Surface Pro 3 joins other Microsoft tablets as being incredibly difficult to repair

Surface Pro 3

The team at iFixit have given Microsoft's newly launched Surface Pro 3 tablet a 1 out of 10 repairability score, which is the same very low score that other Surface Pro devices have received from the site in the past.

Trying to tear down the Surface Pro 3 is going to be extremely difficult for anyone trying to repair it, according to iFixit. That was evident when they tried to use heat to help separate the tablet's glass and display from the rest of its body. Despite their best efforts, the team ended up with a cracked piece of glass.

Surface Pro 3

In the end, the tear down showed that the tablet's SSD can be replaced, but anyone trying to get to the storage unit will have to risk breaking the display. Adhesive is used a lot to keep things together. All in all, the Surface Pro 3 has not been made for even experienced electronic repair workers to tear down and fix without a ton of effort, along with very gentle hands.

What do you think of the Surface Pro 3 continuing Microsoft's tradition of making Surface Pro tablets hard to tear down and repair?

Source: iFixit



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txDrum says:

Ambivalent. On one hand, the MacBook is also hard to repair and incredibly well put together. It's a sign of really solid construction.

On the other, if it breaks out of warranty it's going to be really expensive to fix.

Seb S says:

On the other hand, Nokias like the 920 are pretty easy to repair and are still rock solid.

Corvodin says:

Yes,but the 920 is pretty thick and heavy, and if the Surface pro 3 had been that way, it wouldn't be the awesome device that it is.

salazka says:

nor thick, nor heavy. it is of regular thickness and weight.
(not to mention of perfect weight and thickness for some)

Corvodin says:

I've nothing against the dimensions of the 920, hell I use one and I adore it, but you can't claim that using a 925 for instance isn't better.

pookyjoralyn says:

920 user here. It's just fine for me, and I'm not a big guy.

Novron says:

But how hard is the 929/930?

rajantiwari says:

How do iPads and Mac Books fare in that test ? Are they more easily repairable?

txDrum says:

I don't know about an iPad but if memory serves macbooks earn like a 2.

rajantiwari says:

iPad scores 2/10

terrokkinit says:

The Macbook Pro with Retina also received the same 1 out of 5 (or 10, I can't remember the scale), in that the pieces are glued and soldered together, making it extremely difficult to fix parts of the device. However, electronics are much better fared to be replaced and recycled anyway...that's just how they are.

rajantiwari says:

We barely need to repair any of our devices until you are very unlucky. So these ratings will keep going down as new devices keep coming.

Novron says:

Hopefully, we can get to the age of moly-circ quickly. A solid block with a 3D matrix of circuitry.

crise says:

ehm this is why you can send it back to MS to let them repair it

txDrum says:

And out of warranty, this costs you hundreds of dollars.

Wael Hasno says:

My friend from Greece sent his bricked Surface RT to Microsoft UK who agreed to replace it with another unit. Not only the device is 2 months out of warranty but they told him he doesn't even need to pay for shipping.

erzhik says:

Bricked vs physical damage are two different things. If it bricked due to OS error, of course they will replace it.

OMG55 says:

Well buy the warranty like you do with your Mac and iPhone

radde says:

Well, if it happens outside of the warranty period then you are stuck with paying.

There are still people on this planet that keep their electronics for more than 2 Years, you know? ;)

crise says:

ur right i forgot

OMG55 says:

Yeah and in most cases unless a product had reach EOL (end of life) with the manufacturer, you can always renew the warranty.

radde says:

Well (I like beginning my comments consistently ;) ), at that point prolonging the warranty probably costs you more than the device would be worth. But I guess that is how this world spins.

Most devices like these do offer extended warranties, and I do believe you can pay additional to have those extended at the end of their term. I realize most people may not want to spend a couple of hundred dollars on extended warranties, but if you can, then do it. It is worth it to get an extra two or three years of warranty, if you are planning on keeping your device longer. If you're like me and others, we don't plan on keeping it much longer than the warranty.

