Microsoft Surface Pro 3 Unrepairable

News Article - Tuesday, 24 June 2014 10:52

By: Kerry Butters Category: Connectivity

The latest in the Surface Pro tablet range from Microsoft has been proved to be unrepairable in a strip down by specialists iFixit, which sells tools for taking apart mobile devices.

The ‘teardown’ team gave the tablet the lowest score possible for repairability, one out of a possible ten. It was found that it was impossible to take apart the device without cracking the screen and damaging the battery.

The inside of the device was also reported to be stuck together with a black tarry substance that made it nigh on impossible to take apart without breaking many of the components. iFixit also found  that non-standard connectors are used in the Surface tablet, another issue that makes servicing the device all but impossible.

When attempting to take off the screen, the team had to heat the adhesive used by Microsoft in order to soften it. However, the screen was so thin that it cracked during the cooling process.

"Microsoft went to great lengths to make the Surface Pro 3 super portable, thinning it down from the Pro 2's 0.53" to a mere 0.36" thick—but it seems the thinner glass does not bode well for ruggedness, or repair,” iFixit said.

Another major issue with the device was with removing the battery, it was found, which was also stuck firmly in place by the same black glue. According to iFixit, this meant that it was "impossible to remove without causing permanent damage” and indeed the team couldn’t remove it without seriously warping it.

Whilst to some extent this is to be expected with mobile devices, the lack of ability to even change a battery is something that means the Surface Pro 3 could have a limited life. It’s always recommended that devices such as tablets and smartphones are sent to manufacturer-approved repairers if they go wrong, but these results suggest that even they wouldn’t be able to fix one of the tablets.

The Surface Pro 2 also performed badly, scoring one out of ten, but the iPad Air didn’t fare much better with a score of two, to put things into perspective. However, the latest Surface not even being able to survive the case being opened and battery removed gives serious concern when it comes to its durability.

iFixit is well known for its ‘teardowns’, having performed hundreds over the years and is well accustomed to handling sensitive componants.

Microsoft responded with a statement to The Register , saying: "As with all of our Surface products, Surface Pro 3 is engineered with high-quality components to be as thin, light and powerful as possible and is designed to be serviced by professionals.

All Surface products come with a one-year limited hardware warranty and customers have the option of additional warranty protection with Microsoft Complete, which gives customers two years of limited hardware warranty coverage that includes accidental damage protection.”

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