MOST TECH COMPANIES' attitude to repairability is one of bafflement. Why would you want to repair that laptop when you could just buy this brand new one? It's only £2,000 and look - the keys are now backlit!
Microsoft is a company that was once fully signed up to this 'screw the planet' attitude and, as a result, the teardown specialists at iFixit have previously had harsh words for the company's products.
Yes, there's the irreplaceable fabric on the Surface Laptop 2 which made us cover one in wood, but the tablets are no great shakes either. Both the Surface Go and Surface Pro 6 managed repairability scores of 1/10. And for the avoidance of doubt, this isn't like golf - a low number is definitely a bad thing.
But Microsoft has seen the light, apparently. Following on from the Surface Laptop 3's 5/10 repairability score, the Surface Pro X has gone one better and got a 6/10. Six out of ten! If you rated a restaurant six out of ten, you probably wouldn't refuse to pay!
So how has Microsoft gone from one to six in a generation?
Well, the first step is how it handles the built-in storage. There's a hidden compartment that you can pop open with a SIM-eject tool, or maybe a paperclip if that's all you have to hand. In there, the SSD is protected by a flap that a T3 screwdriver makes light work of.
Then there's the screen itself, which can be removed without the need of heat or solvents to deal with adhesive. It's still a tough job requiring the kind of steady hand most people probably don't possess, but still an improvement. Once inside, everything is protected by Torx screws and most components are modular for easy switching out.
All good, so how does Microsoft manage to drop three points? The main issue is that almost every repair still needs the screen to be removed which, as we said, isn't for the faint of heart. On top of that, the battery is still glued in place meaning it needs "near-total disassembly for service."
Still, between this and the Surface Laptop 3, Microsoft has made a massive stride forward. Or as iFixit puts it, "Microsoft has placed at least one foot on the repairability train."
PSA: Don't try doing that in real life. If you put one foot on a train, you'll be thrown off when it pulls out the station. µ
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