Repair Index: Microsoft hides the score for its barely repaired touchscreen laptops

In terms of the repairability index, Microsoft is no longer really playing the game. Taking advantage of the large device for touchscreen laptops, the company communicates less and less about this aspect.

Tested by Digital by mid-July, Microsoft’s small Surface Laptop Go 2 laptop had received a 3-star rating. A few days later it was downgraded to only 2 stars. A big difference in our rating scale between a product to be avoided and another that we can recommend for purchase. Why such a change? Quite simply because, as you probably know, our assessment takes into account the repair index that laptop manufacturers must calculate and display for each of their references. However, the Surface Laptop Go 2 has no repair index!

Microsoft is seeping into a breach

We contacted Microsoft at the time of the test to obtain this score and incorporate it into our calculations, but the label explaining that the Surface Laptop Go 2 is more repairable than its predecessor indicated that we could not obtain this missing information. “Microsoft is committed to the sustainability of its products. In fact, the Surface Laptop Go 2 is more repairable than its predecessor. In addition to the SSD, the replaceable components now include C-cover (keyboard and trackpad), AB Cover (screen), battery as well as the Surflink cable, which helps extend the use of the device.”, explained the manufacturer’s press service. Regardless, our rating system is not comprehensive: in the absence of a repair score, the product has lost a precious star.

Ethically, we have the right to expect Microsoft to play the game and communicate the results of repairing their products, even though Surface computers/tablets since their launch in 2012 have been known to be difficult to repair. Except nothing legally obligates it. In fact, Microsoft benefits from an exception set out in the legislation regarding the repair index. With reference to Article 1 of the decree of December 29, 2020 regarding the rating system for calculating and displaying the repair index for laptops (based on European Directive No. 617/2013), the manufacturer reminds us that “the obligation to publish the repair index only applies to certain types of portable computers, excluding in particular portable computers including a touch screen and a physical keyboard”.

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A bad student who hides his notebook

As a result, visiting the websites of the main French high-tech sellers, we find that the product sheets for Surface Pro 8, Laptop Studio or Surface Go 3 no longer show the famous repair index. However, some of these products were eligible for a calculation in the rules of art, such as the Surface Laptop Studio, of which this official document confirms the score of 4.3/10. And oddly enough, some Microsoft flagship products still display their repair index at retailers, even though they’re not forced to. This is the case with the Surface Laptop 4 and its unflattering score of 4.1/10. Surface Book 2 and 3 and Surface Laptop Go (first generation) remain the products with the worst results for repair (3.5 and 3.6).

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In this context, it is easy to understand why Microsoft is so reluctant to communicate the repairability indices of its products. But that is precisely the whole purpose of the approach, which discriminates against products that cannot be easily repaired, namely to encourage their manufacturers to make efforts to improve the rating. This is also the reason why we made the decision at Digital making it an important criterion for product evaluation. Microsoft’s response is quite surprising in that if the Surface Laptop Go 2 performs better than its predecessor, it would have been rewarding to quantify the progress made in terms of repairability through this index.

To think that the game was not worth the candle from the point of view of the manufacturer, who, however, has made ambitious promises to reduce the environmental footprint of its activity. The company is thus aiming for CO2 neutrality by 2030 and wants to be very transparent about its progress in terms of greenhouse gas emissions, water consumption, waste reduction and even impact on ecosystems.

We asked several dealers about the lack of repairability index on the products found and all came up with the same comments. “It happens that some brands do not communicate this index [et] this seems to be more and more common for Microsoft products in the PC department, with almost 100% of models showing the index, even when it’s not very flattering.” “I don’t think it’s really bad for the brand, considering that if the repair index is something that is becoming more common, it is generally not a decisive criterion for choosing our customers, who will pay more attention to the computer’s technical sheet. i relative to its price”notes a department manager.

We again asked Microsoft about their policy regarding the repair index. This article will be updated once its official response reaches us.

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