KEY FIND­INGS

Maximum PC - - R&D -

• Com­pared to the Pro, the Go looks to have smoother curves, rounder edges, and a vaguely more iPad-y aes­thetic. The Sur­face Go doesn’t fol­low the fewer ports trend: This tablet packs a USB-C port, head­phone jack, a cou­ple pro­pri­etary con­nec­tors, and an SD card reader.

• If we’ve learned one thing af­ter five years of Sur­fac­ing, it’s how to open these things: Our well-used iOpener brings the heat, then a suc­tion han­dle and open­ing picks at­tack the am­ple ad­he­sive. Once the dis­play’s off, we’re pleased to see that Mi­crosoft al­lowed it a fairly long leash, mak­ing it eas­ier to dis­con­nect the dis­play without dam­ag­ing the ca­ble.

• To our great sur­prise, the Sur­face Go has an im­me­di­ately dis­con­nectable bat­tery. With no need to fully re­move the mother­board, re­pairabil­ity is look­ing up. Or is it? Re­mov­ing the bat­tery is just like the bad old days—two gi­ant pads of ad­he­sive put up a staunch fight. The bat­tery in the Go is a lot smaller, at 26.12Wh, than any of its pro-level pre­de­ces­sors— even the sim­i­larly sized iPad 6 packs a 32.9Wh unit.

• Turn­ing our at­ten­tion to the Wi-Fi an­ten­nas, we ex­pect to find them man­gled af­ter the hack-and-slash dis­play sep­a­ra­tion. Hav­ing the dis­play glass glued over the top of Wi-Fi an­ten­nas has wreaked havoc on many a Sur­face Pro re­pair at­tempt. These an­ten­nas are mirac­u­lously un­scathed, though.

• Our jour­ney be­neath the Sur­face doesn’t get any eas­ier as we move on to the mother­board. There’s no glue here, but we’re forced to ex­ca­vate through seem­ingly end­less lay­ers of tape, shields, and hid­den screws in or­der to un­earth the board.

• All that sil­i­con, yet this Go is fan-less and heat­pipe-less. A thin cop­per shield and some ther­mal paste have to do the heatsink­ing for this would-be PC. It’s cer­tainly a rad­i­cal de­par­ture from the thick cop­per ten­ta­cles we found on the fifth-gen Pro. Hope­fully, it’s enough for the Go’s pow­er­sip­ping, non-Turbo’d pro­ces­sor.

• Re­pairabil­ity score: 1 out of 10 (10 is eas­i­est to re­pair). The smaller form fac­tor seems to make the glass eas­ier to re­move without break­ing, but it’s still ter­ri­fy­ingly hard. If this is ex­pected to re­place a PC, the lack of upgrad­abil­ity will se­verely limit its life­span. The lack of mod­u­lar­ity, es­pe­cially on high-wear ports, makes re­pairs ex­pen­sive. Ad­he­sive holds many com­po­nents in place, in­clud­ing the dis­play and bat­tery. Re­place­ment of any part re­quires re­moval of the dis­play as­sem­bly, an easy (and ex­pen­sive) part to dam­age.

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