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New Xbox One ties with Sony PS4 in strong teardown face-off

Microsoft and Sony may be battling each other in the console wars, but they have one thing in common: both of their next-gen gaming systems are relatively easy to repair.

Following Sony's PlayStation 4 iFixit teardown win last week, the expert team ripped into Microsoft's Xbox One to find the same high level of self-restoration. Both machines earned an eight out of 10 score.

Moving aside the commemorative Day One Edition controller (it has "Day One 2013" inscribed in the middle), the Kinect 2.0 unit, and a power brick, iFixit got to work on the console, which sports a power inlet, separate HDMI out and in, digital optical audio out, two USB 3.0 ports, a Kinect port, and infrared output and Ethernet port.

Thwarted by a lack of easy-access screws, the team found a way in — by prying open the grille, similar to how they circumvented the Xbox 360 through the bottom vent. Once inside, iFixit found the Wi-Fi board, and a surprise.

"This is interesting. And by interesting we mean unique," the team wrote in its teardown report. "We've uncovered a speaker inside the Xbox One. Or it could be an early prototype of an arc reactor. Probably a speaker."

Before diving into the box, eight 64mm T9 Torx screws must be removed — which didn't trouble iFixit too much.

"Game consoles are one place where we haven't seen the smaller, lighter, thinner trend taken to extremes — and we're okay with that," they said. "We like a device with a little meat on its bones, if it means finding standard fasteners like these screws — a win for repairability."

Microsoft has thrown DIYers and hardware junkies a bone: simply lift off the lower case to reveal the Xbox One's innards. Another positive step: the Blu-ray/DVD drive is connected to the motherboard via an easily unplugged SATA data connector.

The first real setback came when iFixit reached the non-replaceable hard drive, though take note that substituting the drive requires voiding the console's warranty.

It takes a few more T9 Torx screws to remove from the motherboard the heat sink/fan, which is reportedly "easy-breezy" to exchange.

iFixit gave a big thumbs up to Microsoft's Xbox One, thanking the repairability gods for the few tools needed to take apart the entire console, and a clean design inside that allows the drives, fan, heat sink, wireless board, and front daughterboard to be easily replaced.

The Redmond firm's use of clips instead of screws, though, set it back a step; the biggest blow comes from the difficult-to-upgrade hard drive.

Find out what our analysts thought of the Xbox One in our full review.