Microsoft Surface Teardown Reveals It’s More Repairable Than iPad Thanks To Modular Components

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Popular gadget repair site iFixit has taken the Microsoft Surface apart to see what makes it tick, and discovered a tablet/PC that scores higher on repairability than Apple’s iPad and its Retina MacBook Pro computers. The Surface ended up with a repairability score of 4 out of a possible 10, compared to just 2 out of 10 for the iPad, 1 out of 10 for the 15-inch Retina MacBook Pro and 2 out of 10 for the newer, 13-inch model.

Why did the Windows RT-powered Surface beat out Apple’s hardware? Mostly due to the modular nature of several key components. The battery (while glued in), headphone jack, volume buttons, and speaker specifically are called out as easy to remove and replace. That means that the Surface’s potential consumer lifespan is extended, since users can pick up replacement parts and swap them out easily enough at home with a few commonly available tools.

Another interesting tidbit dug up by iFixit is a part that appears to be a small speaker component specifically included to make the “click” noise created when users type using the Touch Cover keyboard. Overall, iFixit still had some difficulty with the removal of the back panel to provide access to internals, however, and there appears to be a tamper-proof indicator to let anyone looking know you’ve been poking around. Plus, taking off the glass protecting the LCD is incredibly difficult, so repair costs will rise accordingly.

Overall, though, it’s interesting to see Microsoft put out a compact tablet device that outdoes the competition on repairability, even if it isn’t as modular as a desktop PC or something like the Kupa UltraNote we tried out at MobileCon this year. Whatever the impression of reviewers on the overall Surface experience, at least it stands a better chance of clogging landfills than some of the competition.