A few times per year a device comes along that’s not a fancy-schmancy tablet or phone, but still intriguing enough to warrant a teardown. Like the Nest Protect, a $130 smoke detector with other nifty doodads sprinkled inside. How does the Protect achieve all the fun stuff that Nest advertises? We just had to find out.
The Nest Protect is straight-forward and easy to disassemble. Common screw types, user-accessible batteries, and a simple design make it a very solid, repairable product. That said, we won’t be assigning a repairability score: The Protect is a piece of safety equipment, and your life could depend on it. Aside from replacing the batteries, it should not be taken apart if it’s going to be used for its intended purpose afterwards.
Hot on the coattails of yesterday’s Xbox One comes America’s favorite surveillance system — the second-generation Kinect! Good news, tin-hat wearers: the Kinect *does not* have any NSA-grade hardware inside.
Instead, we found tons of interesting IR/camera technology, including one “regular” camera, one IR camera, and three IR emitters. The overall internal design is less convoluted than the original, allowing folks to replace tidbits if needed — but not much can be replaced, and you’ll have to void your warranty to gain entry. Either way, the second-generation Kinect earned a respectable, if not stellar, 6 out of 10 repairability score.
Oh shoot! We got teardown all over our brand-new Xbox One! That’s definitely going to void our warranty—but then again, doesn’t everything? That’s right, we dragged our butts out of bed and over to New Zealand to bring you a breakfast-in-bed teardown of the Xbox One.
We dismantled Sony’s PS4 last week, so we were eager to see how the highly-anticipated Xbox One would stack up to the competition. The Xbox One’s design—with a giant, external power brick—is less elegant than the PS4. Still, part of the Xbox’s added girth goes towards housing a huge cooling assembly, a welcome addition after the infamous Red Ring of Death fiasco. Perhaps hedging their bets against the unthinkable, Microsoft also made both the fan and the heat sink easy to replace.
While the Xbox One doesn’t officially feature a replaceable hard drive, we did find a standard 2.5″ Samsung 500 GB, 5400 RPM hard drive lurking inside. If you don’t mind voiding your warranty, the hard drive is technically user-replaceable—but it remains to be seen whether or not a replacement drive will work with the Xbox. With high marks for modularity, the Xbox One managed to match the PS4’s repairability score, earning itself an 8/10.
Straight from the chilly streets of Ottawa, Canada to you! We teamed up with our pals at Chipworks to get our hands on (and in) the all-new Sony PlayStation 4. We’ve grown accustomed to Apple’s accelerated release schedule, so when a device refresh is seven years in the making, we tend to get excited.
And the PS4 did not disappoint. This modern gaming machine has its feet firmly rooted in hardware land, and its head off in the cloud. While the console is not backwards compatible, cloud gaming could resurrect the games you stand to lose. Your newest zombie-slaying game additions, on the other hand, will find a secure home on the PS4’s user-replaceable hard drive.
With fewer screws and absolutely no adhesive, the console is more repairable than ever. Even in spite of security screws, warranty voiding seals, and a couple of sharp edges, the PS4 is both easy-to-open and repair-friendly—earning itself an 8 out of 10 on our repairability scale.
The iPad Mini Retina Display is a worthy successor to both the iPad Air and last year’s iPad Mini. The Mini is no longer the runt of the litter, having gained the snappy A7 processor, M7 coprocessor, and a 2048 x 1536 pixel display at an impressive 326 ppi. Unfortunately, the newest member still carries the familial low repairability.
Last week, Amazon’s 8.9” Fire HDX tablet wowed us with its easy, adhesive-free opening procedure. Only 0.3 mm thicker than the iPad Air, the Fire HDX seemed to handily disprove the argument that repairability and thin design are mutually exclusive. Coincidentally, the iPad Mini is 0.3 mm thicker than it was last year, but the new Retina Mini uses its extra girth to support a flashy new Retina Display, leaving repairability woefully unchanged.
In fact, the updated specs mean little as far as internal architecture is concerned. With very similar construction and inhibitors to repair, this Mini earns the legacy 2 out of 10 repairability score. Read the rest of this article »
Third time’s the charm, as they say. The Kindle Fire HDX 8.9” completes Amazon’s new e-book refresh trinity, and debunks the ubiquitous claim that thin devices come only at the cost of repairability.
At only 0.3 millimeters thicker than the ultra-thin iPad Air, the HDX manages to pack all of its features into an easy-open body. We had ours open in just a few minutes—a walk in the park compared to the +30-minute iPad Air opening procedure.
Externally, the HDX 8.9″ is a scaled-up version of the HDX 7″, so we were expecting another labyrinthian disaster of glues, screws, and boo-hoos. However, after opening the HDX 8.9”, we felt like we’d stumbled into the 2013 Kindle Fire HD. Dare we hope for another 8/10 repairability score? At first blush, it was looking good: Only a few plastic clips stand between fixers and their repair dreams. Plus, the tablet isn’t peppered with screws, brackets or midframes. Instead, just pop the top and all the (mostly modular) components are within easy reach. It’s enough to make a grown fixer cry. Read the rest of this article »