Microsoft Surface Go Teardown Reveals You Get What You Pay For

The Surface Go is a completely new device from Microsoft, and could have been their chance to hit “undo” on their reputation for un-repairability. For one shining moment, it appeared this PC behemoth had learned from past mistakes: they designed an immediately disconnectable battery (yay safety). But the joy was short-lived. Aside from shrinking the form factor and paring down the heat sink, little has changed for the Surface family.

The only solace is that this tablet is finally (almost) cheap enough to merit its 1/10 on the repairability scale. If you’re looking to save in the short term, you’ll be paying for it in the long run when you’re unable to upgrade the hardware, and the cemented-in battery wears itself out.

Long display cable in the Microsoft Surface Go
Hip, hip, display! A long display cable makes it easier to remove the display without damaging the cable.

Here’s a few highlights from our Microsoft Surface Go Teardown:

  • Holy ports! The “budget” Go has a greater variety of ports than any recent MacBook Pro, including a MicroSDXC slot—which is technically upgradable storage. Plus, they included a headphone jack. Not quite the upgradability we were hoping for, but hey, we’ll take what we can get.
  • We expected the Go’s battery to be smaller than its pro-level predecessors, but at 26.12 Wh, it’s still a whole lot smaller than comparable devices. The iPads 5 and 6 each sport a 32.9 Wh battery.
  • This Go is fan-less and heatpipe-less, relying on a copper shield and some thermal paste to do the heat sinking. For a tablet, that’s dandy, but for a PC replacement? Not so much.
X-ray image of the Microsoft Surface Go
There’s more than one way to do a teardown. Thanks to our friends at Creative Electron for this x-ray image!

If you really want to get under the Surface, Go to iFixit to check out the full teardown.