When the techs at iFixit decided to tear down a Microsoft Surface Laptop, they expected it to be a “repair nightmare,” but it turned out to be much worse. In their opinion “it’s a glue-filled monstrosity” that is neither repairable nor upgradable. It cannot be taken apart without destroying it and is essentially a disposable computer if something goes wrong in an out-of-warranty situation.
From outward appearances, the Surface looks quite similar to a MacBook Air. It has a slim form factor and has similar ports with a couple of differences. However, appearances are where the similarities end. Where a MacBook Air could be taken apart, it seemed that the Surface was designed never to be opened, let alone disassembled.
For starters, there are no screws to be found holding the device together. Therefore they decided to start prying it apart. It seemed promising as they began popping off clips and removing adhesive, but they soon discovered that what they thought were clips were actually “weak ultrasonic spot welds.” It was at that point that they knew they were not going to be able to reassemble it.
"This laptop is not meant to be opened or repaired; you can’t get inside without inflicting a lot of damage."
None of the components were easy removals either. The keyboard, which arguably should have been the easiest thing to remove was hindered by the connector being underneath some shielding on the motherboard. The trackpad was a bit easier, held in with screws and adhesive tape.
The battery was virtually impossible to remove without taking most of the computer apart. So essentially most of the teardown was done while connected to a live battery, not the safest way to take apart an electronic device. If the battery were ever to fail, the only way to replace it would be to disassemble everything, including the motherboard, and that is assuming that you had some way to get the thing back together again.
“The Surface Laptop is not a laptop,” says iFixit. “There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it.”
If all that was not proof enough that Microsoft intends the Surface to be a disposable computer, a closer look at the motherboard revealed that the CPU, RAM, and the SSD are all soldered to the motherboard.
If you are one that shells out for a new laptop every few years, then the Surface might be just fine for you. However, if you want something that has room to grow and can be useful beyond its battery’s lifespan, you might consider looking into other options. iFixit gave the Surface Laptop a repairability score of 0/10.