Is the new Nexus 7 better than the Apple iPad? Overall, no, but when it comes to repairability, the new Android tablet has the iPad beaten hands-down.
iFixit's teardown of the new Android "Jelly Bean"-powered tablet shows that it is possible to make a tablet that's both thin and easy to repair. While the 7-inch Nexus 7 is thicker than the iPad 3, the difference is negligible -- 10.4 mm for the Nexus 7 versus 9.4 mm for the iPad 3.
That extra millimeter of thickness has allowed Asus -- the OEM that makes the Nexus 7 -- to use retaining clips to hold the tablet together rather than the copious amounts of glue that Apple uses to hold the iPad 3 together.
All you need to pop open the Nexus 7 is some plastic opening tools and couple of minutes. Compare this to the iPad 3, where you need plastic opening tools, almost a dozen guitar picks, a heat gun, and an abundance of time and patience. And even with all that at your disposal, there's still a good chance that you'll break the iPad's screen as you try to remove it.
To be fair though, it is worth pointing out that while only a millimeter separates the thickness of the Nexus 7 from that of the iPad 3, Apple has had to cram more into its tablet. Even the batteries are completely different. The Nexus is powered by a 4326 mAh, 16 Wh battery, while the iPad 3 is powered by a beefier 11500 mAh, 42.5 Wh battery pack.
Once inside the Nexus 7, the battery can be replaced without the need of a screwdriver, and all the fasteners inside are Phillips #00 screws.
"All in all, it's light-years more repairable than its Apple counterpart," says Miroslav Djuric, iFixit's chief information architect, "and not too far off its Amazonian cousin."
The difference between the two devices is that the Nexus 7's display glass and LCD are fused together, which means that you have to replace both components should one of the two break, while on the Kindle Fire they are two separate components.
iFixit gave the Nexus 7 a respectable 7 out of 10 repairability score, just slightly lower than the Kindle Fire's 8 out of 10.
The result is a far better repairability score than the miserable 2 out of 10 that iFixit awarded the iPad 3. It's the difference between being able to repair something, and -- well -- throwing it in the trash.