back to article Microsoft's new Surface laptop defeats teardown – with glue

It appears as if Microsoft has been following the Apple playbook in creating another laptop whose components you can never replace. DIY site iFixIt tried to take apart the new Microsoft Surface laptop – an ultra-thin and light unit which starts at £979 – and seemingly couldn’t do it without completely and utterly destroying it …

  1. DJV Silver badge
    Facepalm

    That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

    Well, it would have been crossed off had I been stupid enough to put it on there in the first place. I'll stick with upgradeable PCs and a cheap lappy when I need to be portable, thank you very much!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

      It was on it before? Who even wants a tablet that has none of the advantages of a tablet, and all the cesspool malware problems of a full Windows device?

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

        The MS Surface Laptop isn't a tablet, it's a laptop. The clue is in the name.

        It has a 3:2 screen, so other than Apple MacBooks (16:10) it's about your only choice if you don't get on well with 16:9 displays.

      2. JeffyPoooh Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

        AC pointed to "...the cesspool malware problems of a full Windows device?"

        One of the surprising and unexpectedly-wonderful things about my Surface 2 (with silly Win RT) is how rare are the updates !! It's amazing and wonderful to pick-up a gadget that's been sitting there for several days to find it's still happy and requires no updates.

        Unbothered Use to Maintenance Ratio is crazy high.

        1. Mr.Bill

          Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

          Right - there's no denying its nice in your off time to use devices which don't require an IT department to properly maintain. Its just there was no hope for RT to be successful. The chromebook does get monthly or so updates but the worst you'll see is a 5 second boot up, when it would have been instantaneous from standby.

          1. Bitbeisser

            Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

            But then there is pretty much j**ks**t that you can actually do with a Chromebook, beside watching movies and checking Facebook and other (anti)Social media sites...

            1. Simon Ward

              Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

              I must be dreaming about doing development work on my Toshiba Chromebook then ... hint: check out Crouton

              ... and when you open your mouth again, don't forget to change feet.

        2. nijam

          Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

          > ...sitting there for several days to find it's still happy and requires no updates

          Just because no updates have been made available doesn't mean that none are required.

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

          So its an overpriced Chromebook then!? Without the security

        4. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

          It's amazing and wonderful to pick-up a gadget that's been sitting there for several days to find it's still happy and requires no updates.

          I hate to tell you this, but that was the exact reason I moved to the Apple camp. I just had an OS upgrade, but that is a rather infrequent event, ditto for the iPad.

          I suspect that such a move isn't for everyone, but for my business it worked.

    2. Bob Vistakin
      Facepalm

      Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

      Gosh, microsoft in take aim, shoot foot shocker. Again. Who'd have thought it?

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. RyokuMas Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

        "Who'd have thought it?"

        About as many people as would have expected such a post from you, I'd wager!

    3. MyffyW Silver badge

      Re: That's Surface crossed off my Christmas list, then!

      When stickytape and glue are the main underpinnings of a piece of pricey technology it's time to question do you really want it in your life.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Apple's Playbook?

    This is worse than Apple. At least with the right tools, you can open them up. Even the latest iMac can be opened.

    It is not just MS that is going this way. Samsung have done it with the S8. Replacing a screen is according to iFixit, a real PITA.

    1. macjules Silver badge

      Re: Apple's Playbook?

      Riiight ... Have you seen the iMac instructions? Use the tool to separate the screen from the body and 'take extra care not to cut through the cabling attaching the camera to the screen'. Basically "use a knife to cut round the computer and OOPS don't cut that far!"

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Apple's Playbook?

          "Having a bit of a silly moment here - did anyone see the exclamation mark as the letter "t" ???"

          I did. My first thought was "If you can cut your fart, you are doing it wrong"

          1. Named coward
            Coat

            Re: Apple's Playbook?

            Chuck Norris can cut farts with a roundhouse kick...

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

    Given that Apple gives you quite a good rebate if you return older kit that is still working it seems that the disassembling issue becomes a bit of an own goal. Does Microsoft offer good money back for old hardware as well?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

      Given that Apple gives you quite a good rebate if you return older kit that is still working ...

      How about they build something that doesn't HAVE to be thrown away if the battery or a component assembly becomes faulty? I must be the least environmentally enlightened person on this planet, and still this built in obsolescence sticks in my throat.

      If Apple, Microsoft, Samsung don't have designers capable of building a repairable device, then they need to get people more competent in.

      1. Dave 126 Silver badge

        Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

        Why would you throw it away instead of taking it back to the shop?

        Apple et all aren't incentivised in any way to make a user-repairable device, but they are incentivised to make a more easily recyclable device (by statute in the EU and some US states). Whilst Reg readers prefer screws to glue, recycling is easier if you can just dissemble products in an oven before separating the nasties in the screen and motherboard (bulkier plastic and metal parts are separated from each other after shredding, but it's the rare or dangerous stuff in the screen and motherboard that causes worry). That's just the way it is - feel free to read up on it, if only out of courtesy to professionals in a discipline other than yours.

