Nexus 7 teardown: Battery beats Kindle Fire but screen is harder to repair, iFixit says

Take a peek inside the Nexus 7 to look at repairability and other details that Google itself isn't talking about.

Google's Nexus 7 tablet looks like the low-cost, iPad alternative that Android fans have been waiting for, at least on the outside.

But what about inside? Repair shop iFixit did its customary teardown on the Nexus 7 to look at repairability and other details that Google itself isn't talking about. Let’s check out the highlights.

The Non-Removable, Yet Still Removable Cover

If you must get inside the Nexus 7, officially you're out of luck. Fortunately, the Nexus 7's back cover is only held in place with retaining clips, so you can easily peel it away with a plastic opening tool.

iFixit, which has criticized Apple lately for the non-repairable nature of its products, seems pleased, and notes that the Nexus 7 is only a millimeter thicker than the new iPad. “That's the negligible difference between extending the life of your device through repair, as opposed to tossing it in a landfill,” the company writes.

Replaceable Battery

Speaking of extending the life of the device, the Nexus 7's 4326 mAh battery is held down by just a small amount of adhesive, so it's easy to remove, and presumably easy to replace. As iFixit points out, the Nexus 7's battery is smaller than the Kindle Fire's battery, but lasts about two hours longer according to Engadget's tests.

Stereo Speakers, Apparently

Google's website doesn't say whether the Nexus 7 has stereo or mono speakers, but iFixit found a pair of speaker drivers in its teardown. (The Verge also reports that the device has stereo speakers.) In any case, on my loaner Nexus 7 I can't hear much of a stereo effect, even on songs with hard panning. That may explain why Google isn't making a big deal out of it.

Careful with that Screen

As iFixit notes, the Nexus 7's display glass and LCD are fused together, so if either one breaks, you'll have to replace both. That's obviously a more expensive and difficult repair in comparison to the Kindle Fire, whose glass is not fused to the LCD.

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Jared Newman

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