back to article Surface Pro 2: It's TOOL-PROOF and ultimately destined for LANDFILL

We knew that Microsoft's Surface Pro 2 tablets wouldn't stray too far from the original Surface Pro design - but according to the tool-and-part masters at iFixit, the new tablets are virtually identical to the old ones – meaning they're just as difficult to repair. Surface Pro 2 with docking station The Surface Pro 2 looks a …


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  1. Anonymous Coward

    Time I think

    to start rating by 0.1's, as otherwise they are going to need minus numbers.

    1. LarsG

      Re: Time I think

      Scary when you think most of this new Surface is old stuff repackaged.

      1. mmeier

        Re: Time I think

        They changed the four things that made sense

        CPU for a Haswell

        Memory for 8GB

        SSD for 256 or 512GB

        Optional LTE model (announced)

        Anything else and you leave this weight/size class.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Who repairs these things?

    The sort of person who likes to repair or upgrade stuff probably won't buy a tablet type machine.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Red Ring of FAIL!

      I sure won't buy any of that quickly-designed crud, that's for sure.

      "If in doubt or otherwise challenged, use more glue!"

    2. MrXavia

      Its not the user that is supposed to repair it, it is the user who pops into a repair shop asking for it to be fixed hoping to only spend ~£100 because his son dropped it on the floor and smashed the screen, and the guy behind the counter then laughs and tells him to bin it because its worthless and unrepairable.

      1. Deadly Chicken

        No, you can go via the MS my service site for surface and get an out of warrantee repair from them. If someone wants to try and make a business by undercutting MS then go for your life, but its not like there isn't an option.

      2. Oh Homer

        re: repairs

        Yes, that's especially important when the item in question costs up to one and a half grand.

        That's a lot of money for something that's essentially unrepairable.

        1. tempemeaty

          Re: re: repairs

          "That's a lot of money for something that's essentially unrepairable."

          Isn't that it exactly. I refused to pay half a grand or more for unrepairable "disposable" hardware.

          1. mmeier

            Re: re: repairs

            Then buy Sony/Lenovo (shop replaceable parts) or DELL and Fujitsu (user replaceable parts). Where is the problem? These units cost a bit more for similar capabilities but if "replace/repair" is an important criteria that's the way to go. If OTOH you go the "replace in 2.5 to 3 years with Broadwell based unit" plan than a S/P2 is "good enough" and has it's own benefits over say a Duo13 (size, weight of base unit)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: re: repairs

              Sony??? Shop repairable parts!!!

              You are having a giraffe i trust.

              Sony typically stop spare part production the instant a model is superceeded.

              So, unless you turn to the likes of ebay et-al, Sony crud is at the whim of the 2nd hand or aftermarket OEM parts if you are lucky...

              Ditto with Dell due to custom cases and components...

              Once again, the car anaology rings true.. You can still buy spares for at least 10 years after a car ceases to be manufactured.

              1. mmeier

                Re: re: repairs

                Does not change the fact that the Sony Vaios can be opened by screws and parts can be changed. No glue etc. So yes, they are shop repairable. And yes, DELLs Latitute has user replaceably batteries. Getting spare parts may or may not be difficult once they are no longer in production. But that does not change the fact that you can open the case without destroying it

                1. Furbian

                  Re: re: repairs

                  Might as well add my two pence's worth. Wife's 15" HP had a display failure just outside the 1 year warranty. Ordered a £18 inverter, opened up screen bezel, bit of pain. Noticed a magnet had managed to fall out of a nearby slot (inside the bezel) and land on the inverter, put the magnet back with some glue, all fixed, the inverter I bought wasn't used. Then about half a year later, noisy CPU fan, dies. Buy this for £15, cheap, but taking it apart wasn't good, a few clip lug broken and had to remove the entire board to get to the fan. Two years on it still works, given to relatives recently.

                  My HP Envy 17, over 1k's worth of laptop, two years on, begins to overheat, with BIOS telling me of fan failure. So opening time again, resent that I had to get the board out, i.e. near full tear down, to clear out heat sink and fan (during a holiday!), but it was quite easy to take apart and re-assemble, no clips and lugs like the 15" one.

                  My Sony Xperia Z, a glue up job, that's meant to be 'water resistant'. Well despite all port covers checked as closed, some water did get in to mess up the power switch. So now I'm toying with the idea of opening it, but heat gun? I've decided to stick to using a soft button to get around the problem instead.

        2. CheesyTheClown


          I bought two Surface Pro 128GBs and a Surface 64Gb. I didn't even notice the price. It wasn't important. I understood when buying it, if it broke, it was a gonner.

          I think you need to see who the target audience of a machine like this is. It's a well engineered machine which looks awesome, weighs very little, has a replaceable keyboard, has an awesome screen, has good battery life relative to the specs and size, is really versatile in general. It has made my life amazingly better. I tossed my MacBook Air 11" and iPad G3 and Samsung Series 7 Slate because now I have one machine which does what I needed three machines for earlier. If it cost $3000 a machine and wasn't repairable, who would care?

          I already ordered a 512GB Surface Pro 2. Can't wait to get it. Better battery and more storage... it's like Christmas.... in fact, it'll probably be Christmas.