        The repairability of a laptop has to be weighed up against its reliability in the first place, how long it will be actively used, how likely someone will be to actually repair it instead of just taking back to the shop under warranty, how easy it is to recycle etc. The only time a user has to repair a laptop is if it fails after the 3 year warranty period but before it so outdated as to be no longer useful - this becomes such a small factor that recyclability, reliability and useful function are given priority.

        If you want to save the planet, the best laptop to buy is one from the most reliable manufacturers - you can Google who that is (judged by a range of metrics) for yourselves - and to use it for a long time.

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

          "The only time a user has to repair a laptop is if it fails after the 3 year warranty period but before it so outdated as to be no longer useful..."

          Well, two points there.

          (1) I've never seen a laptop with a three-year warranty (according to the MS site, the Surface Laptop comes with a one-year warranty and a whole 90 days of technical support), and

          (2) Now that Moore's Law has stalled, a laptop can easily be useful many years after the first three (and certainly past the first year), although this one's lack of upgradeability limits that future usefulness too.

          SSDs in particular don't last forever (not even mentioning the battery!), and they're definitely a consumable part with a known and finite service life. I have a SSD in the PC I am using now that would be close to end of life (by TBW) if it were some of the ones I've seen in reviews and not a Samsung 840 Pro with better-than-average endurance. While most people probably won't wear out a SSD, it's still not something that ought to be part of the motherboard.

          My laptop was manufactured in late 2008, approaching nine years ago, and it's still my go-to when I am out and about, despite its age. While it was decently responsive in stock form even by modern standards, it's even better now with a few upgrades, and that's something that won't work with the Surface Laptop.

          I expect something costing a thousand dollars or more to last until it is obsolete, which could easily be ten years or more these days, and that includes these kinds of simple upgrades that not long ago were pretty much universally available.

          Disposable items are supposed to be cheap, but this one isn't. It's a premium-priced throwaway laptop.

          1. td97402

            Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

            Updraft102 writes: "I've never seen a laptop with a three-year warranty"

            Any number of good, professional grade laptops come with a three-year warranty out of the box. Nearly any laptop can be upgraded to a three-year warranty for around $80-$100. You can also get accidental damage insurance on all of them.

            Most manufacturers provide technical support for the duration of your warranty. That Micrsoft is selling $1000-$3000 laptops with only 90 days of tech support is telling.

          2. nijam

            Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

            > I've never seen a laptop with a three-year warranty

            If you are an institution buying in quantity, a three year warranty is one of the sweeteners on offer to put you off negotiating a real discount.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

          "The only time a user has to repair a laptop is if it fails after the 3 year warranty period but before it so outdated as to be no longer useful"

          Never mind repair - what about replacing a battery?

      2. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

        It's not the fault of designers, but the Beancounters.

        Beancounters should ONLY be employed to count and report. Ultimately if they are in charge of decisions they destroy the company. That's what killed most of the UK companies successful in the 1950s.

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

        How about they build something that doesn't HAVE to be thrown away if the battery or a component assembly becomes faulty? I must be the least environmentally enlightened person on this planet, and still this built in obsolescence sticks in my throat.

        Why does it have to be obsolete? I replaced my perfectly working Macbook with one that was a LOT faster and had a better screen. From what I gathered by an Apple retailer, the working ones are cleaned up and resold so it's not quite landfill yet. You also forget that disposing of these devices lands Apple with quite an environmental obligation, and Apple happens to be the one company that actually started to report on that (as they do with manufacturing). They get thus negative press for being the only company that bothers to do what others should be made to do as well.

        As for repairs, in my experience kit rarely fails after it has been working for 3 months. That said, I take care of my kit so I rarely have need for a glass/LCD/keyboard replacement, but I know THAT is still possible.

        And still, no answer to a genuine question: does Microsoft offer a route to part exchange old devices (I'm assuming here generously that the hardware lasts that long)?

      4. oldfartuk

        Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

        The Age of Repairable Things is long gone. It started with cars. Once upon a day, it wa spossible to fiddle about and fix a car on a driveway, with very few tools. There is now nothing to tweak, fiddle or adjust in a car, and you cant fix them anyway without a £10,000 diagnostics laptop. Computers started going that way aroubnd 2003ish. They dont want you to repair it, they want you to throw it away and buy another, oblivious to the criminal waste of planetary resources that represenets.

    2. mickaroo

      Re: Does Microsoft offer an exchange program too?

      Return older kit to Apple?

      How about put an SSD into my wife's plastic unibody Core Duo MacBook, install Linux Mint Mate, and never look back...

      Is that recycled enough for you?

  4. malle-herbert Silver badge
    Facepalm

    Looks like Microsoft is copying Apple...

    With everything soldered-in and held together with glue...

    No way i'm ever going to buy something that's completely unfixable.

    Because when it dies you can kiss goodbye to your data....

    But that's the whole idea isn't it ?

    Forcing people to back everything up to "the cloud"...

    1. Steve Button

      Re: Looks like Microsoft is copying Apple... again...

