• 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.