Fallapartgate still an issue?
They keyboard that is, not this particular vendor.
Microsoft's new Intel-powered, Windows 8–running Surface Pro continues manufacturers' increasing drive to create kit that's all but impossible to repair, according to the part-and-repair folks at iFixit. "The Surface Pro received a 1 out of 10 score on our repairability scale — the worst any tablet has ever received," iFixit …
My thoughts entirely. If you have a large piece of reinforced glass covering the whole of one side, using it as the chassis to save the weight of the large metal casting which normally provides rigidity is an obvious move.
The car industry figured this out years ago. Try driving a modern car with its bonded-in windscreen removed. You'll be amazed at the amount of body flex you get.
I thought your analogy to the car was going to be something else. You reminded me of the way modern cars have a massive plastic sheet over the engine to basically stop casual tinkering and repair (ok, sound supression as well). If something goes wrong, the manufacturer gets some cash every time a garage plugs in the diagnostic tool, as it always has to download software, and they charge for each download.
They used to put oil filters in easy accessible places, now the average person wouldn't even dare look.
So could it all be about making money from repairs, and hindering anyone else from setting up repair businesses? Also, tinkered-with products may not be reliable and could damage the image of the company, yes, even Microsoft. ;)
Actually think about it some more, the answer is probably because it's far cheaper to make one than it is to repair it, so why bother designing it as accessible in the first place. And all those screws, access points, and chip sockets take up valuable space and weight.
Wrote :- "it's far cheaper to make one than it is to repair it"
Only because they make it hard to repair, and will not sell you replacement parts anyway because they assume that no-one wants to repair things because they have been made hard to repair. Do you understand the concept of a self-fulfilling prophecy?
I repair loads of stuff. My desktop PC stopped recently because (as it turned out) the chassis mains plug on the back had broken a link. I fitted a "new" one, actually salvaged from an earlier PC. Cost me £0 and 30 minutes. Most people would have tossed the whole PC in the skip and bought a new one ; cost £300 (+ £_petrol) and at least 4 hours shopping.
The politicians say "re-use, recycle" but for some reason forget to say "repair". Pity, it would make three-R's.
I assume MS saw that the iPad was non-upgradeable and that was doing well, so instead of making their's non-upgradeable, they just welded it shut as tightly as they could. :-)
Bit of a half-assed attempt at making their device like Apple's, but gotta love it when they try
Wrote :- "Does using all that glue and solder perhaps increase the overall strength or shock-resistance for instance?"
I am not sure what you mean by "all that solder". There is only one mention of solder in TFA, the mention of memory soldered to the circuit board. It is normal to solder components to a circuit board, been done for years and solder is perfectly un-solderable (ie the component is repairable by being replacable). So solder is not the issue here.
(I was not your downvoter BTW, it was a fair question)
It's a gadget, appliance. Is there much upgradable in a laptop these days? not much other than disk and RAM.
It's no use complaining about it, just look at the numbers:
What is the most upgradable device? the desktop, but they're declining while the less upgradable devices are increasing marketshare (laptops and tablets).
Do you complain that you can't upgrade the CPU and RAM in your phone? nope. Would you accept a phone twice the size and weight for that option? probably not.
quote: "Do you complain that you can't upgrade the CPU and RAM in your phone? nope. Would you accept a phone twice the size and weight for that option? probably not."
Actually I would love to be able to upgrade the RAM and CPU for my phone, and I'd have no issue with it doubling (or quadrupling) in weight for that plus larger battery options. I am not an average consumer though.
Having said that, people used to willingly use the Motorola 8500X and NEC 9A once upon a time, and they are a lot larger and heavier than any of todays models... ;)
I can't understand why manufactures make their equipment so hard to service. I guess these days they expect people to just throw things away when they break and buy a new one rather than get it repaired.
I am still using my laptop from 2007 and will happily do so until something breaks that makes it not worth repairing
The trouble is, devices like this aren't like cars, where the cost of a single component that fails is orders of magnitude less than the cost of the whole. If something fails on a Surface, it's probably going to be expensive to replace, costing a large percentage of the overall price. Suppose one of the surface mount ICs fails. The labour involved in manually unsoldering a single SMT chip and putting a new one in, plus the cost of the chip itself (assuming they're still being made any more) will probably be more than the device is worth. Since it isn't economic to repair the device anyway, it makes sense to manufacture the device in a way that costs less / makes the device lighter / look prettier etc.
