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Lenovo IdeaPad K1 teardown: Easy to open, not so easy to service

The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 has a removable back cover and replaceable battery, but unfortunately it's more difficult to work on than it should be.

The Lenovo IdeaPad K1 is the company's consumer-focused tablet. It has a dual-core NVidia Tegra 2 1GHz processor, 1GB of DDR2 SDRAM, a 10.1-inch touchscreen display (1280x800), a 2 MP front camera, and a 5 MP rear camera. The K1 comes with Android 3.1 Honeycomb installed. It weighs 1.65 lbs. and measures 10.4" (W) x 7.4" (H) x 0.5" (D).

According to Lenovo documentation, the IdeaPad K1 is available in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB versions. But as of this writing, only the 32GB model ($499.99) is available for purchase on Lenevo's site. The current versions only support Wi-Fi connectivity, but there's room in the case an on the motherboard for a 3G card.

I cracked open the K1 and found it easy to open, but not so easy to work on.

Full teardown gallery: Cracking Open the Lenovo IdeaPad K1

Cracking Open observations

  • Easy-to-open case: There are no external case screws on the K1, and the back cover is easy to remove. I quickly popped off the cover with a thin metal blade.
  • Standard screws: Inside the IdeaPad K1, Lenovo used standard Phillips screws to hold the internal hardware in place. I was able to remove all the internal screws using a Phillips #0 bit.
  • Battery could be easier to replace: The K1's 3,700 mAh Li-ion battery can be replaced, but one of the screws is located under a pair of ribbon cables and a piece of tape. With a little more planning, Lenovo could have made the battery easier to remove.
  • Outer metal rim should be removed for most repairs: Although you can remove the battery without detaching the K1's outer metal rim, that's about all you can do. You'll need to remove the rim before removing the motherboard and other internal hardware. Lenovo definitely went for form over function with this design element.
  • Lots of individual components: Most of the K1's internal components (card readers, ports/jacks, buttons, etc.) are mounted to separate circuit boards. This means you can replace most of the components individually, but it also means there are a lot of small pieces and screws inside the K1.
  • 3G-ready motherboard and case: Lenovo left open spots on the motherboard and inside the case for a separate 3G card and antenna. The internal mounting plate even has screw holes for the card.
  • Metal foil complicates parts removal: Several large pieces of thin metal foil are located inside the K1's case. The foil is stuck to the motherboard, LCD, front panel assembly, and other components. Although some pieces can be remove without damaging the foil or underlying components, this does not appear to be the case with the LCD and front panel.

Internal hardware

Our Lenovo IdeaPad K1 test unit had the following hardware components:

About

Bill Detwiler is Managing Editor of TechRepublic and Tech Pro Research and the host of Cracking Open, CNET and TechRepublic's popular online show. Prior to joining TechRepublic in 2000, Bill was an IT manager, database administrator, and desktop supp...

14 comments
khf1972
khf1972

Hi I want to know does have a +5V on pin 2 & pin 7 on the USB cheep (smsc 3315)? If avaible the voltage , we can instal a usb port on ideapad k1. Please help me.

khf1972
khf1972

Hi I want to know , does have USB chip (smsc 3315) a +5V on the pin 2 & pin 7? if exist a +5V , we can install a usb port for Ideapad k1. Please help me.

khf1972
khf1972

thank you very much for your effort. I want to know i can build a USB Host cable for connection a flash disk or removable hard disk. or can i have a pinout of output connector and signals on pinout available? please help me

VAngelov
VAngelov

Can a 3g card be added or is there just space?

crap
crap

Most of the items on the list have certain levels of value and so it could have been a rating system. The operating system is important because some OS have a lot more people writing programs for them. But a good OS with crappy hardware is not good either. Which comes to price, while it may be cheap, usually you get what you pay for, so it's worth a couple bucks more for better hardware and an OS that is better supported. For installed apps, most people don't buy a computer and use only what it came with, but continually add on as needed. When I was first trying to decide which type of computer to use a couple, okay a bunch, of years ago, I had a choice of a PC, a Mac, an Atari 1024st or an Amiga. One of the deciding factors was the availability of all kinds of freeware for PC on bulletin boards and computer shows, plus I walked into an Egghead store and there were shelf after shelf of PC software and there was one shelf for Mac, so I went with a PC.