Ive only delt with them for the 360 & all they do in Canada is swap you for a refirb even if you have the service contract they offer

Glue is the reason. It's cheap and makes it hard for people to fix their own products without paying the manufacturer.

radde says:

Glue is also the reason to keep devices sleek & slim; as far as I get it everybody complains about 'too big' devices but at the same time they go nuts if the their ultra slim rugged devices are hard to repair.

terrokkinit says:

Yep...fine line;) replacement is the key

bbennett40 says:

Yup... People will complain no matter what. :-)

Novron says:

Repairmen: "There's too many GD screws in your devices!"

OEM's: "Ok, glue it is! Hahahahahaha!"

bkydcmpr says:

if it was screwed togather then they had to find a solution to seal the screen. rubber? that will be really weak.

mados123 says:

"Just one word"


salmanahmad says:

The benefit of this is that Microsoft is pretty confident about the durability of the device and if you get this device with warranty and run into some hardware damage it will probably be replaced(as it is difficult to repair) however if warranty doesn't cover hardware damage and this device isn't durable, then you are screwed.

bobsentell says:

Small size comes at a cost. Want it thin? It will be hard to repair. Easy to repair products tend to be heavy. The HP Z1 gets a 10 on the repairable scale scale but is also ten times thicker than a iMac.

Jas00555 says:

Didn't Panos drop this thing on the floor or something like that? I don't recall Tim Cook ever dropping a Mac on stage

DJCBS says:

Well...he did drop it on a carpeted floor. I'd like to see him drop it on concrete. That'd be the true resistance test. On a carpet even an iPhone can fall without breaking.

OMG55 says:

Duh, anyone who watched it knew he dropped it in a carpeted floor

MediaCastleX says:

I have a hard tile floor, I've been dumb enough to toss it to the sofa or my bed and have it bounces off and fall on the floor... Running like a champ with no huge flaws. I'll admit that the finish can get slightly messed up =P

kingjah says:

It's pretty hard to make any electronic device withstand a drop to concrete, especially those thin and sleek devises of today, I know only Panasonic toughbooks to withstand that.

Ben Willson says:

My 920 was dropped down a small flight of concrete steps (4 steps) by a 9 year old girl.  it has some minor corner damage in the plastic and a gash on the bottom plastic but the screen is just as it was before she dropped it.

radde says:

Well, an iPhone weights a lot less than any Tablet or even Notebook; so yes, the iPhone would probably survive such a drop onto a carpeted stage floor. I personally think the live drop on stage would be much more impressive, if the competitors device/s would also be dropped; though that would probably be a legal nightmare to pull off.

dqgeek says:

I saw a video of an iPad air dropped into soft churned up dirt with no rocks and break like you had dropped it on a tile floor. Doesn't matter what something's does onto, sometimes its just the position of the device when it hits is what kills them.

NokianWP says:

Not my dad's iPhone 5. Freak screen cracking from 2ft. (on a corner)

Wael Hasno says:

Microsoft has the best support ever, just send the device to them, for God's sake.

bkydcmpr says:

any geek out there will still be wondering how microsoft open it up at their service center, there has to be a way to do that.

yeoldgreat1 says:

What do Microsoft do when they repair one? Just break the glass anyway and replace it with a brand new one?

MediaCastleX says:

I'm sure since they built it, they have the secret to unlocking it... Lol =P

I'd wager Microsoft just replace the tablet and clone the SSD to the new one.

Niavlys77 says:

Does suck, but if they were to make it more repairable, chances are the build quality would likely suffer and the price might need to be jacked up a bit.

Ultimately, I'd really prefer a more repairable unit - they're eventually going to become throwaways because of this. People won't want to repair them due to the costs involved, especially if they're the accident prone types.

davidaddison says:

Glad to see the Surface Pro 3 is hard to fix by some fly-by-night, 3rd-party repair shop. I'd rather have Amazon, Microsoft or Apple fix their own products and be ultimately responsible. Besides, they tend to have better customer service than the 3rd parties.

