Surface Pro 4 teardown from iFixit shows a slightly smaller battery inside and more

Microsoft's Surface Pro 4 tablet just went on sale, and it didn't take long for the team at iFixit to perform its customary, and extensive, teardown of the product to see what it can find inside.

One interesting thing is the size of the battery. The 12.3-inch Surface Pro 4 has one that is 5087mAh, which is actually 9 percent smaller than the 5547mAh version found in the older Surface Pro 3. However, other reviews have shown the Surface Pro 4 actually beats the older tablet in terms of battery life. iFixit believes this has happened due to the "improved efficiency in the design and size of the processor" inside the Surface Pro 4.

There's all sorts of other interesting facts about the construction of the Surface Pro 4 in the iFixit article, including an x-ray image of the tablet's hinges that are a part of its kickstand.

Check out our review of the Surface Pro 4

Buy the Surface Pro 4 at the Microsoft Store (opens in new tab)

Source: iFixit

John Callaham
  • Wow the batteries aren't that big considering the 1520 has a 3xxx mah and the 5x0 series has had 1500 mah.
  • That's indeed surprising !
  • Was thinking the same thing. I have a l1520 and a SP3 and couldn't imagine a battery less than twice the size in the SP3
  • This one was 5,087mAh @ 7.5V The one on Lumia 1520 was only 3.8V That why Surface Pro 4 has 38.2 Wh and Lumia 1520 only has 13.3 Wh.
  • Yep. It's really odd to me that the industry uses amp hours instead of watt hours for battery capacity ratings. Without the voltage, you can't directly compare amp hours. For all we know, the SP3 vs SP4 comparison may not be valid since the battery voltages aren't mentioned. For those that are wondering what the issues is, amps are only half of the equation. Volts are the other half. Amps x volts = watts (total power). Comparing the amp hour rating of batteries that output different voltages is an apples to oranges comparison. The comparison should be in watt hours.
  • That's interesting. Because that means that if the voltage of the surface pro 4 is tweakable, it could potentially be more frugal by just dialing down the voltage. For example when using it at work for small things like email, taking notes the odd browsing here and there. Then when at home for some quality media content consumption and creaton we could perhaps press windows + T to activate turboboost. Kitt turboboost! I'm just loving these recent nostalgias of the past and current technologies (hint: back to the future).
  • Yeah but we're not talking about processor voltage.  We're talking about battery voltage.  The processor voltage has nothing to do with battery capacity.
  • Ime only phones use mah and laptops and tablets use wh
  • Ahhh makes sense. It's been 7 years since high school physics and clearly all that went out the window. Thank you for the lesson, stranger :D.
  • I was about to say exactly that.
  • The battery I use in my Galaxy S4 is 7500mah, 5087mah sounds puny.
  • The battery in a Galaxy S4 is 2600mah
  • I should have put an emphasis saying "The battery I use", as I'm running a Zero Lemon battery (see below)
  • but, it NEEDS a 7500mah
  • With how much Android kills the battery unless you run an optimiser, you're not wrong.
  • Or does it have a sticker that says its 7500...?
  • Yes, it has a sticker that says 7500mah because it actually is 7500mah
  • But the surface battery is higher voltage which means the total watt hours is still higher. AKA surfaces battery capacity is still higher. mAh doesn't tell the whole story.
  • Was mostly saying it "sounds" puny, not that it actually is. The battery life of the Surface Pro is VERY good for something that is running a full version of Windows 10
  • Damn... Why do you need a battery like that? It makes the Phone big and heavy, not confortable to use.
  • The battery suits different purposes. When I was on a 12 hour flight to Japan I could watch films and play games extensively without worrying about running out of battery life, when I got to Japan I still had about 50% of charge left. I was also up in the moutains while I was there taking photos etc. so it was perfect. Equally, if you go camping somewhere without a power source for days on end, you don't have to worry about battery life.  The case around the phone also makes it rugged and less prone to damage when it drops as it usually falls on the corner or battery side down. You may think it's too bulky, but I've gotten used to it, although I still use the standard battery when I need the phone to be more compact, such as going running etc.
