Surface Laptop 3 iFixit teardown tests the promise of easy repairs

Ewdison Then - Oct 23, 2019, 10:48pm CDT
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Surface Laptop 3 iFixit teardown tests the promise of easy repairs

At its Surface event, Microsoft’s Panos Panay made a huge claim that it would be easy to open up the third-gen Surface Laptop. While that may be non-news for most laptops, the Surface Laptop actually scored a miserable zero on iFixit’s rating because it was impossible to open up without destroying the thing. With the Surface Laptop 3 finally in the market, the DIY repair experts are putting both the 13.5-inch and the 15-inch laptops on the hot seat to call out Microsoft if necessary.

Panay showed on stage how easy it was to snap off the Surface Laptop 3’s keyboard to reveal the parts underneath. That was partly a lie though because you still had to remove some screws before that happened. That in itself, however, was a major upgrade. You only have to remove screws, albeit uncommon Torx Plus ones, and not cut or destroy anything in the process.

A little prying is actually also needed but the keyboard and trackpad top of the Surface Laptop 3 is actually just held in place by strong magnets (aside from the screws). Underneath are multiple layers of components but right at the top is the easy to replace SSD. Sadly, the RAM isn’t upgradable at all.

Now for the bad news. The batteries are still completely glued in place and carries all the risk in trying to pry off a pack of volatile chemicals. While the touch screen can be removed with only a small amount of difficulty, it has to be replaced as a whole unit, which can be pretty expensive.

Still, jumping from 0 to 5 on iFixit’s scoring system is a huge deal. It may not be the most repairable laptop in the market but at least Surface Laptop 3 owners won’t be at a total loss when, not if, bad things happen. Hopefully, the newfound admiration will encourage Microsoft to continue down this path with more easy-to-repair features and prove to the industry you can make pretty things repairable, too.


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