          I guess some of us prefer to pay a bit extra for something that improves our lives.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Disagree

            I guess some of us prefer to pay a bit extra for something that improves our lives.

            You must have a very sad life if that's all it takes to improve it.

          2. jelabarre59

            Re: Disagree

            But it's *already* broken from the factory; it's running MSWindows <g>.

    3. cortland



      We took the old Acer Aspire One for a ride and added 1GB of extra RAM, Windows 7, Bluetooth 2.0, 6-cell Battery and a Touchscreen. The total price was around 5000 DDK.

      NB: Cheaper to buy new stock.

    4. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      It is not a question of repair

      It is a question of recycling too. I do not see how a system like this can comply with recycling requirements of the WEE (and its USA equivalents). It is a pity that these are not enforced in electronics as rigorously as they are enforced in other areas like car manufacturing. If you build a car like this, it will not pass CE certification.

      1. Phil O'Sophical Silver badge

        Re: It is not a question of repair

        Recycling is less of a concern since it doesn't have to remain in usable condition after it's opened. Split it down the middle with a hammer & bolster chisel and you'd have access for recycling, although it wouldn't be advisable as a repair technique...

        Not an excuse for the crappy construction, of course, just an observation.

  3. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Battery Life

    I'm seeing typical battery life of 1 to 2 years on the tech I use regularly. Sometimes the batteries don't even last that long. I don't see myself buying anything that can't have its battery replaced even by an experienced technician. As a Mac person, I'm even put off by the newer Apple laptops that contain 4 or 5 batteries in a sealed enclosure. High tech landfill is just plain sad.

    1. Colin Wilson 2

      Re: Battery Life

      At least Apple provide a battery replacement service for everything they make where the battery is not user replaceable - iPods, iPhones, iPads & MacBooks. Not ideal - but better than nothing.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Battery Life

      How are you seeing such poor battery lifespan from Apple products that are designed to retain at least 80% of their charge capacity after 1000 charge cycles? i.e., if you charged them from 0% to 100% every single day, they're designed to still work well after 3 years.

      I just sold my iPhone 4 that was 3 years old and as far as I could tell it held a charge just as well as the day I bought it. I also have a MacBook Air that's 3 years old and according to some battery diagnostic software it still has 95% of its charge capacity. Admittedly I only use the Air a couple times per week, and I keep all my devices plugged in when possible out of habit to avoid unnecessary battery drain, but that still shouldn't be the difference between 1 year of battery life and way over 3 years.

      Are you subjecting your devices to some crazy temperature fluctuations or something?

      Oh, BTW, the battery in a MacBook Air is extremely easy to replace. Just undo the screws on the bottom and the battery comes right out. Something I checked before buying one.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery Life

        > designed to retain at least 80% of their charge capacity after 1000 charge cycles?

        Charge cycles during the day:

        1. Get up and drive to work, plugging phone into car.

        2. Get into work and plug it in.

        3. Unplug go to lunch and plug it back in when I get back.

        4. Drive home with phone plugged into car.

        5. Plug phone into dock at home.

        6. Go out for beer/takeaway/supermarket and plug phone in when I get back.

        That is 6 charge/discharge cycles in a single day (yes it is an exaggeration but not by much).

        You will get the 80% only if it is a complete charge followed by a complete discharge. Continually keeping your battery topped up is bad for it, it will degrade faster and result in a battery that can not hold its charge for any period of time.

        1. Steve Todd

          Re: Battery Life - @AC 8:43

          No, lithium cells get a much longer lifespan if you recharge them after only partial use. The deeper you discharge them the shorter their lifespan.

        2. Maharg

          Re: Battery Life

          “You will get the 80% only if it is a complete charge followed by a complete discharge. Continually keeping your battery topped up is bad for it, it will degrade faster and result in a battery that cannot hold its charge for any period of time.”

          And that’s why you shouldn’t do it, I don’t understand people who do this, your phones doesn’t need to be above 90% all the time, I put my phone on charge for a few hours every other night, and if needed any time it is below 25% during the day, there is no need for more, and its not like I don’t use it, its playing music for at least 3 hours a day (I have a noisy office), youtube, facebook etc at lunch, work phone calls when not at my desk and the odd text I have never had issues with battery life, in anything other TV remotes or other device where you can’t see how much power is in them.

          Do you fill your car up after every journey no matter the distance? No? Then why do the same with your phone?

          1. Dave K

            Re: Battery Life

            Sorry, but not true. Lithium Ion batteries don't suffer from the memory effect of NiCads and (to a lesser degree) NiMH batteries. What they do suffer from though is shortage of life and possible failure if completely and utterly discharged.

            Of course, leaving one constantly plugged in and charging won't do it any good either, but letting a Lithium Ion battery run right down is not a good idea.

            1. Intractable Potsherd

              Re: Battery Life

              And this is where the problem lies with modern batteries - there is no definitive information on how to look after them. For every person with adequate knowledge saying "charge little and often" there is another saying "charge deep and rarely".

              I'll stick with putting my phone on charge every night (from 10-50% discharged to full), and running my laptop with the cable in unless I have to, since no-one can definitively tell me otherwise.

              1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

                Re: Battery Life

                You're operating the charging of your devices correctly, as this is how the designers and manufacturers expect you to operate.

