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

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.