I have a Google/Asus Nexus 7 tablet and I think it’s the 2013 model (black rubber like back without a chrome bezel). This is the 32GB model and for the most part, I’ve been very happy with it. I’ve had very few problems and the size is just about perfect for dropping it into the inside pocket of my jacket.
During the past couple of days, I had turned on the wifi and forgot about it. As you might imagine, the battery didn’t last long and the device went completely dead. I found it this morning and plugged it into the original wall charger to charge the battery. About an hour later, I went to start the device and it just sits there with a white Google logo on a black screen. I didn’t have time to mess with it as I was trying to get out of the house to go to work.
After I got to work, I gave it a proper charge and yet the tablet still wouldn’t boot past the Google logo. I contacted Google support and they had me try to boot the device into recovery mode. That didn’t work either. When you confirm you want to go into recovery mode, the screen goes black for 1/2 a second and then you get the white Google logo. It’s supposed to show some kind of secondary screen where you can do a factory reset, but that never shows up and I’ve waited over half an hour for it to do its thing.
Ok, I can live with doing some extra work. I installed the Android SDK on my machine and downloaded a factory image. After figuring out a not-so-obvious problem with USB drivers, I can’t seem to get the device to unlock the boot loader. In fact, any operation in which the system would try to format or clear any of the system partitions usually results in a perpetual wait that never ends. Again, I’ve waited well over half an hour for it to format or clear the cache partition, which is only 500MB in size.
I’m still researching the issue, but I’m thinking a dead battery shouldn’t cause a product to brick itself. Maybe the problem was there for a long time and I didn’t notice it because rebooting my tablet is fairly rare. The unfortunate thing is that I’m not the only person who’s posted about this problem with the 32GB model of this tablet. At least one other post I read from another user indicated that Asus hardware support had determined that the main board in the tablet was dead and in need of replacement.
I’m wondering if there are more failed tablets out there and users are getting stuck with replacement costs for a device that’s less than 2 years old. I admit the sample size so far is rather small, but on the other hand, there are a lot of people who don’t opt to complain or post such issues online…
Update: I tried going over this with a hot air rework station to see if it was a cold solder joint and that didn’t fix the issue. Either it still has a cold solder joint somewhere where I didn’t work on it or it’s truly dead.
I then went to ebay to find a replacement logic board. I eventually bought a 16GB logic board for about $25. Once it was installed, the tablet was back up and running.
While I was waiting for parts, I spend a lot of time looking at alternatives. Far too many 7 inch tablets just don’t fit in an inside coat pocket, but the Nexus 7 does so easily. I’m not looking forward to the day I have to replace it.