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Surface Dial scores a 4/10 in iFixit teardown

The Microsoft device received praise for its durability, but was criticized for some difficult or impossible to replace components.

iFixit has been busy tearing into Microsoft’s Surface products lately. The teardown experts disassembled the Surface Studio, a large All-in-One desktop targeted at creative professionals. As a follow-up, they’ve just released a full teardown of an enticing accessory for the Surface Studio, the Surface Dial.

Microsoft unveiled the Surface Dial to resounding praise. Coupled with the Surface Studio, the Dial becomes an incredibly useful and innovative peripheral. When placed on the Studio’s screen, the Dial can bring up a color wheel, a tool selection panel, and many more useful submenus.

Curiosity has abounded as to how the device works, so iFixit took it upon themselves to dive into the Dial and see what makes it tick. In their teardown, they discovered that the two AAA batteries required to power the device are incredibly easy to replace, as the battery door is held on by magnets alone.

However, the iFixit team did run into trouble when trying to pry any further into the internals of the Dial. In addition to copious amounts of glue securing components, the screws used to hold other parts in place are obstructed. iFixit actually suggests that drilling into plastic casing within the device may be necessary to fully tear everything down. While these design choices may make the Dial more durable, they make the peripheral incredibly difficult to repair.

Overall, iFixit gave the Surface Dial a 4 out of a possible 10 (10 being the best) for repairability. They appreciated the fast and easy battery replacement but commented that repairs may present problems as the device is not easily openable.

You can check out the entire teardown (complete with photos) here.


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Sam Medley, 2016-12- 2 (Update: 2016-12- 2)