                There is definitive information on how to look after devices, however this it can be hard to get to with all the white noise, voodoo, superstitions and every other bit of rhetoric there is out there.

                Here's the basics:

                The quality of the charging circuit makes all the difference, a better quality charging circuit charges at the appropriate rates for the overall capacity, current capacity and other performance indicators. Using no-name external chargers to charge your device batteries is often a bad idea as they often include poor quality charging circuits. Mobile phones have the charging circuits built in to the device (they're not in the AC/DC>USB converter), however when you have removable batteries you have the option to circumvent this (unless the charging circuit is built into the battery itself). For reasons like this you can see why Apple keep their batteries largely unremovable.

                Overcharging is one of the worst (normal) things to do to a LI battery. Again, the better quality charging circuits prevent this. While it may sound like a simple problem, definitively knowing when a battery is "full", or more accurately, near full, given that measurements can vary depending on various factors is a bugger. As detection at the near-full end of the scale is harder to be accurate the closer to full the battery is, for battery longetivity many devices employ a scheme where they do not charge at 99%, instead they only start charging at 97% or similar. Completely emptying a LI battery is the next worst thing to do to them (although it can be argued the other way round).

                As noted, the other serious headache is trying to work out what the capacity of a battery actually is... :)

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Battery Life

                Yes, yes there is. But since almost everyone has their own personal dogmas they treat as a fact, it's mostly worthless.

            2. Stevie

              Re:What they do suffer from

              Which is why Lion batteries for almost all consumer uses have circuitry to prevent overcharge and over drain.

              The only piece of equipment I own that has a naked (as in unprotected) battery is my Airsoft Thompson machine gun, and it came with big shouty warnings about not overcharging the batteries, and even that one has overdrain protection built in because if you drag a Lion cell below a bit more than a volt they can short internally and "venting with flame" can occur (manufacturer's language there).

          2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

            Re: Do you fill your car up after every journey [.. ]? No? Then why do the same with your phone?

            Does your gas tank shrink as it is emptied ? Do you ever risk not being able to fill it up to its full capacity ?


            Then why do you attempt to use that as comparison ?

            By the way : brains are not like batteries - if you're not continuously filling them, they stagnate and go empty.

            1. Maharg

              Re: Do you fill your car up after every journey [.. ]? No? Then why do the same with your phone?

              Does your gas tank shrink as it is emptied ? Do you ever risk not being able to fill it up to its full capacity ?


              Then why do you attempt to use that as comparison ?

              Because they both need to be filled up on a regular basis, but still work if not full?

              Pray tell what other comparison I should use, when explaining an electrical good that needs charging should not be over charged?

              1. mmeier

                Re: Do you fill your car up after every journey [.. ]? No? Then why do the same with your phone?

                Actually at least one did shrink (Fiat Regata, used a flexible inner tank).

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Battery Life

          "Charge cycles during the day:

          1. Get up and drive to work, plugging phone into car.

          2. Get into work and plug it in."


          It should be obvious that if you plug your phone in for 1 second, it's not a charge "cycle," right? So why do you think plugging it in for 1 minute is a cycle? Or 10 minutes? etc.

          If you charge your phone from 90% to 100% ten times, that's one charge cycle, not 10.

          Allowing a lithium battery to completely discharge is actually pretty hard on it. It's much better to keep it topped up when convenient. The idea that you should fully discharge before recharging is something that was true in the NiCad days... when was the last time you used a NiCad battery? The 80s?

          Also, to the person who claims that lithium ion batteries are only good for 250 charge cycles... might be true. Apple uses lithium polymer batteries, though, as do most other companies for these sorts of devices.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Battery Life -'retain at least 80% of their charge capacity after 1000 charge cycles'

        This is the exact opposite of the truth.

        lithium ion characteristics

        Lithium batteries are good for about 250 full cycles after which some of them deteriorate rather fast. Recharging them at 25% discharge should get a life around 3 years, and that's what I have always done. The characteristics of NiMH batteries are different, and Prius owners will be familiar with the way that the battery charge is cycled by the battery manager to get maximum life.

        It was NiCD batteries that had the memory effect and needed a regime of periodic full discharges (plus occasional water injection if you had the necessary hypodermic).

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Battery Life

      I'm still on the original battery of my 2009 13in MP (2.4Ghz Core 2 Duo). I can still get about 4 hours of battery powered use out of it. It gets used almost every day and I can't remember the last time I did a battery recondition (full discharge etc).

      IMHO modern battery tech is such that from my experience they rarely go wrong.

    4. David Cantrell

      Re: Battery Life

      If you're killing your batteries within two years, you're doing something wrong. My iPhone 3gs's battery still works just fine and that's over four years old now.

    5. Trygve Henriksen

      Re: Battery Life

      Frankly, I have no idea why you insist on destroying your batteries like that...

      My iPhone 5 still has a perfectly good battery, and I often let the battery run 'rather low'

      (it was at 5% when I got to the office today... )

      My 12" iBook G4(last of the series, 2005) was my main computer for years. It was with me everywhere. And by the time that Sony finally fessed up that they had indeed made 'Zippo brand batteries', it still gave me nearly 4 Hours of continuous use. The 4400mAh battery(Thanks Sony!) that replaced the old 4200mAh battery is 'still going strong'. Of course, as I now have a Mac Mini and assorted netBooks, the iBook doesn't get as much use as before.

