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thin foam layer, we find that the motherboard
is upside down. Our best bet is that Microsoft
wanted a smooth backing to support the large,
The front-facing camera and IR sensor
are glued to the chassis and trapped beneath
the motherboard assembly. We tackle some
troublesome tape and disconnect a tangle of
connectors, arriving at the headphone jack.
Some finagling frees the speaker connectors,
allowing us to lift and remove the motherboard
We’re in the home stretch: all that stands
between us and total motherboard liberation
is the 128 GB Samsung PM951 SSD, an
identical memory module to the one we found
in the Surface Pro 4.
The Book’s display battery is easy to remove.
While the Surface Book is intended to be used
while docked, its display packs an 18.0 Wh,
7. 5 V, 2387 mAh battery and an alleged four
hours of battery life. The Book also features a
“Muscle Wire Lock” that will keep your display
securely fastened to the base until it’s time to
that can undergo deformation and return to its
prior shape when heated.
Now let’s tear into the base. The lower
case sits smooth and flush with a very thin
gap. After some intense heating and arduous
prying, we get past the hefty adhesive
holding the lower panel. The battery comes
off with the lower panel, and get a closer
look at the real power behind the Surface
Book: with 51 Wh (6800 mAh at 7. 5 V), the
base battery provides nearly three times the
juice as the tablet.
First out of this tiny MacBook base is an SD
reader, blocking access to the I/O board. We
pluck out the Book’s GPU board assembly and
its attached fan, finally reaching the bottom of
the stack to get a look at the GeForce GPU.
Next, we tackle the screws on the bottom of
the trackpad and work to free the segmented
hinge from the base. The cables slide free of
their home easily but then disappear into the
spine of the hinge.
Overall, the Surface Book would be difficult
to repair. The base battery is very heavily
glued. The display assembly consists of a fused
glass panel and LCD, making it difficult to
remove and replace. The processor and RAM
are soldered to the motherboard, and strong
adhesives hold many components in place.
Today we’re tearing down the Surface Book, the first ever notebook from Microsoft.
With its detachable display and pressure-sensitive Surface Pen, it defies categorization.
The right edge of the Book’s base houses
a Mini DisplayPort socket and Microsoft’s
proprietary SurfaceConnect port. As an added
bonus, the 3. 5 mm headphone jack lives on the
display (rather than the base) for your on-the-go audio needs. On the left edge are two USB
3.0 ports and an SD card reader.
After achieving separation, we reconnect it
backwards. Microsoft envisions the Surface
Book being used like a “creative canvas” in this
orientation. Like the Surface Pro 4, the Book’s
forward sensor array features an IR sensor, 5
MP camera, microphone, and ambient light
sensor. Likewise, we find an 8 MP, 1080p
camera, and microphone combo on the rear
of the display. The display is a bigger (and
seemingly more flexible) pane of glass than
what we saw in the Surface Pro 4, but the glass
thickness is the same: 0.4 mm.
Under the lid, two cables tether the display
to the motherboard (fortunately, they’re
conveniently located along one edge, so we
really can flip this thing open like a book), and
we easily dispatch their press-on connectors.
Next, we get a look at a small fan channel,
which pairs with matching foam on the back of
the display to direct the air. After peeling up a
WHAT MAKES IT TICK & TALK?
Microsoft Surface Book
Breaking it up and breaking it down.
14 JAN»FEB 2016» wirelessdesignmag.com