  • That's awesome. I could see that being the way to go for emergency crews and backpacking/hiking trips...etc. I have one of those portable charger battery packs but this is still neat.
  • I got a car battery..
  • Does that last you the full 2 hours you bought it for? Or do you require more POWERRRRR?A
  • maybe it's because that is the Core M version, the i5 and i7 might have bigger batteries, the specs vary between versions.
  • I don't think there is room for a bigger battery.
  • Surface pro 4 and surface book are awesome
  • Damn shame what they did to that SP4.
  • You didn't read the article did you?
  • Facetious. Google it. Or Bing it.
  • No need. I assure you my vocabulary is on point. ;-) But I'll apologize because I misread your intent as a complaint against the smaller size of the battery instead of them tearing the unit down. Too much negativity on this site makes me over-sensitive.
  • I believe he's talking about them tearing one apart.
  • I know now. It's my fault for misreading.
  • Ah, I managed to comment after your second comment, but I guess I had loaded the comments before you made your second comment. :)
  • It's always interesting to see what they are made of and if you get unlucky and drop it when it's out of warranty, can you repair it yourself....these tend to show this.
  • what about the new windows 10 build for mobile
  • Send ifixit your question to see if they found it in their teardown of the surface, but i think they looked everywhere inside the surface and could not find it.
  • I think so too
  • Aren't OSs very light gas? It probably leaked out when they opened the casing, and will be sucked by some clever Chinese or Polish nerd into his/her Lumia.
  • Lol, like a spirit?
  • Yes, like a poor bastard mobile OS ghost in the machine, looking desperately for a CEO that would truly care... ;)
  • I think it was to be released today
  • I'm sort of surprised that they didn't add an extra battery for the m3 model when they took out the fan. Although it's so much simpler to just take out the fan and leave it at that, keeps production costs down. But there's a good amount of space there. Although would probably imbalance the tablet if that did that. Next model ;) Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • If microsoft can manage to increase the efficiency of the surface pro 3 cpu, I might just downgrade from surface pro 4 to 3. More battery to date is still better in my experience than a less bigger battery and a more efficient processor. I would think the 0,3 inch increase in size would still allow the same size battery. Hopefully microsoft still would consider this in a future batch of the surface pro 4. I think this news make the choice between pro 3 and pro 4 a little bit tougher.
  • Consider increasing the thickness in a future patch of Pro 4 you mean? I am afraid that is NEVER going to happen. Increaseing thickness for Pro 5 would also be VERY unlikely.
  • I agree. The trend is thinner. Unfortunately although moore's law applies to the cpu, it doesn't seem to apply to battery technology to date. So it would technically make common sense that the more battery capacity it is an argument to favor in making a choice. Batteries also come with their own rules to last longer. Ideally keeping your laptop battery in a charged state between 10-15 and 80-95% is best for the longevity of your battery and device. So even with the promised specs which will most likely test from 100% charge to say 1-7% iin reality you will always lose capacity at buy in reality (loss of 10-20% right out of the box). So having those extra mAH would help to compensate that loss making the specs for batterylife more realistic and is, I think, a better service when aiming for realistic expectations for the customer. If that means it needs that many 10ths of mm's more. I wouldn't mind. My reference currently is that I'm owning a hefty surface pro first gen. When I compare that at the store with a surface pro 3, it's simply mindboggling. The surface pro 4 is ludicrous (hint to tesla and battery managment with similar issues. More battery capacity is better).
  • One can only hope for some breakthrough in battery technology. On the whole, batteries in electronices don't, for good or bad, really matter. :) The big game and need has to be in storage for renewable energy. Second, automotive applications. Having said that, at least in the mobile/gadgets space some fairly significant improvements may be in the horizon, e.g. :