Having said that, for the bits you expect to fail / wear out (batteries, and possibly SSDs), it makes sense to allow those to be replaced easily.
You've obviously never been told that the reason your car is misfiring and using 30% extra fuel is that ECU needs replacing, and that will be £850+labour+tax thank you very much!
It's just that cars have a lifetime measured in 10years+, and the manufacturers did not cotton on to making all cars uneconomically viable to repair until just after this century started.
I've just diagnosed a fuel problem in a 17 y.o car for one of my kids (not the ECU in this case, a fuel injector module), and been told that the spare part to fix it properly is not available in the scrap market because it's a common failure, and getting one from Ford would cost more than I paid for the car! Fortunately, it's not as bad as I was led to believe, and that the problem can be worked around with a bit of effort and s couple of generic cheap parts.
All the complexity is put in for 'economy' or 'emissions control'. I'd love to know the ecological impact of scrapping a properly maintained older car and building a new one to replace it, rather than extending it's life by 5 years. But that would not suit the car manufacturers (who lobbied for a scrappage allowance to keep their business alive), and who claim to be too important to the economy to be allowed to fail. So they get given the ability to dictate government policy.
Modern cars, with all the digital dashboards, engine control, limited life plastic components, and reliance on diagnostic units rather than real skilled mechanics are designed to have short the lives, and keep the manufacturers in business.
My laptops are vintage 2003 or so. A Dell Inspiron 5150 - 15" screen 3ghz P4 - and a smaller Latitude D400 - 12" screen 1.8ghz Pentium M. They have proved easy to take apart for repairs so far. Enough cheap spares in the garage to keep them running for a few more years on XP. Motherboards are the critical component.
Your 2003 laptops? Is their size and weight comparable to an iPad or Surface?
That is the thing, it is a trade off. For consumers who want tiny and feather weight, they have to pay a price in repairability and upgradeability.
Those consumers who do not want tiny and feather weight can buy larger devices that are upgradeable and repairable.
Uhmmm... so when they break you buy a new one?
Actually this is Apple's game: look at the aluminum body laptops and ipads. The worst material to make a mobile device out of that will be handled and moved a lot. They scratch so easy, people sell them and buy new ones faster than replacing their undies, in fear of scratching the damn thing and losing resale value.
@csumpi. Oh dear, you're busting yourself as a blind Apple hater with a comment like that. Clearly you have never owned one. Apple uses a special proprietary anodisation process that makes their MacBooks and iMacs unbelievably tough and scratch resistent. The result, confirmed by independent reports, is a surface as scratch resistant as a tough gem stone. Another benefit is the surface hides the dirt really well so even with a great buildup of dirt the stay looking relatively clean. Owners will tell you one of the things they like about Apple kit is that it is so hard wearing. The same can't be said of the black iPhone 5 though. Due to the "sharp" chamfered edge it chips through to the silver aluminium far too easily, making the white model far better for durability.
Oh dear, you're busting yourself as a blind Apple hater with a comment like that.
Not blind and not a "hater", just not so well informed. Why does it always have to black & white?
BTW, "unbelievably" tough is BS too - I *have* Apple kit and although I am someone who tends to take very good care of his kit, I have managed to pick up a few scratches on my MacBook. Given that it is a few years old that doesn't matter much, but I'd hardly call it as indestructible as you make it out to be.
Let's see if we can get back to civilised discourse here, shall we?
The toughness of the aluminium actually makes the electronics, the motherboard especially, inside the computer last much longer than their plastic counterparts in the PC world. MacBooks don't twist anything like plastic PCs do. That flex is transferred to the motherboard (and screen when opening from a corner) which causes solder fractures thanks to the lead-free solder introduced by our... "friends" in Brussels.
Seriously... so you'd have a crappy piece of Dell/HP plastic holding your kit together? I owned a Dell XPS 13" laptop. Pretty high spec, looked great but the plastic/design was awful the further you looked inside. Aluminium provides the perfect platform to hold all your internals in. Rigid screw holes, more accurate mouldings etc.
