Microsoft exposes glue-free guts of the Surface Laptop Studio
Broken your headphone jack? No problem. Want some more RAM? Er, about that...
Microsoft has reminded us once again of a time when enthusiasts could get into the guts of their hardware with a teardown of its Surface Laptop Studio, all in the name of repairability.
In a video uploaded to the company's Microsoft Surface YouTube channel, Colin Ravenscroft (senior DFX engineer), took viewers through a blessedly glue-free journey into the insides of the latest flagship device.
The video follows another earlier this year concerning the company's Surface Laptop SE. A comparison between the two shows Microsoft taking steps forward and back, although the existence of repair guides at all is a welcome development.
Remarkably few tools are needed to open up the hardware. We were, however, a bit concerned about the feet and cosmetic plate around the side of the base which had to be removed in order to access the screws – Ravenscroft did not reassemble the device once stripped, and we can't imagine that cosmetic plate going back on smoothly.
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However, once inside, there were positives and negatives. A big plus was the ability to pull out the SSD, fans, audio jack and Surface Connect port and speakers with just the aid of tweezers and screwdriver.
While the motherboard could be lifted out of the way, RAM was resolutely soldered onto it, meaning upgrades are pretty much impossible for the self-help community. Sacrificing replaceable memory in pursuit of ever-thinner devices has never been a good thing for this writer.
The battery also seems as if it would not be easily replaceable, and is stuck to the inside of the laptop.
During the teardown, Ravenscroft raised hopes that Microsoft had made the unit easier to replace when he highlighted the pull tabs for stretch-to-release – before dashing them with the comment "that's to aid with disassembly of the battery when it comes end-of-life-recycling."
Still, at the least the plate to which the battery was secured can be replaced easily enough.
Overall, Microsoft deserves some kudos for this approach and while RAM is still not upgradeable and battery replacement not as straightforward as we'd like, the ease with which other commonly broken components (such as the Surface Connector and headphone jack) can be replaced is a step in the right direction.
Microsoft's Surface Studio might not require a heat gun and a healthy dose of bravery to get into, yet plenty of PCs out there still do. ®