Gadgets

Microsoft’s Surface is easier to repair than iPad, but worse than Kindle Fire HD, Nexus 7

A new gadget, a new naughty teardown from the repair gurus at iFixit.

The iFixit team didn’t waste any time tearing apart Microsoft’s new Surface tablet, which hit stores this past Friday. In my early look at the Surface, I found that it had plenty of personality (but some noticeable issues).

Given the inevitable move towards thinner and more tightly sealed computers — something that’s particularly noticeable in tablets — I didn’t have much hope for the Surface to be easily repairable. IFixit gave it a score of 4 (out of 10) on its repairability scale, which is a bit better than the third-gen iPad’s score of 2, but far below the Kindle Fire HD and Nexus 7′s scores of 7 out of 10.

Among the notable repair issues, iFixit found that it took half an hour just to pry off the plastic bezel around the Surface’s camera. Opening up the Surface also breaks a tamper-resistant label inside the unit, which will obviously void your warranty.

IFixit also noted several repair issues with the Surface’s display: They couldn’t remove the keyboard connector without entirely separating it front the display, and the LCD and glass are fused together (and strongly glued to the case).

“You’ll have to use a heat gun and lots of patience to gain access to the glass and LCD,” IFixit wrote.

But at least the Surface’s battery, even though it was glued in, was “way easier” to remove than the iPad’s.

These repair users won’t affect most users, since they won’t be repairing the Surface on their own, and they likely won’t be taking it to some tiny computer repair outfit. With tablets and tightly sealed computers like the MacBook Air, it’s generally easier to just send in a device to the manufacturer for repair.