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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FAIL

Time I think

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

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Re: Time I think

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

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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.

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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.

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FAIL

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!"

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Facepalm

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.

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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.

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WTF?

re: repairs

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

http://crave.cnet.co.uk/mobiles/surface-2-and-surface-pro-2-uk-prices-and-release-dates-50012320

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

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See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mldPvpQoTmI

excerpt:

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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)

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Disagree

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

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Re: Disagree

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

http://www.apple.com/uk/batteries/replacements.html

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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?

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 ?

No.

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.

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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... :)

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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.

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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).

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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."

etc.

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.

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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?)

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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 ?

No.

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?

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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

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

Ever hear of:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Planned_obsolescence

Now you have your answer.

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Re: Dashed hopes

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

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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.

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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.

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