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What makes the Microsoft Surface Pro tick?

The iFixit elves are at it again, examining the inner workings of the Microsoft Surface Pro, including the motherboard.

After previously tearing apart the Microsoft Surface RT, the folks at iFixit have now got their hands on the Pro version of the Microsoft tablet. 

Since Microsoft started on this new venture into the tablet trade, we've been intrigued at the premise of the Pro version and what it represents for photographers. Powered by an Intel Core i5 processor, the Surface Pro provides the power and performance of a fully-fledged Windows computer in the tablet form factor. Just think: full versions of Photoshop, Lightroom, ACDSee and more in portable package. Though initial views have been mixed, we're looking forward to our own mental teardown of the device -- from a photographer's perspective -- soon.

But first, iFixit is giving us a glimpse at what powers the device with their teardown of the Microsoft Surface Pro. We point out a few of our favorite highlights below:

The iFixit team had a tough time breaking into the Surface Pro. They had to use a heat gun and guitar picks to combat the most adhesive the teardown veterans at iFixit have ever seen on a small device.
More than 90 tiny screws hold the Surface Pro together.
 The battery is buried behind the motherboard and glued down to the case. Because of this, the Surface Pro received a 1 out of 10 score on iFixit's repairability scale — the worst any tablet has ever received. 
The teardown reveals Microsoft uses "the Cadillac of batteries" from LG to power the Surface Pro: an Escalade 42 Wh unit. The battery is rated for 7.4 V and 5676 mAh. Nevertheless, the reported battery life of the Surface Pro is less than 5 hours. 
And of course we were intersted in the camera: iFixit found the Surface Pro's 720p HD "LifeCam with TrueColor" to be on par with both the MacBook Air and iPad's front-facing cams.


Total comments: 37

Translation: We at iFixit reserve the right to downgrade to oblivion, any device that frustrates our business model whereby we sell parts and repair services for DIY enthusiasts.
Additionally, not withstanding the gain in device reliability due to sealed components and the design restraints imposed by the need to make devices thinner, lighter and more mobile, we consider that repairs and mods should be possible using an oily rag, a hammer and the detailed guides we sell to the public.
Accordingly, we have classified iPads, MacBooks, iPhones, Surface PCs and all other devices with sealed/glued components as detrimental to our 'last milleniun' thinking and business prospects.

1 upvote

Not quite fair, there.



Right because LiPo batteries never ever fail, SSDs and hard drives never go bad, screens never crack or fail. NOT.

NB: ifixt sells none of these things.

With say a Lenovo "Ultrabook" or Mac Air it's possible to open them and replace batteries and SSDs fairly easily. This is kind of important if you want to keep your machine, particularly if you'll be using it beyond whatever the longest warranty period is.

1 upvote

What a stupid narrow-minded myopic post!


The crummy thing about the Surface, compared to an ultrabook or laptop, is that if you don't like the viewing angle of the Surface screen (which is established by the built-in kickstand), too bad! Plus, unlike an ultrabook or laptop, the Surface doesn't work very well on your lap.

If you want a tablet, get an iPad. If you want a laptop, get a laptop. The Surface Pro is neither here nor there, and does poorly as a tablet or a laptop.

Plus, as a side note, if a device needs "more than 90 screws" to put it together, that's just bad, inefficient design. That is a ridiculous number of screws for such a small device.


More than ever I am convinced that humans have "whining" hardwired in their DNA. Doesn't matter what you talk about complainers will ALWAYS come out to hear themselves talk (or read themselves type if you will).



Speak for yourself, bro'.


What does this have to do with photography? say people...

its the first tablet that can run LR! Lets see what makes it tick!

Looks like a well made tablet!


Did you try the very good Win7 Samsung tablet with LR? That's been out for 18 months and is well liked, though it's the previous gen Intel video card? So that tablet beat this one to market.

Also, in limited quantities, Samsung shipped their variation of a Win8 tablet with the same video card as the Surface and with a keyboard that unclips before Microsoft shipped theirs.

So just counting those two Samsung tablets this Surface is not the first tablet to run LR.


I'd hate to be a fuddy-duddy but what does this have to do with mobile imaging?
I've read this news on other sites- does THIS one have to be another engadget? If you have to much time on your hands, why not review a camera for the old dpr site? ;-)


define mobile imaging GeorgeZ, I'd love to hear your interpretation


Five hours between charges..not much for air expenses could be 10 times more than the other laptop. so what makes the Mucousoft Surface Pro tick? nothing. except the price.... its a tick bite.