      That doesn't really make sense. When any storage device dies you can kiss your data goodbye if you haven't backed it up. So you should be backing up anyway. To cloud or to drives that you rotate and store off-site, it's up to you. Or to another computer, using CrashPlan or similar.

      The only difference here is that if the motherboard or memory dies instead of the SSD, you'll effectively lose your data.

    2. fruitoftheloon
      Happy

      malle-herbert: Re: Looks like Microsoft is copying Apple...

      m-h,

      you do realise there are other non-weather related backup options?

      I find an Apple timecapsule quite adequate for our reguirements.

      Ymmv.

      Cheers,

      Jay

      1. Mage Silver badge

        Re: Apple timecapsule

        Or a generic USB HDD.

      2. macjules Silver badge

        Re: malle-herbert: Looks like Microsoft is copying Apple...

        My favourite laptop is still my trusty Summer 2010 MacBook which has a 256Gb SSD, maxed out 16Gb RAM and a 500Gb mechanical 2.5" drive where the CD/DVD used to live. The 500Gb is the Timemachine backup drive. Occasionally when I have tired myself out from swearng at the new shiny dark grey thing with its fancy swipe bar etc. I go back to using that one.

    3. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: forcing people .... cloud

      As long as there is a way of getting the data off a device either via a port or via WiFi it does not have to be backed up to the Cloud even with Apple.

      Time Machine works very well with a Linux NAS, sorry my private Cloud.

      If you are really paranoid about backups and data then the 'rotating tower of hanoi' pattern would be a good one to implement. I get by with four different 2TB HDD's and Time Machine. These are rotated. I do a full backup + 4 incrementals each week.

      I will never put my data in the public cloud. Clouds are here today, gone tomorrow.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: forcing people .... cloud

        I get by with four different 2TB HDD's

        I have two 1TB SHDD in external cases - the 8GB SSD cache on those *seriously* speeds up the backup over USB3, and as they're 3.5" they're not as stressed as the 2.5" ones, but it does mean you need to run them off a UPS to be wholly safe.

        I've always operated two separate backup regimes: one for bare metal rebuilds, and one for file versioning. The latter is taken care of by Apple TimeMachine, the former by Carbon Copy Cloner. A third system uses Chronosync to push certain document areas to one of my servers, but that's not really a backup IMHO.

  5. Dave K Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    Recycling also difficult

    Of course, some will point out that they're happy to just use a laptop for a few years, then replace it. Hence, they don't need replaceable parts. However, another downside of sealing the laptop together with glue and plastic spot-welds is that it also becomes a nightmare to recycle as well once you decide to replace it.

    I'm not saying that ultra-portables should necessarily be as upgradable and flexible as a full laptop, but I've seen plenty of ultra-portables (Samsung Series 9, X1 Carbon, Dell XPS) that can be easily un-screwed and repaired/upgraded to at least some degree. Not good MS, not good.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Recycling also difficult

      I do not see how this can get a CE label as it is clearly non-compliant to Eu electronic waste disposal directive. Ditto for a couple of US states which have recycling laws.

      Somebody needs to take the case (as it will probably involve a lawsuit against the lab that certified it).

      1. Spearchucker Jones

        Re: Recycling also difficult

        Well if they got the label they're compliant, right? And if that kind of hardware being compliant worries you then that's ok too because Brexit soon, right, so come March 2019 we can make our own labels and show them right proper, like.

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Recycling also difficult

        "I do not see how this can get a CE label"

        No problem so long as you don't mind it being a China Export label.

        1. Dave 126 Silver badge

          Re: Recycling also difficult

          Glued products are EASIER to recycle come end-of-life, because they don't require the labour involved in unscrewing a dozen bolts per machine. Instead, they can be batch processed in a low-temperature oven before the component parts are sorted.

          The key is to move away from "fast and nasty" designs that use too many clips and fasteners and move toward products that are easily disassembled in bulk, says Joseph Chiodo, chief executive of Active Disassembly Research, "The more robust we make these products, the less expensive they are to recycle."

          - https://www.google.co.uk/amp/www.csmonitor.com/layout/set/amphtml/2007/0308/p13s02-sten.html

          1. Dave 126 Silver badge

            Recycling difficult with screws

            Sorry, link above should be:

            http://www.csmonitor.com/2007/0308/p13s02-sten.html

            Bloody Google AMP keeps hijacking my search results.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Recycling also difficult

            I don't see how you can get past Health and Safety Laws, putting an end of life Laptop in an oven with a glued in lithium ion-battery. The temperature required to melt the glue, would likely melt the lithium-ion battery or heat it to dangerous temperatures. This is done to prevent self-repair, so is the alcantara covering. I mean who wants to use someone's else Alcantara covered laptop?

            iFix-it has stated that the company that currently recycles Apple products in the US, can't shred the aluminium cases of laptops with glued in batteries, they are basically unrecycable because the manual effort involved to remove the battery makes it cost prohibitive to do.

