The Microsoft Surface Pro X is the first tablet in the Surface Pro lineup to feature an ARM-based processor. And while that means it has integrated LTE and theoretically long battery life (which in fact varies depending on usage), early reviews suggest the $1,000+ tablet struggles with app compatibility issues.

On the bright side, Microsoft does seem to have delivered on one of its other promises for the tablet — it’s easier to fix if something breaks.

iFixit

We already knew that the tablet has replaceable/upgradeable storage. Just remove a panel on the back of the tablet (beneath the kickstand) and you can access the M.2 2230 slot where the tablet’s solid state storage lives.

But now the folks at iFixit have done a complete teardown of the Surface Pro X, and they’ve found that it’s the easiest-to-repair Surface Pro to date — the online repair shop gives the tablet a score of 6 out of 10 for repairability.

By comparison, the FairPhone 3 got a perfect 10 out of 10. The Surface Pro 6 got a 1 out of 10.

So what’s different this year? In addition to opting for a removable SSD, iFixit notes that the case is relatively easy to open (there’s no heat required and adhesive tape peels off easily), and most ports are modular, which means they should be easy to replace.

The bad news is the RAM is soldered, and the battery is tightly glued.

For the most part, this doesn’t seem like a tablet most folks are going to want to repair at home — but performing a DIY replacement of a broken or loose port seems doable.  And perhaps more importantly, companies that buy Surface Pro X tablets for their workers should have an easier time doing in-house servicing than they would with other Surface products.

Not bad for a tablet that’s thinner than its Intel-powered counterparts.

Now if only they could run 64-bit, x86 apps.

 

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4 replies on “Microsoft Surface Pro X is the most repairable to date (which isn’t saying a lot)”

  1. M.2 2230 is unfortunate. That door to upgrade the SSD is a joke, because there is almost no options out there for M.2 2230.

    This device exists in a very odd spot in the market, where it is only going to have very limited appeal. I can see it being an attractive option for business use, from people who rely on Microsoft Office software (including Outlook), and Web-based apps. Having always-connected LTE in conjunction with massive battery life is a huge win for anyone who lives out of Outlook/Exchange for their job.

    Having said that, no company is going to buy these devices for their employees with the hopes of 32-bit x86 emulation being sufficient. Theres too much risk of 32-bit software moving to 64-bit (99% of business software already has), making their devices worthless. I’ve never worked for a company that wasn’t at least partially dependant on local software. Web apps are growing in popularity, but I don’t think many companies can make a full commitment to using only web-based apps.

    Without interest from enterprise customers, I really don’t know who is interested in this device. The Windows app store is garbage, unless you want to play Mahjong or Asphalt 8.

  2. The only thing “pro” about this device is the price. It should just be Surface X.

  3. This may sound pedantic, but I’m pretty sure there’s technically no such thing as a 64 bit x86 app since x86 is 32 bit only. AMD64 aka x64 is actually 64 bit only but can very easily emulate i386 aka x86 so people keep getting the two mixed up.
    That’s how I understand it anyway. I could be wrong. I just don’t want more people to get mixed up.

    1. Unfortunately, people have made a mess of the terminology. x86 is not 32-bit only as it dates back to the mid ’70s and the 8086 CPU(where x86 comes from), which was 16-bit. x86 is the overall architecture. And it makes no sense for there to be x64, but not x32, which is why I never liked “x64” as a term. As far as I can tell, x64 is just a shortening of x86_64 which seems more proper. But they’re still considered x86 CPUs.

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