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article imageSurface Laptop a 'glue-filled monstrosity,' impossible to repair

By James Walker     Jun 19, 2017 in Technology
A teardown of Microsoft's new Surface Laptop has revealed it is impossible to repair. The laptop, now shipping to customers, has been described as a "glue-filled monstrosity" by repair specialists iFixit. The new Surface Pro is similarly problematic.
The lack of repair options for the Surface Laptop shouldn't come as too much of a surprise. The drive towards thin and light devices with high-end hardware has forced manufacturers to adopt new manufacturing procedures. With increased complexity comes more miniaturisation and an increased repair cost though. To most DIYers, Microsoft's new hardware will prove to be an insurmountable challenge.
The problems with the Surface Laptop's assembly start immediately as soon as any repair effort is attempted. As the device's body contains no screws or obvious way to open it, the only way to expose access is to peel off the keyboard surround. Since this is made from Alcantara fabric, it can't readily be reattached. Just trying to repair the laptop will prevent it ever being reassembled again, making any further work essentially useless.
iFixit persevered anyway, eventually gaining access to the device's internals. As expected, everything in sight is taped or soldered down. In other words, it's permanently attached to its point of origin, preventing it from being removed or replaced.
Surface Laptop
Surface Laptop
While this is common on many modern laptops, Microsoft goes a step further. It exhibits an insistence on placing glue around every component. Even the battery is glued to its casing and requires most of the other parts to be disassembled before it's removed.
There's not an obvious battery connector to remove either, meaning the other wires and ribbons have to be removed "live" (with the power connected) first. While it's not likely to be an issue, leaving the power connected during a repair is an obvious hazard. Discharges could damage components or cause electric shock in a worst case scenario.
iFixit's damning conclusion is that the Surface Laptop "is not meant to be opened or repaired." Assigning it a "repairability score" of 0 out of 10, the firm commented that the device has a "limited lifespan" because none of its core components can be replaced. Even if the maze of ribbon connectors and glue is successfully negotiated, you won't be able to reattach the Alcantara keyboard surround without an abundance of external duct tape.
Surface Laptop
Surface Laptop
"The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It's a glue-filled monstrosity," said iFixit. "There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can't be opened without destroying it."
Things aren't much better for Microsoft's refreshed 2017 Surface Pro. Although it's marginally easier to open than the Surface Laptop, Microsoft has removed the one easily replaceable part of the Surface Pro 4.
Previously, a conventional M.2 SSD was used, allowing you to add a new one with a larger storage capacity if you managed to open the device. On the new model, clearing away the glue won't help you, as Microsoft has soldered the SSD to the motherboard. The convertible scored 1 out of 10 for overall repairability.
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