          3. Updraft102 Silver badge

            Re: Recycling also difficult

            The case halves of the base unit of the Surface Laptop were spot-welded, according the the aforementioned article.

      3. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Recycling also difficult

        "as it is clearly non-compliant to Eu electronic waste disposal directive."

        Repairing != breaking into recyclable pieces.

    2. wyatt

      Re: Recycling also difficult

      I may be mistaken but don't Apple have a robotic device that recycles their devices for them? I'd imagine that this has no concern about the usability of the equipment it is processing and can heat to melt any glue which is present. Annoying for most yes, but designed to be disassembled to Apples requirements.

      1. PNGuinn
        Mushroom

        "can heat to melt any glue which is present"

        Hmmm

        How much heat would you need to apply to a lappy containing a LION battery before the said brick becomes self firing?

        Enquiring terrorists need to know etc etc ...

    3. bombastic bob Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Recycling also difficult

      recycling isn't all THAT difficult...

      a) secretly dump it in a dumpster for some apartment building where you don't live

      b) beat with hammer until it's small enough, then place inside of a bag embedded in your kitchen trash, between the rotten food, used tea bags, and greasy paper towels.

      "recycled"

      and without being able to even CHANGE THE BATTERY, you're gonna have to toss it when PLANNED OBSCELESCENCE limits the product lifetime to something ridiculously short...

      so yeah, don't buy one.

  6. DagD

    Add it to the pile of coal.

    We as consumers need to put our foot down on this disposable nonsense.

    If your business plan includes making crap that ends up in the garbage heap after five years, you can keep your gadget.

    Where's my pitchfork when I need it???

    1. Gene Cash Silver badge

      Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

      At least in the States we're starting a "right to repair" movement. It seems to actually be catching Apple's attention, as they're spending a lot of money and influence to fight it.

    2. wolfetone Silver badge

      Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

      It's happening everywhere.

      Take my 2010 Peugeot 3008, and my 1998 Toyota Corolla.

      The Peugeot suffered a power steering leak, which was duly fixed with a new seal. Labour costs meant it was about £180 (including a £10 seal). But that cause another problem with the power steering pump's ECU. Cost of replacing (not fixing it) would be £300. You can't repair the ECU as it's embedded etc etc.

      Not that I've needed to change the power steering pump on my Corolla, but a brand new pump costs about £80 - £100 (second hand its about £30) and it's a complete DIY job. Why? The pump is belt driven and attached to the engine. So as long as you have a socket set you're sound.

      The way the Peugeot is, and it's not even the most technologically advanced car, is that if anything of note goes wrong with it it'll mean the car is a write off due to costs (in terms of both materials and labour). The last version of the Renault Megane requires the wheel, inner wheel arch, a few other bits and pieces to be removed just to change a headlight bulb. Depending where you go, this could costs hundreds of pounds to fix a simple bulb.

      But society is fickle. They want the snazzy cars, they want the ultra slim computers. Who cares if it's a pig to fix or expensive to sort out? It's snazzy, and it means you have money if you can afford to buy one.

      It's the sore, raw, pimple on the arsehole of society.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

        French cars have always been crap. That tear down for a light bulb just reminds me of Renault 5 turbos of the 80's

        Even a 306 removing the battery was PITA.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          "Even a 306 removing the battery was PITA."

          Thanks for reminding me of bad memories.

        2. Ken Hagan Gold badge

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          But doesn't French Law require you to carry around a set of spare bulbs? If you can't fit them, what's the point of that?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

            "But doesn't French Law require you to carry around a set of spare bulbs? If you can't fit them, what's the point of that?"

            The French have all sorts of weird and wonderful motoring laws.

            The best one is (probably) the "voitures sans permis" (cars without license).

            That does what it says on the tin.

            You, the driver, do not need a license to drive one.

            Which means teenagers can drive them.

            As can older people who have, erm, "lost their license" shall we say.

            The only downside is the engine is limited by law to 1HP, so top speed is about 30mph or so.

            1. Dave 126 Silver badge

              Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

              Around 25mph, they sound like tractors, are relatively expensive and are nicknamed 'cars for the blind' - none of which a French teenager wants. However, the French do let teenagers with L plates carry their girlfriend on the back of scooters, making rural life that bit easier for them!

        3. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          "French cars have always been crap. That tear down for a light bulb just reminds me"

          Its not just the French !

          There are a number of recent German brand cars that require you to remove half the air-conditioning assembly to even be able to open the back of the headlight holder, let alone remove the light and replace it.

          The problem stems from the desire of the car manufacturers to make their engine compartments as compact as possible (either to make the car as compact as possible, or to maximise room inside). Hence the reason why (unfortunately) rear-wheel drive is a rarity these days, because the manufacturers just mount the engine sideways these days and make the thing front-wheel drive instead.

          It also happens to be cheaper for manufacturers to build FWD instead of RWD or AWD. But for you the, the end-user, FWD provides zero benefit, and actually, in terms of vehicle dynamics and handling, FWD goes further than zero benefit, it actually gives negative benefit, i.e. it is a disadvantage ! FWD vehicle dynamics are horrible.

