Microsoft Surface 2 Terrifying Teardown a Repair Nightmare

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News Posted: Wed, Oct 23 2013 10:54 AM
We've said before that we think Microsoft might be onto something with its second generation Surface systems. Surface 2 and Surface Pro 2 are thinner, lighter, faster, and more feature-rich than the first generation Surface tablets, and though we'll reserve final judgement until we're able to formally review these devices, what we saw during Microsoft's unveiling was pretty impressive. That said, it's a little disappointing that these types of gadgets can sometimes be incredibly tough to repair on your own at home.

Surface Pro 2 is the newest device to get the teardown treatment from iFixIt. Things started off well enough with iFixIt noting how easily the kickstand is removed, but that would be one of the few things that didn't present a challenge. Like the original Surface, which iFixIt gave a 1 out of 10 repairability score earlier this year, Surface Pro 2 is not a device you can easily tear into and replace parts or otherwise troubleshoot.

Surface Pro 2
Source: iFixIt

Once the display was removed, iFixIt again discovered the presence of 52 screws (of 3 different sizes) holding together the plastic bezel and two metal brackets. Diving deeper, the screw count ballooned to almost twice as many.

"There are over 90 screws inside this device. Mechanical fasteners are great, but quite frankly, we draw the line at 89," iFixIt noted.

Surface Pro 2 also scored low marks because the display assembly consists of a fused glass panel and LCD that is "extremely" hard to take out and replace, the use of "tons of adhesive," and the precise opening procedure leaves no room for mistakes, lest you shear one of the four ribbon cables donning the edge of the display.

Surface Pro 2 Parts

On the bright side, the battery isn't soldered to the motherboard (though still difficult to remove) and the SSD can be replaced. Still, none of this was enough to propel Surface Pro 2 above a 1 out of 10 repairability score like its predecessor.
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RBloch replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 1:24 PM

They do that so it's impossible to fix yourself, then when it breaks you send it in and they say that you broke it and it's not under warranty and you have to pay to fix it.

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This article is a little misleading. For perspective, iPads score a 2 out of 10 to the Surface at 1 out of 10.

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Jaybk26 replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 3:03 PM

Wow, that's really saying something. Apple's mobile products are horrifically complicated internally.

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ajm531 replied on Wed, Oct 23 2013 10:43 PM

i mean its smart from a business perspective but other than that kind of a jerk move.

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With tablets getting thinner and lighter, I'm not surprised. It's not like a PC where you have easy access to replace components. Everything is now so tightly integrated that it's a wonder you can still strip it down somewhat. With devices like tablets you can either get one thin and light that's nearly impossible to repair or one that is bigger and bulkier and easy to repair; can't have it both ways.

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digitaldd replied on Thu, Oct 24 2013 2:26 PM

Its actually not much harder than operating on an iPad or many Android tablets.


I wonder what its like to operate on the really big one in London though.

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