Microsoft’s repair-friendly Surface puts other laptop makers on notice – and it’s about time | Windows

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Microsoft recently unveiled its upcoming Surface Pro 10 and Surface Laptop 6, and while they’ll be initially targeted towards schools and businesses rather than regular consumers like you and me, the Redmond-based company has a new design ethos that will – hopefully – benefit everyone.

Both new Surface devices have been designed from the ground up with repairability in mind, comprising more replaceable components than ever before and a new focus on improving ease of repair. Internal parts will be marked with QR codes to help easy identification, along with “clear visual icons and built-in repair instructions”, according to Surface general manager Nancie Gaskill.

So why is this important? Well, for starters, I’ve always been a champion of sustainable and repairable hardware; it’s the reason I scored the Framework Chromebook so highly when I reviewed it, despite its high price tag. Giving the user – or, at the very least, third-party vendors – the ability to easily and safely repair electronic devices might not be very attractive from a pure profitability standpoint, but it helps consumers save money in the long run, and it’s good for the planet as well.

The e-waste conundrum

“E-waste”, as it’s called, is a rapidly mounting problem. According to The World Counts, we’ve collectively tossed more than 11 million tonnes of electronics just since the start of 2024 – a staggering, upsetting quantity. In the time it takes me to write this article, another few thousand tonnes will be sent to landfill.

In other words, we’re wasteful – but we don’t have to be. Planned obsolescence in tech hardware has been going on for years, and we’ve all noticed it: home appliances that simply don’t last as long as they used to; phone contracts that push us to upgrade every other year; laptops with short manufacturer warranties and no options for self-repair. Microsoft is taking a stand, and I couldn’t be happier about it…

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