If you can't fix it, that means it's disposable. A grand or two seems like an awful lot of money for a disposable piece of gear.
Torx twirlers iFixit celebrated the release of Microsoft's Surface Pro 6 by ripping the thing apart only to find that its still pretty much unrepairable. The team noted that the new model was initially tricky to distinguish from its predecessor. Both include USB-3 and a Mini DisplayPort but, significantly, lack the USB-C port …
A grand or two seems like an awful lot of money for a disposable piece of gear.
Apple and Samsung appear convinced otherwise. But they and Microsoft can f*** right off if they think I'm paying that sort of money for a short life tool.
Clearly, there are sufficient people who are willing to splash the cash. Fools and their money, eh?
"Apple and Samsung appear convinced otherwise."
True -- just because they're overpriced doesn't mean there aren't suckers out there willing to pay that price. The Samsung thing is relatively recent, though. My 6 year old Samsung phone is repairable enough that I've fixed it three times now (once was replacing the battery, though, which may not count as "fixing" on that device as the battery is designed to be easily replaceable).
Are they really overpriced? Stop and think about the amount of technology in these devices both hardware and software. Then there is the factor of miniaturisation – the smaller the form factor the more expensive.
Microsoft's and Apple's prices reflect more directly the costs. Others cross subsidise from advertising, selling your details and from other parts of their business and then using off-the-shelf software not tailored to the end user.
Everyone always wants to pay less for any item they buy. That does not make them overpriced.
I guess one could argue about the difference between just overpriced and over-engineered (to justifying ridiculous price). It's amazing that some otherwise reasonable people support with their (though more often busniness' they worked for money) money gizmos that offered no functional advantage over quality kit that's while 2mm thicker (and sometimes not even this), is upgrade-able and repairable (if only to the advantage of the 2nd hand buyer). I guess only disposal fees will make this crap less desirable (where no demand for used model will have the original buyer actually pay for offloading the bricked device).
And this soldered SSD is just the nail in the coffin. Surely you'd not like anything bad to happen to your data (so pay up for OneDrive).
Stop and think about the amount of technology in these devices
That's mostly irrelevant. It's all about the value it provides. For something that can't be fixed/upgraded, and could break due to a future update from the manufacturer (assuming it will still get updates).
I've bought cars for less than that.
You're missing the point - if I'm paying upwards of £879 (for the base i5 model) then I have a basic, realistic expectation of being able to repair and/or upgrade my device whenever I want or need to. For what the device offers and provides, then yes, it is overpriced. Form factor or clever engineering be damned.
But then, I'm not the target audience for a device like this. That's reserved for senior managers who have access to large IT budgets, with less sense than a damp digestive biscuit. No, not even a chocolate covered one.
With so much glue, under-engineered is the reality. Glue to computers is even lower than duct tape to cars... at least tape doesn't obscure the repair.
I'm not sure how much glue is used in uhh, well... anything finely engineered, but I know Microsoft hasn't given me an example of such. Why can't they just use shim rubber and micro Torx screws?
"Are they really overpriced?"
As I said, if you can't repair them than yes, they are rather seriously overpriced. The cost of production or R&D doesn't really enter into this calculation much from my "consumer" point of view.
If I'm paying a grand or more for something -- anything -- a major part of what I expect to get is longevity, and the ability to fix the thing when it goes wrong is a very important aspect of that. Otherwise, it's a disposable device, and I'm hard-pressed to justify paying triple or quadruple digits for something that is disposable -- no matter what the production/R&D costs are.
"If I'm paying a grand or more for something -- anything -- a major part of what I expect to get is longevity..."
The problem with that with regards to electronics is that the fast pace of development very quickly renders older models obsolete. A 10-year old car that is well maintained has no problems taking you where you want to go. A 10-year old tablet, while it could well function as well as it always had without any updates, will slow to a crawl if updated with latest versions of OS and apps. That almost certainly means security vulnerabilities.
So if a tablet has a mean time to failure of 4-5 years, that's about as much longevity as can be reasonably squeezed out of it. Now lets say that after 5 years the motherboard needs replacing. You're buying a single motherboard vs the factory that buys them in the hundreds of thousands, it's going to cost quite a bit. Shipping a single new motherboard will cost more than the equivalent shipping on a batch of new tablets. Even if it's fairly simple to take it apart and put it back together again, it will take more time to do that than it takes to assemble a new tablet in China. The cost of a skilled technician's work in the west is at least 10 times more than that of the assembly worker in China. (Even if you are skilled enough to do it yourself there is the time value of your money)
Add all that together and you quite often will end up in a situation where you can pay £500++ to repair your existing tablet vs paying £1000 for this year's far superior flagship model or £500 for this year's entry-level model or for the flagship model from 2 years ago, either of which is more capable than the model you want to repair.
I'm not saying I like this model - it actually sucks - but that's the economics of globalisation. Keep in mind that if these things weren't made in China they would cost 5X as much to begin with.
