There’s a repair race now?

    I give up.

    • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredstrugala/ geetarspaz

      welcome to iM-a-bunch-of-fanboys-download-blog

      • Chuck Finley

        You’re reading a website dedicated to all things Apple and you’re surprised it’s run by fanboys?

      • Guest

        You know you’re a fanboy when you’re calling other people fanboys. Yes, my comment is kind of ironic, but even the blindest of the blindest can see that your comment is bursting out with fanboyism.

      • Chuck Finley

        So…that makes you a fanboy too then?

      • http://www.flickr.com/photos/jaredstrugala/ geetarspaz

        i figured all these stupid posts would end now that the new jailbreak is out and they can actually put out “i download blog” news

      • http://twitter.com/dlcknox Dylan Lane C. Knox

        lol you guys are funny. i find opening up a Surface way easier than an iPad, and I started working on Apple devices long before Windows. Also it is about Apple, but the rumors sometimes are ridiculous and a lot of the information is biased or not entirely correct, grant it’s an Apple blog.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Tsetthawut Setthawut Theeraphan

    This article is brianless. stupid iWhoreS fans

    • str8forward

      yeah, what the heck Brian!? where you at?

  • seyss

    surface keeps impressing me……….. negatively

  • Aluka

    Can you repair my ipad LOL

  • Mohammad Ridwan

    Surface was an Epic Fail.. just like Windows 8

    • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

      JUST LIKE THE ZUUN

      • Mohammad Ridwan

        Just like they were ‘sold out’ too.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Noah-King/100002986562966 Noah King

    now compare it to a macbook air or retina pro or whatever the hell apple call their laptops………. bet this wins (in repairability) with the air and Rpro

    • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

      Laptops (not just Apples) are WAY easier to get open and repaired than both the Surface and the iPad because they have easily removable screws. Even the new Air and Pro with Retina Display are easy compared to these glued together tablets.

      • http://www.facebook.com/people/Noah-King/100002986562966 Noah King

        I just assumed that (especially) the new air was… insanely difficult to repair.. unibody… and isnt the retina mcbook pro too?

      • http://www.facebook.com/antman217 Anthony Antunez

        Its not about the difficulty in terms of labor, but about the overall repairability in terms of parts and replacements. In the Retina Macbook for example, the ram is soldered to the motherboard. Its not hard to get it replaced but it is extremely inconvenient to have to replace the entire motherboard because your ram is failing, not to mention how much its going to cost you. They aren’t hard to open and teardown but they are incredibly unrepairable. The Retina MacBook also got a 1 out of 10 but they arent hard to teardown, and same goes for the MacBook Air except it got a 4 out of 10 since replacing ram and hard drive are a little easier.

  • http://www.facebook.com/joe.jonsen Joe Jonsen

    SURFACE IS LAME AS HELL….

  • http://twitter.com/dlcknox Dylan Lane C. Knox

    For the record, iFixit has always repaired Apple products, and as their name suggests, probably a little biased.. I have been fixing computers/iPhones/iPads for years, and i believe the Surface is way easier. i dont even have to use a heat gun to get to the main board… its way quicker to take apart lol. i dont what iFixit is thinking, it’s like tearing down a very small laptop.. not that hard at all.

  • Max White

    With video the people understands otherwise only article doesn’t understandable more.