Tuesday, July 3, 2012

If the battery ever stops working on your new Nexus 7 tablet, you can take heart that it’ll be easy to replace. Teardown site iFixit has performed its trademark exploratory surgery on Google‘s new gadget, and it scored fairly well on repairability.

As with most tablets, the battery is the single largest component inside the Nexus 7, and it’s easy to remove. It’s not attached with solder, just a “small amount” of adhesive. Its capacity is rated at 4,326 milliamp-hours/16 watt-hours, very close to the Kindle Fire‘s 4,400mAh/16.28Wh battery.

Although the two batteries have similar capacities, the Nexus 7′s is rated at almost 10 hours of battery life, whereas the Kindle Fire is a little less than 8. That’s probably a testament to how skilled Google’s engineers are at optimizing software for Android.

The teardown also reveals who made the Nexus 7 display: Hydis, a Korea-based manufacturer of thin-film-transistor LCDs. On the Nexus 7, the 1,280 x 800 LCD is fused to the protective layer of Gorilla Glass above it. That reduces the overall thickness of the device (to about 0.41 of an inch), but it also makes the screen impossible to service. If you ever have a problem with it (like a dead pixel), you’ll need to replace the whole thing.

 Overall, the Nexus 7 is relatively easy to repair, with no proprietary screws or fasteners. Also, iFixit found many of the components can be replaced independent of each other, and since it uses copper-alloy sheets for cooling, you don’t have to mess around with thermal paste.

Still, the Nexus 7 didn’t rank quite as highly as the Kindle Fire on ease of repair, scoring 7 (out of 10) to the Kindle Fire’s 8. However, that’s far higher than Apple’s most recent iPad, with scores a mere 2 on the repairability scale.