My 13" Macbook Pro. Almost 3 years old and still going with OS X Lion. Just upgraded the RAM and will be installing an SSD next month to get the most out of it. You drop aluminium from a small height closed... most damage is a small dent/scratch. With a plastic Dell/HP... it shatters the corner where the screen hinge is (the weight is with the screen/hinge) and makes it look very tacky. Seen it with plenty of laptops in my desktop support days.
Stuff like this always reminds me of the very first laserprinter I bought: an awesome HP Laserjet 2100m. The m was important (to me) since that indicated postscript functionality; as such much better Linux support.
But the really awesome part was that HP used to have a section on their site devoted to this printer where you could find instructions on how to take the thing /completely/ apart to service it. And in full detail too; from what you should look out for when touching the toner right down to how you could use very fine sandpaper to (carefully!) roughen up the main roll should your paper no longer stick.
Of course this was last century; in the good ole days where you could find much more "geek" stuff online. Nowadays HP would do everything in their power to hide this information from you best as they can. IMO a change for the worst.
You forgot to add here "and die". In the early days of the PC I used to run a repair workshop with a couple of other people - initially just computers. Thankfully, I sold my share and left before they added laser printers to the list of items being taken for repair.
The toner used in the early lasers is as bad as asbestous if not even worse. The main repair guy from our old crowd is already dead from mesotelieloma (at the age of 35 without ever touching any asbestous in his life). The other "survivors" all have lung problems.
DIY repair of a laser printer, no thanks. I'd more likely go and suck on a Trabant exhaust.
I can get detailed instructions for my trusty HP laptop and it will totally dismantle. (dual core, 2GHz)
Loads of parts on ebay or from HP.
Re. the article: It has fans and no way to clean them = Worthless trash.
> Wholeheartedly agree.
The problem is not that these days companies design and manufacture this crap, the problem is that people actually cave in and go for it, bells, whistles, trinkets and all.
And the solution is simple enough ...
You just don't purchase any of this disposable crap hardware with crap software.
And that's all.
Not really, they have very detailed engineering plans for all the business kit on the site you can download. The plans and designs on the laptops are amazingly detailed. They are fully detailed engineering guides, but it does seem to depend on the generation though and the product line though. If you want plans, you buy business kit. Consumer crap wise, well it's consumer crap.
What annoys the crap out of me about non-repairable devices is that at the same time as Vendor X is touting their green credentials ("Hey, look at us! Our factory is staffed by eight-year olds that emit zero carbon!") they pump out stuff that is non-upgradeable and non-repairable and therefore destined for the junk pile in only a few years. Or else it ends up at an electronics recycler in China turning towns like Guiyu into toxic death zones.
The greenest thing you can do as a manufacturer is to make your stuff repairable.
True, but this is not the fruity manufacturer that was touting alleged green credentials while making products whose batteries could not be replaced.
These devices traded away greenness.
If the batteries are replaceable and they accept a SDHC card those are the mains thing and the only thing we can expect.
I find it hard to equate a corporations Green credentials when it now makes impossible to fix/upgrade products using lots of rare metals that is designed to last one week past warranty.
Any device like this should be mandatory for the user to be able to replace the battery and the storage device as a minimum.
With dwindling resources of metals like silver it's crazy that this kit is now classed as purely chuck to landfill and replace.
With a few user replaceable parts there is no reason for laptops and tablets to be able to function for 5+ years.
Sod obsessives and their aesthetic needs, we live in a world that needs to start thinking about making stuff last longer not shorter.
What's bizzare is that all electronic manufacturers are obliged to make their products more recyclable (though this varies country by country).
So while I accept the "throwaway" economics, I simply can't understand why they're making recycling harder, not easier?
Mine's the hemp one with the CND badge.
Recycling the parts is easier. You can accept some breakage. Say run a cutter through the shell and separate it or heat the stuff to temperatures where the solder comes appart (bet that the adhesive will also melt). After all the legal demand is "raw material" not "parts"
Given the flak manufactures like Asus, Samsung and Lenovo caught for problems with their slate edges lifting (and dust getting in) Microsoft went the prudent way and made sure THAT will not happen. Even more important with the Surface/Pro that (unlike the older slates) will more often be used without a book cover.
