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Surface Duo Is Impressive, But Not For Its Repairability

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The Surface Duo repairability is pretty low, as impressive as Microsoft’s newly released dual-screen device is. That’s according to electronics tinkering experts at iFixit who just recently performed an in-depth teardown of the gadget. On their repairability scale of one to ten, the Surface Duo scored a disappointing two.

More specifically, the only thing keeping the Surface Duo repairability rating above non-existent are its displays and back covers. Because both can be replaced without fiddling with the rest of the unconventional-looking device. In that regard, the gadget isn’t much different from any other Surface-series product. And to be frank, you could argue the fact its displays glass covers are replacable warrants a higher score. As those should be way more frequently in need of replacing than other components. Courtesy of the fact people won’t magically stop dropping their expensive electronics.

Then again, it’s not like Microsoft’s track record with the Surface family is impeccable. Under-warranty batteries refusing to hold a charge were a big issue with some past Surface Pro generations, for example. Sure, it would seem Microsoft learned its lesson with notebooks. But there’s no escaping the fact that the Surface Duo is a first-gen product, through and through.

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Surface Duo repairability unlikely to improve anytime soon

The teardown’s findings are anything but surprising, of course. Delivering a cutting-edge mobile device in 2020 usually means making repairability compromises. The only exception in recent memory are Samsung’s Galaxy Buds Live which offer remarkable repairability for their minuscule form factor.

This is yet another reason to hold off with buying into Microsoft’s mobile vision. Which is pretty much the summary of every Surface Duo review under the sun. Even the most positive impressions of the device acknowledge its undercooked nature. But Microsoft was never one to give up on the first sign of trouble. The rest of the Surface range is a testament to that tenacity in product design. So, here’s to hoping the second-generation Surface Duo makes up for its predecessor’s shortcomings.

In the meantime, the device will try to establish a niche following in the United States. Whereas an international launch is unlikely to happen before next year. At that point, Microsoft is as likely to release a sequel as it is to try selling a $1,400 phone with a two-year-old chip. Assuming the Surface Duo aims to eventually become a commercially relevant line and not just a proof of concept.

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