We weren't as impressed by HTC and Google's new Nexus 9 as we wanted to be, and diving deeper into the tablet is giving us more reasons to be unexcited. The teardown experts at iFixit have opened the tablet up and found it harder to open and repair than previous Nexus tablets: it has been given a repairability score of three out of 10, lower than the 2012 or 2013 Nexus 7 (both seven out of 10) or the Nexus 10 (six).
The plastic back of the tablet is apparently easy to remove, but you run the risk of accidentally disconnecting the rear camera from the motherboard when you lift it off. The camera itself is decidedly unremarkable, and it apparently uses the same shooter as the midrange HTC Desire 610. iFixit also complained of the tablet's small front-facing speakers, something we noticed in our review. The site says the speakers "look a lot more like low-volume earpiece speakers than the far-heftier speakers found in the latest iteration of the iPad Air."
iFixit's biggest problem with the tablet is adhesive. The site frequently complains when glue is used to hold devices together (as opposed to plastic clips or screws, for instance), and both the 6700mAh battery and the tablet's screen are stuck on with copious amounts of glue. The battery can be pried up with patience, but separating the (fused) display panel and front glass from the body of the tablet apparently requires a lot of heat. Finally, the "maze of tape and thin, delicate cables" inside the tablet makes repairs "difficult and perilous."
Though it may be of small comfort to Nexus 9 buyers, they can at least know that iFixit considers the tablet more repairable than either the iPad Air 2 or iPad Mini 3, which each scored only two points out of 10 on the repairability scale. Heck, the Surface Pro 3 scored just one point out of 10. It's apparently pretty hard to find a tablet that's easy to fix.