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Kindle Fire HDX Teardown

By - Source: Tom's Hardware US | B 15 comments

Peering into the depths of the Kindle Fire HDX.

Introduced at the end of last month, the brand new Kindle Fire HDX is available in two sizes: 7 inches and 8.9 inches. Both of these sport storage capacities of 16 GB, 32 GB and 64 GB, and the teardown team at iFixit just tore into the 16 GB 7-inch model. iFixit reports that this Kindle scored the lowest of any Kindle ever on its repairability scale.

 

What did they find inside (once they finally managed to get in)? A Snapdragon 800 SoC with a quad-core CPU clocked to 2.2 GHz, 2 GB of Samsung K3QF2F200B LPDDR3 SDRAM, 16 GB of Toshiba THGMAG7A2JBAIR eMMC NAND Flash, a Synaptics S7301B Touchscreen Controller, a Qualcomm WCD9320 Audio Codec, a Qualcomm PM8941 Power Management IC, and a Summit Microelectronics SMB349 Lithium-Ion/Lithium-Polymer Battery Charger.

As far as getting inside the tablet is concerned, iFixit mentioned powerful adhesive gluing down the battery, while the LCD and digitizer cables are trapped between the LCD and mid frame (which meant removing the mid frame from the display assembly). Both of these factors contributed to the pathetic 3/10 the Kindle Fire HDX scored on the repairability scale.

Click through to iFixit for the full teardown!

Follow Jane McEntegart @JaneMcEntegart. Follow us @tomshardware, on Facebook and on Google+.

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  • 1 Hide
    ubercake , October 16, 2013 5:42 AM
    This is a pretty powerful hardware configuration for a tablet.

    Regarding the 3/10 repairability rating... I don't know how many people buy a tablet and think they're going to repair it. I've had my Acer A500 for 3.5 years. It's been dropped in addition to normal wear and it's still plugging away like day one. If it breaks, I'll probably be on amazon buying one of these Kindles. Amazon has great customer service and I'm sure they'd honor their warranty no problem.
  • -2 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , October 16, 2013 5:59 AM
    Quote:
    This is a pretty powerful hardware configuration for a tablet.

    Regarding the 3/10 repairability rating... I don't know how many people buy a tablet and think they're going to repair it. I've had my Acer A500 for 3.5 years. It's been dropped in addition to normal wear and it's still plugging away like day one. If it breaks, I'll probably be on amazon buying one of these Kindles. Amazon has great customer service and I'm sure they'd honor their warranty no problem.


    You shouldn't support products that are so locked down that you can't even change the battery.
  • -1 Hide
    stevejnb , October 16, 2013 6:04 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    This is a pretty powerful hardware configuration for a tablet.

    Regarding the 3/10 repairability rating... I don't know how many people buy a tablet and think they're going to repair it. I've had my Acer A500 for 3.5 years. It's been dropped in addition to normal wear and it's still plugging away like day one. If it breaks, I'll probably be on amazon buying one of these Kindles. Amazon has great customer service and I'm sure they'd honor their warranty no problem.


    You shouldn't support products that are so locked down that you can't even change the battery.


    Why not? You can make a catchall of "You shouldn't support products that do X" for just about anything. End result? None of us would support anything, since I bet you'd be hard pressed to name a product that doesn't do *something* undesirable.

    This thing looks like a good little unit. Support it if you like, but know what you're getting into.
  • 1 Hide
    teh_chem , October 16, 2013 6:13 AM
    I agree, I've never once torn down a tablet to repair it; these ratings are meaningless to me. I'm more concerned with whether the tablet is going to break in the first place, and the quality of components used.
  • -1 Hide
    Grandmastersexsay , October 16, 2013 6:22 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    This is a pretty powerful hardware configuration for a tablet.

    Regarding the 3/10 repairability rating... I don't know how many people buy a tablet and think they're going to repair it. I've had my Acer A500 for 3.5 years. It's been dropped in addition to normal wear and it's still plugging away like day one. If it breaks, I'll probably be on amazon buying one of these Kindles. Amazon has great customer service and I'm sure they'd honor their warranty no problem.


    You shouldn't support products that are so locked down that you can't even change the battery.


    Why not? You can make a catchall of "You shouldn't support products that do X" for just about anything. End result? None of us would support anything, since I bet you'd be hard pressed to name a product that doesn't do *something* undesirable.

    This thing looks like a good little unit. Support it if you like, but know what you're getting into.


    No, you can shape the matket by supporting products that have the features you want available. If no one bought cell phones without SD card slots, all cell phones would have SD card slots. Companies like google wouldn't be able to shove cloud computing down our throats.

