Microsoft Surface Pro 9: Microsoft appears to have made no significant modifications to its latest 2-in-1 tablets on the surface. Indeed, we labelled the Surface Pro 9 the “essence of a small update” in our review, but it looks that Microsoft has made significant modifications on the inside.
True, these are the kinds of changes that most users will never notice, but they are also the kinds of changes that will come in handy if you ever need them.
While previous Microsoft Surface devices were notoriously difficult to fix, even for experienced hardware tinkerers, the new Surface Pro 9 looks to have been designed with repairs and even a minor update in mind. That’s according to the most recent iFixit deconstruction, which gives the Surface Pro 9 a 7/10 rating for repairability.
On paper, that may not appear to be very spectacular, but keep two things in mind. To begin, the 2019 Surface Pro 7 received a 1/10 rating, representing a significant improvement in three years. Second, according to the website, this score could rise even higher because Microsoft has promised spare parts and repair guides by the end of the year and the first half of 2023, respectively. iFixit repair it
In the present, what makes the Surface Pro 9 such a significant improvement in terms of repairability? To begin with, you do not need to open it to upgrade your internal storage. Simply open the hatch on the back with your finger, remove a single screw, and insert another 30mm SSD of your choice.
As iFixit’s Shahram Mokhtari points out, this ease of access is useful for more than just deciding you need additional storage. It also means you can switch between operating systems without having to deal with a cumbersome dual-boot system.
However, this has been a feature since the Surface Pro 7 Plus, so where are the new enhancements?
They begin as soon as you open it. While previous models’ “tenacious glue” frequently resulted in cracked screens for something as simple as a battery replacement, the Surface Pro 9’s screen gives way easily with a little heat and offers a bit more flex to prevent breakage.
Once the screen is removed, almost everything is accessible via screws, including the battery, which was previously glued down and extremely difficult to remove.
“It’s difficult to overstate how significant this is for repairability,” Mokhtari says. “People will no longer have to wait an hour and a half for a screen and battery change.” They’ve made the entire battery replacement process more accessible and safer for the average consumer by employing screws. We give it two thumbs up.”
Is it flawless? Not exactly. The RAM is still soldered to the motherboard, but Mokhtari overlooks this due to the power savings and performance boost such memory can provide. “We can’t justify penalising soldered RAM in cases where it’s accompanied by significant performance gains,” he wrote, referring to Apple’s M-series SoCs.
None of this changes our 3/5 rating for the Surface Pro 9 in our review, as the major flaws remain. The display is adequate but falls short of some competitors, and the fact that Microsoft continues to sell the Pen 2 and Signature Keyboard separately leaves a bad taste in the mouth.
Nonetheless, this is to be applauded, as it means that if you are tempted by the Surface Pro 9, you can buy it with greater certainty than ever before.