          1. W4YBO

            Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

            "...desire of the car manufacturers to make their engine compartments as compact as possible..."

            In 1979, I actually had to ask my little sister for assistance getting out of my car. A 1962 Chevrolet Bel Air that had enough room in the engine compartment for me to crawl in to work on it. Enough room even to put my right foot on the pavement, essentially standing in the engine compartment. Getting back out, however...

          2. Deckard_C

            Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

            I thought I was going to have to remove the headlight of a 206 just to replace the bulb, but was then shown you could just pull the neck of the washer fluid bottle off. But then that 206 did get scrapped in part due to the labour cost of getting the heater matrix replaced.

        4. Kevin Johnston

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          Replacing the battery on my Land Rover Discovery needed a crane...

          Have you SEEN the size of those batteries?

          1. Baldrickk Silver badge

            Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

            "Replacing the battery on my Land Rover Discovery needed a crane...

            Have you SEEN the size of those batteries?"

            Yep, and replaced one myself - they are not that bad. The one in the caravan the Discovery tows is bigger.

            I also had to replace a bulb in the car recently - one or two screws (I forget which) and the unit pops off.

            The same with the headlight of my Focus; one screw, and two clips - though admittedly you need a suficciently long stick to get down to the lower clip, it's still easy to do.

          2. fruitoftheloon
            Happy

            @Kevin: Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

            Kevin,

            indeed, same for our Jeep Grand Cherokee, one f'ing heavy item...

            Jay

        5. Deckard_C

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          If my memory is right it wasn't that bad on the 306 I think the hard bit was getting a grip on it to lift it out.

        6. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          "Even a 306 removing the battery was PITA."

          I'll see your 306 and raise you a set of VM Beetle spark plugs (old style Beetle, not that new abomination!)

      2. Old Used Programmer

        Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

        You will probably appreciate my current dual-server project... Consists of 2 RPF CM3L modules, 2 WD Labs SATA Adapters, 2 60GB SSDs, 2 USB to Ehternet adapters, 2 5v 2.5A PSUs all held together with a 4 port KVM switch, an 8 port data switch and some short USB and CAT-5 cables. And--oh, yes--for offline work, an NTP server built from an RPF Pi0 and an RTC. Everything can be replaced easily with--at most a small screwdriver and (in the case of the NTP server) a soldering iron to install header pins.

      3. 2Nick3 Bronze badge

        Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

        Your point is good, but if you compared a 2010 Corolla to your 2010 Peugeot you'd see they are pretty similar with some of that. The amount of stuff that can be crammed under the bonnet of a car is pretty amazing, seeing as it all has to fit in and still function. But then there is barely room to turn a wrench in there any more.

        1. wolfetone Silver badge

          Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

          "Your point is good, but if you compared a 2010 Corolla to your 2010 Peugeot you'd see they are pretty similar with some of that. The amount of stuff that can be crammed under the bonnet of a car is pretty amazing, seeing as it all has to fit in and still function. But then there is barely room to turn a wrench in there any more."

          I wasn't comparing Japanese manufacturing to French "manufacturing", I was pointing out the difference in the age of the cars.

          Late 90's cars are the pinnacle really, they come with enough mod cons to be comfortable today yet easy enough to fix yourself if you need to. Every car after that just gets harder and harder to fix on a DIY basis, and increases the cost of labour to the mechanics you hand the car to.

          1. oldfartuk

            Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

            The pinnacle for Ford was the Sierra, the most fixable car ever produced, you could literally mend it with a cheap amateur starter tool kit from Halfords. The engine, the Pinto 1.6/2.0 was like a meccano set. I could change the head gasket on one in the dark in about two hours. The pistons had valve cutouts so it never suffered valve to piston contact when the timing belt broke, and you could retime the engine with a finger poked into the spark plug hole (to find TDC) and a good ear. My friend even talked his girlfriend thru changing the water pump gasket over the phone when she broke down in a motorway services car park one day, with all the tools in the back of the car. Then they invented the Mondeo, the FWD car with the non replaceable clutch, meaning they were all mostly scrapped at 110,000 miles when it wore out. No one was going to pay £600-£1000 to have a clutch replaced.

      4. oldfartuk

        Re: Add it to the pile of coal.

        .......plus you need a laptop and software, if you replace the headlamp bulb WITHOUT telling the computer, it has a hissy fit and refuses to let any of the lights to continue to work. Its insane, its just a bloody headlamp bulb.

  7. Shades

    What happened to screwing?

    I love screwing!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Coat

      Re: What happened to screwing?

      I prefer a giving a quality drilling over a good screwing...but I've hearing banging away is quite popular in some parts as well. And don't forget, if you find things a little difficult, you can always lube the parts up.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: What happened to screwing?

        Do you not know how to tease things open gently? Carefully probing and fondling with little tiny skillful movements to elicit the opening piecemeal, savouring the anticipation?

        All so eager to get at what's inside, you don't appreciate the packaging.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: What happened to screwing?

