Mobile

Nexus 7 easier to repair than iPad, longer-living than Kindle Fire, teardown reveals

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Google’s just-announced Nexus 7 tablet is variously called a threat to Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Apple’s larger iPad. A teardown by the folks at iFixit find both Amazon and Apple could learn a few things from the Android-powered device. At the top of that list is how to make repairable — not replaceable — mobile devices.

The Google Nexus 7 is 10.4 mm thick, versus 9.4 mm for the iPad. However, iFixit describes the difference as “negligible,” given the Nexus 7 is held together with plastic clips, rather than sealed with glue.

“That’s the negligible difference between extending the life of your device through repair, as opposed to tossing it in the landfill,” the company announced Tuesday. The clips will “make all the difference when the device breaks,” iFixit said.

The teardown also uncovered a battery that outperformed the Kindle Fire and lands in the middle of  iPad specs. The Nexus 7’s battery has a 9:49 hour lifespan, compared to the Kindle Fire’s 7:42 hours despite the fact that the Kindle has a more powerfully rated  battery: 4,400 mAh, 16.28 Wh, versus 4,236 mAh, 16 Wh for the Nexus. The Google tablet’s battery is midway between the 9:37 hours for the LTE iPad and 9:52 for the HSPA 3G Apple tablet, according to iFixit.

Another intriguing finding is how much thought went into making the Nexus 7 literally a cool device. Not only is the battery of the Google device more easily removed — held with just “a small amount of adhesive” — but engineers picked more expensive copper alloy or copper-tungsten for the heat sink below the battery. The new iPad is notorious for getting hot. The unit was gauged at 116-degrees by Consumer Reports, although some point to the iPad’s larger battery or a beefier graphics chip as the reason for that extra heat. Along with being easier to open by consumers, Google appears to be scoring points by not making the Nexus 7 to hot to handle.

The Google Nexus 7 is expected to sell for $199, starting in mid-July.

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