While the thought of ripping every component out of a brand new, $1,500+ dollar laptop might seem laughable to some, we can always count on iFixit to ask the tough questions of our new devices. In this case, that question was how well Microsoft’s new Surface Book can be torn down, and the answer is — not easily at all!
In fact, accessing the interior of either half of the Surface Book requires a heat gun, or iFixit’s iOpener heating pad, to melt a heavy amount of adhesive. On the tablet side, it also means carefully prying up a large piece of glass.
There are other tricky points in the Surface Book’s deconstruction, as well. The PCBs are flipped from the side of the machine that’s accessible, so they have to be removed and flipped to check and replace components. The batteries in the tablet and the base are also glued down, so replacing one at the end of its life would take some careful handiwork.
The end result is an iFixit repairability score of 1/10, with the only real victory coming in the form of a replaceable SSD, if you manage to open the Book and remove the motherboard without destroying it. The Surface Pro 4 received a 2/10, because the SSD was easier to access than in the Surface Book.
On the bright side, a full teardown revealed some interesting design elements of the Surface Book. For one, the black PCB and large copper plating heatsinks are reminiscent of Apple laptop teardowns. The battery in the base of the Book is also three times the capacity of the battery in the tablet portion. If need be, it turns out most of the connectors and the peripherals can be easily repaired or replaced once inside the device.
It’s far from victory, but as devices become slimmer, this is likely the direction these repair-ability tests are headed.
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