Microsoft’s new laptop’s repair capabilities stun iFixit, setting the bar high for rivals (looking at you, Apple)

Inside the Surface Pro 11, priority was given to making the battery cooling fan easier to repair or replace.

Inside Surface Pro 11: Prioritize making the battery and fan easier to repair or replace.

I fix it

I have almost completely given up on laptop repair. As the trend shifts toward thin and light systems, it becomes nearly impossible for the average person to open their laptop for repair without causing further damage.

Additionally, it can be extremely difficult to find parts for certain systems — I’m looking at you, Apple — and even if you Maybe find parts, they’re often priced in a way that makes buying a new system more attractive — I’m looking back at you, Apple.

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In such cases, creating the motivation to get the tools out can be very difficult.

But it seems Microsoft has decided to completely rewrite the rules and announce a new line of hardware that is – at least by today’s standards – remarkably repairable. In this ever-evolving technology landscape, Microsoft has gone to great lengths to create a series of devices that prioritize ease of maintenance and repair.

This is the verdict of iFixit repair experts, reviewed the new Surface Laptop 7 and Surface Pro 11 and declared them “a dramatic and rapid turnaround from unrepairable to very repairable.”

It’s important to remember that the IFixit team is a tough bunch indeed; we know this because when the team destroyed the first Surface Laptop, it received a repairability score of 0 out of 10.

Yes, zero.

Also: Microsoft’s Surface Pro and Laptop are the ultimate ‘AI PCs’, I’m worried about Apple

How have things changed?

Simply put, in every way possible. Take Surface Laptop 7, For example. The device exudes repair friendliness, from the magnetically secured bottom plate to the QR code that directs users to the service manual on Microsoft’s website. Additionally, small symbols called Wayfinders are used to indicate the type and number of screws used to secure specific parts. These features are everything a modern laptop would have had years ago — if manufacturers had made the effort to make them easy to repair back then.

QR code and Wayfinder mark inside Microsoft Surface Laptop 7.

QR code and Wayfinder mark inside Microsoft Surface Laptop 7.

I fix it

Microsoft has also worked to ensure that commonly maintained components are easy to replace. For example, the battery and cooling fan can be easily replaced by removing the bottom of the device.

The Surface Pro 11 follows the same repair-friendly design philosophy. It has a QR code that leads users to the user manual and a Wayfinder to aid in screw identification. Furthermore, non-magnetic screws are used to fix parts containing magnets, eliminating the phenomenon of screws being attracted to nearby magnetic parts.

And more good news for repairers — there’s not a drop of nasty glue to be found inside these laptops!

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These repair-friendly design choices earned both the Surface Laptop 7 and Surface Pro 11 a repairability score of 8/10 from iFixit.

As someone who had a chance — or should have unfortunate — to work inside a number of Microsoft laptops over the years, I can attest that these small changes to repairability will significantly extend the life of these devices. This is not only beneficial for users’ bank balances but also for the environment.

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