        I prefer a giving a quality drilling ...

        SDS, man, that's the way to go. Proper percussive action, none of this rotating cam "rub the brick into submission" nonsense.

  8. cs94njw

    I know that people replace mobile phones every couple of years because of contracts.

    But replacing a £1000 laptop is a bit different. Especially as it's not as easy to pay for it over time - welll... unless Mobile companies start selling SIM cards with laptops, and offering a contract...

    1. Lee D Silver badge

      Quite.

      I'd rather have two £500 laptops and stick one on a shelf. At least then you stand a chance at longevity, spare parts usage, etc.

      The non-replaceable items get no love from me whatsoever. And, to be honest, I hate having to take things apart. I lose at least one screw every time I do so. But at least I have a choice between "£10 keyboard replacement done by myself even if I have to take the whole thing apart" and £1000 replacement.

    2. John Robson Silver badge

      Apple did finance on their laptops for a while - bought one for the wife on twelve months zero interest.

      Pretty close to a no brainer in terms of financing a computer - And I reckon it will carry on lasting for a good long while yet. It was reasonably carefully specced to be a practical machine...

  9. jaffa99

    Nonsense

    Yes, to make the devices smaller & lighter, improving aesthetics while also withstanding knocks and general handling they're glued together. Why is this a problem? What are you going to replace? The CPU and RAM will be soldered to the board anyway to meet the cost/packaging criteria. The story is idiotic because there are plenty of options for people who want to be able to dismantle and 'upgrade' their laptop, but it'll be bigger, uglier & heavier than this one. It's like buying a sports car and complaining that it's not as roomy or economical as your old mini-van.

    Stop dripping nerds, this is the future, it's disposable.

    1. Doctor Evil

      Re: Nonsense

      So wrong and you don't even understand why.

      I'm writing this on the laptop for which I had a new LCD installed a few weeks back after many years of prior use. It's still going strong. Why should it be replaced?

      Just this weekend I tore down and repaired my coffee grinder which had suddenly stopped working from one day to the next. Fresh-ground coffee was my reward later. That, and not tossing something which was still perfectly usable.

      But ... Millennials! We're doomed.

      1. NewGuy

        Re: Nonsense

        Society has been moving towards the probably-not-efficient-yet-disposable-model~situation~majig long before "millennials." I use instant coffee and overly-sweet creamer. I am chaos incarnate. Your future is in jeopardy. Bow before your progeny and our wicked ways.

      2. the spectacularly refined chap

        Re: Nonsense

        So wrong and you don't even understand why.

        I'm writing this on the laptop for which I had a new LCD installed a few weeks back after many years of prior use. It's still going strong. Why should it be replaced?

        Fine. So what? Do you want us to be impressed by your resourcefulness or canniness? I'm not, I've followed the same approach. That doesn't make anyone who wants anything different wrong. Too many people here complain they can't dismantle things or replace parts, or don't have the portage they want in one thread, and then engage in techo-masturbation over a device that's 1mm thinner or half an ounce lighter in another. They work largely work against each other so a choice has to be made. Make whatever choice you want - I don't care. I do object to the selfish attitude - "It isn't what I want, so no-one else should be allowed to buy one either."

        A fairly comparable situation came up over the last few months with my mother and myself. We were both looking for new desktops, both decided in favour of SFF systems. Both expect a system to last 5-10 years. My own would fit what I suspect many here would go for - made out of standard off the shelf components I can easily replace any component whenever I like. Cost about £250, not overly powerful but good enough and hell, I can replace the ITX board with a new one in 2 or 3 years for another £100.

        My Mum's not going to do that. At most her system may get a memory upgrade during its life. She also wanted a name brand - you can argue about that but it is what she wanted. Cost of her new HP - about £450. To be fair you can dismantle it but the components are generally non-standard so forget any notion of a mid life update - upgrading memory or SSD, or replacing the ODD are about your limit. Yes, it was £200 more expensive but it's a lot more powerful - I suggested that spec for her bearing in mind it would have to last a decent period without upgrades. I knew about the limited scope for replacement parts before I suggested it, but it doesn't change the fact that it's the right machine for her. Why should she be forced to buy something less suitable based on your preferences?

        1. Updraft102 Silver badge

          Re: Nonsense

          "Too many people here complain they can't dismantle things or replace parts, or don't have the portage they want in one thread, and then engage in techo-masturbation over a device that's 1mm thinner or half an ounce lighter in another."

          I've never swooned over a device of any type for being smaller or lighter. If people want that, it's their prerogative to seek out such things in the marketplace. I do hold manufacturers responsible for spectacularly unserviceable devices like this one, though. Manufacturers have engineers; maybe if they worked on engineering ways to make devices serviceable AND small instead of using "it's too small to be serviceable" as an excuse to do what they wanted to do anyway, which is to build in planned obsolescence so that the devices have to be replaced fairly regularly.