    Spend a few extra bucks on products that don't support the throw away life style, or atleast support it less than their competitors, and you will help improve the consumer market. People SHOULD value repairability. It is ok to value cost more than repairability, but that is not what is going on. It cost Amazon more to glue that battery down than leaving it loose and connected by a flexible lead. They are hoping you will simply get a new kindle when your battery dies. Apple does the same thing. Don't support that business model. You're an ass hole if you do. You don't just affect the consumer market for yourself. You affect it for the rest of us too.
  • 1 Hide
    ubercake , October 16, 2013 6:45 AM
    @Grandmastersexsay... You make some good points but considering your logic, I'm a self-proclaimed asshole. I don't take tablets seriously. I don't mind spending the money on a new one in a couple of years if the battery fails to hold a charge. As far as my luck's been, my A500 hasn't needed a battery in 3.5 years. My original Kindle reader hasn't needed a battery in 3 years. My expectation is to get around 2 years out of these things.

    These things haven't failed in 3+ years and I've already considered newer models because the technology has advanced so much in that short timespan. I'd be disappointed if the devices didn't get me through the warranty period. But like I said, my expectation is 2 years, since I'm considering an upgrade by then.
  • 1 Hide
    stevejnb , October 16, 2013 6:56 AM
    Quote:


    No, you can shape the matket by supporting products that have the features you want available. If no one bought cell phones without SD card slots, all cell phones would have SD card slots. Companies like google wouldn't be able to shove cloud computing down our throats.

    Spend a few extra bucks on products that don't support the throw away life style, or atleast support it less than their competitors, and you will help improve the consumer market. People SHOULD value repairability. It is ok to value cost more than repairability, but that is not what is going on. It cost Amazon more to glue that battery down than leaving it loose and connected by a flexible lead. They are hoping you will simply get a new kindle when your battery dies. Apple does the same thing. Don't support that business model. You're an ass hole if you do. You don't just affect the consumer market for yourself. You affect it for the rest of us too.


    I know you can shape the market with your choices, but you're missing the point. You've picked this one thing and said "Ok everyone, this feature of this product means you shouldn't buy it - support other stuff that doesn't do that." The thing is, you can find an undesirable trait of almost any product and use that as your blanket reasoning for not supporting it. Then you could be saying "Oh, I think I'll buy device X" and I'll respond "Don't do that! By buying device X, you support feature Y, and we want to shape the market away from feature Y!" What devices do you support? I'm sure I can come up with some bad feature about them that we should rally together to get out of the market. Will you listen to me? I doubt it, because you probably don't care about whatever deficiencies I find even if I think they're worth boycotting a product over. Should I be so arrogant to think that because I think feature Y is really bad and worth a boycott, you should agree with me? I don't think so - but that's *exactly* what you're doing here.

    You've got several people in here saying that they really don't care about repairing tablets and, frankly, most people go into the rapid stream of technology not just expecting to, but wanting to, get the new device to replace the old one in a year or two. Why? Because a year or two down the road, the new device will be faster, more feature rich, and quite possibly even cheaper. People LIKE the new gadgets... So are we going to start boycotting new gadgets that we would otherwise like because they aren't made to last for a long, long time? You can, by all means, and use more longevity oriented devices. They do exist, and they exist precisely to appeal to people like you. For me, I bought a new tablet in August and it's already outdated. I fully expect that, two years from now, I'll giving it to my nephew to play with rather than open it up to try and squeeze an extra year out of it. If I were so tight for money that this were an issue, I would have went with a more repairable tablet.

    If this is shaping the market in ways you don't like... Tough beans? I'll make you a deal - I won't pretend that what I care about in a tablet purchase is what you care about in a tablet purchase, and you do the same. Sound fair?

    On top of that, I've had an iPod touch for about 4 years, a Le Pan II tablet about 2, and I still use both and both hold a charge about as well as they ever did. I have no idea whether they are easy to battery swap because, frankly, I've never needed to. It's not a feature that will influence my buying of a product at all. If either one starts to not hold a charge, I'd rather just let it die than even bother to learn.

    PS - can you offer some hard evidence that using the glue and non-replaceable batter ups production cost of this, or any other, device, and doesn't have any other advantages over a replaceable battery?
  • -2 Hide
    catswold , October 16, 2013 7:01 AM
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    This is a pretty powerful hardware configuration for a tablet.

