The recently launched Microsoft Surface Laptop is indeed the MacBook Air alternative that Windows fans had been waiting for. While the laptop has yet to arrive in India (along with the new Surface Pro), the team at iFixit got their hands on one and the Surface Laptop, surprisingly, got a zero for repairability. In short, Microsoft it seems, has delivered to its customers a use-and-throw laptop... that starts from $1,000.
However, it is not the Surface Laptop's repairability score (or the lack of it) that is surprising, but the fact that nothing inside can be actually be replaced without damaging the laptop.
Upon looking closer, iFixit could not find any screws that hold the upper and lower surfaces of the bottom half of the device together. The only way for iFixit to open up the case was to tear apart the well-bonded Alcantara fabric, which basically bonds the keyboard to the metal housing and chassis.
Opening up the fabric keyboard was a task in itself. Cutting through the fabric was pretty tough so the technicians then resorted to using a hot gun to try and soften the glue so that the keyboard and fabric could be peeled off in the bottom area where the bonding was too tough.
Once opened up, there were thermal pads everywhere with most of the hardware bits like the CPU, RAM and storage were soldered onto the motherboard, meaning that none of it can be upgraded.
The battery was glued directly to the case, which is kind of a hazard when opening up such devices.
The earlier Surface Book had scored a repairability rating of 1/10, clearly, this was too high a score for Microsoft.
iFixit reported that the Surface Laptop simply cannot be repaired and that neither is it designed to be opened up. Surface Laptop owners will literally have to get their devices exchanged for any issue. Even the display cannot be replaced without destroying the device because the connector is attached to the motherboard, which is under all that lovely Alcantara. Microsoft had better have the most awesome service coverage there is because this is a device that it expects students to use, for 4-5 years at a stretch.
Heading to the Microsoft service support page, the company makes it clear that a 'Microsoft Complete' plan is a better way to get around accidental damage claims. Don't have Microsoft Complete? Then the "cost depends on which Surface you have." Again, that Surface warranty "does not cover accidental damage like a cracked screen, bent kickstand, or any physical damage." A note mentions that you will need to send your surface in to be replaced.
In comparison, a slimmer 2016 MacBook from Apple, that also costs a lot more, got a score of 1 out of 10. While accessing the hardware inside was a bit tough, thanks to its all-aluminium chassis, components can still be replaced or repaired by experts, meaning that the entire device may not need to be thrown in the junk heap in the event of any damage.
Published Date: Jun 19, 2017 11:54 am | Updated Date: Jun 19, 2017 11:54 am