Aimed at the "company/commercial" market the 1000cyles/3 years typical lifespan of the batteries also fits well.
Are you oblivious to the pace of change in the consumer electronics field?
Even a TV seems ancient when it is 3 years old now. Same goes for almost everything apart from laptops and desktop which seem to have a slightly slower development pace (probably due to Intel not having enough competition).
The smaller these things get the harder they are going to be to service, but that's ok because they are designed to be replaced. When was the last time you were using your 6 year old tablet and though "This battery is getting a bit old, might be time for a new one", not a chance. at the two or three year mark you though "Shit this is slow, time for a new one".
When you walk into an apple shop they don't crack open your iPad and have a look, they just give you a second hand one and send you on your way. Refurbishing can be done in bulk, not case by case.
We are getting to the point of thinness and compactness that big trade offs have to be made. Take a look at cars, my old '73 Statesman de Ville had an engine bay so big you could stand in it and work on the car. Try that today with a late model Ford or Toyota, not a chance. Conspiracy nut jobs will say something like "It's the corporations man....." but really in the board room it's something like "Shit, we need to make it thinner, can we sacrifice anything else?".
Computer and phone batteries don't last 6 years, they don't last 2 years -- so batteries are one thing that should be replaceable on computers. And this MS thing takes a memory card.
But I fully agree with the rest of what you say. Lack of upgradability and repairability is an obviously necessary trade-off in miniaturizing products.
I am wondering, what exactly is it that you do with your phone or laptop, looping videos endlessly, constantly plugging and unplugging the phone? My iPhone 3G is now over four years old, and it is still working (slowly). As another poster said, its the advances in software that require fasted hardware that will force people to upgrade.
I also have a seven year old Dell d630 at home, and while that battery was never going to win any awards, it's still good enough to take with you if you need just a couple of hours...
Personally, I think the dea of handing in your old device to the manufacturer so they can discard it in a safe and less damaging to the environment way is all good.
Tablet-PC last a bit longer than the typical "couchy" tablets (Android, iOS). They are better compared to notebooks/ultrabooks so 3+ years is resonable. And user-replaceable components have some other benefits:
+ Hot/Quick swap batteries become possible (See the Q550 for an example or the T and X series convertibles)
+ Upgrading memory, SSD and network card(1)
+ Stronger batteries (See Dell Latitude 10)
(1) I.e many 1st gen core-i systems could use WIDI if not for the lack of a Centrino based WLAN card. User replaceable cards could delay a "new system needed" by a year or so without voiding waranty. I voided it on my privat slate but companies (Surface main target IMHO) won't
Every time I feel the urge to comment about what Microsoft are doing wrong, I find that obsessed twit has been here before me. If ever read the drivel from one we can only assume to be unemployed by the frequency and length of posting, somehow my heart warms a little to the guys at Redmond. Not surprising desktop Linux has gone nowhere with friends like that. On the basis of cause and effect, I'm getting to think he/she/it is a subtle Microsoft shill attack on theReg.
"If the thing breaks then the entire holistic UNIVERSE becomes a better place."
Pretty shitty universe if breaking some dude's tablet is what it takes to improve things.
If you don't mind, I think I'll wait for Universe 2.0 and see if that one is any better...
A tablet with fans?
I own a second hand samsung series 7, primarily for the wacom digitiser in the screen. It has a fan. IT IS HORRENDOUS. If a tablet has a fan you're doing it wrong.
I'd use my Note 10.1 for all the mobile art things but there's not yet any equivalent of Paint Tool SAI on android - though sketchbook pro is pretty good (brush engine needs some work, the desktop version is far suprioer) and the Note works with the stylus from my cintiq (and indeed the stylus from my series 7) so I'll never want for spare pens.
In the end you just can't beat a proper desktop tablet screen, but now I can art while I'm flying over to see the inlaws, which is always nice.
Would you believe I'm an electrician? :D
And I seem to own a lot of samsung kit these days...
