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Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 Looks Easier to Fix than Ever in New iFixit Video

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Microsoft’s Surface Pro 9 has a new and attractive design on the outside, but a new iFixit teardown shows that the inside is also more inviting. The latest of the company’s 2-in-1s now has a screw-in battery module instead of a stuck one. Between that and other components that have become more modular over the years, repairability is really achievable.

In the past, the most daunting part of past repairs to Surface tablets has been simply getting it open: The glass had little bend to pry and would easily crack when trying to open it after being heated. utilities, as demonstrated in the iFixit video, we can see that the glass edges are much more forgiving of the force required to lift it, making the adhesives easier to tear and remove from the screen. iFixit gives it a preliminary recoverability score of seven out of ten.

Microsoft’s hardware recoverability was at an all-time low in 2017 with the release of the Surface Laptop. It was called a “glue-filled monster” by iFixit, which couldn’t take it apart without permanently damaging it – giving it a repairability score of zero. “This laptop is not intended to be opened or repaired; you can’t get in without doing a lot of damage,” iFixit said at the time. A disastrous score for a company that supposedly focuses on sustainability.

But in 2019, Microsoft tackled recoverability with the ARM-based Surface Pro X. That model introduced more modular components and ports than ever before and even had a removable SSD accessible from behind the kickstand. According to Ralf Groene, head of Windows and device research and design, Microsoft is now more committed to ensuring that the laptops it sells can be repaired if something breaks. “The trade-off was repairability for perfection and design,” Groene told The Verge last month. “We worked super hard to make it recoverable later. I don’t know if I would make that decision again.”

And the last few years of Surface devices seem to support Green. Today, Surface laptops are much more repairable. Microsoft even partnered with iFixit last year to design tools that repair technicians can use to fix Surface devices. The company too partners with Best Buy to make repairs easierthough it hasn’t been determined whether the Geek Squad big-box house will make on-site repairs.

Which brings us back to the latest Surface Pro 9. Microsoft and many of its competitors, including the much less repair-friendly Apple, spent years gluing batteries directly into the chassis because it could produce a thinner and lighter laptop. But people don’t always want the thinnest and lightest laptop possible. Sometimes it’s okay to sacrifice a little thinness if it means you can replace the laptop’s battery without repeatedly using a heat gun.

“Every opportunity that comes with reparability creates a challenge that you have to solve, like how to swap something out without really ruining the design,” said Robin Seiler, Microsoft’s corporate vice president of Windows and Devices. The edge. Considering Microsoft’s Surface contributed to a major renaissance in laptop design years ago, perhaps the company’s embrace of repairable design will spark a new renaissance in the industry. Wouldn’t it be nice to just change your battery when it dies?

Additional reporting by Tom Warren

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