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Surface Pro: 'Virtually Unrepairable' 418

Posted by timothy
from the you-break-it-keep-the-pieces dept.
An anonymous reader writes with a link to an article at Wired with some harsh words for Microsoft's new tablet: "The Surface Pro is not a repair-friendly machine. In fact, it's one of the least repairable devices iFixit has seen: In a teardown of Microsoft's tablet-laptop hybrid, the company gave it a rock-bottom score of just one — one! — out of 10 for repairability, lower even than Apple's iPad and the Windows Surface RT."
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Surface Pro: 'Virtually Unrepairable'

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  • Yawn. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:15PM (#42896223)
    Nobody repairs tablets.
    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:45PM (#42896597)

      Nuh uh! All 10 surface pro buyers are furious!

    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:51PM (#42896705)
      And it is high time someone pointed out how stupid that is.
    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

      by tripleevenfall (1990004) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:57PM (#42896789)

      I'm not exactly sure what is supposed to be special about Surface, but people only appear to dance with them. I could see a lot of screens getting broken.

      • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

        by Nyder (754090) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @02:37PM (#42898461) Journal

        I'm not exactly sure what is supposed to be special about Surface, but people only appear to dance with them. I could see a lot of screens getting broken.

        The thing i got out of those commercials was how much the screen was smudged. You are shooting a commercial and you can't clean the smudge prints of the screen? Seriously? Why do I want a laptop that is dirty? Bad enough a cell phone screen gets smudged up, but dang, a laptop (yes, I know they are tablets, but lets be real, with the fucking keyboard cover, it's a laptop. With finger smudges all over the screen.)

    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

      by guttentag (313541) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:19PM (#42897067) Journal

      Nobody repairs tablets.

      Historically this is true. The makers of the Rosetta Stone [wikipedia.org] knew this would be the case, so they introduced redundancy so we could still retrieve the information even of part of the tablet broke. They wrote everything three times! From what I understand, the Surface Pro is stuffed with lots of redundant code [slashdot.org] for the same reason.

    • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by pushing-robot (1037830) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:30PM (#42897199)

      A sealed case isn't a huge deal in the case of the iPad or decent Android tablets, since there are no moving parts, no particularly hot-running components, and a top quality battery that should last for several years.

      But the Surface Pro isn't like that. It's a notebook, complete with full OS, SSD, fans, and a powerful CPU, crammed into a tablet form factor.

      What happens when that SSD starts failing from the heavy IO load of desktop software? Or one of the fans blows a bearing?

      • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Lumpy (12016) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:59PM (#42897647) Homepage

        "What happens when that SSD starts failing from the heavy IO load of desktop software? Or one of the fans blows a bearing?"

        you throw it away and buy a new one.

        Do you think microsoft expects anything else?

        • Re:Yawn. (Score:5, Funny)

          by MrEdofCourse (2670081) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @02:19PM (#42898083)

          "What happens when that SSD starts failing from the heavy IO load of desktop software? Or one of the fans blows a bearing?"

          you throw it away and buy a new one.

          Do you think microsoft expects anything else?

          Yes. I expect them to tell me that I have to buy all new software as well.

      • by Jhon (241832)

        "What happens when that SSD starts failing from the heavy IO load of desktop software? Or one of the fans blows a bearing?"

        You realize that you are only renting the device at a cost per month of it's purchase price divided by the number of months you've had it. Which will probably be inversely proportional to it's actual use.

        The GOOD new is that if you don't use it, the cost per month will be near zero! CHEAP!

    • Wrong Comparison (Score:5, Informative)

      by mattsday (909414) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:57PM (#42897623)

      They compare it to the iPad, which is pretty bad to repair... However, as a general purpose computer running a full OS, a fair comparison would also be the MacBook Pro Retina.
      http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/MacBook-Pro-with-Retina-Display-Teardown/9462/ [ifixit.com] ...1 out of 10 as well.

      This is a bad trend with custom screws, glue and all sorts of crap.

    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      At the price they sell it for, you would definitely want it repairable.
      This trend of having expensive eqipment that is intended to be disposed in a landfill like a razor blade is ridiculous.

  • It's the future... (Score:2, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward

    Sadly more and more devices are like this now. Apple seem to have popularised it and made is acceptable and other companies seem to be continuing the trend.

  • by Skapare (16644) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:17PM (#42896247) Homepage

    ... waste!!! Manufacturers just want you to buy another to replace yours which is designed to break soon. Manufacturers win with more diversion of economy (e.g. repeat sales). World loses.

    • Sad but true. I still have quite a few old phones which work perfectly fine but can't really be re-used.

    • I disagree. I think this will hurt sales more than anything. I don't own an ipad for this very reason and I won't be the owner of a surface pro either, apparently.
      • I disagree. I think this will hurt sales more than anything.

        I don't own an ipad for this very reason and I won't be the owner of a surface pro either, apparently.

        Yea, this.

        Given the option, I refuse to buy products that are designed to fail within a specific period of time, namely because I'm not an idiot with more money than sense.