I own the matching ASUS kit (EP121) and owned a Note 10.1 (1) and while the unit has a fan it is only audible in a quiet room. In a normal office environment it is part of the background noise and nobody notices. No louder than the Lenovo Thinkpads used by coworkers. Maybe Samsung did it wrong (again) or your unit has a dying fan.
Life is a compromise. If you want the full power of a core-i and a mature tablet-pc OS you must accept the fan. If you can life with limited performance you can go Atom and fanless.
(1) Sold it. It was "always trying hard to perform according to the job profile"
Actually for a long time (at least 2002) units like the Surface where exactly what one would get if asking for a "Tablet". Wintel powered units with pen input in 11-13 inch format. Either pure slates or convertibles. They where not that common "in the wilds" but quite a few companies produced them.
It is only since around 2010 have "low powered touch-only media consumation platform" and "tablet" become the same for Joe Average.
Non-portable (desktop and rack mounted) devices should be almost fully field upgradable.
But on devices made to be highly compact and light, you are trading away upgradability for smaller size and weight.
On highly compact and light weight devices it is only critical that parts that wear out, such as batteries, be field replaceable.
Still, no sense using more glue than necessary.
I've read the other comments, and it makes sense that the glass screen is being used as a structural part, like a car windscreen/windshield and that would explain more glue than expected.
It is a very small trade off that you can only upgrade the memory by adding an SDXC card, and not by replacing the SSD.
The story has nothing about whether the battery is replaceable -- and that is crucial information. A multi-hundred dollar battery powered device whose batteries cannot be replaced is junk.
Actually you could use massiv amounts of glue for the screen as long as you build in ports in the underside like some companies do. Makes for a more complex chassis design and more dust problems. The latter is critical for mobile devices with their smaller fans. Some companies (IIRC Fujitsu) equip their units with a replaceable air filter.
Many Apple products are glued together that save screwing in strange screws AND it is even more successful at keeping out would-be DIY artists out of the goodies.
Time the EU passed legislation requiring all electronic assemblies be serviceable. That would end the era of glue.
Thanks but no thanks. Let the market regulate it. There are quite a few user-serviceable mobile units around so if the users want those - they will buy them. And what get's bought by the masses will be copies by others.
(Semi)sealed mobile units have their benefits and some standards are extremly costly to achieve with serviceable units. A modern "glued together" tablet-pc (even more so the fanless units) is resonably dust and (spray)water-proof so I can sell them to customers that would otherwise require a Panasonic Toughbook
> Let the market regulate it.
Yeah the market that is so good with sub prime loans, horse meat burgers, oil wells, ...
The market will sell something cheap now and if someone else has to pay to clean up the mess later "Not My Problem".
Trouble is it's all our problem, if I pay extra for the green option I end up paying twice when I pick up the tab to clean up your mess.
Okay I am honest: "Greenies are the slimy stuff chained to the barracks gate" so that argument is something I do not care about(1). As for the rest - yes, the market cleans that out. Nobody buying lasagne around here currently. Now if the customers buy cheap - their decision. Majority rules, minorities can go and form a commune far far away
Besides, it is not the hoarse meat in general that's a problem (2) but that some has medication in it.
(1) I am the guy who'd pay extra for reliably nuclear or coal power
(2) I prefer mine with Sweet-soure sauce, raisins, red cabbage and dumplings
"Trouble is it's all our problem, if I pay extra for the green option I end up paying twice when I pick up the tab to clean up your mess."
Whoa - what?
The only thing all these Eco/Green taxes seem to be doing is sprouting more damned wind turbines. I don't see the price of 'leccy dropping, nor do I see rivers being dredged so heavy rain can be coped with as nature intended, nor do I see anything that resembles a cohesive environmental policy. While being "green" might be an admiral aim, I fear it is mostly a pointless gesture, a marketing ploy designed to appeal to the "do the right thing" desire that some of us have.
Or, to put it another way - a company I used to work for a few years back discarded into a big compactor thingy more unsorted rubbish per day than I generate in a year. There was no concept of sorting out stuff for recycling, and a lot of the incoming raw product was laid in stuff like they make yoghurt pots out of. I watched as hundreds, if not thousands, got bagged, binned, and compacted. Things were not sorted for recycling, no doubt, because it would have cost the company to do such a thing. An additional employee, or maybe more time in the production phase?