If a flight is more than 5 hours then generally the planes will come equipped with power sockets under the seats. Every time I've flown internationally I've been able to use my (3 hour battery life) laptop for the entire 8+ hour flight plugged in.


it's sad when a portable device needs to be tethered to a power supply if it is to last beyond a few measly hours.
That's not exactly portable, is it ?

My Asus Transformer can do 12+ hours on a single charge. And I'm sure Apple's iDevices can live through an 5+ hour flight without issues as well.
Heavy duty processing is done at home with a remote login. Easy as pie these days.


JAFO, this tab is a different beast compared to them...


Asus Transformer can do 12+ hours and yet cannot run photoshop for 0.1 sec.

1 upvote

It would help to read the specs for the Surface Pro, which runs on an Intel i5 processor!
Many full fledged laptops don't even have an i5, they run on i3.
This little beast cannot be compared to any other tablet on the market, as of now.
It's a powerful laptop in a tablet skin & size.

1 upvote

@sh10453 - but at least a full fledged laptop will have a larger screen than the Surface Pro's tiny 10" widescreen.

For all the bragging about the Surface Pro's ability to run full Photoshop or Lightroom, how many will actually want to use either of these software on the Surface Pro's tiny screen? Photoshop and Lightroom simply weren't designed for such a small screen. Apps designed to run on a tablet screen have UI's specifically designed for a smaller screen. That's simply not the case with PS or LR. Using PS or LR on the Surface Pro should be almost torturous.



Except of course Samsung has very a similar Win 8 tablet and had a fast Win 7 tablet 18 months ago.


What the capacity to run LR, or say 3D CAD, means is that one can examine big files in the field with this tablet, that's a big deal.

Doing detailed work on said files is a different question.

Edited 19 seconds after posting
Robert Eckerlin


Thank you again for the quality of thz DPREVIEW Website.

May I please ask you to consider to assess the quality of how photos are rendered (among other the colors, the contrast and the brightness) by the monitor of the Surface Pro, when you will eventually perform your " own mental teardown of the device -- from a photographer's perspective"?

And if this is not too much additional work: could you even consider to compare the Ultrabook Pro with the iPad (and with other tablets?) in the above regards?

For me, these aspects will be important when I will eventually decide to buy a Tablet. Thank you very much in advance.

Edited 45 seconds after posting
1 upvote

Anandtech gives a review of the surface in which he assesses the quality of the display. As its a PC you can calibrate the display and apparently once thats done (default is not so good) its probably the best out there.

1 upvote

Of course it's made in China. No
Other country has factories that can build quality tablets. Certainly to the US...

1 upvote

"More than 90 screws" should be ringing alarm bells.

If a device needs this many fasteners, it is designed wrong.


It's not designed to be repaired.
Like most modern devices it is designed to be consumed and replaced by a new device.
In fact I doubt the average consumer even cares about maintenance.
It should be illegal.


@JaFO - if it's not designed to be repaired, then why use screws at all? Why not use adhesives throughout, rather than 90+ screws? So many screws makes it that much more complicated and costly to manufacture.

1 upvote

So what if its made in China? Some really good stuff comes out of China - and almost all the world's tablets, including Apple.

To generalise just makes you seem xenophobic.


no. The Chinese produce products at all quality levels. You started my day with a crazy, erroneous claim.

1 upvote

Made in China, the final turn off. I give up having a tablet.

Lars Rehm

you'll find it hard to find a device that has not been made in China.


And so are you. You should check the real name of Taiwan, you'll be surprised.


Still laughing at Maloy. Taiwan = not China; hilarious.


knize: Probably the keyboard you used to type here is made in China. Your camera, your monitor, your computer, your pen, most parts on your car, ..., are probably made or assembled in China.

So what / which are you going to throw away now?
Every gadget you own?


"The battery is buried behind the motherboard and glued down to the case" - this is not the reason for the low score. Most user don't replace embedded batteries. More reasons are given at the actual site.


Yeah they should have said "for this and many other reasons", but having a user replaceable battery is such an easy win for repairability as it's the most likely part to need replacing (Li-ion batteries degrade over their lifetime, which is unavoidable).

1 upvote

the Surface Pro received a 1 out of 10 score on iFixit's repairability scale — the worst any tablet has ever received

1 upvote

That doesnt mark bad against the tablet itself, just that they dont want it to be taken apart...


Pretty amazing what they can cram behind an LCD these days.

Total comments: 37
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