Average people can’t even get their hands on a Nexus 7 yet, but the intrepid deconstructors over at iFixit have already managed pry one open just to see what makes it tick. Is Google’s new flagship tablet more like the relatively easy-to-fix Kindle Fire or the impossible-to-open iPad with Retina Display?
Thankfully, it’s the latter. Cracking open the case was easily accomplished with standard plastic opening tools and the screws inside are a basic Phillips head variety, albeit a small one. By comparison, iFixit’s gurus say the iPad is glued securely shut.
“One millimeter,” the website writes. “That’s the difference in thickness between the 9.4 mm glued iPad and the 10.4 mm retaining-clipped Nexus. That’s the difference between being able to open a device and service all of its internals, and not. That’s the negligible difference between extending the life of your device through repair, as opposed to tossing it in a landfill.”
Things move just as smoothly inside. Only a small amount of glue holds the 4326 mAh, 16 Wh battery into place, making it fairly easy to swap out. Removing the motherboard involves breaking a seal and removing one of the Nexus 7’s two microphones. Once you do pry the motherboard out, however, iFixit reports that most of the components on it can be independently replaced, which should significantly drive down repair costs if you run into an issue with the tablet.
The only major reparability hurdle is the LCD, which is fused directly to the Nexus 7’s Gorilla Glass screen. That means the whole kit and caboodle will need to be replaced if you drop the tablet and crack its display. The Kindle Fire’s screen isn’t melded with its LCD, which led iFixit to give the Amazon tablet an 8 out of 10 repairability score — one point higher than the Nexus tablet’s 7 rating.