Microsoft Surface -- The teardown

Microsoft's Surface tablet has landed, and after undoing 17 Torx fasteners the folks at iFixit had a chance to see just how easy it is to take this tablet apart and what makes this device tick.
Written by Adrian Kingsley-Hughes, Senior Contributing Editor

Microsoft's Surface tablet is out and the folk 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 involves undoing 17 T5 Torx fasteners -- ten under the kickstand and a further seven under the camera cover. Also, breaking into the device means getting past a tamper-evident seal, which essentially means any attempts at repairs voids your warranty.

Once inside the Surface we find that it is powered by a 7.4 V, 31.5 Wh battery made by Samsung. The capacity is between the iPad 2's 25 Wh battery, and the iPad 3's 42.5 Wh battery.

On the mainboard is a 1.4GHz Nvidia Tegra 3 processor (red box), 32GB of Samsung flash storage (orange box), 2GB of Micron RAM (yellow box), a Marvell wireless MIMO chip (blue box), a Wolfson audio codec, and a Cypress touchscreen controller (black box).


On the rear of the mainboard is a light sensor (red box) and two microphones (orange box).


The Surface tablet is easily to repair than Apple's iPad, with several components being modular and replaceable without requiring desoldering. The battery is also easy to remove once the tablet is opened.

However, there are downsides. The rear panel is hard to remove, and the keyboard connector impossible to get at without removing the display. The LCD and glass are fused together, meaning both have to be replaced, and getting at the LCD or the covering glass will require a lot of patience.

With this in mind, iFixit have given the Surface a reparability score of 4 out of ten (where ten is easiest to repair). This is better than the 2 scored by the iPad 3, but nowhere near as good as the 7 scored by the Kindle Fire HD or the Nexus 7.

"The Surface's design allows you to open it without fear of shattering the display glass, but it's not a trivial procedure," writes iFixit's Chief Information Architect Miroslav Djuric. "And you'll have to dig through the whole tablet in order to get to the LCD/glass, which will be the most likely reason you're scratching the Surface to begin with".

Image source: iFixit.

Editorial standards