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Surface Pro 3 teardown shows the perils of sleek design: Thinner glass, harder repairs

Microsoft’s Surface Pro 3 is thinner and lighter than its predecessors, but it’s also harder than ever to repair.

While performing a teardown of the new Windows tablet , iFixit was unable to remove the screen without cracking it. The Surface Pro 3 has thinner glass than previous models, and as iFixit tried to remove the screen by heating the adhesive underneath, the resultant cooling process was enough to crack the display.

“Microsoft went to great lengths to make the Surface Pro 3 super portable, thinning it down from the Pro 2’s 0.53” to a mere 0.36” thick—but it seems the thinner glass does not bode well for ruggedness, or repair,” iFixit wrote.

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The Surface Pro 3 also uses much more adhesive inside compared to the Surface Pro 2, which instead used over 90 Torx screws to hold the innards in place. Even if you can pry the display open, the use of more adhesive makes the components even harder to swap out. According to iFixit, it’s nearly impossible to remove the Surface Pro 3’s battery without severely warping it.

Microsoft tried to address concerns about the Surface Pro 3’s non-removable battery in a question-and-answer session on Reddit last month. The battery can be charged five days per week for more than 4.5 years and still maintain more than 80 percent of its capacity, Microsoft said, and can be replaced for free if it fails during the warranty period. Outside the warranty period, Microsoft said it will replace a failed battery for $200.

In other words, don’t bother trying to replace the battery—or any other components—on your own, and don’t underestimate how much storage you’ll need in hopes of upgrading later. Like so many other devices with ultra-thin designs, the Surface Pro 3’s sleekness comes at a cost.

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