Samsung just launched their latest flagship phablet, the Galaxy Note7—skipping a generation to align the name with the rest of the Galaxy series. Rumor has it the Note7 is packed with cooler, newer features than its galactic cousins. And from the looks of the hardware, Samsung has been taking some impressive notes on smartphone trends.
Google’s Pixel C launch received such a resounding “meh” that we initially skipped a teardown. But the Pixel C returned to headlines once Google dropped the price, offering the Pixel C as an Android N developer machine.The Android/Chrome convergence is coming, so maybe we should take a peek at that hardware after all.
We don’t want to compare apples to oranges here, but this P9 feels very iPhone. From the opening procedure to the battery adhesive strips, right down to the pentalobe screws on either side of the charging port. Yeah, you read that correctly—Huawei is using the worst screw ever, patterned after Apple’s five-pointed screw. It has a shallow draft and rounded lobes, making it easy to strip.
We’re going to let you in on a little secret—we have a repair crush on LG. Cracking open the G5 was a snap—no stubborn adhesive, no proprietary screws. Just slide out the battery, remove two Phillips screws, and the entire display assembly and motherboard can be pried up out of the aluminum unibody housing. Double high five, LG.
After intensively investigating Samsung’s other flagship earlier this week, we’re feeling pretty confident in our quest to tear and compare the edgier sibling. Our voyage into the belly of the beast proves the trend of twin flagship design convergence. Reusing components and design elements between devices saves Samsung money and development time, but also dooms them to the same woeful 3-out-of-10 repairability score for both devices. Apparently, edginess is only display-deep.
This year Samsung claimed to invent the phone-based heat pipe. Not only are they not the first, but this heat pipe is minuscule—and not even in the neighborhood of the “liquid cooling” hype we’ve been hearing about. The liquid they really should have been touting is the stuff that won’t get in the phone. A sport-rated phone as a flagship device means it will (hopefully) last longer. Which is nice, ’cause you probably won’t be getting in there to replace very much.
The Nexus 6P is the first Huawei-produced Google phone: the industrial design contains hallmarks of established brands, and almost approaches Apple-level luxury. While the internal components are not as sleek and slim, they aren’t a haphazard mess either. Unfortunately, Huawei’s over-engineering makes the phone a tough nut to crack; the bear of an opening procedure puts the 6P on our personal nopelist.
Last year we tore down the OnePlus One—an initial offering from a scrappy Shenzhen startup. Their first attempt didn’t fare too well on the teardown table, scoring a middling 5/10 on our repairability scale. Given that assessment, we were impressed when OnePlus called us and offered up their second device, the OnePlus 2. With futuristic features like a USB-C port, 4 GB of RAM, and Optical Image Stabilization, clearly OnePlus has made some changes. But were they for the better?
Do you hear that? The phone repair gods are singing LG’s praises. Why? Because the LG G4 just visited our teardown table. We couldn’t believe we were able to open this baby up with just our bare hands. We were delighted to see that the G4 is rocking a user-replaceable battery. As a special treat, because we love you, we also shot the G4 with X-rays. But also ‘cause the folks at Creative Electron lent us one of their science machines (and one of their scientists). Thanks guys!
The Samsung Galaxy S6 abandoned the display-first entry of the S5 and instead features a stubbornly-glued back panel in the place of an easily-accessed battery. And you still run the risk of shearing soft button cables during a display replacement. Gone, it seems, are the heady days of Samsung’s über-repairable phones. *Cue trumpet playing taps softly, gently*
The latest installment in Samsung’s Galaxy series, the S6 Edge, flaunts a curvy figure and slim body that’s sure to bring all the boys to the yard. But beauty is more than just skin-deep. Due to the stubbornly-glued battery sandwiched under the midframe, gratuitous glue, and the high probability of destroying the display during glass replacement, the Samsung S6 Edge earns a repairability score of 3 out of 10. That’s one small step for Samsung. One giant leap backwards for the Galaxy.
The phablet war rages on. Close on the heels of Apple’s 5.5″ iPhone 6 Plus, Google brings us the 5.96″ Nexus 6. With the similar shape and size, we’re calling it the 6 Plus’ brother from an Android mother. The Nexus 6 is a solidly built phone, with high-end specs but not a lot of flashy new tech. It looks like repair was a consideration in the design, but not the top priority. As a result, the Nexus 6 matched the iPhone 6 Plus’ respectable 7-out-of-10 repairability score.