Microsoft Surface Pro Release Arrives: Full Spec Teardown Gives Tablet 1 Out Of 10 Repairability Score

 @LisaEadicicco
on February 13 2013 5:36 PM

Prior to its Saturday launch, Microsoft’s Surface Pro came with its fair share of uncertainties. First, the company admitted the tablet would only come with half the battery life of its predecessor. Then, we learned that the advertised storage capacity for both the 64GB and 128GB versions weren’t entirely accurate.

Now, iFixit has put the Surface Pro under its knife to delve into exactly what’s inside Microsoft’s Windows 8 Pro tablet.

Complete with photos, the technology website guides readers through every step of the process, getting into the nitty-gritty aspects of Microsoft’s tablet-laptop machine. The team didn’t find any surprises in terms of hardware under the hood but did give the tablet a reparability rating of just one out of 10, with 10 being the easiest to fix.

The results found that removing the screen is a hassle in itself, let alone dealing with the globs of adhesive that lies underneath the device’s display.

“We tried every method we could think of to free the screen, including cutting the adhesive, to no avail,” the iFixit team said. “This Pro requires a pro method. Thankfully, we have one: We call it the heat-it-up-and-poke-it-til-it-does-what-we-want method. Luckily, we have the required heat gun and guitar picks ready.”

Additionally, the Surface Pro’s inner workings come with a plethora of screws to handle, amounting to more than 90 pieces in total, according to iFixit. The website’s chief information architect called this number “a tad crazy,” with 23 screws needed just to hold the device’s plastic bezel in place. The process of opening the tablet must be executed 100 percent correctly in order to avoid snapping cables surrounding the display’s perimeter.

The good news, however, is that Surface Pro owners can technically replace their own SSD for an upgrade and can also access the battery -- if they’re willing to take the risk of damaging their tablet. The battery isn’t soldered to the motherboard, so it’s possible to manually remove it. That doesn’t mean it will be an easy task, though, seeing as the battery is tightly secured with glue underneath its back panel.

“Apparently, to safely replace your battery, you will need a whole back cover assembly,” iFixit wrote. “We don’t understand the point of heavily glued batteries. This kind of planned obsolesce is completely unnecessary.”

The overall takeaway: Be careful with your Surface Pro, because chances are you won’t be able to fix it. If the folks over at iFixit had trouble replacing the battery, you can bet that it must be a pretty tough endeavor.

Microsoft may have gotten off to a shaky start with sales of its previous Surface for Windows RT, but the PC software maker said the RT is only the beginning. According to ABC News, various retail locations carrying the Surface Pro reported that they sold out of their initial stock of the 128 GB edition.

“We are pleased that the demand for the Surface Pro is so great,” Microsoft said in a statement. “Our focus is to get ordered Surface units delivered to our customers as quickly as possible.”

The company has yet to reveal any sales figures for its Pro tablet compared to its Windows RT model, but Microsoft’s General Manager of Microsoft Surface Panos Panay did distinguish the difference.

“The focus really was to bring to bear a great PC that can be used for everything you want it to as a professional, and when you want to transform it to a tablet you have that,” he said to ABC. “As opposed to the Surface RT, which came out where we wanted to create a great tablet experience, where if you wanted to do a little more or do work, you could.”

The Surface Pro is now on sale at through Microsoft’s store or at Best Buy starting at $899. Check out our review roundup here.

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