iPad Air, Surface 2 crack top five list of most annoying devices to tear down

by David Needle

December 20 2013

New devices are often subject to 'teardowns' by analysts and reviewers looking to figure out how much they cost to make, what components were used and to reveal other 'secret' insights.

Vendors typically do not encourage this. First off by default they make their devices sturdy and sealed enough to prevent them from breaking apart or, as a result, being easily ripped open.

Secondly, they don't want to share the interior design and what components are inside for competitive reasons. But if someone's determined enough, any device can be opened. 

For consumers, it should be noted the harder a device is to open, the harder it's likely to be to repair it.

Two tablets made CNet's top 5 list of the "most annoying" gadgets they subjected to teardowns in 2013.

The new iPad Air made number three on the list, here's why:

As with other iPads, the front panel is glued to the tablet's metal body so the panel has to be heated to open the case.

"Even after separating the panel and case, you can't remove it without first removing the display. Throw in that the battery and most other internal components are glued in place, and this tablet definitely isn't repair-friendly."

Coming in at number one for most annoying teardown was Microsoft's new Surface 2 tablet, and for good reasons.

For starters, heating the front panel is difficult because some of the tablet's internal components and external trim pieces are made from plastic, which will warp if overheated. CNet's reviewer said it happened to him. 

"There are also more than 60 screws inside the case, of all different sizes. The battery is glued in place. And most of the motherboard connectors are extremely fragile and easily broken."

The full top five from most annoying down goes like this: 

1) Surface 2

2) Google Glass Explorer Edition

3) iPad Air

4) iPhone 5S and 5C

5) MacBook Air

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