      Even the HP nc2400 that the office equipped me with back in 2006 still has a good battery, and that machine sometimes spends weeks on a shelf, far from a charger... (Why would I drag that piece around if I had a nice iBook?)

  4. Anomalous Cowshed

    Dashed hopes

    There were once hopes that the paperless digital world would save a lot of trees, ink, processing and transportation. But the fact that new machines come up every year, tempting owners of the old ones to upgrade, and the fact that the machines in general are not practical to upgrade or repair, probably means that the digital world has had a negative environmental impact in terms of resources, hazardous materials and landfill use.

    1. Fihart

      Re: Dashed hopes

      What is the point of me recycling when companies like Apple and (now) Microsoft seem determined to prevent their stuff being maintained.

      Just how hard is it to make the battery (which will inevitably die before the device) easy to replace.

      Eventually this sort of corporate hooliganism will be outlawed -- the EU has started with phone chargers.

      1. Lusty

        Re: Dashed hopes

        "What is the point of me recycling when companies like Apple and (now) Microsoft seem determined to prevent their stuff being maintained."

        Don't try to drag Apple into this. All of their devices are very recyclable when they eventually stop being used but more importantly their devices tend to be used for many years. The ones to focus on are the cheap crappy android sub £100 tablets which get used for a week and then put in a drawer until their inevitable trip to the skip. These are not worth enough to recycle due to the cheap materials used whereas an iPad for instance is worth at least something for the materials even after it's beyond repair.

        1. Dave 126

          Re: Dashed hopes

          Lusty is correct. When it comes to dismantling devices for their constituent parts, as opposed for repair, parts that are held together with glue can be batch-processed by heating them; traditional fasteners are comparatively fiddly and labour-intensive to undo.

          I remember reading about this situation over a decade ago - before Apple were using the technique - when it was clear that manufacturers would become responsible for the end-of-life disposal of their products by law, thus spurring some research into how to reduce the cost of breaking products down to their component parts.

          ABS plastic, as used for the cases of many electronic products, is fairly easy to recycle, but so is aluminium. The costs come in processing, but there are enough Macs and iDevices out there for there to be economies of scale in in dismantling them.

          Of course, the recycling is only part of the equation, and needs to be seen with how much the device is used when it is working, and for how long it lasts without breaking down. There are probably some reports on the internet - drawn from different data sets - about the reliability of various bits of kit.

          1. Fihart

            Re: Dashed hopes @Dave 126

            An interesting point about the glue - the issue then is how many of these devices get recycled in the way this proposes.

            Sadly, most will probably end up in the unsorted trash and go to landfill where the batteries will not do the environment any favours.

            Much better to make products user-maintainable -- almost every laptop I've own has long outlasted its battery and can then be used on mains power or the battery replaced if one is available at a reasonable price.

            I gather from friend that you cannot use an iPad while the battery is charging -- which suggests that it is useless once the battery fails unless one is prepared to pay Apple's ridiculous price for a battery transplant.

            1. Lusty

              Re: Dashed hopes @Dave 126

              "I gather from friend that you cannot use an iPad while the battery is charging"

              Your friend is not correct. The iPad works fine while charging.

      2. David Cantrell

        Re: Dashed hopes

        There's little point in recycling phones, but not for the reason you give. There's no point recycling them because they're still useful even if they no longer suit your particular needs. My last Mac laptop, after serving me well for four years, and then having its screen break, now sits next to a mate's TV, where it functions as a DVD player and for playing videos off his NAS. My current iPhone 3gs will, when I eventually replace it, be handed on to someone else too.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dashed hopes

          What bugs me is how each and every phone/laptop model seems to have a different shape and size of battery.

          If you have a laptop with a dead battery, and another dead laptop by the same manufacturer but of a different model you make two good ones out of a bad one. To top it off the manufacturers then want a million pounds to buy a replacement battery.

          Why can't we have some standard Lithium size batteries like we have AA's, AAA's and so forth that I can pick up from the pound store?

          1. mmeier

            Re: Dashed hopes

            Given the track record of governments when it comes to "standard parts" we will end up with a grand total of two mobile systems

            Model "Trabant" with a low powered CPU and matching Battery Typ 601

            Model "Wartburg" with a mid powered CPU and a matching Battery Typ 353

            Some variants like Universal (2in1), Tramp (Tablet) and maybe a Special (brighter screen) but that's it. Welcome to the Universial Socialist Computer

            1. Fihart

              Re: Dashed hopes @mmeier

              Your example is flawed.

              All cars have standard 12 volt batteries of a standard size. This has not prevented manufacturers from producing a range of models as varied the Trabant and the Rolls Royce.

              1. Lusty

                Re: Dashed hopes @mmeier

                "Your example is flawed.

                All cars have standard 12 volt batteries of a standard size."

                Your reply is flawed. Cars have in fact widely varying types and sizes of battery. It's true that most of them have a base voltage of 12V but they operate between 11V and 15V with capacities varying from 30Ah to over 200Ah depending on requirements with sizes between probably 15cm and 50cm in length.

                But regardless, the reason batteries in iPads are a certain size and shape is because that's the space left over after the electronics go in. If you want a massive tabet with crap battery life then standardise on a square battery and fit stuff around it. If (like many of us) you want nicely designed, small, light devices with battery life in the 10-12 hour range then leave them to it.

