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Microsoft Surface Book proves painful to repair

A tour through the innards of Microsoft's new laptop is a challenging journey for the folks at iFixit, who found a lot of glue and a motherboard "resembling some kind of nightmarish Tetris piece."


Don't try to repair your Surface Book.


Should you ever have the urge to open your Surface Book to try to fix a problem, resist it.

Released on October 26 to shake up the laptop market, Microsoft's Surface Book , has garnered generally good reviews for its solid design and powerful features. But a teardown published Monday from the folks at iFixit found the device a chore to take apart to access its array of internal parts.

In the event of a serious hardware problem, most laptop owners would never tear apart their device, instead relying on the vendor or a repair shop to do the hard labor. But the repairability of a tech product is important in that it tells us how well the manufacturer put all the internal parts together and how expensive the device may be to fix when it's no longer under warranty.

How did the Surface Book score on iFixit's repairability scale? It received a grade of 1 out of 10 (1 being the worst).

Keep in mind this is a slim laptop that can convert into a tablet via a detachable keyboard, so Microsoft had to squeeze a lot into a small package. The iFixit team found a variety of components glued or soldered on, making them difficult to remove. The processor and memory are both soldered to the motherboard. A strong adhesive is affixed to many components, including the display, base cover and both batteries. The base battery is "very heavily glued," according to iFixit, so removing and replacing it would not be an easy task.

Another "gotcha" is that many of the internal parts are located on the backs of their circuit boards, which means you have to remove the entire motherboard to replace them. Finally, the motherboard itself is inserted upside down and "sprawls throughout the entire chassis, resembling some kind of nightmarish Tetris piece," iFixit said. Just accessing the motherboard sounds like a battle not for the faint of heart.

The moral of the story? Don't try this at home.