back to article Repairability fiends crack open a Surface Laptop 3: Nice SSD, but shame about the battery

Microsoft has made much of its return to the days when hardware could be upgraded, but it still has a little way to go – as screwdriver-botherers at iFixit appear to have discovered with the Surface Laptop 3. At the company's NYC hardware event, Surface boss Panos Panay whipped off the keyboard of a Laptop 3 without requiring …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge
    FAIL

    I don't care

    I don't care that the item is the fasted, cheapest, best performing in its category - if the battery cannot be swapped out in less than 5 minutes without any tool more specialized than a screwdriver, I will not buy it.

    End of.

    1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge

      Re: I don't care

      I wonder if gluing the battery improves structural rigidity. Probably just a coincidental side-effect of planned obsolecence. But hey, at least the swappable SSD is maybe starting to reverse the trend.

      1. jeffty

        Re: I don't care

        At the other end of the spectrum, Apple Macbooks now have the SSD directly integrated into the logic/mainboard. If your storage fails, your only options are external storage via USB-C or a complete logic board replacement. They've even done away with the proprietary recovery port they had on the board that could be used for data recovery in the event of a failure.

        I'm still using a Macbook Pro 2012, it was the last model in the range where you could easily swap out batteries, storage and RAM without the application of heat or solvents to remove glue. It's a bit clunkier than the newer models but still a really good bit of kit. Unless Apple relent in their current practices it'll be the last one I own.

        1. Detective Emil
          Meh

          Re: I don't care

          I too have a 2012 MacBook Pro, but the Retina model, which was one of the first howls-of-rage-inducing laptops with a non-user-exchangeable battery. It still sees use two or three times a week, and the original battery is fine, both according to the the diagnostic software and to my experience in how many hours I can use it before it runs down. So, on this anecdotal evidence, maybe non-exchangeable batteries are not such a big deal. (OTOH, let me tell you about my AirPods …)

    2. chuBb.

      Re: I don't care

      The flip side is (while i fully agree about non user replaceable batteries) is that with the sorts of Li-Ion batteries they are using they would open a massive can of liability if they made those bombs batteries easily accessable, because at best you just have to deal with the fallout of some berk throwing in the rubbish and it catching fire when the bin wagon collects, or more likely in this case shorting it out trying to remove it and then having to deal with a Li-Ion fire on the work bench, assuming you can put it out before it spreads you will have triggered a legit fire drill, never mind the shipping, storage and disposal of replacement batteries. Thats not cheap at all, when i cut my teeth in the world of ecommerce during the .com boom i was working for an oem and clone battery importing company, even back then we had to have an explosion proof container (dubbed the bunker) to store the batteries we collected for disposal/recycling/metal reclemation but the cost of the bunker and envrinmental safe guarding pretty much negated the profit of the disposal service. Still at least dealing with that was easier than explaining to people that no you cant create infinite energy by plugging a battery charger into an inverter and charging the battery powering the inverter from said charger.... one chap was so adament it would work that he accepted a no returns clause from us spaffed a few hundred on SLA's and a beefy inverter and promptly tried to return his purchase when the laws of physics turned out to apply to him after all

      I think perhaps a new engineering triangle should be used for thin device along the lines of On Spec|On Time|On Budget pick 2, but instead it should be Thin|Non Explosive|Serviceable pick 2

    3. This post has been deleted by its author

  2. The Man Who Fell To Earth
    FAIL

    Climate Change

    If it can't be easily taken apart for repair, then it also can't be easily recycled. That is why all the folks who make stuff like this (looking at you, Apple, Samsung & a few others) are just engaging in green washing for the feeble minded when they present themselves as environmentally and socially responsible.

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Headmaster

      Re: Climate Change

      "If it can't be easily taken apart for repair, then it also can't be easily recycled"

      Not entirely true. Can't easily be recycled by mainstream recyclers, however if the manufacturers take proper responsibility and organise specialist recycling centres they could actually drive better and more efficient recycling practise. Under WEEE manufacturers are partly responsible, although limited evidence of that up to now. Devil's in the detail.

  3. x 7

    Torx plus?

    I know what Torx screws are, whats "Torx plus"?

    1. DontFeedTheTrolls Silver badge
      Boffin

      Re: Torx plus?

      Is that not the Security Torx with the little dimple in the middle of the screw and the hole in the centre of the bit?

      1. Franco Silver badge

        Re: Torx plus?

        I thought so too, but apprently it's Torx with an improved head profile, assuming you believe Wikipedia. The lobes are more square and the gaps between them more curved.

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Torx

        Anyway, it's a step in the right direction from Microsoft. Admittedly battery technology (IME) is moving on, my Surface Book has just been replaced with a new one after 3 years of use and the battery was still decent whereas in the past I've had laptops where the battery was useless after a year.

  4. Anonymous South African Coward Silver badge

    We use Lenovo laptops, but two models.

    One model have a battery on the inside, which can be removed but you'll need to dismantle the laptop to do so.

    The other model have two batteries, one external and one internal. The idea here is that should the external go flat, then you'll have enough juice on the internal to do a safe shutdown etc.

    TBH I'm not a big fan of that layout, I'll prefer one external battery and that's it. Less of a fire risk.

    1. whoseyourdaddy

      How is an external battery less of a fire risk compared to an internal battery?

  5. steviebuk Silver badge

    And why...

    ..solder on the fucking memory. Cocks.

    1. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: And why...

      I'd rather that it was socketed as well, however here are a few reasons why onboard memory:

      • Cost - the sockets add additional cost with no (normal) operational benefit. Both from requiring the socket part itself and the additional assembly step of fitting the memory modules.
      • Size - the sockets add a considerable amount of size to a constrained size system
      • Performance - with know paths and known components the performance could be marginally improved
      • Reliability - if something can come physically loose it will. It introduces another moving part to break
      • Support - no need to support arbitrary modules than any individual may fit. This is also a cost saving of course, but also a reliability one too

  6. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Flame

    Slimline Dell models

    They announce their end of battery life after approximately two years by having the battery start to budge and mess with the trackpad and keyboard before finally distorting the case.

    Average consumer or corporate reaction will be to dispose of it and buy a new machine.

    And they have the nerve to put bullocks like this on their website:

    Environment | Dell Technologies

    1. chuBb.

      Re: Slimline Dell models

      Hmmmm i wonder if that could be the cause of my occasionally phantom wander of mouse to bottom left of screen issue i have with laptop, usually percussive maintenance fixes it and as the battery lives under the track pad it all fits, is about the right age to do that as well and only started to happen recently.

      Its deff hardware based as well as it happens in the EFI screens as well as in any gui i load, now to fix or petition for upgrade....

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