By July 27, 2012

Nexus 7 Screen Separation Issue

I pre-ordered my Google Nexus 7 tablet the day it was announced. Mine arrived a few days after launch, and I’ve been using it exclusively ever since. My poor rooted and Jellybean ROM’d Amazon Kindle Fire doesn’t get any love.

On the second day of use, I noticed a squishy feeling on the lower left side of the bezel. The rest of the device felt pretty solid, but the left corner felt spongy. It got worse over time to the point where I felt like it was “clicking” almost as if the plastic bezel had a crack in it. I have never dropped the Nexus 7 tablet and it always rides in my pocket or in a rooCASE Super Bubble padded case.

Turns out that I wasn’t the only one with this issue. The screen separates from the case, and the problem is systemic enough that Google has a fast, standard process for dealing with this.


The left side of my Google Nexus 7 tablet. You can see how the screen has come loose from the case.

Fellow nerds on the XDA-Developers site believe that this case separation is due to a piece of foam tape that is too big for the Nexus 7. The foam protects one of the cables inside the Nexus 7, and on some models the tape doesn’t get compressed enough. This causes the screen to push away from the bezel.


The right side of the Nexus 7. The screen is slightly raised here, but mostly flush with the bezel. This is what I would expect.

Some Nexus 7 owners have tried to do some home remedies with varying degrees of success. Those with the increasingly rare 16GB model have been especially motivated to fix their devices on their own. Various attempts have included squeezing the Nexus 7 with a screw clamp, putting a bunch of heavy objects on the offending corner, tightening all of the screws, or whittling down the thickness of the foam tape.

A few of these fixes sounded risky or temporary (like the clamp or heavy objects method); some sounded like a good way to void my warranty (opening it up, cutting the tape down). So I contacted Google via a Web form on July 25th and asked for a replacement.

Two days later they replied with an offer to return my existing Nexus 7 and order a replacement. My credit card has a hold on it for the full retail amount ($199 in my case, since I own an 8GB model). Google provided a pre-paid return label, which I will use once my replacement tablet arrives.

While I am not happy that this happened, I’m fairly pleased with Google’s response time and policy. I would have preferred a faster response to my warranty inquiry.

Hopefully my next Nexus 7 won’t have the screen separation issue. Now that I know what I’m looking for it should be easier to spot right away.

Stay tuned.

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