Microsoft used magnets to make its Surface Laptop 3 more repairable

Ruben Fields
October 24, 2019

Panay showed on stage how easy it was to snap off the Surface Laptop 3's keyboard to reveal the parts underneath.

Since Microsoft uses modular components inside the device, it's easy to replace all the components. During the Laptop 3 teardown, iFixit found 4 screws hidden inside the foot. It got a score of 0 out of 10.

The fix site gave the Surface Laptop 3 a repairability score of 5 out of 10, a massive jump from the first two Surface Laptops, which each received 0 points. It was only tethered to the remainder of the device with a single flex cable, after all, and it's secured not with glue, but with magnets.

At the Surface launch event, Microsoft claimed that they have improved the repairability and users will be able to open the laptop easily.

Microsoft's Panos Panay showed the Surface Laptop 3's improved serviceability.

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The M.2 SSD is fully modular and easy to access. It ends up, thanks to a teardown from iFixit, that it's not quite that easy, but it's close. 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. The 45.8Wh battery, however, still requires strong skills to remove its existence.

"Based on its superficial similarity to past Surface Laptop designs, we would have expected something completely non-serviceable". 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.

"Microsoft pulled this off without making the laptop one iota thicker or clunkier, defying all the naysayers who claim repairable designs can't be sleek and attractive".

There are still issues here, though, and the battery remains heavily glued and very hard to remove just as before, plus the RAM is soldered on (so can't be upgraded).

Fix company iFixit has awarded the Surface Laptop 3 a 5 out of 0 repairability rating.

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