          Apple has long been the master of this; its devices were near the top of the heap as far as lack of serviceability before the Surface Laptop took that prize. Even so, some shops have figured out how to repair the various iThings. Then, of course, Apple famously issued an update to brick devices that had already been successfully repaired and were functioning perfectly with reasonably-priced (non-Apple) parts. That update didn't make the iPhone any smaller or lighter, but it did illustrate Apple's real motive-- a cynical desire to prevent people from repairing their expensive iPhones and forcing them to buy new ones, to the benefit of Apple but to the detriment of their customers and to the environment. The same could be said of the non-removable, remarkably short-lived battery in some of the early-generation iPods, not to mention Apple's efforts to block "right to repair" legislation across the US.

          It's clear that the desire to make their products small and light isn't exactly the only thing Apple is trying to accomplish by making them difficult to service. Microsoft has joined them, and even one-upped them with this laptop that is specifically designed to be impossible to open without destroying it. Apple's devices are difficult to service, as are other Surface products, but this Surface Laptop appears to be impossible to service, by design.

          Disposable items, more than any other thing, are cheap. Make this Microsoft lappy cost $150 and you might have a deal (depending on whether I can get something other than Windows 10 on there; I am guessing not). Of course, I don't mean the 4GB model; selling a non-upgradeable laptop with 4GB in this day and age is nuts. I don't care that it's higher-spec than the laptops that actually cost $150; those are within the price range that disposability would be somewhat acceptable.

          For $1000 plus, though, there's just no friggin' way. I'll pay 30 cents for a disposable Bic pen, but I am not going to spend hundreds of dollars on a super premium pen set that can't have a new ink cartridge installed. Expensive things with consumable bits (batteries, SSDs, or ink cartridges, for example) need to be serviceable.

          "Make whatever choice you want - I don't care. I do object to the selfish attitude - "It isn't what I want, so no-one else should be allowed to buy one either."

          I believe you have created a strawman here. I don't recall anyone saying that no one should be allowed to buy glued-together, expensive, disposable devices. I'd go as far to say that anyone with any sense wouldn't want one, but never that it shouldn't even be allowed.

          If manufacturers can sucker people into buying disposable pens, computers, or anything else for a thousand bucks, that's between them and their marks... ah, customers. At least we should try to make sure people are informed of the disposable nature of their goods before they shell out their hard-earned cash. I'd bet that most people don't really understand that this Surface Laptop can't have its battery replaced at all. They're used to smart phones and other things where replacement is difficult, but it would be reasonable for them to expect that it can be done in some fashion.

          1. dajames Silver badge

            Re: Nonsense

            I believe you have created a strawman here. I don't recall anyone saying that no one should be allowed to buy glued-together, expensive, disposable devices. I'd go as far to say that anyone with any sense wouldn't want one, but never that it shouldn't even be allowed.

            Methinks the point is that one should be allowed to buy a device that is not glued-together and disposable -- that is, that there should be manufacturers who actually produce devices that are easy to dismantle and service, using standard parts that can be exchanged and upgraded without difficulty.

            At present, manufacturers seem to prefer to offer only overpriced and unmaintainable landfill, despite the fact that -- as you say -- nobody with any common sense would want to buy it; the only reason that anyone does is that there are no alternatives. I can only regard this as a conspiracy by the manufacturers to prevent people from prudently buying maintainable devices that will have long and fruitful lives.

            We need some legislation along the lines of the RoHS and WEEE Directives requiring manufacturers to make disassembly easy and to use standard parts (or at least to offer easily-obtainable spares at reasonable prices for (say) ten years after a device is first offered for sale).

          2. John Robson Silver badge

            Re: Nonsense

            "I've never swooned over a device of any type for being smaller or lighter. If people want that, it's their prerogative to seek out such things in the marketplace."

            There are some breakpoints...

            The original Nexus7 fitted well in trouser pockets, the iPad mini doesn't.

            That's a critical dimension, and a fairly small change in the iPad mini packaging could be a significant improvement.

            But I agree that the 'this device is 0.7mm thinner than the previous, otherwise identical, device' swooning is rather pointless...

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Nonsense

          >Make whatever choice you want - I don't care. I do object to the selfish attitude - "It isn't what I want, so no-one else should be allowed to buy one either."

          I want to urinate through your letter box and defecate in your front garden. What do you mean *you* don't want me to ruin your environment? Some people are so selfish - I should be able to do whatever I want and damn the consequences for society.

    2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Nonsense

      "What are you going to replace?"

      The battery.

  10. handleoclast Silver badge
    Pirate

    A task for Big Clive

    Big Clive would soon have it open. Whether or not it would go back together is another matter.

    He might even subject it to the same treatment he gave a 100W LED.

  11. Mage Silver badge
    Flame

    Apple

    MS copying Apple.

    This abusive manufacturing should have been made illegal years ago, with glue limited to parts that never need to be removed for repair.

    Batteries barely last 2 years if charged every day and can fail earlier.

    It pokes "Repair, Reuse, Recycling" in the Eye.

    Fine them AND Apple and the others. This has gone on too long. Rescind the CE mark of anything other than like a greeting card with glued case / display / battery!

