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Surface Dial Gets Low Repairability Score In iFixit Teardown

First Posted: Dec 02, 2016 02:59 AM EST
Dec 1, 2016 -- The Surface Dial is Microsoft’s brand new input device that attaches to the screen of the Studio, and allows the users to access menus and make selections using both scroll and click.
Dec 1, 2016 -- The Surface Dial is Microsoft’s brand new input device that attaches to the screen of the Studio, and allows the users to access menus and make selections using both scroll and click.
(iFixit Video / YouTube)

A day after tearing down the Surface Studio piece by piece, iFixit has turned its sights on the Surface Dial.

iFixit had mixed reviews on Microsoft's all-in-one desktop. As for the Surface Dial, there's not much good to say.

To quip, the Dial is difficult to repair. In fact, it got a 4 out of 10 repairability score from the people behind iFixit.

Getting into the device is itself difficult. The first bit is rather easy. The user can take off the magnetic battery enclosure to expose the batteries. But after taking the batteries out, it gets more and more complicated.

The iFixit person in charge of tearing down the Dial struggled to get into the space between the plastic and the enclosure. At this stage, it was clear to the iFixit crew that the Dial was not meant to be repaired by the users.

Once the Dial's internal parts were exposed, the group discovered an internal bearing apparatus which is made up of ball bearings enclosed in a plastic cage. This bearing mechanism allows the Dial to function like a volume knob of a speaker. iFixit then had to take the bearing mechanism apart to reach the Dial's midframe.

As mentioned, the process of dismantling the Dial gets harder and harder with every step. Reaching the Dial's core necessitates the use of special tools, something that an ordinary user would probably not have. The people at iFixit also needed a drill to take out the plastic that was covering some of the screws.

The results of the Microsoft Surface Studio teardown indicated that it was difficult to repair as well. But the Surface Dial takes it a little further.

Self-repair is virtually impossible unless the user is actually authorized to repair such devices. If not, Digital Trends suggests that the user "require a healthy dose of courage and probably a lot of patience" when trying to fix the Dial on his or her own.

On a positive note, the Surface Dial is "well built and sturdy" according to MSPowerUser. But if something goes wrong, just bring it to Microsoft for repair or for replacement if it's still under warranty.

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