  • The Pro 4 gets better battery life with smaller batteries because of the new CPU architecture. It needs a lot less power than the previous model they were using. Unfortunately I doubt they will be able to grant the SP3 better battery life with software or firmware updates. I believe they already did that shortly after its release.  Personally, I'd go with the SP4 because of the additional power and features. I use a SP3 for work, and I don't see any reason for me to buy one with the 4 being available now.
  • what's your best batterylife on one charge? What's your worst batterylife on one charge? What is your average batterylife on one charge?  
  • The screen is a third of an inch bigger, but the device itself is the same size.
  • you're right. According to the microsoft website the surface pro 4 is 0,7 mm thinner than the surface pro 3.
  • 8% decrease in thickness, 3% increase in screen size, 9% decrease in battery size. And the battery life is the same? Pretty impressive.
  • Repair rating 2 out of 10....ouch, So replacing a battery on this device 3-4 years from now (when out of warranty), is a no go and a nightmare. Even the display would be a major challange for the adverage user. Advice, get a good case and DONT drop it, A low repair rating also means that costs for repair (labor rates) will be much higher compared to say a iPAD or such for a display (Not counting for display costs, just labor to do the job)
  • Any tablet will have a low repairability score.  It's the nature of the product. Personally, I'd rather have one unit for the screen than have to use heat to detach the screen unit and then more heat to detach the glass from the display.  It might be more expensive, but there is less to go wrong.  4 years from now I'd look at getting a new device just like I would with a laptop.
  • In four years I'm hoping to upgrade my surface pro 3/4 to windows 10.x, just like I'm upgrading my surface pro 1 from windows 8.1 to windows 10 in due time. And I still hope to update my desktop from windows 10.0 to windows 10.x in 4 years.
  • The battery on my original Surface Pro is still going strong.
  • Personally I haven't broken any of my devices in a long time and don't plan to. If you are careful and treat a device with respect you don't need to worry about how difficult something is to repair. Just like they say, the best way to reduce road accidents is to remove seat belts, air bags and place a sharp metal spike on the front of the steering wheel, when you know there's danger you are much more careful!
  • Huh, Microsoft really IS out-Apple-ing Apple! While the SP4 is definitely a solid device, and I'm glad Microsoft managed to get the same battery life out of a smaller battery, why not keep the same size battery and same depth as the Surface Pro 3, and get even BETTER battery life?
  • Because that thickness would be distributed across the whole device. That means either more metal up top where there aren't batteries since there is no need to mill it out (excess weight/unbalanced), or mill out the same depth across the entire back and have a gap at the top where the components don't come close to the housing. I'm sure it's more of a reliability concern than anything else.  A lot of people still complain that the SP3 is too heavy. People have seen mine and say its pretty thick with the keyboard attached.  People are more about form than function these days, but it seems like Microsoft was able to get a lot of function within that form. I agree though, at least they were able to get better battery life with smaller batteries.
  • Because you'd be complaining if the SP4 was the same dimensions as the SP3.
  • @ shryx86 exactly what I was thinking​ :)
  • Well, I guess the processor efficiency increase was traded off against thinness/weight and battery size then. Nothing surprising and fair enough.
  • So why wouldn't they keep the larger battery and give that much more run time on it? Can't be because of cost.
  • Because every new device has to be smaller and better than the previous one, if it wasn't no one would upgrade.
  • Flickering screen feature saves energy.
  • What stupidly complex machines. It's just lovely.
  • They need to put bigger capacity batteries. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Is ifixit connected with iphone? Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Had this SP4 for 2 days, and its already going back to Best Buy. It is a sorry excuse to us tablet owners to call this a hybid. My Note 12.2 gets 3 x's the battery. This SP4 is good for 6 hrs straight up. Don't even buy the "on video playback" nonsense. Posted via the Windows Central App for Android