Surface Go Revealed As Microsoft's Secret TabletAugust 5, 2018
Microsoft’s Surface Go is its latest slice of PC hardware designed to work with its cloud-based services and demonstrate competency to new market sector. But has Microsoft changed its approach to hardware or is the Surface Go a sealed PC masquerading as a tablet? The team at iFixit decided to open up the Surface Go to find out.
Surface Go teardown (iFixit)iFixit
Curiously, much of the Surface Go is designed like a tablet. There’s no fan to direct heat away from the CPU, neither are there any heat pipes that can be used to channel the heat away from the components. Instead thermal paste and a copper heatsink have been employed. That’s much closer to a tablet than the choices made by higher end Surface Pro machines.
Then there’s the battery. For sure it is smaller than the Surface Pro and Surface Book 2 machines, but at 26.12 even the battery in the iPad 5 and 6, at 32.9 Wh, offer more power. In terms of basic specifications, the Go is clearly a Windows 10 tablet, rather than a Windows 10 ultraportable.
At the same time, the Surface Go has an I/O suite that would make a PC blush – and it outstrips the MacBook Pro machines for connectivity (although these days that isn’t very hard). With microSDXC support, a classic 3.5 stereo jack, a USB-C port, and Microsoft’s proprietary Surface Connect port.
But cracking open the Surface Go not only makes it clear that the Go is not only Microsoft’s tablet, it also carries many of the same traits of the larger Surface machines that makes them nigh on impossible to repair.
The unit itself still relies heavily on glue to keep it together, but a longer connection cable between the screen and the circuit board is a bit of good news. So is the ability to disconnect the battery connections. Unfortunately the battery cells are still glued in place.
There are many other indicators that the Surface Go is note designed to be easily repaired. The display glass is glued over the Wi-Fi antenna, circuit board screws are hidden way under tape and shields, and there is an excess of sticky fabric inside.
Not only are repairs going to be almost impossible for end-users, but there is very little option to upgrade the Surface Go. That follows the established traditions of tablet and smartphone operators the world over, and also follows the traditions of the Surface line.
The Surface Go blends the hardware definition of laptop and PC while seeking to give Windows 10 a place in a mobile environment. What it doesn’t do is change the wasteful nature of current design practices.