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iFixit Surface Pro teardown reveals impressive battery, poor 'repairability'

The teardown artists at iFixit discovered the "Cadillac of batteries" inside Microsoft's new Surface Pro but the inaccessibility of its parts led the site to give the tablet a 1 out of 10 score for repairability.

The Surface Pro became the first tablet ever to receive iFixit's lowest repairability score and joined last year's MacBook Pro with Retina Display from Apple as the only products reviewed by the teardown site to score so poorly.

So what's not to like about the Surface Pro, which Microsoft released last week to great fanfare? To start with, there's the tar-like glue anchoring down the display assembly - "the most adhesive we've ever seen on a small device," according to iFixit. It took the teardown site "well over an hour to figure out how to get inside" the Surface Pro.

Then there are the whopping 90 screws holding stuff together inside the 10.6in Windows 8 tablet, plus more glue holding the battery to the case.

But what a battery!

"Microsoft spared no expense when it came to keeping the Surface Pro going. They sourced the Cadillac of batteries from LG: an Escalade 42 Wh unit," iFixit reported. While the iPad 4 has a 43 Wh battery, it's rated for 3.7 V, the site noted. The Surface Pro battery's ratings come in at 7.4 V and 5676 mAh.

Of course, the Surface Pro has an Intel processor and chipset that's a real gas guzzler relative to the iPad's ARM-based chip, so all that battery still only supplies about five hours of tablet life, according to iFixit. What's more, the Surface Pro's chip array requires a pair of small fans - unusual in a tablet of its size.

"This Surface Pro is all party in the front, business in the back - cooling business that is," the iFixit reviewers quipped.

Here's what else iFixit discovered under the hood of the Surface Pro, once they could open it up, starting with those Intel chips:

  • Intel Mobile HM77 Express Chipset
  • Intel Core i5-3317U Processor
  • 8x Micron 2LEI2 D9PXV 4 Gb RAM for a total of 4GB RAM
  • Marvell Avastar 88W8797 Wireless/Bluetooth/FM Radio Controller
  • 3x Atmel MXT154E Touchscreen Controllers
  • 2x Winbond 25X05CL Serial Flash
  • Winbond 25Q64FV Serial Flash
  • Integrated Technology Express IT8519G
  • Atmel UC256l3U 256KB Flash, 32-bit AVR Microcontroller
  • ON NCP6132A 3 Phase Controller
  • Atmel MXT1386E Touchscreen Controller

The teardown site singled out a few more components for closer examination, including the Wacom W9002 chip which enables the Surface Pro's Wacom pen input and the internal storage, a 64GB Micron RealSSD C400 with 500MB/s read speed and 95 MB/s write speed.

Image Credit: iFixit