              2. mmeier

                Re: Dashed hopes @mmeier

                At least one car I privatly owned (VW/Bombadier Typ 181 "Iltis") had a 24V battery system :)

                And the starter battery in a car is NOT the main component it is actually a nice to have / pay additional luxury article. My old Käfer would work without one and could be crank-started (1)

                If you want to compare it - use the engine since that, like the battery in a mobile device, is the key component. Last I looked I could not combine a Ford engine and an Opel body.

                (1) A hole needed to be drilled to insert the crank "liberated" from a Kurierwagen but that worked nicely and the TÜV didn't care

          2. Lusty

            Re: Dashed hopes

            A million pounds? Apple want £55 for the iPhone including them fitting iti hardly think that's unreasonable

          3. Fihart

            Re: Dashed hopes @Mr ChriZ

            Absolutely right.

            It's as if the phone, camera and laptop makers are looking to make their batteries unique so one is forced to buy a replacement from them at any price -- or, more likely, some fake from e-bay that risks burning the house down.

            There is no need for this as most laptops run on 19.5 volts and many phones on 3.5 volts. There needs to be a range of standard sized and voltage battery designs around which manufacturers can build their products. If necessary by EU legislation barring imports that do not conform.

      3. Fatman

        Re: Dashed hopes...Just how hard is it to make the battery ... easy to replace.

        Ever hear of:

        Now you have your answer.


    It isn't a huge prblem...

    ... since they won't be making or selling many.

    1. Spearchucker Jones

      Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

      Not so sure. Got mine yesterday morning, and it's got everyone that's seen it pretty interested. Granted, one wants to run Linux on it, but it's getting a fair bit of interest, nonetheless.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

        Are you confusing incredulity with interest?

        1. Robert Grant

          Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

          Careful with that joke - it's an antique. Stash it alongside the thought that the WP "flat" design was ridiculous, regurgitated by similar minionspeople, right up until iOS7's attempt at it.

          1. chr0m4t1c

            Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

            I don't remember any particular complaints about the WP UI, just the usual round of complaints that it didn't do absolutely everything that a given competitor did and was, therefore, "crap" or "useless".

            Personally, I quite like the look of it, to the extent of trying to work out how I might migrate my current setup and what kind of functionality I might lose (or gain) in the process.

            It is possible, but it's just slightly too much pain to be worth the effort/risk for me at the moment and much as I like the look of it, I don't covet it - if you see what I mean.

            As for Surface, I would take a look at it if I didn't have anything already, but there are no compelling arguments to switch from anything else unless you have a specific requirement that is only fulfilled by Surface - can anyone think of one?

        2. keith_w

          Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

          We have 4 Surface Pro's in use with managers and they like them so much they gave up both their desktops and their IPads.

          1. mmeier

            Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

            The one complain I have with 10-12'' units of all kinds (tablet pc, netbook, notebook, ultrabook) is that for some work a bigger screen would be nice. Since the S/P1 unlike say a Fujitsu T-Series or the Atoms has no standard dock one must use USB docks. What USB-3 dock did you use (if any) and what's your verdict?

      2. David Cantrell

        Re: It isn't a huge prblem...

        Interest doesn't equate to actually wanting one, and even wanting one doesn't equate to buying one - especially if you have to buy it with your own money.

  6. Paul Shirley

    a mound of spare parts to use?

    What odds this is actually Microsoft proactively 'recycling' what it can from the $900mil mound of unused Surface 1 parts? Would heavily limit any redesign and ensure the same crappy build methods are used.

    1. Steve K

      Re: a mound of spare parts to use?

      I believe that the USD 900m write-off related to the Surface RT rather than the Pro, but you could well be right on the reuse of Surface 1 Pro parts inventory in the Surfave Pro 2.

      The price of the Surface 1 Pro has not budged that much since the new one was released, but I imagine that is retailers not wanting to take the hit.

      1. mmeier

        Re: a mound of spare parts to use?

        Why change what works? The S/P is "bad to maintain" but otherwise reported as sturdy. Size is not changed and the number of ports is ok for a tablet pc. So to continue using the "known good" shell is IMHO the right thing to do. The LTE version of the S/P2 will see a "new" shell for the additional slot needed.

    2. mmeier

      Re: a mound of spare parts to use?

      As you surely know the odds are extremly lousy since the only units that share parts are the two Surface PRO variants (same screen)

  7. Joe 34

    When will M$ learn?

    This will no doubt turn out to be another futile attempt to get a foot in the door. The next couple of quarters will be interesting indeed..

  8. Goat Jam


    A tablet with fans in it.

    1. hplasm

      Re: haha

      Well, it doesn't have many fans outside of it...

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    landfill from the outset.

    They are only going to sell a handful anyway..

    1. MrXavia

      Re: landfill from the outset.

      i'll buy one... once the price hits rock bottom and their giving them away.... then I can run linux on it

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    With iPad the fans queue outside the shop beforehand to buy the devices. With Microsoft, the only way they can get fans is to stick a couple in each unit!

    But seriously, fans in a fondleslab? Just how badly engineered is it?

    1. Talic

      Re: Fans?