      • Hurt what sales? I don't think many people are interested in the Surface either way.

      • by kthreadd (1558445)

        I disagree. I think this will hurt sales more than anything.

        I don't own an ipad for this very reason and I won't be the owner of a surface pro either, apparently.

        You don't have to throw it away just because something breaks. Apple offers service and repairs of iPads.

        Do you only buy cars that you can repair everything on yourself?

    • by bws111 (1216812) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:40PM (#42896537)

      Every clip, connector, screw, etc that is needed to make something 'repairable' adds weight, bulk, and cost. People have clearly demonstrated that weight, size, and cost win out over repairability when making their purchasing decisions. You can't lay it all (or even most of it) at the feet of the manufacturers.

    • by rnturn (11092) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:44PM (#42896589)

      ``Manufacturers just want you to buy another to replace yours which is designed to break soon.''

      And it's software, too. I'm sure most /.ers saw the article about Office 2013 being tied to a specific system... for life. Fatal laptop problem that requires replacement? You'll need to buy a new copy of Office as well; no re-installation of your copy of Office on your new laptop allowed. (Frankly, I think MS is going to have to do an about face on that policy unless they want to lose home customers in droves.) My wife -- who owns the only computer in the house that runs Windows -- was disgusted when she read that. She won't be a repeat Office customer after learning that.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:21PM (#42896281)

    "It simply is not designed to be opened or fixed at home, except perhaps by teardown expert"

    Hasn't that generally been the case for a few decades now, for lots and lots of things? They are basically bitching that there are lot of screws and glue. It's not a simple device.

    • by gl4ss (559668)

      some have still some parts to replace.

      like battery etc.. http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+Teardown/12842/ [ifixit.com]

      dunno why the fuck the article links to wired.

    • by Zemran (3101) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:31PM (#42896429) Homepage Journal

      Not true, a couple of years ago I would have argued with you as I repaired many MacBook Pros and Thinkpads etc. which were easy to get apart and put back together without breaking anything. Now they are specifically designed to stop you doing that. It is only the timeframe that I am arguing...

    • by Hatta (162192)

      Hasn't that generally been the case for a few decades now, for lots and lots of things?

      Yes, but that doesn't mean we should stop complaining about it. No, it means that we should complain louder than ever. There's no reason, besides greed, that these things are not repairable.

  • I'm shocked ... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by gstoddart (321705) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:26PM (#42896357) Homepage

    OK, not really.

    For starters, I can't imagine it being easy to make a tablet you can open up and make changes to.

    And then every manufacturer would rather you replace the device when it breaks or needs upgrading. And if they can get you locked into their software, even better.

    Companies don't really care about consumers rights, and they never will. They're only in it to make profit -- I don't care who the vendor is, they'll all do it.

    Microsoft, Apple, and even Google since they're trying to drive everything you do to the things that make them money and make sure you have to keep buying their stuff.

  • Brave New World (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dkleinsc (563838) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:27PM (#42896361) Homepage

    "Ending is better than mending. The more stitches, the less riches."
    -Aldous Huxley

    Of course a consumer society isn't supposed to have anything that can be repaired by a normal human being. If you want anything, you're supposed to cough up your hard-earned cash to your corporate overlords.

  • Link o iFixit (Score:5, Informative)

    by Leafheart (1120885) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:28PM (#42896375)
    Really guys, the summary is copied from the first paragraph on the wired article, which has the link to the iFixt teardown, was it that difficult to keep the link? http://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Pro+Teardown/12842/ [ifixit.com]
  • High volume consumer devices have been not-repairable for years. If it fails during warranty, you get a new or "refurbished" unit for free. If it fails outside of warranty you may get a new or "refurbished" unit at lower than list price. Or you may not.

    Short of sliding it off the table onto a concrete floor at Starbucks, the failure rate on these should be vanishingly small.

    If you're really worried, you can "Protect your Surface with a 2-year extended warranty and technical support service." for $99. Best B

    • by mister_playboy (1474163) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:44PM (#42896595)

      Best Buy will sell you a "Product Replacement Plan" for a price.

      When the BB cashier offers a warranty plan, I like to respond by saying I don't think the company will still exist in 2 years... :)

  • by Missing.Matter (1845576) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:35PM (#42896469)
    There's a direct trade-off between thinness/weight and repairability. As it stands the device is already being heavily criticized for being just 0.5" thick and weighing 2 lbs. To get it even at that point, apparently glue had to be used in place of a lot of fasteners that make repairing easy. Now I expect we'll see the same people criticizing it for weight/thickness also criticizing it for not having a removable battery, hard drive, and memory, all of which add weight/thickness. Dell's Latitude 10 comes in fixed and removable battery configurations, the later weighs 0.04 lbs more. Keep in mind while it's not much, the margin between Surface and its closet competitors like iPad are 0.1" thickness and 0.5 lbs, so every bit counts.

