This week, we got a little treat from HP—a tablet that they actually want you to fix yourself. HP is billing the Elite x2 1012 G1 as a tablet designed for serviceability—complete with online repair documentation and readily available parts. Naturally, our interest was piqued. So when they asked us for a quick teardown to gauge its repairability, we jumped at the opportunity to get inside. Spoiler alert: we were impressed. From the start, we were met with standard Torx (<3) screws securing a clipped-in display that popped up without a fuss. With dozens of dread–inducing, heatgun–and–iOpener tablet teardowns under our belt, it’s refreshing to see a manufacturer making this process as easy as possible.
Once we disconnected the (comfortably long) display cables from the motherboard, the screen was fully separated, wrapping up one of the easiest screen removals we’ve ever seen in a full-sized tablet. After we popped the hood, the Elite offered the pick of the litter by way of components ready to come out, so naturally, we started with the battery. The 7.7 V, 40 Wh pack was held in by seven handily labeled Phillips screws, and (contrary to the popular trend of batteries cemented to their case) there was no glue in sight. This is handy if you want to keep your device around for a few years. Coordinated (and lucky) users may never need to do a screen replacement, but battery replacements are inevitable, once numerous charge cycles take their toll.
Similarly, the SSD and wireless card (complete with some convenient labels) were both accessible before removing the motherboard, a huge time saver for upgrade-happy users and fixers alike.
Finally, with the motherboard out, a handful of screws were all that stood between us and complete teardown glory. With just a few twists of our Phillips screwdriver, the speakers, I/O board, keyboard connector, and the front panel sensors were torn asunder, leaving us with the bare metal chassis.
HP Elite x2 1012 G1 Repairability Score: 10 out of 10 (10 is the easiest to repair):
+ Except for a minor amount of tape over the sensor array, there is no adhesive.
+ All screws are standard T6 Torx or Phillips #0.
+ A modular and flat overall construction allows access to most components without a lengthy disassembly process.
+/- The flash storage is a standard M.2 card and can be easily upgraded or replaced, but the RAM is soldered to the motherboard. We’ve yet to see a tablet PC with swappable RAM—we’re hopeful that future iterations will change this design paradigm, but won’t dock the Elite for following convention.
+/- The display is fused to the front panel, simplifying repair but increasing the cost of an LCD or front glass replacement.