      I thought all tablets that run a full i5 or i7 processor will have fans- they are basically a laptop.

      I've used a toshiba z10t, Samsung ativ pro, Lenovo helix. All have fans.

      I wouldn't want a passively cooled one, they would get too hot.

      1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

        Re: Fans?

        Quote: I wouldn't want a passively cooled one, they would get too hot.

        Well, here is the answer to your question - they probably have the wrong CPU in the first place. Intel may have improved their benchmarks. However, once you build a system with an Intel CPU you realize that they have improved their benchmarks and it is still "Intel Inside".

        1. Dave 126

          Re: Fans?

          I built a passively-cooled i7 machine for a friend... the downside is that the copper cooler alone weighs nearly a kilogram, and needs a nice roomy case to sit in... you can't really use the same technique on a tablet.

          Using fans instead a way of getting the weight and physical volume down.

        2. mmeier

          Re: Fans?

          It always depends on what you want/need.

          A small "electronic notepad" tablet pc can easily be done fanless as the various Atom based units show. These units have equal or better performance to the best ARM with similar endurance and weight. If that is what you want, that is what you buy.

          A platform capabel of showing the program to the customer AND acting as the above notepad, conference tool etc. OTOH needs more power and (in case of the CTrail Atoms) more memory/faster SSD. So there you buy a core-i based unit. Yes they have fans. Very quiet fans that can not be heard in the typical conference situation even if the unit kicks both cores to full power (T-Series convertible with M-class core-i)

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fans?

      Some people, especially the marketing droids, want to show off our software on the fastest hardware available. i5 is several times faster than even the Tegra4

  11. Aslan

    Thanks El Reg

    Thanks to The Register for reporting on this. Peter Bright Microsoft editor over at Ars Technica, one of my favorite sites, thinks your reporting this is a meaningless waste of time. I say thanks to El Reg for taking Microsoft to task on this. I buy devices I can repair even if it take a high level of knowledge and skill.

    1. Mephistro

      Re: Thanks El Reg

      In my opinion, Mr. Bright is in the wrong side of the argument. If only MS can repair them, it's sort of a monopoly, and they'll be able to charge whatever they want for the repairs. If they ever get some market traction, their next logical step will be to price the repairs so highly that nobody wants to repair their tablets, thus killing the costs involved and forcing customers to buy a new tablet from MS, so said customers can protect their previous investment in software. It's a win-win.

      In the end, It's a matter of confidence, and MS, as far as I know, hasn't much confidence left in its coffers. My bet is that they will screw up again.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thanks El Reg

      Ars technica have a long history of questionable stories. They once ran one claiming the 60% RROD Xbox figure was no big

      I wonder sometimes about their sponsorship, gifting and ethics policy.

      1. Dave 126

        Re: Thanks El Reg

        Surely the importance of being able to repair it is inversely proportional to the reliability of the thing after two years? The thing is covered by warranty for at least that long in the EU...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Thanks El Reg

          "Surely the importance of being able to repair it is inversely proportional to the reliability of the thing after two years?"

          No. Warranty won't help you if you've got accidental damage. But there's something that El Reg didn't mention that is an equal part of this debate, and that's the cost and availability of parts. Anything that's sufficiently model specific usually costs an arm and a leg, and then it is uneconomic even if technically possible to repair it.

          Try dropping a Nexus 7 tablet, and then compare the cost of the repair with a new one. Things might be different for an iPad, but only because there's so much margin baked in in the first place, given that the BoM costs (like for like) don't alter by much. Even in the case of a phone, the costs of a fitted replacement screen are usually a significant chunk of a new phone, possibly of a better spec, and with a year's warranty.

          So whilst I agree that things should be serviceable, the very low costs of modern automated and integrated assembly (that makes the devices cheap) then ensures that they are very easily put beyond economic repair. Maybe we just need to accept that post-manufacturing rework always will be very costly, and that does mean that inexpensive devices are not worth repairing.

    3. Dave K

      Re: Thanks El Reg

      It's important for so many reasons. Earlier iPhones were fairly easy to repair and as a result, old/dead ones were still worth something to the 3rd party repairers. I got £30 for my dead iPhone 3G because the digitiser was still intact and could be easily removed from the device (no glue at all) and fitted as a replacement on another dropped iPhone. If the board goes in your Surface, it's worth nothing as it's such a faf to try and get any usable components out of the thing.

      No matter what the device, there's no excuse for glue and close to 100 screws.

  12. GothBoy

    What decade is this?

    I thought it was to be made unacceptable to have electronic devices that were unrepairable due to manufactured obstacles in the design. Did the EU or whoever not decide upon that?

    If not, it's about time they did.

    1. Voland's right hand Silver badge

      Re: What decade is this?

      They did, and it is for recycling purposes. However, it is not enforced as rigorously as it should. Electronics are not being policed not rigorously as car manufacturers, which have to _PROVE_ that their creations have 90% recyclability score before being allowed on the market.

    2. mmeier

      Re: What decade is this?