    Regarding the 3/10 repairability rating... I don't know how many people buy a tablet and think they're going to repair it. I've had my Acer A500 for 3.5 years. It's been dropped in addition to normal wear and it's still plugging away like day one. If it breaks, I'll probably be on amazon buying one of these Kindles. Amazon has great customer service and I'm sure they'd honor their warranty no problem.


    You shouldn't support products that are so locked down that you can't even change the battery.


    Why not? You can make a catchall of "You shouldn't support products that do X" for just about anything. End result? None of us would support anything, since I bet you'd be hard pressed to name a product that doesn't do *something* undesirable.

    This thing looks like a good little unit. Support it if you like, but know what you're getting into.


    No, you can shape the matket by supporting products that have the features you want available. If no one bought cell phones without SD card slots, all cell phones would have SD card slots. Companies like google wouldn't be able to shove cloud computing down our throats.

    Spend a few extra bucks on products that don't support the throw away life style, or atleast support it less than their competitors, and you will help improve the consumer market. People SHOULD value repairability. It is ok to value cost more than repairability, but that is not what is going on. It cost Amazon more to glue that battery down than leaving it loose and connected by a flexible lead. They are hoping you will simply get a new kindle when your battery dies. Apple does the same thing. Don't support that business model. You're an ass hole if you do. You don't just affect the consumer market for yourself. You affect it for the rest of us too.


    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    Quote:
    This is a pretty powerful hardware configuration for a tablet.

    Regarding the 3/10 repairability rating... I don't know how many people buy a tablet and think they're going to repair it. I've had my Acer A500 for 3.5 years. It's been dropped in addition to normal wear and it's still plugging away like day one. If it breaks, I'll probably be on amazon buying one of these Kindles. Amazon has great customer service and I'm sure they'd honor their warranty no problem.


    You shouldn't support products that are so locked down that you can't even change the battery.


    Why not? You can make a catchall of "You shouldn't support products that do X" for just about anything. End result? None of us would support anything, since I bet you'd be hard pressed to name a product that doesn't do *something* undesirable.

    This thing looks like a good little unit. Support it if you like, but know what you're getting into.


    No, you can shape the matket by supporting products that have the features you want available. If no one bought cell phones without SD card slots, all cell phones would have SD card slots. Companies like google wouldn't be able to shove cloud computing down our throats.

    Spend a few extra bucks on products that don't support the throw away life style, or atleast support it less than their competitors, and you will help improve the consumer market. People SHOULD value repairability. It is ok to value cost more than repairability, but that is not what is going on. It cost Amazon more to glue that battery down than leaving it loose and connected by a flexible lead. They are hoping you will simply get a new kindle when your battery dies. Apple does the same thing. Don't support that business model. You're an ass hole if you do. You don't just affect the consumer market for yourself. You affect it for the rest of us too.


    The only "ass hole" on this thread is you, calling others the same.

    With Amazon, any problem I have is quickly, politely, and efficiently solved . . . usually with prepaid shipping.

    Most people don't give a rat's ... about how difficult self-service may be, they only care that their device works as it's advertised and that any problems that do corp up are quickly and completely resolved. Amazon excels in that.

    I've got 3 kindles, a second gen keyboard, a Fire 7" and a first gen 8.9" HD. They're all great devices and have given me endless hours of entertainment and use. I may buy the newest one or I may skip a generation just to see what's offered in 2014.

    Get over yourself.
  • 1 Hide
    ubercake , October 16, 2013 7:05 AM
    To me, shaping the market is something like not buying a particular brand's graphics card again after realizing the issues I had with micro-stutter three years ago seem to still be a problem today. Or not buying a brand's motherboard again when it failed two times within the 1-year warranty period, was repaired and died shortly outside of the warranty period altogether. Or not buying a particular brand's TV - even though I love the picture -because of similar reasons to that of the aforementioned motherboard.

    When things fail me, that's when I consider not casting my vote for a brand. When things work well and the meet or exceed my expectations, I'm a satisfied customer and will most likely purchase the brand again.
  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , October 16, 2013 7:12 AM
    Quote:

    No, you can shape the matket by supporting products that have the features you want available. If no one bought cell phones without SD card slots, all cell phones would have SD card slots. Companies like google wouldn't be able to shove cloud computing down our throats.

    Spend a few extra bucks on products that don't support the throw away life style, or atleast support it less than their competitors, and you will help improve the consumer market. People SHOULD value repairability. It is ok to value cost more than repairability, but that is not what is going on. It cost Amazon more to glue that battery down than leaving it loose and connected by a flexible lead. They are hoping you will simply get a new kindle when your battery dies. Apple does the same thing. Don't support that business model. You're an ass hole if you do. You don't just affect the consumer market for yourself. You affect it for the rest of us too.


