The guys at iFixit are at it again and just posted their Nexus 7 teardown guide. Overall, iFixit found that the device is rather serviceable and seemingly well designed. Unlike the iPad 2 and new iPad, the Nexus 7 employs clips to hold the whole assembly together. This results in an extra 1mm of thickness, but they allow owners to open the case with just a little prying.
Once inside, the battery can be replaced with ease; it doesn’t even require the removal of any screws. Asus used standard Philips #00 throughout the Nexus 7 which also lends to its serviceability. However, unlike the Kindle Fire, iFixit found that the LCD screen is affixed to the front display assembly. This means that the entire front panel will need to be replaced if something happens to either the bezel or screen.
From my perspective as just an occasional tinkerer, the Nexus 7 seems put together rather nicely. It’s even more impressive given the fact that Google gave just four months to deliver the tablet, although as Sean Hollister previously pointed out, the Nexus 7 is likely a retooled Asus ME370T.
In a way the Nexus 7, arguably the most important Android tablet to date, speaks to the ever-constant Android vs Google debate. The new iPad, and the iPad 2 before, are virtually impossible to service. I previously argued this move was to the benefit of innovation and progress, allowing Apple to churn out newer models quicker rather than dedicating a large support staff to service old ones. That said, it’s a bit telling that the $199 Nexus 7 can be completely serviced while the $499+ iPad cannot.