    1. This post has been deleted by its author

    2. Tim99 Silver badge

      Re: Apple

      Perhaps, I am an old fart who has used and written software for computing devices for 45+ years. I am on my second iPad - I use a 'real' computer for less than 2hrs a day now. The first iPad was the original model bought 7 years ago (on its first shipping day) as a plaything. My wife purchased an iPad Air to try out, and said she would pass it on to me if she didn't like it (I had to purchase my own a few weeks later as it became the only computer she uses). The original was passed on to a friend for light use - it's battery life is still about 4 hours of use, but this might be because it is often in sleep mode.

      My 'new' one is down to about 7-8 hours (2.5 years ago it was 10+). I am trying to use the 'short' battery life to justify a new 10.5" iPad Pro...

      1. oldfartuk

        Re: Apple

        Im another old fart, who ran large scale rollouts of LANS and WANS to local government 1980-2010. Apple were, and still are, over priced junk. I investigated Macs as workstations on Novell 3 and 5 networks back in the 90's, and then again for Server 2000, and again rejected them as a heap of fetid dingos kidney. Apple devices are a con trick, designed to become obsolete asap, which includes deliberately throttling them down to make them slow and force you to buy another.Apple are deeply crooked company in this respect.

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "temperature required to melt the glue, would likely melt the lithium-ion battery"

    "I don't see how you can get past Health and Safety Laws, putting an end of life Laptop in an oven with a glued in lithium ion-battery. The temperature required to melt the glue, would likely melt the lithium-ion battery or heat it to dangerous temperatures."

    Not so, I use just such a device (table oven / hot plate) daily to heat the glue (not melt) just enough to be able to get screens of hi end TABs (70c for 25mins) - although the temp should be reduced if the battery it nearly full.

    Bad design IMHO - one should not have to remove the screen assy 1st to get to the battery!!

    And yes it's a fucking big PITA - thanks $am$ung

  13. John Munyard

    As an owner of the disappointing and now almost completely unsupported Surface 1 (only 3 years old remember) there is no way I would buy another Microsoft tablet. The thing will be obsolete in less than two years.

  14. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    Somebody afraid kids will start sniffing glue?

    Why not just make devices that is easy to disassemble then? Of course you'll lose a bit of revenue long-term, but you'll get people who'll praise and extol the virtues of [glue-less product] to anybody who want to listen.

  15. jeffty

    There must be better alternatives to gluing everything together...

    ... for the purposes of recycling.

    I have no problem with laptops that are easier to recycle but this strikes me as the laziest and cheapest way to achieve that, and at the expense of repair/reuse/extending the lifespan of a device.

    Why is it necessary to solder RAM and PCIE devices to a laptop's mother/logic board? What's wrong with old-fashioned plastic sockets and plastic clips to hold components in place? If easy dissassembly is a requirement (using heat), why not use a plastic which can cope with the heat generated by normal use but at a higher temperature (say 180C) or with the use of a mild solvent melts away and allows for easy separation of these components?

    The current attitude towards this seems to indicate that vendors aren't interested in the life of a device beyond it's initial 3 years (where failures are rare and upgrades aren't usually required). There has been and always will be a market for devices older than this, where people on a budget buy second hand/reconditioned from a reseller or auction site, or retain their device and continue to use it. My current laptop is five years old and should easily last another 3-4 with the upgrades I've installed so far.

  16. Wedge

    Microsoft may think that this won't affect their business but when your company scraps their entire deployment of surface tablets due to this very issue on their test kit then yes, yes it does. (50,000+ person organisation)

  17. Ellis Birt 1

    Caveat Emptor! (In UK and EU at least)

    Unrepairable... 1 year warranty... Is that reasonable for a £1000 consumer laptop?

    Under EU consumer protection rules, a consumer is likely to have comeback against whoever sold them the device - even beyond the 1 year warranty.

    The measure is how long a reasonable person would expect a product to last.

    If they are not careful, retailers could find themselves replacing a lot of 2-3 year old laptops at their own expense!

    1. Z80

      Re: Caveat Emptor! (In UK and EU at least)

      Caveat Venditor then?

  18. Sorry that handle is already taken. Silver badge

    Blimey, that URL

    https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown/Microsoft+Surface+Laptop+Teardown/92915?utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=PRTD_Surface_Pro5_Laptop_2017&utm_content=PRTD_Surface_Pro5_Laptop_2017+CID_d981c6538c4b7ad40b1a931bdd034f17&utm_source=CampaignMonitor&utm_term=Microsoft%20Surface%20Teardown

    Without all the tracking nonsense: https://www.ifixit.com/Teardown//92915

  19. ForthIsNotDead

    One day...

    ...Microsoft will just go back to writing good software, like they did in the late 80s and early 90s.

    1. oldfartuk

      Re: One day...

      You means stealing good software off smaller companies who dont have the wherewithall to sue them? Micro$hit never wrote a single subroutine that coudl be described as 'good' in 40 years

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