Microsoft Surface

Cracking Open the Microsoft Surface 2

Microsoft Surface 2 teardown

On the outside, the Surface 2 may look like its predecessor, the Surface RT. But Microsoft dramatically changed the tablet's internal design. And in doing so, made it a real pain to crack open and repair.

In this Cracking Open gallery, I walk you through the process of disassembling the Surface 2 and give you a tour of the redesigned internal hardware layout. For a detailed analysis of the teardown, check out my article and video, Surface 2 design changes make it more difficult to crack open and repair.

Bill Detwiler/TechRepublic

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

8 comments
olngrumpy
olngrumpy

First thing people do is cover a phone/tablet in a fancy protective case - looks of the unit itself is not material.  Samsung has it right - removing backing and exchanging the battery is intended design.  From the look of the units I own other repairs don't seem impossible - not like iPhones and Nokia devices.

awgiedawgie
awgiedawgie

With the ever-increasing difficulty in disassembling tech period, to say nothing about doing it without damaging something (like the warped panel in the above example), I think it's well worth the small amount it takes to purchase an extended warranty when you buy something these days. It only cost me $20 for a four-year plan on my home theatre system, and I've had to have the dvd tray replaced twice. If it happens once more before the four years is up, I get a whole new system. Sure, it would be quite simple to have replaced the parts myself -- nothing compared to the complexity of a tablet -- but I also would have had to buy the parts, whereas with the warranty, it cost me nothing, and they sent it off to the manufacturer to have it fixed, and I had it back in little more than a week.

Now I'm not trying to steer people away from their local repair shoppes, and I know a lot of people who prefer dealing with someone locally, even if it means a little extra cost, but it's something many people overlook, or they turn down the extra warranty without even thinking about the potential benefit-versus-risk comparison.

karlandre
karlandre

Its going to take time before spare parts become readilly available and then still more time for them to go down in price. Heck I just dropped my 64GB 3G iPad 2 the other day and shattered the digitizer screen....it only cost me $40 in parts to replace the Digitizer screen (preassembled with the button and adhesive already placed on it ) + Wifi antenna cable (which you break taking off the digitizer)+ plus Volume Button/ Power Button cable (which I accidentally nipped when taking off the digitizer)....iPad 2 parts are ridiculously cheap. Over time Surface and Surface 2 parts will be cheap but its gonna take a few years

ben_myers
ben_myers

FINALLY!  Somebody in the mainstream media is concerned with ease of repair, or lack thereof.  People bring me all brands of laptops for work, and I simply won't touch some brands or models for certain repairs.  Others, mostly Dell and Lenovo, are fairly easy, and spares are readily available for them.  Which leads to one other dynamic in computer repair: ease of obtaining spare parts.  

I get laptops 2-3 years old to repair, so my efforts would probably not be newsworthy, except as an embarrassment to the companies that sell them.

So, how easy is it to get spare parts for a Surface 2?


M Wagner
M Wagner

Built-in obsolence is the rule of the day. About the only thing still reparable these days is a desktop system.

martinwtaylor
martinwtaylor

Fab, now I know what's inside my Surface 2 (with which I am very happy).  I don't fancy replacing the battery, though!

jayweaver
jayweaver

@karlandre  where did you get the digitizer from for $40.00??

I can't find one for less than $300.00.