iFixit exposes guts of Surface Laptop 3, comes away surprised

(Image credit: iFixit)

What you need to know

  • The folks at iFixit have torn down the Surface Laptop 3.
  • The SSD is now removeable with one screw, and many components are modular.
  • iFixit found the Surface Laptop 3 to be a "dramatic" improvement over its predecessors in terms of repairability.

Surface Laptop hasn't exactly had a great track record when it comes to "repairability," but iFixit's new teardown of the Surface Laptop 3 shows that times are changing.

Given Surface chief Panos Panay went out of his way to point out how easy the Surface Laptop 3's guts are to access at this year's Surface launch event, that's not a huge surprise. However, given iFixit previously rated the Surface Laptop as the least repairable laptop on the market, it's a big step forward.

As we saw this week with a post from an enterprising Redditor, the Surface Laptop 3's base is largely held together by four Torx screws that live underneath the laptop's feet. Once those are removed, you can detach the keyboard and upper case, which are held in place with magnets.

While you can't replace everything inside the Surface Laptop 3, it does feature several modular parts. Those include the speakers, as well as the headphone jack and SSD drive.

Summing things up, iFixit gave the Surface Laptop 3 a "repairability" score of five out of 10. Here's how they summed things up:

Based on its superficial similarity to past Surface Laptop designs, we would have expected something completely non-serviceable. Instead, the 3rd-generation Surface Laptop has swerved confidently into a better, more repairable direction.

Some of the modular components are still pretty difficult to access, and the battery looks to be a nightmare to remove without any adhesive tabs. However, it appears the Surface Laptop 3 is miles ahead of its predecessors.

Dan Thorp-Lancaster is the former Editor-in-Chief of Windows Central. He began working with Windows Central, Android Central, and iMore as a news writer in 2014 and is obsessed with tech of all sorts. You can follow Dan on Twitter @DthorpL and Instagram @heyitsdtl

  • Using magnets to hold the keyboard? GENIUS! The metal shields would be a pain but not a big deal with time and slowly removing it. The battery is a downer though... that glue will be hard to remove.
  • The battery is really the only part of a laptop or mobile device I care about replacing, because it DOES wear out in a few years and on some devices (like Surface Pro and Go), they are hell to replace.
  • Same here, it's one of the primary reasons why I still use a concrete slab of a laptop lol. It's due to the manufacturers love of glue that people have become accustomed to just throwing laptops away. The Surface laptop 3 is a step in the right direction.
  • Never quite understood the fuzz people make when it comes to replacing those custom built Laptop Batteries... They'll most likely be fine during the Warranty phase so MS would take care of it during that time and after that where the hell are you or the repair shop even supposed to get a new and trustworthy replacement from?
    I'm pretty sure those listed on eBay are NOT genuinely new ones that would do you a better service than the one you plan to replace them with - Especially not down the line as the years pass.
  • There are places that you can get reliable Laptop components from and sometimes there are place you just got to take a chance. If the part turns out faulty then in the UK there are distance selling regulations that govern most online sales - i.e. there has to be a returns policy, cooling off period or cancellation period. As well as other regulations to prevent misselling / misleading advertising.
  • It's not about them breaking, it's rather more about the eventual wear than they experience after several years or 500 or so charge-discharge cycles, after which the battery life becomes so crappy it makes your laptop into a more portable desktop. IA have successfully purchased aftermarket batteries online for previous laptops I've owned and haven't had any issues.
  • That's sort of a chicken and egg problem. Thin and light, glued together, laptops make it almost impossible to repair them, so why would their be a big source of parts? My older laptops, with batteries that just pop out by sliding a thumb lock, and hard drives that require one screw to slip out the side, have numerous options for replacement parts. Make the parts replaceable, and replacement parts will be available.