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Google's second-gen Nexus 7 fondleslab STRIPPED BARE

Hidden fiddly bits exposed to world+dog

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Teardown Google's latest Asus-built Nexus 7 fondleslab may be smaller, slimmer, and lighter than the old version, but the Chocolate Factory hasn't sacrificed reparability for the sake of miniaturization.

Photo showing how to open the Nexus 7 case

All that's needed to open the Nexus 7 case is one plastic tool, and all the fasteners inside are Philips screws

The mad tinkerers at iFixit wasted no time tearing down Google's latest tablet, and found that although it's crammed to the gills with small parts, disassembling them was no more difficult than it was for the earlier Nexus 7 – and it was certainly easier than taking apart an iPad Mini.

Disassembly revealed a few surprises, as well. Most notably, the first thing the hardware hackers saw after opening the case – a simple procedure that required only a plastic opening tool, though the case appears to crack easily – was the Nexus 7's inductive charging coil, something iFixit says it hasn't seen in a tablet since the HP TouchPad in 2011.

Photo of the Nexus 7's inductive charger and NFC circuitry

The new Nexus 7's near-field communication (NFC) module is layered on top of the inductive charging coil

Wireless charging isn't just convenient for the user, the teardown artists said, but it can also potentially reduce the amount of global e-waste from wires.

After a bit more prying and loosening a few ordinary Philips screws, the inquisitive techs were able to free the battery tray from the case with relative ease. The battery is rated at 3.8 volts and 3950mAh – smaller than the old Nexus 7's 4326mAh battery, and yet it claims an hour longer life thanks to new, less power-hungry hardware.

Photo of the new Nexus 7's battery tray

There's not much elbow room inside the Nexus 7's case, but removing the battery isn't difficult

The front and rear cameras – 5MP for the rear and 1.2MP for the front – were also easy to remove, as was the motherboard itself. The chips on the motherboard, which we've numbered for you in the image below, are as follows:

  1. Analogix ANX7808 SlimPort transmitter
  2. Qualcomm APQ8064 Snapdragon S4 Pro quad-core CPU with Adreno 320 GPU
  3. Elpida J4216EFBG 512MB DDR3L SDRAM chip (four, for a total of 2GB RAM)
  4. Texas Instruments BQ51013B inductive charging controller
  5. Qualcomm Atheros WCN3660 WLAN a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0, and FM radio module
  6. SK Hynix H26M51003EQR 16 GB eMMC NAND Flash
  7. Qualcomm PM8921 quick charge battery management IC
Photo of the Nexus 7 motherboard, with labels

Most of the important stuff is crammed into a few small ICs on the main Nexus 7 motherboard

Next, out came the stereo speakers, a manufacturer for which the iFixit team couldn't place, but which carried the part number DN17128L000. Finally, the tinkerers noted the Wi-Fi antennas which are fixed inside the rear case and bear part number ME571K_WIFI_3DC.

On iFixit's overall reparability scale of 1 to 10, where a 10 means the device is easiest to repair, the hardware dissectors rated the new 7-inch Nexus slab a 7 – the same rating as the original Nexus 7 received when it got the full teardown treatment in June 2012.

If the Nexus 7 gets knocked for anything in iFixit's book, it's that the front glass is glued to the display frame. That's a common design decision for many tablets today, but it means you'll either need a heat gun to get the LCD screen out, or else you'll need to replace the front case and the LCD at the same time, which both increases repair costs and creates more e-waste.

On the bright side, repairing the Nexus 7 is sure to be much easier than repairing Apple's most recent iPad and iPad mini fondleslabs, each of which received a lowly 2 on iFixit's reparability scale.

Head on over to the iFixit site to see the full teardown in all its savage glory, in twelve steps and featuring 26 photos, here. ®

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