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


Reader comments

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


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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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? ;)

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

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 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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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)

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 :-)

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...

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

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.

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

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

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

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...

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.

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...

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

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.

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

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

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

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.


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.

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.



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...

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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?

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

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!!!!!!!

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.