What you need to know
- The Surface Laptop 3's SSD can't be upgraded right now, according to Microsoft Store agents.
- The Surface Laptop 3's SSD is serviceable, but that is seemingly just for replacing or fixing the SSD.
- The Surface Laptop 3's SSD is not user-removable, according to Microsoft's website.
The Surface Laptop 3 is the first Surface device to have a serviceable SSD, but according to Microsoft Store agents that spoke to PC World, that doesn't mean the SSD is upgradeable. It seems that the intention of the SSD being easily accessed is to allow technicians to repair or replace an SSD, not to allow people to upgrade a device's SSD.
When purchasing a Surface Laptop 3, adding more storage is very expensive. Moving from the Intel Core i7 version with 256GB of storage to the Intel Core i7 version with 512GB of storage costs an additional $400. It's tempting for a person to purchase a cheaper model and to use the increased SSD access to add more storage when a person can afford it. But based on PC World's discussions with multiple Microsoft Store agents, that isn't possible, at least for now.
A technical support staffer told PC World that the Surface Laptop 3's SSD isn't upgradeable. It's unclear if this is a technical limitation or simply a choice by Microsoft. A Microsoft Store staffer told PC World that there's nothing preventing a person from upgrading a Surface Laptop 3's SSD, but that the person risks voiding the device's warranty "if something goes wrong."
Microsoft Chief Product Officer, Panos Panay, told people not to try to swap the SSD themselves, saying, "Don't send me the tweet that says I tried to rip the top off and now it's broken, and it's your fault. So do not do that."
PC World emphasized that Microsoft Store agents often used the phrase "for now." This could mean that the Surface Laptop 3's SSD could be upgradeable in the future, but it's unclear if Microsoft will ever make that possible.
13- and 15-inch options available
Get yours while it's hot
The Surface Laptop 3, available in both 13.5- and 15-inch configurations, is sure to please anyone looking for a premium Ultrabook.
Sean Endicott is the news writer for Windows Central. If it runs Windows, is made by Microsoft, or has anything to do with either, he's on it. Sean's been with Windows Central since 2017 and is also our resident app expert. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Panos presumably said that because in the demo, he lifted it off with ease, since it had already been unscrewed or whatever for the sake of a demo. Obviously don't try to open your device unless you are skilled and know how to do it without damaging it. If it is not soldered, or they aren't trying to firmware block you from adding something different, then it can surely be upgraded.
If a technician can upgrade or change it, so could any daring power user. Unless they implement the firmware-level block on anything other than the factory-set SSD size (i.e., you cannot upgrade from 256GB to 512GB since the BIOS would "reject" it), which would be a crap move on Microsoft's part.
I don't get this, easy repairability was one of the key features mentioned by Panay in the presentation. So either do it or not do it, don't go this half-assed route.
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