Nexus 9 gets the teardown treatment and found very hard to repair

Nexus 9 gets the teardown treatment and found very hard to repair
Major new devices all share the same fate: product teardowns. The initial aim of a teardown is to simply figure out how difficult it would be to do DIY repairs, if you needed to; but, teardowns also eventually inform the component pricing to figure out how much it costs to build the device, and give us a better idea of the profit margins manufacturers get. Today's teardown is the Nexus 9, which scored pretty badly on repairability.

iFixit has given the Nexus 9 a score of 3 out of 10 on its repairability score, with 1 being the most difficult to repair and 10 being the easiest. For comparison, the iPad Air 2 scored a 2 out of 10, and Apple is notorious for not being friendly to the DIY repair community. The issues cited for the Nexus 9's low score came down to just a couple general issues. First, the display will be very tough to fix, because the LCD is fused to the glass, and the display is using some hardcore glue to stick to the midframe, meaning it could be easier to simply replace the entire assembly, if possible. Also, the general component layout inside the tablet is said to be "a maze of tape and thin, delicate cables, making disassembly and reassembly difficult and perilous."

So, if you were hoping to be able to fix potential issues yourself, the Nexus 9 might not be the right tablet for you, especially if you are someone with a history of cracking the display glass. Does this news turn anyone off from the Nexus 9?

source: iFixit

Related phones

Nexus 9
  • Display 8.9" 1536 x 2048 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / 1.6 MP front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra K1, Dual-core, 2300 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB
  • Battery 6700 mAh

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24 Comments

1. Nirjharmistry

Posts: 1; Member since: Nov 04, 2014

As expected. Firstly the price tag then this..

4. Finalflash

Posts: 4063; Member since: Jul 23, 2013

Lol seriously, the price tag? It's a 9 inch tablet with amazing build and hardware, at that price it's more than you'll get from anyone else. Second, "this" is what the state of affairs is with literally all high end phones and tablets. You can't get thin bodies and 0 gap glass without "this". There might be one or two things they could do to make it easier to repair, but that might interfere with design or integrity. Sacrifices have to be made somewhere and last I checked no high end tablet has a vastly better score. Still, hopefully project ARA hits tablets too and fixes this stuff as well.

10. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Amazing hardware, yes, but build, no. It is getting gigged in reviews for feeling cheap and the flex in the back. Ron Amadeo at ArsTechnica said it felt "surprisingly cheap."

12. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Well there's a reason its $100 less than the Air 2 Maybe Google should have made it $500 as well so HTC could used a M8 style unibody

16. MySchizoBuddy

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

Arstechnica review is critical of it's quality. I won't call it amazing some you haven't used it.

17. MySchizoBuddy

Posts: 159; Member since: Aug 23, 2011

theVerge review is also critical of its build quality. I'm inclined to believe them over you who hasn't even touched the product

18. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Actually, I would believe a bum on the street over the Verge and Ars Techina. Both companies should just become App,e only sites because that is what their journalism pegs them at.

20. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Ron Amadeo is an Android Guy. He worked at Android Police before Ars, and one of the editors joked in an editorial about Amadeo's vault of Nexuses in an unrelated column. I would believe the paid Android guy over a bum on the Internet.

23. DBounce

Posts: 172; Member since: Apr 26, 2014

I'm typing this on a nexus 9 32gb. Had the iPad Air 2 128gb LTE. Build quality is fine on both. I had Apple smart case on the iPad, so it was plastic that showed anyway. I ended up returning the Air 2. The radio reception was horrible. Much worst than my other devices. Much worst than the iPad 4 that I previously had. I got the Air 2 because Apple is the king of all tablets... Not anymore. The OS feels old, slow and limited when compared to Lollipop. I will not miss the iPad. FYI, before I could run the Nexus it did an over the air update. So it's possible I missed the early problems that some reviewers experienced. All I know is that this tablet is far superior to the Air 2 that it replaced. And it cost about half the price. I'm not a Apple or Android fanboy. When I'm spending my money, I want what works best. As of this writing that is the Nexus 9. Apple needs a complete rework of iOS to make it a modern mobile OS. Google well done on Lollipop. Now the Dev tools need to be improved. On the backend Dev environment the edge still falls to iOS. Still far easier and quicker to pump out iOS apps than Android apps.

2. Elfmonster unregistered

Ok so. A) Google is coming up with their ARS phone or whatever, so that when a piece of your phone sucks, you can easily click in a new piece, thereby helping you and the world's environment. B) All other Google hardware is impossible to fix, or has non-removeable batteries and such, so that I will have to shell out hundreds of dollars to replace its bad-for-the-environment disposable-ness rather frequently compared to the death time table of TVs and other household goods. C) Dear Google, either stop claiming you're good for the world, or start making more environmentally friendly choices. Thanks.

3. Commentator

Posts: 3723; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

Interesting discovery made by the ifixit team in their teardown: the Nexus 9 uses the exact camera module that is used in the Desire 610.

13. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

Also the speakers in the Nexus 9 are identical to the speakers One M8 In fact there's 4 of the Nexus 9 (instead of 2 in the M8), more space I guess

19. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

No wonder people weren't impressed with them. On a phone the M8 speakers are great but on a tablet they should have two tablet sized ones rather than 4 phone sized ones. But I guess they have to use up that M8 parts inventory somehow.

21. vincelongman

Posts: 5730; Member since: Feb 10, 2013

From what I've read the M8 speakers are even better than the iPad Air's and the Z Tablet's speakers I think they are getting mixed review because they are the "lower bin" which didn't quite meet the M8's speakers specs HTC seems to have cut quite a few many corners

22. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Yeah but the iPad air and z tablet aren't exactly the benchmarks for tablets. If they wanted the same effect on a tablet you need to make it better than the M8 speakers since the Nexus 9 is so much bigger than the M8.

5. NexusX

Posts: 613; Member since: May 16, 2013

android tablets are quite useless if you already have an android phone. by the way it's going on sale for $200 right now on HTC official website

6. g2a5b0e unregistered

Yeah, because a device that costs half of what my phones costs, but comes with 4 times the screen real estate would serve absolutely no purpose. Sounds legit.

7. Phonedingo

Posts: 399; Member since: Aug 16, 2014

Htc bringing their shoddy repairablity along for the ride.

8. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

This is consistent with HTC cramming everything into a pyramid while ignoring engineering and heat sink principles. They just slap things together and have the nerve to say they don't sell just because of marketing....

9. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^ can we ban this guy?

15. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Ban me for speaking the truth? Not going to happen.

11. Napalm_3nema

Posts: 2236; Member since: Jun 14, 2013

Yeah, they should really focus on putting out 60 iterations of each phone model to address all of the shortcomings, instead.

14. Taters

Posts: 6474; Member since: Jan 28, 2013

Practice makes perfect and it avoids things like beneath and Apple maps when you go and design your flagship. Considering every species on earth except mammals use the multiple offsprings strategy, it's obviously effective. Apple goes for money and quality. Samsung quantity and quality. HTC, I have no idea what they go for. They just slap things together and make super bricks.

24. tokuzumi

Posts: 1936; Member since: Aug 27, 2009

This is pretty standard for HTC. They consistently get the lowest scores from iFixit. HTC One (M7) scored a 1. I think the M8 only managed a 2. Watching assembly videos of the One X shows that isn't all that easy to repair either. Especially when you compare them against the Galaxy Nexus, Nexus 4, and Nexus 5, as well as the other Galaxy devices (S-line/Note-line).

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