MrElectrifyer
MrElectrifyer

...Then it doesn't stand a chance in productivity against my PC+iPhone combination :p

BlazingEagle
BlazingEagle

I???d purchase a tablet IF they where in the $200 - $300 range. As far as current $500 plus tablets are concerned For their capabilities & specs, The money spent on a $500 plus tablet would be better spent on a quality netbook or on desktop upgrades. I think they have their place but they???re over priced for the roll they currently fulfill.

Zorched
Zorched

Your poll leaves out one major option, one that is the reason Apple does so well: Ecosystem. If there's nowhere to get apps for the thing, then it better come with everything you'd ever need or it'll become a pretty picture frame and little else. ---- Also, while you dislike the Foil in the thing, it is necessary for radio interference isolation. If it's not there, the unit may become quirky at best, unusable at worst. The foil is cheaper and easier to replace than soldering on a metal shield, assuming you can get some of the foil tape that is.

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

In this week's Cracking Open feature, I disassemble the Lenovo IdeaPad K1. This 10-inch Android tablet has a 1GHz NVidia processor, 1GB RAM, 1280x800 display, Wi-Fi support, front and rear cameras, and comes in 16GB, 32GB, and 64GB models. The 32GB model with set you back $499 (US). http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/itdojo/lenovo-ideapad-k1-teardown-easy-to-open-not-so-easy-to-service/2894 What's the most important characteristic you want in a tablet--brand, price, hardware specifications, operating system, or installed applications?

khf1972
khf1972

if we could addition a 3G card it's its end. please somebody tell us

squirrelpie0
squirrelpie0

In light of Hp Touchpad experience and the whole whack of virtually similar Android Tabs price has to come down a lot. Spent 10 days fiddling with an Iconia A500 before returning it. It had a lot of nice features, but will not replace my laptop. If I have to fiddle with ia tablet to get things done I will get a $250 netbook to fill my portability desires

dlkconsultants
dlkconsultants

I first thought that having more apps was a great measurement for buying a tablet. I am now not convinced that is NOT the case. Apple's success is way more than its app store. I wish people would quit throwing out this measure of success. How many apps can you realy use. I've started eliminating apps from my device. I also now save money because I realize that most of the time I make an emotional decision to get an app I use for no more than 3 days. When I consider the real cost of an "I" device, the acquisition cost is not my greatest expense. If competing companies, especially in the enterprise space, identify the real apps that users can rely on and market that successfully against the market message they might have a shot at weathering the Apple storm. Well...Apple will still win for a bit longer, but it should begin to feel the competition. That is my hope!!

Bill Detwiler
Bill Detwiler

I agree that a tablet's software library is a key factor in a tablet's success, but I lump it in with operating system choice: iOS = App Store, Android = Market, Windows Phone = Marketplace, WebOS = well.... As for the foil, there are other (more repair-friendly) ways to shield components. For example, check the following cracking open galleries of tablets without massive amounts of foil shielding: Acer Iconia Tab http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/cracking-open-the-acer-iconia-tab-a500/6279615 Asus Eee Pad Transformer http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/cracking-open-the-asus-eee-pad-transformer-tf101/6270147 Toshiba Thrive http://www.techrepublic.com/photos/cracking-open-the-toshiba-thrive/6260686

khf1972
khf1972

Hi Poll please tell me does +5V available on pin 2 & pin 7 on the usb chip (smsc 3315). because i want to install a usb female connector in ideapad k1 for pluging a flash disk or external hard disk and.... please help me it's vital for me.