Microsoft's Surface Laptops have historically been rather challenging to teardown for upgrades, maintenance or repairs, say the experts at iFixIt. However, the team were moderately hopeful when the Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15-inch arrived in the labs. The reason being that during the recent Surface Event, where this laptop was launched, Panos Panay showed how easily 'serviceable' the new laptop design was.
In the video above, from approx 19mins 40s in, Panay says that Microsoft's designers wanted to keep the "purity of the design" but especially for commercial customers it was desirable to improve serviceability and repairability. Panay asserts that Microsoft's designers managed to square this circle - without adding any inelegance, weight, or thickness - and especially no trap doors.
He showed how easy the keyboard deck can be removed to reveal the key upgradable components. The laptop shown in the presentation had already been prepared for this access though. As iFixIt finds, to get to this stage a few screws from the underside of the laptop need to be removed first and after that there is just a ribbon cable under the keyboard that needs to be delicately detached.
Perhaps the biggest difference is that after the screws were removed a person disassembling the Surface Laptop 3 15 doesn't have to do battle with delicate components stock to each other with very strong double sided tape or glue. Instead, Microsoft's designers have installed a series of magnetic components. These are seen in iFixIt's teardown as "some unusual dark bars around the perimeter," of the inner chassis.
While the SSD was easy to change, as it is exposed as an M.2 2230 SSD secured by a single Torx screw, sadly the memory is soldered in. Furthermore, any battery removal and replacement will be a "miserable" process according to these experts, largely due to the copious amounts of adhesive deployed (see above). Another negative was that while it is easy to access the screen assembly it must be replaced as a complete unit (expensive).
In summary then, the new Microsoft Surface Laptop 3 15-inch is a big step in the right direction for serviceability - and gets 5 out of 10 from iFixIt.