I still recycle, though I ask myself why. If profits dictate the behaviour of the behaviour of the worst polluters, why are we fined if we recycle something incorrectly? I view "environmentally friendly" products with a similar disdain. Computers and such might be lead free, use less icky plastic, some dude might have planted a few trees for each batch made...but ultimately computers, like cars, are inherently "unfriendly" to the environment. No cutesy green sticker is going to change that. It may be less unfriendly than others, but "less unfriendly" does not equal "friendly".
I worked a night shift fill-in, my head hurts, I'll bring this rambling mess to an end as even I'm no longer sure what the point was... Icon: FAIL. Me. Nuff said. <sigh>
Wrong answer. The reason that the rivers shouldn't be dredged is that the soil carried by the heavy rains and runoff are supposed to be deposited in the floodplain to make farmers happy in 800 years.
See 'the fertile crescent'. And I'm also waiting for the Army Corps of Engineers to fuck up and let the Mississippi river divert through Baton Rouge.
It's not that it isn't serviceable; it's not readily serviceable by the owner. (Like most transistor radios since the 1970s?)
With the right tools - I imagine some sort of rectangular heating element that could be applied to the screen edge - the screen might (I say might) come off quite readily.
Repairability is a primary concern of course. When its Apple.
Cue the Microsoft apologist brigade.
Now that Microsoft is making a device that makes the iPad Mini look like an easy fix,"at least you don't wreck the cables taking the screen off an iPad" reparability concerns are old fashioned and unimportant.
Well, Microsoft finally moves into the 21st century and beats Apple at something, glue, solder and disposablity. Congrats Microsoft, you made the grade .
Actually non-repairable devices are not that uncommon outside of Apple. So if you blame them blame Samsung (Note 10.1, Ativ500), Acer (A/W500), Asus (EP121 is extremly difficult at least) and a dozend other companies. If you apologize for one - apologize for all. It's all made by Foxcon slaves anyway.
I do not like Apple since the time they massacred Mac-OS10s microkernel and dropped the PowerCPU but neither do I blame them for lack of changeable batteries or SD slots. If I need replaceable parts - I pay premium for them and buy something that has. If not - I don't
... aged 60 & hunting down spare ancient PC parts at Car Boot sales, reminiscing the good old days when a man could walk into a computer shop and declare "Two sticks of RAM and a tube of your best arctic silver please" (ok, I'm making that bit up, you'd get it online)
I'd be like one of those vinyl geeks you see at car boot sales, that turn up 30 minutes before opening time and riffle through everyones records before they've even set up the trestle table. "I'll give you a fiver for that box of old hard drives mate"
I'll be a die hard DIY computer nerd, wearing earings made of old LEDs and braiding my crusty greying hair with IDE cables.
Then again, by the time I'm 60, it'll be Mad Max time & we'll all be driving souped up vans, wearing arseless chaps and shooting everything in sight on a burned out nuclear wasteland.
Hah, how far will your poncy surface pro get you then, eh?
I stopped assembling boxes from parts the day I could affort to order something proper. Never looked back. Buying "office grade" equipment from DELL/Lenovo/HP for a decade and they always worked, where silent, balanced and rugged. The oldest still at work is a Dimension PIV dating back to 2003 (Northwood) and still running fine, the oldest workable a PIII Optiplex. Both beat the typical "hand assembled" box in noise dampening and clean inner works and the ones that are equally silent in price.
And if it is "Mad Max" time I drop by the supply dump and steal back my 1980s kit. That's why I prefer my woman tall and muscular - that way she can help lug the ammo for Rheinmetalls answer to Iwan, Ali, Joe, Tommy, Hairy ones, Greenies, Zombies, Aliens and Linux fans. :)
One of the first things I checked before I bought my 11" MacBook Air is how repairable it would be. If you have the right screwdriver, it's very easy to take off the bottom cover and then swap out the SSD and battery and clean/replace the fans.
I had two 13" MacBooks before the Air. With those it was laughably easy to remove the battery and that gave you easy access to the RAM and hard drive. Replacing the hard drive took 4-5 minutes at most.
Sure, Apple makes some stuff that's hard to disassemble/maintain but some of their stuff is very nice.
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