iFixit claims new Arm Surface hardware prioritizes repair

"Arm Surface, front and center, hardware, iFixit, Repair

Microsoft’s Surface hardware has had a reputation for being difficult to repair, with previous devices scoring poorly on iFixit’s repairability scale. However, in recent years, Microsoft has made efforts to improve the repairability of its devices. The most recent Snapdragon-powered Surface Pro and Surface Laptop have received high praise from iFixit, earning a repairability score of 8 out of 10.

The Surface Laptop is relatively easy to open, with only four screws hidden beneath the rubber feet. Unlike its predecessors, which required physically slicing them apart, the Surface Laptop can be opened without damage. The bottom of the laptop is attached with magnets, making it easy to access the battery and SSD. The internal components are clearly labeled, making it simple to identify and replace parts.

The Surface Pro also offers a relatively easy opening process. The M.2 2232 SSD is accessible under a pop-off cover on the back of the tablet, allowing for simple replacement. However, accessing the battery and other components requires removing the screen, which is held in place with adhesive. iFixit had to cut away the adhesive with a thin plastic tool, and properly closing the tablet would likely require new adhesive. Despite this, the parts and screws inside the Surface Pro are labeled clearly, making repairs manageable. The main difficulty lies in the need to remove the entire heatsink before replacing the battery.

iFixit uses different criteria to evaluate the repairability of laptops and tablets, as tablets are more tightly integrated devices. Despite their identical repairability scores, the Surface Pro remains slightly more difficult to open and fix compared to the Surface Laptop. However, when compared to other tablets like the iPad Air and Pro, the Surface Pro still stands out as more repairable.

Although iFixit did not provide specific details, the repairability score for each device likely reflects factors such as the soldered-down non-upgradeable RAM and Wi-Fi/Bluetooth modules. Additionally, both devices use more screws and clips compared to devices like the Framework Laptop, which could have influenced the score.

Overall, Microsoft’s recent efforts to improve the repairability of its Surface devices are commendable. By providing detailed repair manuals and videos, making design changes to facilitate opening, and offering first-party parts and partnerships with iFixit, Microsoft is enabling users to repair their devices more easily. This approach aligns with a broader industry trend towards increased repairability and sustainability.

In terms of performance, the new Snapdragon-powered Surface devices have been well-received. Users have praised the devices’ speed, battery life, and overall performance. The Snapdragon processor offers improved efficiency and performance, making the devices suitable for various tasks, from productivity to multimedia consumption.

The integration of Snapdragon processors in Surface devices represents an interesting shift for Microsoft. Traditionally, Microsoft has relied on Intel processors for its Surface lineup. By working with Qualcomm, Microsoft is tapping into the benefits of ARM-based architecture, such as improved battery life and cellular connectivity. This move also allows Microsoft to better compete with devices that are powered by similar ARM-based processors, like the iPad Pro.

In conclusion, Microsoft’s recent efforts to improve the repairability of its Surface devices, as demonstrated with the Snapdragon-powered Surface Pro and Surface Laptop, have been successful. With higher repairability scores and easier access to internal components, users can now perform repairs and upgrades more comfortably. Additionally, the integration of Snapdragon processors in Surface devices has brought notable performance improvements. Overall, Microsoft’s commitment to repairability and innovation is commendable, and it will be interesting to see how these efforts continue to evolve in future device releases.

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