Surface Line Remains Synonymous with Sucky Serviceability

We started our teardown week with a surprisingly upgradable iMac and ended it with a couple o’ unrepairable Surfaces. We want to like them, but they’re like a bad Tinder match—they lie about their true identity (not actually laptops), they look great on the outside but are trouble under the Surface (adhesives), and no matter how hard you try, you’ll never be able to fix or change them (unrepairable and non-upgradable).

Removing the keyboard on the Microsoft Surface Laptop

First things first. The Surface Laptop is not a laptop. It’s a glue-filled monstrosity. There is nothing about it that is upgradable or long-lasting, and it literally can’t be opened without destroying it. (Show us the procedure, Microsoft, we’d love to be wrong.) As for the Surface Pro 5, it’s nearly identical to its predecessor—aside from ditching the last remaining upgradable component, the modular SSD.

So yeah, Microsoft impressed us—by being so much worse than we expected.

Microsoft Surface Laptop Teardown Highlights:

Microsoft Surface Laptop teardown
  • If we could give it a -1 out of 10, we would. It’s a Russian nesting doll from hell with everything hidden under adhesive and plastic spot welds. It is physically impossible to nondestructively open this device.
  • At first glance, the white dots on the speakers appear to be water damage indicators. Upon closer inspection, they’re actually port covers to contain damping foam, increasing the speakers’ bass response.
  • Alcantara, the synthetic wannabe suede product that Microsoft used on the keyboard, isn’t as stinky as rumors claim, but looks liable to get nasty once your hands start sweating all over it. (Seriously, have you looked at your mouse lately?)

Microsoft Surface Pro 5 Teardown Highlights:

Microsoft Surface Pro 5 teardown
  • Microsoft has traded away the removable blade SSD for a little more battery real estate in the new Pro, taking away the sole upgradable feature from last year’s model. Good luck if you need to recover your data from a bricked device.
  • We investigated Microsoft’s redesigned passive cooling, beefed up enough to allow the Core i5 to run fanless, and found an impressive four-armed beast of a heat sink.
  • The Pro’s battery got a boost from a two-cell 38.2 Wh battery to a four-cell job measuring in at 45 Wh. That’s a nearly 18% increase in battery capacity (and 100% increase in cell count) over the previous model.
    • But at what cost? ?

But don’t take our word for it. Head on over to our full Microsoft Surface Laptop and Microsoft Surface Pro 5 teardowns, and see for yourself.