Don’t even think about trying to repair or upgrade the Surface Pro 2, because it’s just as tough to crack as the original, according to iFixit.
The group, which is known for its device teardowns, gave the Surface Pro 2 a repairability score of one out of 10, same as the first-generation Surface Pro. As with the original, the insides are loaded with adhesive, and iFixit counted more than 90 screws holding everything together. (Apple’s fourth-generation iPad, by comparison, earned two repairability points out of 10.)
Breaking into the Surface Pro 2 requires a large heat gun to poke at the adhesive, while preferably inserting special picks to pry everything apart. Microsoft used 52 screws of three different sizes to hold the motherboard down, same as the original Surface. (The motherboard is shown above in an iFixit photo.)
The Surface Pro 2’s innards aren’t a major reworking from the first-generation, with the notable exception of Intel’s fourth-generation “Haswell” processor. The cooling fans are exactly the same—Microsoft uses some software tweaks to fire them up less often—and the motherboard still looks like a stern face, except it now has more of a blueish hue.
The RAM does not appear to be replaceable, so the $1300 Surface Pro 2 with 256GB of storage is your only option for achieving more than 4GB of RAM. The tablet’s display assembly is also difficult to remove and replace, iFixit says.
Users who do manage to get inside the Surface Pro 2 will find that the battery is stuck to the rear case with even more adhesive, and it contains a warning not to pull it apart. It’s not soldered to the motherboard, at least, and neither is the solid state storage, so users could technically upgrade—but only at great risk to the tablet itself.
“The delicate and arduous opening procedure leaves no room for mistakes: one slip-up, and you’ll likely shear one of the four ribbon cables in the edge of the display,” iFixit writes.
Although Microsoft touts the Surface Pro as a full PC in tablet form, it’s clearly not the kind of PC you can upgrade over time.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.