Surface Book gets the iFixit teardown treatment, scores 1 out of 10

Mark Coppock

iFixit is one of the first resources people turn to when they want to see the insides of a machine. iFixit tears machines down to see how repairable they are, and in the meantime often uncovers some interesting tidbits. The latest victim of iFixit’s spudgers and Torx screwdrivers is Microsoft’s own Surface Book.
Some of the interesting things iFixit discusses during their step-by-step dismantling:

  • The display won’t detach from the base when battery is below a certain point. The machine must be turned off completely first.
  • They’re not too keen on the method of removing the screen. This is clearly not something you’d want to do at home.
  • The touch and pen components seem to be the same as on the Surface Pro 4, naturally.
  • The motherboard is mounted upside down and “sprawls throughout the entire chassis, resembling some kind of nightmarish Tetris piece.” In other words, of course, great care was taken in precisely designing the motherboard and its placement.
  • There are tons of sensors up top on the screen, to support Windows Hello. The usual camera and microphone are there, but also an infrared emitter and an infrared camera.
  • Overall, the modular design seems to support less expensive component replacement at the cost of increased labor.
  • There’s liquid cooling on board, of course, similar to that used in the Surface Pro 4.
  • If you have any questions about which components are used in the Surface Book, then bookmark this teardown.
  • The battery in the clipboard is 18.0Wh, 7.5V, 2387 mAh. The battery in the base is 51Wh, 7.5V, 6800 mAh. That’s some serious battery power all told at 69Wh, albeit a bit less than the 74.9 Wh in the 13″ Retina MacBook Pro.

The rest is pretty detailed but still fascinating. The net result, though isn’t so great: iFixit gives the Surface Book a paltry 1 out of 10 reparability score. Again, this definitely isn’t a machine you’ll be taking apart at home to swap out components.

That's a lot of sensors!
That’s a lot of sensors!

That's one serious mother... board.
That’s one serious mother… board.

The guts of the machine, laid out in a row.
The guts of the machine, laid out in a row.

Again, iFixit teardowns are usually excellent sources of information on the various components used in a machine, and so this page deserves a bookmark. The Surface Book is just as complex as we all imagined, from the looks of it, and we’re guessing that Microsoft will be keener on swapping out machines when something’s broken rather than fixing them at Microsoft Stores.