Tech repair site iFixit's teardown of the Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1 tablet reads more like a smackdown of the Apple iPad 3.
On its 1 to 10 scale in which higher is more repairable, iFixit gave the iPad 3 an embarrassingly low 2, for which it received a lot of heat from readers, iFixit's Miroslav Djuric wrote in an Aug. 20 blog post. Readers commented that, with a device so thin, it would be impossible to use clips instead of glue to attach the front glass to the tablet.
"Enter the Note 10.1," wrote Duric, "with a thickness of 8.9mm. It's actually thinner than the iPad 3, and almost the same thickness as the iPad 2. And guess what? It's held in place with a clever system of clips, similar to the original iPad."
Samsung also used good old-fashioned Phillips screws on the outside case, unlike Apple with its proprietary screws, and provided a "modular internal layout," which in combination with that clips-instead-of-glue decision helped to earn the Note 10.1 an impressive 8 of 10.
Opening up the tablet, the crew found "a cornucopia of connectors. By our count, there are 16!"
Connectors, they explained, are good news for repairs-when components can be easily accessed and removed, repairs go more swiftly (and more inexpensively).
For this reason, iFixit also applauded the fact that the tablet's front and rear cameras don't share a cable. The battery, the motherboard and the dock connector, relying on screws, were also simple to detach.
"Well, that was easy!" they wrote-not a common phrase on the site.
And the compliments continued. The EMI shields, which protect the motherboard from electromagnetic interference and in this case also act as a heat sink, were also easy to remove.
"This is the first device we've seen with EMI shields [connected by screws]. Props to you, Samsung," wrote the team.
Samsung introduced the Note 10.1 at a New York event Aug. 15. While Tim Baxter, president of Samsung America, likely wasn't referring to the device's repairability, he told the audience at the event that with the Note 10.1 Samsung is redefining the tablet category.
Again highlighting how stand-apart Samsung believes the device to be, its director of product planning has called it "one of the most innovative devices we've ever made."
In a March blog post calling Apple to task, iFixit's Elizabeth wrote that the industry "must" hold Apple to a higher standard.
"If Apple ships 1 million iPads today, at 1.44 pounds each, that means 650 metric tons of unrepairable toxic iPad are going out just today. And Apple's the most valuable company in the world. ... They're recognized as leaders in the design and business worlds. If Apple is going to be at the head of the pack, we must ask them to lead responsibly. And in electronics, leading responsibly means that your devices must be sustainably made and designed to last. Designed for use. Designed for repair. Designed for a more sustainable future.The iPad isn't."
Perhaps in more ways than one, Samsung has put in its bid to be pack leader.