      Actually RECYCLING the unit is easy. As shown it can be disassembled with a resonably effort and that is all that is needed. Recycling is NOT refurbishing. It is "break it into components and get the raw materials / reuseable parts back". No need to be able to re-assemble it in the same Bangladesh sweat shop that broke it up.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Don't be a shill for ifixit

    This is just PR for iFixit as a way to attract hits and publicize their repair service. As we miniaturize components, it is natural that things get less repairable. You used to be able to replace a transistor in a radio or a tube in a television, but nowadays it is rare to be able to fix those devices, and nobody is bemoaning that. (Don't buy that 55" LCD TV, it's not repairable and recyclable!) If we want components to be fixable, we can still build a PC from motherboard up, but it likely won't be as portable and light as a tablet. I think most consumers understand this trade-off, and I doubt if anyone is upset about it. People who want repairability have the right to buy something else, and they will have to accept the weight and size penalty. Why can't the Register do a bit more reporting and editorializing, rather than just rephrasing a press release?

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: Don't be a shill for ifixit

      "Why can't the Register do a bit more reporting and editorializing, rather than just rephrasing a press release?"

      Hi, welcome to the website. Thanks for the wonderful comment. Maybe we just like gory pics of dismantled electronics. Oh, in fact, yes, that's the reason why.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Don't be a shill for ifixit

      So why do both Samsung and BlackBerry manage to produce easily repairable phones? Where is the weight and size penalty?

      Poor DFM (design for maintenance) remains poor DFM no matter how you spin it. The object of this design, as with the HTC One and other products made almost impossible to dismantle without destruction, is to create built in obsolescence.

      The Galaxy Note 3 has a 5.7 inch screen, weighs under 170g, yet manages to have a removable back and a replaceable battery. There are phones with nonremovable batteries and smaller screens that weigh more. Again, where is the weight and size penalty?

      iFixit is highlighting products with inferior industrial engineering, and long may it continue to do so.

    3. Intractable Potsherd

      Re: Don't be a shill for ifixit @ AC

      Ironic, then, that you come across as a shill for Microsoft ...

  14. cortland

    Weee anyone?



    The Waste Electronic and Electrical Equipment Regulations 2006 aim to reduce the amount of WEEE being disposed of and require EEE producers to pay for its reuse, recycling and recovery. Our guidance note explains when EEE becomes WEEE and how WEEE should be handled and treated.

  15. streaky

    "But it's a 1.7GHz quad-core processor, just like the old one, so you're not likely to see much performance improvement"

    Well here's a sentiment from 2000. GJ reg! Not like two wildly different gens of CPU could have wildly different performance or power usage requirements or anything. (I have no idea what is in either but the statement is patently absurd xbox gamer thinking).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I thought so too at first blush but it is fairly well known that Haswell decreases power consumption but doesn't improve performance very much at all, so actually a Haswell with the same number of cores and clock speed really won't perform much better than an Ivy Bridge...

      1. Robert Grant

        Still a weird way to put it: a minor speed increase and much better battery life. If this were an iPad with longer battery life they wouldn't insist on negative spin on something really positive, especially when it mitigates one of the main complaints with the original Surface Pro.

        1. streaky

          Ah but it's Microsoft, so thumbs down.

          There is a serious point here - people need a proper education in when we left clock relevance behind > 10 years ago.

  16. Robert E A Harvey

    SK Hynix as its RAM supplier this time around

    ... In the one that got taken apart.

    I don't see why MS can't buy from multiple suppliers over time, or even at the same time. I am slightly dubious about some of these stripdowns - OK, CPU and wireless chips will be pretty much fixed, but there is no reason to suppose that things like SSDs, accelerometers, screens, other modular parts can't vary between production runs.

  17. Crisp

    No User Serviceable Parts Inside

    Challenge Accepted!

  18. Mage Silver badge


    A high proportion of batteries will be poor before 2 years. What is the use anyway if you can only use 25% of the battery and need to recharge to have decent life? If it's useful as a tablet it will see 80% to 90% discharge per use and the battery WILL need replaced inside 2 years.

    Batteries need to be user replaceable.

    SSD wears out too. Though not as fast.

    1. mmeier

      Re: Battery

      Will they? The battery on my EP121 is almost three years now and still gives 3.5h of performance down from about 4h when it was new. Complains about batteries aging to fast are very rare in the tablet pc forums and since endurance is one of the key questions that makes me doubt the "high proportion going bad within 24 month"

  19. FuzzyTheBear

    Just as you can't fix windows ( we don't have the source code ) why would they make their hardware repairable ? Just forces you to get a new one , them to make more money and you getting the shaft. Really .. if you need a tablet .. get anything else than a MS . When will people learn ?

    1. mmeier

      When will fanatics learn that smart people make up three list:

      Must have

      Should have

      Nice to have

      features and then buy the unit that matches all of the first, most of the others and is within their budget. No matter what OS or CPU. And if a Windows 8.x / x86 tablet pc with a core-i CPU is the best match - that's what smart people buy.

      It's all about choice and S/P2 is just another option

  20. IGnatius T Foobar

    Not to mention the WORST defect of all... runs Windows.

  21. Truth4u

    A tablet is a low power device

    Trying to run Windows on it is like loading up your Nissan Micra with concrete until you have to put a Merlin engine in there just to get it to go as fast as a regular Micra. That's essentially what they've done by using a notebook CPU. And fans? I've ditched perfectly functional laptops because I deemed the fan noise to be unacceptable. Is this going to have the same problem in 3 years?

