Microsoft's Surface Pro tablet is out and the folks from repair firm iFixit have got their hands on one and taken it apart so we can see what makes it tick!
Getting into the Surface Pro presented far more of a challenge than the Surface RT tablet did. Microsoft has used copious quantities of tar-like adhesive to hold the tablet together, a mess which required the iFixit team to use a heat gun and a handful of guitar picks to gain access to the guts of the device.
There's no denying that the Surface Pro is a quality piece of hardware.
Once inside the Surface Pro, things don't get much better. Not only is the tablet held together by more than 90 screws—a number which iFixit's Chief Information Architect Miroslav Djuric describes as "a tad crazy"—but the battery is buried behind the motherboard, and held to the case with adhesive.
Adhesive prevents the battery rattling, but it also means that there's a risk of puncturing it during removal.
On the plus side, if you do feel like tackling the adhesive to get into your Surface Pro, the removable solid state drive—which, in the 64GB model turns out to be a Micron RealSSD C400—is user-replaceable.
Inside the Surface Pro is a 1.7GHz Intel Core i5-3317U processor, 4GB of Micron 2LEI2 D9PXV RAM, a Marvell Avastar 88W8797 wireless chipset, and a whole host of other top quality parts. There's no denying that the Surface Pro is a quality piece of hardware.
This is a notebook in the clothing of a tablet.
The tablet is kept going by an LG Escalade 42Wh lithium-ion power pack, rated for 7.4V and 5676mAh, capable of going 5 hours between charges.
A lot of thought has been given to cooling the Surface Pro. Because it has an x86 processor at its heart as opposed to an ARM part powering the Surface RT—needed to power the full Windows 8 Pro operating system—there's a lot more heat to get rid of. The plastic top-rear bezel of the Surface Pro has been engineered to doubles as a vent for all the air being pumped over the heat sink's two radiators that keep the silicon cool.
The Surface Pro is a quality piece of hardware, but as with most devices nowadays, you can forget about easy repairs and upgrades. The use of adhesive, along with the dozens of screws and fasteners, means it is a nightmare to get into. As a result of this the iFixit team has awarded the Surface Pro the lowest repairability score it has awarded any tablet—1 out of ten.
So, the bottom line is that the Surface Pro is an awesome device, but any repairs are best left to a professional.