Following the release of the Surface Go (in the US), the inevitable teardown has been conducted by the folks at iFixit, with interesting results, including the revelation that Microsoft used a relatively small battery – and the tablet (unsurprisingly) recorded a very low repairability score.
So let’s start with that battery first, and the teardown found that Microsoft has split the tablet’s power pack into two separate battery cells, which at first glance look like they can be disconnected and easily removed from the innards of the device.
Except for the fact that “two giant pads of adhesive” have also been applied to hold the battery cells in place, meaning that it’s actually a heck of a struggle to get them out.
As the iFixit folks observe, the battery is a small affair with a pretty lean capacity of 26.12Wh. To put that in perspective, the Surface Pro has a 45Wh battery, so that’s not too far off twice the capacity, and the Surface Pro 4 had a 39Wh power pack, so this is a lot smaller than other slates in Microsoft’s range.
Those conducting the teardown further noted that the similarly-sized 9.7-inch iPad from this year has a 32.9Wh battery, so that’s still around a quarter bigger than the Surface Go.
This might go some way to explaining why we weren’t hugely impressed with the battery life in our Surface Go review – although to be fair, it wasn’t terrible. However, Microsoft rates the tablet at nine hours of battery longevity, whereas we found it’s more likely to last around six hours (and oddly, we saw better performance in plain Windows 10 Home as opposed to running in S Mode).
Gobs of glue
As mentioned earlier, the teardown also found that glue is used to secure many components in the chassis of the tablet, including the battery and display, and this – plus the fact that replacing any part of the machine requires removal of the display, which is a tricky job made more difficult by the smaller size of the Surface Go – led to a final iFixit repairability score of 1/10.
That said, no tablet is particularly easy to repair, and Surface devices (or indeed Apple tablets) never score highly in this department. Indeed, the Surface Laptop got 0/10 for repairability from iFixit.
One small bright spot here was the Wi-Fi antennas, which are well hidden away on the Surface Go, but appear to have been rejigged so that they aren’t likely to be damaged during removal of the display, as has been the case in the past with the Surface Pro.