updated 12:28 pm EDT, Mon October 29, 2012
Surface ranks a bit above Apple's iPad for disassembly
Microsoft's new Surface tablet has received the requisite dissection by the device repair pros at iFixit. According to iFixit, Microsoft's tablet is a bit easier to disassemble than Apple's iPad, but less so than Amazon's Kindle Fire or Google's Nexus 7. In particular, the display appears to be difficult to access, requiring that the person doing the disassembling to go into the device from the back, removing most of its components in order to gain access.
Removing the Surface's rear cover requires first taking off the device's signature kickstand as well as 10 T5 Torx screws underneath it. Another seven screws must also be removed from under the camera cover before the rear casing comes off. Inside, the Surface's battery is glued in, but iFixit deems it easier to remove with a spudge than the battery in Apple's iPad. The battery is a 7.4V, 31.5 Wh Samsung model, which places it between the 25Wh model found in the iPad 2 and the 42.5Wh unit found in the latest iPad.
The teardown also verified the presence of an NVIDIA 1.5GHz Tegra 3 processor, a 32GB NAND flash unit from Samsung, 2GB DDR3 RAM from Micron, a Texas Instruments power management IC, a wireless MIMO SoC from Marvell, a Wolfson 8962E low power audio codec, and a Cypress Semiconductor capacitive touchscreen controller.
The connector that joins the Surface to its Touch Cover or Type Cover keyboard is wedged firmly under the LCD, meaning that replacement will necessitate either bending the frame of the device or separating the display. The display itself is bonded to the VaporMG frame, requiring a heat gun and tools for removal.
In all, iFixit gave the device a repairability score of 4 out of 10. Some parts of the device can be replaced without desoldering, and the battery can be removed easily enough after one has gotten the case open. Negative marks against the device include the difficulty of removing the rear panel, and display, the latter of which requires a heat gun for complete removal.