Yeah you'd want a longterm instant replacement warranty with no catches on anything that expensive and fragile. Nothing is built to last these days.

hellboarder says:

Looking at how sturdy it is (like My Pro2) I don't think I will ever have to repair it. (unlike some aluminium constructed machines)

kingkoopa09 says:

Yea but my two year old finally managed to crack the screen on my original surface rt and sadly out of warranty. Great thing is my wife wont let me settle on the next one being less than an 8gb ram sp3 :-)

Matt Panton says:

Ahh for 8GB of RAM you'll need the 64bit version of XP Pro SP3 *joking*

lippidp says:

I think the same thing everytime I see one of these consumers use the term SP3. Same with IOS -- it's still Cisco to me. I miss the pre-consumer days of IT...

txDrum says:

I hope you aren't poking at the MBP. You can hate Apple's guts, but those things are rock solid.

Tirinti says:

You cannot have it all durability, lightnes and easy to repair. If you want to maximize two of them you have to sacrifice the third.

lippidp says:

You've forgotten the fourth factor: cost. You could have all of the other three, but not at a reasonable cost.

DJCBS says:

Yeah and this is why when you send it to Microsoft, they don't repair anything, they just swap it with a new one.

Adhesive Ray says:

Who gives a rats butt about what iFixit says?! I don't. (there! I said it.)

SargeT says:

Can't recall any cases when iFixit gave around 5 to something. They always give either 1-2 or 9-10. No surprise.

guri21 says:

Its well built doesn't mean it should be difficult to tear down ...Microsoft needs to think over it....If you get something wrong with SP3 out of warranty,will incur huge costs... On the other hand Lumia 920 is sturdy ,well built and easy to repair/ teardown...

Considering the result, and my 3 year accidental damage protection, it doesn't bother me at all.

Aaron M says:

Its sad but this is just the way things are going. Consumers have been conditioned to stop caring about fixing or upgrading their devices. MS would have been dumb to make their surface bigger or heavier in order to accommodate a small and shrinking population of do-it-yourselfers. If anything, blame apple for pioneering unfixable, un-customizable, and un-upgradable designs.

KasakDesign says:

Even a lot of cars are heading in this direction.

lippidp says:

I blame the customers that value vanity over all else.

Extraneus says:

Hard to pry apart = hard to tamper with = hard to compromise = hard to make unsafe for everyday use = fewer electrified customers = better reputation. Probably a wise move by MS...

KasakDesign says:

Maybe I'm late on this one but even the Nokia phones have a lot of trouble with replacing the glass. You have to replace the whole digitizer and even then the screen still looks wrong. I guess this is why we have warranty's

Ticomfreak says:

Nokia's are easy to repair.

elitelibra says:

Microsoft should offer in store repair or at least partner with someone like best buy for repairs

InlineV says:

Our cat pushed my wife's Surface RT off of a 6 foot AV tower onto a hardwood floor. It dented the floor but the Surface was fine. Go figure.

Not really a surprise when you consider how thin these devices have become in the last years.

mjyumping says:

It should not be called as difficult to repair, but as "difficult to break"

sheldonch says:

I honestly don't see these things as even worth repairing, they usually cost way more to repair than worth.

MediaCastleX says:

I don't understand why these tech gear-heads aren't just making their OWN hardware and complaining about the fix-proof products from these major companies...DIY is not something a company can do for you, you Do It Yourself! Lol =P

lippidp says:

Hahaha. The thing is that PC DIY'ers are really just assemblers. We gather the parts we like and assemble the machine. We don't actually make any of the components. Components don't exist for us to assemble our own laptops or tablets, so if you want one you have to buy one off the shelf. I hear you about the complaining, but the service ifixit provides is valuable to those of us that like to repair our own equipment. Knowing that the Surface Pros are impossible to repair I am less likely to buy one.

Meh if I could afford a pro 3 I would still try to fix it doesn't matter what it is I try to fix everything including the transmission in my truck, now that is complicated

It is a full blown PC but in a tablet form factor. What would you expect

sdreamer says:

Hmmm... Can we still skateboard on the SP3?

