Technology teardown site iFixit has published its first 'Tablet Repairability' list, ranking several popular tablets in terms of how easy they are to repair, including Apple's iPads, which have found themselves with scores that place them near the bottom.
The list, which was released on Thursday, was created following a series of tests in which iFixit's engineers disassembled and analysed 18 tablets. Each device has been given a reparability score between zero and ten, with ten being the easiest to repair.
"A device with a perfect score will be relatively inexpensive to repair because it is easy to disassemble and has a service manual available," explains iFixit. "Points are docked based on the difficulty of opening the device, the types of fasteners found inside, and the complexity involved in replacing major components. Points are awarded for upgradability, use of non-proprietary tools for servicing, and component modularity."
Dell's XPS 10 ranked the highest, with a score of nine, due to its easy to remove battery, the ease of opening the casing, colour coded screws and labelled cables inside. It's downfall, which is common among all of the tablets listed, its that the fusion of parts such as the LCD and the glass.
Amazon's Kindle Fire, Motorola's Xoom and Samsung's Galaxy Tab 2 7.0 also rank among the top five, with scores of eight.
The highest-ranking Apple tablet is the first-generation iPad, which has been given a reparability score of six, on par with Barnes & Noble's Nook and Google's Nexus 10.
iFixit notes that the original iPad's front panel is held in place with clips and the LCD is not fused to the display glass, making it easier to remove. However, the battery is difficult to remove and replace, the firm says.
With a score of just two, Apple's second-, third-, and fourth-generation iPads, along with the iPad mini, rank at the bottom of the list, with only Microsoft's Surface Pro getting a lower score of one.
Each of Apple's full-size iPads have an LCD that is easy to remove once the front panel is removed, but the iPad 2's battery is difficult to remove and replace, while the iPad 3 and iPad 4 have excessive amounts of adhesive to hold everything in place. All three generations of iPad have glass that is at high risk of cracking during disassembly, iFixit adds.
While the iPad mini's LCD and glass are not fused together, repairs are made difficult due to excessive amounts of adhesive and hidden screws.
iPads aren't the only Apple product know for being difficult to repair. iFixit previously said that Apple's Retina MacBook Pro is probably the least repairable laptop so far, and upgrading the RAM on the new 21.5in iMac 2012 has been deemed practically impossible.