Microsoft slays 'glue-filled' monster,' makes Surface Laptop 7 and Surface Pro 11 easier to repair

Surface Laptop 7
Microsoft's Surface Laptop 7 received praise from iFixit for its repairability. (Image credit: Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • iFixit shared its provisional repairability scores for the Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7 recently.
  • Both devices received an 8/10, though they are rated as part of different form factors.
  • iFixit praised Microsoft for making repair manuals available from day one, making it easier to remove and replace parts, and labeling parts with QR codes that navigate to repair manuals.

Microsoft shipped its Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7 last week. The flagship devices, which run on the Snapdragon X Elite or Snapdragon X Plus, usher in the first wave of Copilot+ PCs. Those chips have dominated headlines so far, but as more reviewers and people get their hands on the PCs, more insight about the hardware trickles out. Well-known repairability experts iFixit shared their provisional repair scores for the Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7 recently, and early results are promising.

The Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7 each received provisional scores of 8/10 from iFixit. Notably, iFixit has different scales for various form factors. The Surface Pro 11 received an 8/10 on iFixit's tablet scale, while the Surface Laptop 7 received an 8/10 on the laptop scale. The numbers being the same does not mean that ease of repair is the same for the new Surface PCs. The scores are relative to other devices within respective form factors. The scores are also provisional, so they could change after further inspection.

Both of Microsoft's new Surface devices are easier to repair than their predecessors. The Surface Pro 7 infamously received a 1/10 repairability score. The original Surface Laptop was called a "glue-filled monster" by iFixit. Microsoft has improved the repairability of Surface PCs steadily over the years, as is illustrated well by the Surface Pro 11 and Surface Laptop 7.

Surface Pro 11 & Surface Laptop 7 Teardowns - Repairable, AI Powered Devices!!! - YouTube Surface Pro 11 & Surface Laptop 7 Teardowns - Repairable, AI Powered Devices!!! - YouTube
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Some of the changes Microsoft has made to Surface designs over the years seem obvious, but they're still welcome improvements. Additionally, there are also PC manufacturers who have not pushed for repairability. Microsoft started off poorly when it comes to making its devices easy to repair, but it now surpasses several OEMs in the area. For example, repair guides are available day one and many parts are marked with QR codes that navigate to those guides.

The iFixit breakdown begins by opening the Surface Laptop 7, which can be done by removing rubber feet and unscrewing some torx screws. Even opening the Surface Laptop was a challenge in early generations. Many of the parts of the Surface Laptop 7 can be removed easily, including the battery. The "glue-filled monster" has been slain, or at least replaced with an easier-to-repair PC.

Similar improvements were seen in the Surface Pro 11, though the 2-in-1 is harder to repair than its laptop sibling. Removing the screen requires heat and more hardware, for example. The now-familiar option to swap out the Surface Pro M.2 SSD with just a torx wrench is seen, as is the option to remove the battery without having to get rid of glue.

"The new Surface Laptop and Surface Pro are both impressively modular and accessible devices," said iFixit. "With easy to remove batteries, removable and upgradeable storage, helpful disassembly markups printed on the internals, and, of course, those official service guides, the Surface Laptop 7 more than earns its provisional eight out of ten on our laptop repairability scale. And the Surface Pro 11 also scored a provisional eight out of ten on our tablet repairability scale."

It's impressive how far Microsoft has come regarding repairs. There is always room for improvement, such as making certain cables easier to access. But generation-on-generation improvements suggest those fixes could come in the next generation of Surface PCs.

Microsoft Surface Pro Essentials Bundle | from $1,189.18 at Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Pro Essentials Bundle | from $1,189.18 at Microsoft

Microsoft's new flagship 2-in-1 is here, ushering in a wave of Copilot+ PCs. The new Surface Pro has an OLED panel and Qualcomm's new Snapdragon X processors. The Essentials Bundle saves you money on Microsoft 365 and gets you a 20% discount on a Surface Pro Flex Keyboard.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 (13-inch) | from $999.99 at Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 (13-inch) | from $999.99 at Microsoft

As the latest flagship laptop from Microsoft, the Surface Laptop 7 has a sleek design and is powered by a Snapdragon X processor. It promises long battery life and AI features exclusive to Copilot+ PCs.

While you can purchase the Surface Laptop 7 through several retailers, only Microsoft offers the 64GB version of the laptop. That model of the laptop costs $2,399.99.

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 (15-inch) | From $999.99 at Microsoft

Microsoft Surface Laptop 7 (15-inch) | From $999.99 at Microsoft

The larger sibling of the Surface Laptop 7 lineup has a 15-inch screen. It also runs on a Snapdragon X processor, meaning it can power AI features and general productivity.

The only way to get the 64GB version of the Surface Laptop 15is to buy the PC through the Microsoft Store. Just note that the 64GB version costs $2,499.99.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.