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Surface RT Tablet Gets Teardown: Fairly Tough to Repair

By - Source: iFixit | B 15 comments

Microsoft tablet scores a 4 on repairability scale, with 10 being the easiest.

While Microsoft's Surface is a little easier to repair than the iPad 3, the in-demand Windows 8-powered tablet is still fairly fairly difficult to repair, according to experts iFixit.

The website rated Surface's "repairability" a 4 on a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being the easiest). Comparatively, the iPad has a rating of 2, while the Amazon Kindle Fire boasts a rating of 8.

"The Microsoft Surface is a quirky cat," said iFixit. "Microsoft engineers clearly took a different internal design direction than what we've seen in the iPad and the Nexus/Kindles. But sadly, its overall fixability is closer to the near-impossible-to-open iPad than it is to the spudger-friendly Android tablets."

iFixit noted that Surface's design allows users to open the device without having fear of shattering the display glass. In addition, several components are modular and replaceable without the need of de-soldering. The battery, meanwhile, can be removed straightforwardly.

That said, the site stressed that it's going to take some effort to remove the rear panel in order to gain access to the tablet. It's apparently impossible to remove the keyboard connector without initially removing the display from Surface's frame.

Elsewhere, in order to gain access to the device's LCD and glass, users will have to tear their way through the whole tablet. iFixit also said those on repair duty will require a heat gun and "lots of patience to gain access to the glass and LCD," with the two components said to be strongly fixed to the case.

Check out our hands-on impressions with the Surface RT here.

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  • 19 Hide
    kungpaoshizi , October 30, 2012 1:09 PM
    Who cares about 'fixing' a tablet? I would be happy with just being able to replace the battery, and that scores a 10.
Other Comments
  • 19 Hide
    kungpaoshizi , October 30, 2012 1:09 PM
    Who cares about 'fixing' a tablet? I would be happy with just being able to replace the battery, and that scores a 10.
  • -1 Hide
    g00fysmiley , October 30, 2012 1:11 PM
    well at leas tthe abttery is easily replacable... one up on apple there, but yea shame all these tablets can't really easily be repaired, something breaks and liek some laptops it is ruined due to impossibility to replace some parts... though at least in a laptop memory and hdd are replacable... i would love to see a tablet enter the market wit a level or fixability and ability to upgrade some things like imagine a read ssd where you can upgrade to a larger on... oh one can dream
  • 8 Hide
    cryogenic , October 30, 2012 1:14 PM
    The only repair yourself need you'll actually have is to replace the battery, all others fall outside of tablet segment due to highly customized hardware (IE no spare parts to be purchased).
  • 4 Hide
    Ambiguity , October 30, 2012 1:23 PM
    2kungpaoshizi - straight to the point
  • 3 Hide
    DRosencraft , October 30, 2012 1:50 PM
    This...
    cryogenicThe only repair yourself need you'll actually have is to replace the battery, all others fall outside of tablet segment due to highly customized hardware (IE no spare parts to be purchased).


    Yeah, I doubt very many people even here on Tom's would dive into the murky waters of tablet repair on any tablet. There is likely little interest, and similarly little benefit.
  • 0 Hide
    xpeh , October 30, 2012 1:55 PM
    The Article should have listed those other replaceable components
  • 3 Hide
    freggo , October 30, 2012 2:21 PM
    Typical American design. Slick but impossible to repair down the road.

    I had a Lincoln Towncar in the 80s. One of those huge 5mpg jobs.
    Fun to drive. The door panel had a dozen switches for everything.
    So the first switch stopped working and I opened the door. Turns out all switches where in a big black plastic box that was heatformed together. No opening without breaking it.
    Dealer confirmed the whole box and wiring would have to be replaced. Costs more than the car was worth so I did not do it. By the time I junked the car basically all buttons had stopped working...
    Shameful engineering; built in obsolescence.


  • 0 Hide
    randomstar , October 30, 2012 2:49 PM
    The parts that are tough - the glass and LCD being securely mounted and requiring special care - in my opinion are good. that is a major part of what makes the device well built and strong.
    the units that are easier to repair are also the ones that dont feel so well made.
    I think being able to do the modular components and batter are more than enough- after that it should go to a shop that is equiped to handle it.
  • 0 Hide
    apone , October 30, 2012 3:01 PM
    Funny I don't see people complaining about how difficult it is to repair an iPad. I also agree with the people commenting here about how the battery is really the critical component that should be user-replaceable. And it's no mystery, tablet computers aren't exactly as modular to fix/repair as desktop or even laptop computers.
  • -1 Hide
    jhansonxi , October 30, 2012 3:47 PM
    One area where Surface is similar to the iPad is the app store ToS:
    http://club.myce.com/f189/windows-8-apps-few-things-aware-329886
  • 1 Hide
    f-14 , October 30, 2012 8:36 PM
    i had one of those too, also a 90's one, you know what i did? i just replaced the whole module from a crashed i got at a junk yard for $5.

    had to replace one in my '88 silverado 2500 also after my dog jumped up on to the drivers window when i had it down and dumped by big gulp all over the side panel. did the same thing. the used replacements lasted the entire life of the vehicles which was up til 96-98 for both cars and the truck lasted until i bought a new one and quit driving it every day at the end of 2006

    the thing i like about american is it used to be designed to last a long time, and it was easy to work on compared to everything else comparable to it in the world. that changed with the greed when companies couldn't sell new product because the old stuff was still working just fine.
  • 0 Hide
    scannall , October 30, 2012 9:28 PM
    freggoTypical American design. Slick but impossible to repair down the road.I had a Lincoln Towncar in the 80s. One of those huge 5mpg jobs.Fun to drive. The door panel had a dozen switches for everything.So the first switch stopped working and I opened the door. Turns out all switches where in a big black plastic box that was heatformed together. No opening without breaking it.Dealer confirmed the whole box and wiring would have to be replaced. Costs more than the car was worth so I did not do it. By the time I junked the car basically all buttons had stopped working...Shameful engineering; built in obsolescence.


    That's what wrecking yards are for. Also, the components are sealed like that because of the environment they have to operate in.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 31, 2012 12:19 AM
    Geez
    Ifixit is just dont know how to pull the new stuff apart.
    Well I do know.
    I use a method they will have to pay for if they want to know.
    All items will be a 10 on there scale then.
  • 0 Hide
    cesthree , October 31, 2012 1:39 AM
    The level of zoom on that image made my computer blue screen.
  • 0 Hide
    GreaseMonkey_62 , October 31, 2012 11:17 AM
    Really one wouldn't expect to be able to easily crack open and replace tablet parts. Easy access to the battery is nice though.