Of course, I'm talking here about general repairability of broken components. Making a battery non-replaceable to save 1-2mm of thickness on the device is bonkers
Point taken, but only when we're talking about "expired" devices.
What about when the device breaks after the warranty's over, but before it becomes useless? Do we just throw it out?
Let's talk about PC tablets (like the Surface, ones that are x86_64 and run Windows or whatever). They have a functional life of five to seven years, and a mean warranty of two years (one year for consumer models, two for EU models, three for most business models). Should we throw out a computer that's only two CPU generations old if the screen breaks?
"The problem with that with regards to electronics is that the fast pace of development very quickly renders older models obsolete"
People often say that, but I have yet to have that problem, personally. I use plenty of equipment that is ten or more years old and still performs perfectly well. I honestly can't think of a single time that I had a piece of equipment stop doing its job because of "obsolescence".
"A 10-year old tablet, while it could well function as well as it always had without any updates, will slow to a crawl if updated with latest versions of OS and apps. That almost certainly means security vulnerabilities."
That's a very weak argument, though. You can always replace the ROM with something more modern (and, personally, the first thing I do with any mobile device is replace the factory ROM with one that I actually have control over anyway).
"So if a tablet has a mean time to failure of 4-5 years, that's about as much longevity as can be reasonably squeezed out of it."
My experience is that the MTBF is much, much longer than 5 years. And even if it isn't, that's where being able to repair it comes into play.
"you quite often will end up in a situation where you can pay £500++ to repair your existing tablet"
I have never had this situation arise. If it did, then yes, I would replace the device. If, however, the device is actually impossible to repair, then I won't buy it in the first place (thus avoiding insane repair costs).
Maybe, but can you bring your Surface back to Microsoft for recycling (and do they then recycle like Apple, or just turn the whole thing into landfill)?
Not that you would exchange an Apple device for a new one unless it's at least 4 years old, their return value is just too low. You're better off making sure it's in a decent state and then sell it privately, and then decide if you want a new device from them or not (I never exclude the possibility that I may switch, so far so good, though).
As it is non-repairable, as soon as the battery fails the device is landfill. (Maybe it will work connected to a power pack - however failing lithium ion batteries have been known to cause fires so it would not be trustworthy.)
This means that the Surface Pro has a life less than my £200 Android phone (a 2013 model THL W8S with a user replaceable battery).
The only good Microsoft hardware products have been peripherals (mouse, keyboard, joystick etc).
To be fair the battery life for many of these devices == product life. You'll only change that with legislation, primarily over how companies can offset purchases against tax: if they have to keep stuff on the books longer they'll look for stuff that's easier and cheaper to maintain.
But it's okay: to ease my guilt over the purchase of lifestyle accessories I'm drinking fair trade coffee with organic milk.
Great idea yes, great product no.
Dead battery = dead laptop? Since when?
And there are alternatives (business-class at least, not
proleconsumer stuff) which do the same concept whilst maintaining reparability, although at a few inches thicker (I know, because I'm typing on one right now).
A Federal Right to Repair law now.
Both Apple and Microsoft claim to be "Green". Bullshit, their products are manufactured by design to be disposable pieces of shit.
I beat the shit out of laptops and can repair them easily, I will not invest in any of this overpriced junk.
I came here to say exactly this. Look at the state of our oceans and the amount of plastic the ends up in them.
Look at what happens to an awful lot of kit that has supposedly been recycled following the WEEE directive - where it ends up, how little of it actually gets recycled.
And on top of this, I tire of the whole concept that this isn't MY device. It's MY money. I pay to own it - not license it from you for a while.
All of these companies (I include Apple. Samsung and just about any other personal tech manufacturer) crap on about reducing greenhouse gasses, renewable energy, efficient data centres etc and how wonderful for the environment they are.
There is no way all that will make up for these disposable products which would be difficult to recycle and going into landfill with all the glue and muck in them, Green my arse.
I am a big proponent of that.
Got to my mid 50s on 4 TVs.
10 years per TV not bad, nearly time for number 5.
Home PC is 10 years old and still works OK, last mod was adding a drive for Windows 7.
Reuse, as well, yes I do that, old work mobiles get given to sons rather than they have new ones, they are happy with mid market Androids, but none want my current phone.
Recycle, do that as well.
Only thing is that I do have to spend a lot very occasionally, my last CRT TV was £1200
"Surely the justification for the glue is ease of recycling?"
The problem with that argument is that it assumes that recycling is the best thing that we can do. It's not. Recycling doesn't really help that much if the device's lifetime is short. Being reparable extends the lifetime, and thus reduces the environmental impact even more than recycling does.
The argument that because glue is used the aircraft are suddenly more disposable is facile
Simple fact is aircraft become more and more efficient every iteration, airlines will do whatever they can to gain a few extra nautical miles for the same poundage of fuel.
I think the real issue is that companies aren't held liable for the quality of the products they sell. These things should come with a 5 year warranty as standard.
Quality control would certainly shoot up.
Tho, here in the UK we actually have a 6 year warranty anyway, you just have to be aware of it when shops refuse to honour it...
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