    Problem is, there are far too many people that throw away the electronics the moment there is a problem with it (even if it's just an issue with the software).

    This includes very repairable laptops that the person doesn't even care to take a little time to solve the problem there having.


    Now, dont get me wrong, I don't support having things that I cant fix, but you have to view it from the manufacture and average consumer perspective.

    If people are just throwing away the item already, why attempt to sell additional item's (such as batteries) when people aren't buying them?

    You might as well glue everything down and sell it all as is.

    That what happen with toshiba "Thrive" tablet line.

    Has a replaceable battery (and full usb and hdmi port) and cost nearly the same as any other tablet with it's cpu and storage spec but people still went after other tablets.
  • 0 Hide
    warmon6 , October 16, 2013 7:14 AM
    Quote:
    To me, shaping the market is something like not buying a particular brand's graphics card again after realizing the issues I had with micro-stutter three years ago seem to still be a problem today. Or not buying a brand's motherboard again when it failed two times within the 1-year warranty period, was repaired and died shortly outside of the warranty period altogether. Or not buying a particular brand's TV - even though I love the picture -because of similar reasons to that of the aforementioned motherboard.

    When things fail me, that's when I consider not casting my vote for a brand. When things work well and the meet or exceed my expectations, I'm a satisfied customer and will most likely purchase the brand again.


    +1

    Couldn't agree more.
  • 0 Hide
    williamdgarcia , October 16, 2013 10:17 AM

    my best friend's mother makes $70/hour on the internet. She has been without a job for nine months but last month her income was $19490 just working on the internet for a few hours. websites .............. www.BAM21.CoM
  • 1 Hide
    rwinches , October 16, 2013 5:38 PM
    Making the battery readily replaceable in products is important and not seeing it in the latest products is disappointing to say the least. Leave your device in the car overnight and the battery could die, I had a portable TV and there was a pop and the battery cover bulged out, if there was no removable cover the screen could have been damaged. As it was I just ordered a replacement on Amazon.
    A lot of things determine the life of these new batteries and it doesn't mean the device was poorly made.
    Off topic comparisons although valid don't change the fact that the consumer does have the power of the pocketbook, it's just too bad that reviewers don't focus on important things like repairability at least battery and screen.
    I replaced the digitizer and screen on my HTC Sprint 4G with the help of a Youtube vid. it was tedious, but with a $40 investment worth it. The Amazon seller included a free toolkit too.
  • 0 Hide
    urbanman2004 , October 17, 2013 1:04 AM
    3/10 repairability score? Why waste time repairing a tablet, just buy a new one.
  • 0 Hide
    teh_chem , October 17, 2013 5:58 AM
    Quote:

    No, you can shape the matket by supporting products that have the features you want available. If no one bought cell phones without SD card slots, all cell phones would have SD card slots. Companies like google wouldn't be able to shove cloud computing down our throats.

    Spend a few extra bucks on products that don't support the throw away life style, or atleast support it less than their competitors, and you will help improve the consumer market. People SHOULD value repairability. It is ok to value cost more than repairability, but that is not what is going on. It cost Amazon more to glue that battery down than leaving it loose and connected by a flexible lead. They are hoping you will simply get a new kindle when your battery dies. Apple does the same thing. Don't support that business model. You're an ass hole if you do. You don't just affect the consumer market for yourself. You affect it for the rest of us too.


    Your first assumption that a splotch of glue or adhesive cost Amazon more than some alternative battery retention mechanism? I find that very hard to believe. Glue is cheap.

    Regardless...while I don't support the "disposable" mindset that consumers and device manufacturers have adopted, the false assumption, which contradicts my own testimonial, is that a device's viability outlives its battery life. I don't think that's the case at this time of technological advancement. It's hard to ignore one of my own testimonials that I believe is the common trend: Within the past ~5 years, I have not stopped using any of my mobile devices (phone, tablet, ipod) because the battery died. Rather because the devices reached an antiquated state and couldn't keep up with the software or services available. Not once have I had to deal with a dead battery or a battery with reduced capacity, and I have a 3rd gen ipod touch I got back in 2009. It's old and sluggish, but the battery is working just fine, holds a charge for days on end and I use it everyday.

    What's far more important than having a modular battery or some other design that is conducive to user repair is an ecosystem set up to encourage consumers and manufacturers to responsibly recycle electronics. I don't have a warm-and-fuzzy feeling that anyone is doing much about that.