Search This Blog

Microsoft Surface Laptop : Limited Useful Life

Microsoft 13.5" Surface Laptop (Platinum)
A range of beautiful, lightweight Windows 10 S performance laptops with a stylish sealed design that cannot be upgraded or repaired, choose your configuration wisely....


Start at around $999 for a base model ( Core i5 CPU 4GB RAM 128GB SSD ) and go up to $2199 for the top of the line ( Core i7 CPU 16GB RAM 512 GB SSD )

The Good

A beautiful machine with a unique Surface that looks awesome and feels amazing when you are typing and interacting with it. The Microsoft Surface Laptop is a 2.7lb lightweight 7th Gen. Intel powerhouse for demanding applications offering up to 14.5 hours of video playback for a full day of work or entertainment. The 13.5in touchscreen display sports a 2256 x 1504 resolution powered by Intel HD Graphic & works with the Surface pen (not included). The Alcantara fabric covered keyboard provides a easy clean comfortable typing experience surface unlike anything else.

SSD enables super fast boot up & app load times, while AC Wifi & Bluetooth 4.0 LE pair with a USB 3.0 port for connectivity. A 720P webcam, microphones, premium speakers, mini DisplayPort & combo 3.5mm mic/ headphone jack round out the port features that can be expanded using a SurfaceConnect docking station.

Win 10 S provides a stable safe operating system with blazing fast Edge browsing & buttery smooth multi HD window performance, along with Cortana, Ink, & Hello features with greatly improved cloud OneDrive functionality. Easy OS upgrade to Window 10 Pro enables broad 3rd party software.

The Bad

A proprietary charging port & sealed internal non-user serviceable fade prone useful life limiting lithium ion battery makes this machine prone to entering an e-waste recycling stream after only a few years. Relatively weak mechanical strength against normal forces means you can easily break this machine. You also have to order the best configuration for your budget since it cannot be upgraded or repaired.

The Ugly

Mainboard soldered RAM, GPU, & CPU & SSD, its all or nothing, if any part fails the whole thing is bricked! Plastic welding + glue & adhesive make the case a nightmare to open. iFixit gave it the worst repair score ever awarded to any product 0 out of 10, where 10 is an easy thing to fix.

It makes sense from the ODM's perspective to make use of sonic welding, glue & adhesive in order to make the machine lighter, thinner and more compact, while also faster to assemble at a lower cost. Sadly this kind of manufacturing makes the Surface Tablets & Surface Laptops emblematic of non-user serviceable, non upgradable, barely repairable e-trash creation that is doomed to fail when any part of the system fails.


  1. The wrong focus on low cost manufacturing while ignoring the sustainability of the product, its useful life, how it will please customers or not, the big picture missed again.

    I understand why the Surface Laptop was designed in a sealed way, but I disagree with sealing in fade prone lithium ion batteries, and do not like when computer manufacturers solder the RAM, CPU, GPU or SSD to the mainboard.

    Looking forward into the future I can see SOC designs with fan-less operation enabling super long battery run time life laptops, but feel like the manufacturers should still consider the life cycle of the their products, their customers, the real world use case and end of life, repairability and other related noble concerns. A company as large as Microsoft has what it takes in terms of human capital manpower resources to execute on a much higher level. It feels like they went low brow with the Surface Lineup, succumbing to the unrelenting blinding forces of accounting centric thinking that looses sight of what matters most, the customers, real people!

    1. I publish this kind of content with the goal of edifying the public, real people, so that they can make informed choices.

      On an ethical level I will never agree with sealing batteries into a device: as doing so means the batteries failure takes the device into an e-waste stream all too often, when a simple battery swap would have restored the devices function.

      Consumer electronics are very expensive in terms of toxic manufacturing impacts on the upstream supply chain: contain a lot of embedded energy, and are build on the shoulders of giants who valued taking care of people, their employees, customers, friends & family, real people in the real world. Without people there is nothing worth writing about, life is what makes life valuable, not money!

  2. Aimed at Students ?

    What happened to the budget $400 15in Windows Student Laptops ?

    This stuff is premium Apple-esque price hardware starting @ $1000 going up to over $2199 with tax out the door... not student price ranges.

    What a bad lesson in product design to set for students anyway. You cannot open the Surface Laptop without destroying it. What kind of message does that send to students?