    1. mmeier

      Re: A tablet is a low power device

      A tablet pc is a mobile device that can be used for easy note taking, drafts, presentation, text reading/editing/commenting and all other tasks where normally one would use dead trees. It can do so without a keyboard or leaving fingerprints all over the screen.

      It will weight whatever it takes to do that job, use whatever OS and CPU it takes to do that job. And so far the only combinations that can do all the jobs use Intel and Windows. A proper Baytrail (4GB and mSATA) may do the job fanless but a core-i is acceptable as well

      1. Truth4u

        Re: A tablet is a low power device

        But what if you have a fan-less tablet that does the same types of things as one with a fan? The fan-less model is always going to be more desirable, to me. The fan will be the first component to wear out, of course I'm going to buy a model that doesn't have one. I'm not thick, I earned my money and I get to spend it on things I know will actually last.

        It might be convenient for Microsoft to use 2 fans (more than a laptop has), but it's not convenient for most people, or they would actually be buying this thing. QED. I've never heard anyone say gee I wish my iPad was as loud and powerful as a desktop PC. In case you didn't realise it yet, the average consumer hates desktop PCs and they hate Microsoft.

        Building a tablet in the style of a desktop is like building a Bugatti Veyron in the style of a city bus.

        1. Truth4u

          Re: A tablet is a low power device

          In addition to being a low power device (as all decently designed tablets are) they are also lifestyle devices.

          Apple promote their devices as being for music and videos. Microsoft think you want to do spreadsheets and read your work email. Why would I want to do that on my free time? Hmm?

          1. Truth4u

            Re: A tablet is a low power device

            What I'm trying to say is Microsoft have built a tablet around their strengths which is understandable.

            But their strengths don't include anything that would actually qualify them to make decent a tablet.

            They write big x86 software for corporations. Corporations don't use tablets, home users do.

            Xbox is the only division of Microsoft that really gives a shit about home users, and you can't fit an Xbox into a tablet. So instead they're fitting a laptop into a tablet and giving us Excel. Well nobody wants that.

            1. Truth4u

              Re: A tablet is a low power device

              And what if you don't use your Windows tablet for a month or two, do you then have to download 3 gigs worth of Windows updates and wait a day for them to install?

              Windows on tablet is a bad idea on almost every level. Do people even think before they buy this stuff?

              1. Truth4u

                Re: A tablet is a low power device

                Shit I forgot, it's a tablet, so the irreplaceable battery won't even last long enough for the fans to wear out. Silly me.

                Disposable tech yes I love destroying mother earth.

            2. mmeier

              Re: A tablet is a low power device

              Corporations have been using Tablet PC for a decade and more. Not the "touch only iThingy clone" but real tablet pc with inductive stylus and all. And those units sell good enough that Lenovo etc. build them, update them etc.

              When buying something a smart person lists the needs and wants and then gets the proper unit. If you want "note taking while standing/without space for setting down a notebook" - you have the need a tablet pc. If you say "one OS for all" and "tablet" - welcome to Windows. If "can use the documents generated by my co-workers but needs high mobility" - In 92+ percent of the cases you are right with Windows.

              And that is what the S/P2 and it's siblings deliver. 100 percent compatible to the typical client PC and it's documents, extremly mobile, enough power to run almost everything (1). Light enough to use standing / sitting in a chair at a conference(2) and replace paper.

              (1)First Person shooters and some very high computational task won't work. But they won't work on an ARM tablet and on most notebooks either (Some M-Series CPU equiped mobile workstations might do it)

              (2) The 2+ kg of a T-series are a tad heavy there, a 1kg unit OTOH is fine from experience

          2. Robert Grant

            Re: A tablet is a low power device

            Apple's iPad is a lifestyle device because it's hard to make a productive tablet. Tablets are just a form factor, and they can be whatever we want them to be. How indoctrinated by marketing are you that you think you can only use tablets in your free time?

  22. oiseau

    ... end up in LANDFILLS ...

    Makes me wonder ....

    Seeing where it comes from, is anyone actually surprised?

    Or was antything else expected?

    C'mon ...

  23. Zot

    Recycled. Only a small part of these things are in landfill.

    This is really a non-article as one particular device cannot be singled out for this type of build. And what exactly are people going to fix themselves? The chip? The screen? Far cheaper for the manufacturer to shrink the build and glue it all together, and just replace them as whole units when faulty.

    This is how you recycle an Apple computer through Dataserv:-

    It looks like I can get some money for my iPad 2. I'm glad it wasn't engraved, as that knocks the price down massively of course.

    Microsoft recycling:

    They also have that trade-in scheme which may run on to the next model - you know, the one where then peel of the '2' and replace it with a '3' then sell it on! Just kidding. : )


  24. adnim


    I am pretty sure most of them are going to stay in the store.

  25. KN

    iPad Air will end up in Landfills and cause a bigger problem

    I know this is a post about Microsoft, but there needs to be some context/comparison as well.

    Apple's Latest iPad teardown report -

    Considering that Apple will sell a whole lot more, then this is an even bigger problem.

  26. Kenneth3

    Well this wasn't bias from the start, was it?

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    OMG. so what about these great easily repairable macs?

    are they even more repairable than this surface? are you kidding me? iphone, ipad, ipod, macbook? smh......retarded as hell

This topic is closed for new posts.