Dell Streak teardown: Go ahead and drop the tablet

IFixit warns that not all its exploring is advised for the average Streak user, since such an examination could void the warranty

Dell Streak tablet

Dell Streak tablet

The Dell Streak tablet, which goes on sale Friday in the United States, is a sturdy device just daring you to drop it. But if you do need to take it apart and fix it, that's not a problem, according to iFixit, which this week tore the device open for peek inside.

The Streak, which some say is something of a cross between a tablet and smartphone given its 5-inch screen is about half that of the Apple iPad's, boasts a front panel consisting of an LCD bonded to the Corning Gorilla Glass panel. That makes for a strong device but one that also boasts a sensitive touch panel.

The fact that the LCD is adhered to the panel glass is one of the few obstacles to completely tearing the product apart, according to iFixit. The screws are easily accessible, the battery easily replaceable (though how long it will last is a mystery since Dell didn't publish stats on that) and the motherboard easily accessible, according to iFixit, which last week tore down the Motorola Droid 2.

"Dell designed the device so that a mechanical engineering degree was not required for a successful disassembly," according to iFixit's Miro Djuric. "We were able to reverse engineer the assembly process within minutes."

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Among the goodies inside the Dell Streak are components from Dell partners including Qualcomm (QSD8250 Snapdragon processor, MXU6219 RF transceiver, PM7540 power management chip) and Texas Instruments (TPS 65023 integrated Power Management IC). Also spied was a second 2GB microSD card for system and application files, and it's not designed to be fussed with.

IFixit does warn that not all its exploring is advised for the average Streak user, since such an examination could void the warranty. Though on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the highest, iFixit rates the Streak an 8 for repairability.

The Streak features the Android 1.6 operating system, plus a 5 megapixel rear-facing camera and a VGA front-facing one that resemble the iPhone 4's camera capabilities.

Dell's Streak will cost US$550 without a contract and $300 with a two-year data and voice plan from AT&T It's already available in the United Kingdom and was originally slated to ship in the United States in July.

IFixit, best known for its device teardowns, earlier this year expanded its range by unveiling a publicly accessible and editable wiki designed for people to share their expertise at fixing things.

Follow Bob Brown on Twitter at www.twitter.com/alphadoggs

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