John20212 says:

This is the absolute worst thing about the Surface tablets, after my first Surface Pro, I have decided not buy but a newer model until MS makes the damn things easy to dismantle and repair, not to mention easy to replace the damn battery.


wpvader72 says:

So what if it's difficult to repair? You're not the one who's going to repair it. If still under warranty, you bring to MS. If out of warranty, you bring it to a laptop / tablet repair shop. You'll be surprised how good those technicians are. I don't understand what the problem is.

John20212 says:

Why the hell would I want to bring it to a repair shop when I can do it myself, if it was properly constructed with screws and not tons of 'tar' glue.



wpvader72 says:

Most users don't DIY.. If you want screws then buy a thicker tablet. Or better yet buy a laptop.

Tafsern says:

I couldn't care less.

Cree Ray says:

I don't understand this. People want the thinnest devices to do everything and still be repair able? People need to understand that every device now has a good life of 4 or 5 years max, bad for the environment, but people now want new stuff every other year... So life is full of compromises, you don't get to have and eat the cake too...

lippidp says:

I don't like cake anyway.

Adhesive Ray says:

Then you, sir, get two slices!

lippidp says:

Hahaha... I will donate them to the LA City Council...

Maybe this is a good thing...Looks like the warranty repairs might get folks a new SP3 instead of a refurbished one! And maybe this means its harder to break? Idk.

shadyghost says:

Ok, I don't see a problem here. The vast majority of damage that is going to occur to a device with an entire side of glass, is broken or cracked glass... Which means at that point trying to get the screen off without the glass cracking is out the window.

I write this while sliding my thumb over the cracked glass of my 1020 :/. My choices of repair are new screen assembly (150) or frustrating glass digitizer replacement process involving heat and prying and risk of damaging lcd (10). I'm Ok with both because I don't think it's the manufactures duty to make repairable devices. It's their duty to make money by making devices the consumer wants, which is slim fast devices, which require space saving processes... E.G. Glue.

jeffgeno says:

I was able to replace the screen on my 920 by getting an identical phone with a broken power button on eBay. It was actually cheaper than just the glass and LCD assembly. As a bonus, I got to replace the wonky USB connector on my old one as well.

shadyghost says:

Yeah I looked... No luck. Thanks though.

Martinio32 says:

Good tablet? Lenovo ThinkPad.

mwgeek says:

You cram that much awesome in such a small space this is what you get. Consider buying the protection plan from Microsoft

I'm not surprised iFixit broke the glass, there isn't an air gap which, coupled with all the glue, makes it nigh on difficult to remove.

jeffgeno says:

iFixit also found that they chip they use for WLAN and Bluetooth supports NFC as well. Too bad they didn't include any reader on there. It would be nice to pair or share with Windows Phones by touching them.

stephen_az says:

Do you even recognize how stupid this "news" is?  You do know the approach of all manuacturers to repair is to send a replacement unit? Other than a couple tablets with replaceable batteries, tablets are designed to NOT be user serviceable. Do you think glued shut iPads are meant to be opened? The title should be Surface Pro 3 joins list of virtually every tablet in existence in being difficult to repair. If people want to tinker, buy a laptop. Seriously, does anyone even read this stuff before posting such blather as news?

paraesthetic says:

Who honestly cares, no one who is buying this is honestly thinking that it's something they would try to repair themselves anyway.

offbeatbop says:

If you physically damage a well constructed piece of hardware out of warranty you deserve whatever you get

tallgeese says:

Why is this precision made device being difficult to repair news?!!!


tallgeese says:

I hate tech blog news regurgitaters! Someone says something ridiculous, unwarranted, and downright sensationalized on one site and others report it like it's informative and true.

Hard drives are incredibly difficult to repair: Run tell dat!!!!!!!

Rug says:

This may affect their adoption in the enterprise, or at less will cause them to think differently.

We have fans in laptops replaced all the time. Kind of a shame to have the whole Surface be trashed for a fan, which will fail eventually.