    So like everything there's a choice. Do you want a core i5 processor or do you want a long battery life? Do you want a super thin machine, or do you want an easy to repair machine?
  • Let's be realistic. Tablets and phones are pretty much assumed *NOT* to have any user serviceable parts in them. Hell, even laptops -- I don't recall these ever being held to that standard and they had a much better chance of ever getting user-upgradable CPU/RAM/Harddrive features. Most people could never take the damn things apart to upgrade them anyway. It's only been the recent last 8 years or so the Dell has removable plates next to the ram -- the CPU has always been buried. So stop with all the arm

  • The iPad 2 Smart Cover [ifixit.com], the only thing to score lower at a pitiful 0 out of 10! </joke>

  • by the computer guy nex (916959) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:45PM (#42896601)
    To make a tablet that can be easily repairable and upgradable, you are making concessions on the size and weight of the product.

    Fact is the majority of consumers couldn't repair their tablet even if it scored '10 of 10'. Given the choice, they would choose the thinner and lighter product every time.
  • The "unrepairable" Surface Pro (that Microsoft is aiming at business) is symbolic of an unfortunate trend in Corporate IT budgeting towards thinking of user devices as "burned money" with little or no long term benefit. While conventional laptops retain some value beyond the current quarter and a certain level of repair costs can be budgeted towards them, devices like the Surface Pro turn budgeting of such estimated costs into a total crap shoot.

  • I like modular designs - what programmer wouldn't?
    but there is no question that modularity constrains the overall design. the module itself must have a fixed interface, making it inefficient by varying degrees, depending on how far from the sweet spot you are. (imagine that cars had modular engines: would the module interface be big enough to handle a particular displacement? could you drop in a hybrid version?) not only are you loosing efficiency within the module, but the connected modules have to ass

  • by dtjohnson (102237) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @12:59PM (#42896833)

    Anyone can take something apart. It only counts, though, if they get it back together AND it works again. How can they give that thing a "1" out of "10" if they were not able to make it run again? Wouldn't that be a "zero?" Finally, before anyone can say 'who wants to repair something like this, anyway?' let's just note that it's a $900 dollar device with a 1-year limited warranty. Why wouldn't you want to fix the earphone jack if it gets tweaked and will only play one channel, replace the battery if it dies, or put a new screen in if you drop it and it cracks? Those are all pretty common repairs for devices like this.

  • by guidryp (702488) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:03PM (#42896885)

    There are a lot of responses here that say "All tablets are like that".

    First, Many of those tablets cost $200 (Nexus). It is a lot more acceptable to have a sealed $200 device than a sealed $1000 device, regardless of form factor.

    Second, Almost no other computing device is sealed to this extent with an inch wide strip of tar like adhesive that needs a heat-gun to pry apart (who knows how well it will go back together). I take nearly everything apart, but I would mess with this kind of extreme adhesive job, especially on a $1000 device.

    Third. It isn't even about repairs. If this was pure reliable solid state, it wouldn't be a big deal, those parts could run for decades. But this has two fans, meaning they will accumulate dust/have bearing failures, and in few years need replacing/cleaning, it has batteries with short finite life that will fail in few years, the SSD is small size and has an OS with propensity to write a lot to it (swap files) etc, and has a significant chance of failure. These should be considered serviceable components, because chances are significant that one or more of them will need service in a few years. Having them sealed, non-serviceable in $1000 device is unacceptable (IMO).

    • First, Many of those tablets cost $200 (Nexus). It is a lot more acceptable to have a sealed $200 device than a sealed $1000 device, regardless of form factor.

      I'm not sure I see the connection between price and acceptable levels of serviceability. Is it that if it's cheap and breaks, you can buy another so it's no big deal; but if it's expensive then you should be able to repair it? I'm sorry, but I'm not sure many people agree with you. The iPad and iPad mini received almost as bad a score (2/10 each), and yet they are wildly successful. It seems that the only people that have a problem with this practice are people like you that like to take things apart.

      Second, Almost no other computing device is sealed to this extent with an inch wide strip of tar like adhesive that needs a heat-gun to pry apart (who knows how well it will go back together).

      Again,

  • It can (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Mike Frett (2811077) on Thursday February 14, 2013 @01:21PM (#42897099)

    It can be repaired, it's just difficult to get inside due to the strong epoxy and 90+ screws all around. And for the Apple haters, I see lots of repair shops repairing iPhones and such.

    The problem is, the companies don't want you to repair it. They want you to buy a new one, hence why it's difficult to repair. This is the throwaway generation, it's all disposable. The trash piles up, but nobody notices until it's in their backyard and their water starts tasting like epoxy and baby diapers.

    Even Cars are are so tight under the hood these days, a lot of mechanics I know don't go near them. Have you even tried to reach through all that shit to change a spark plug? Good luck getting your hand out of the wires and metal without a lost thumb.

    Bottom line, modern products are shit with pretty packaging so the youngsters think it's good. When it breaks, (Usually within 1 year) no big deal, mom and dad will get a new one. Just throw it over there in the trash and lets take a trip down to the mall. What a shitty world, but hey, there's money to be made in them their hills!.

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