The Essential Phone might be built like a tank, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to fix should anything happen to it. In fact, according to iFixit’s latest teardown, the Essential’s Phone handsome bezel-less screen comes at a cost: the phone is near impossible to repair.
A number of issues led to iFixit’s negative evaluation of the Essential Phone’s repairability. The most significant is that the company had to freeze the phone to separate its screen and body from one another, a process that cracked the screen.
Once it took a look inside, iFixit found that the Essential Phone’s USB-C port is soldered to its motherboard. Due to the fact the phone doesn’t feature a headphone jack, its USB-C port is likely to experience more wear and tear than usual (since most Essential Phone owners will likely use the port for both charging their device and plugging in their headphones via the included audio adapter), making an expensive repair almost inevitable.
The website also noted the awkward placement of the Essential Phone’s SIM tray — something I too commented on in my review. The tray lies next to one of the phone’s external microphones, resulting in a recipe for trouble.
After completing its teardown of the Essential Phone, iFixit gave Essential’s first smartphone a one out of 10 repairability score. To put that score in perspective, both the Galaxy S8 and iPhone 7 feature higher repairability scores — the Galaxy S8 and iPhone scored earned four and seven, respectively. From a repair standpoint, the only two things the Essential Phone has going for it are that it uses standard Philips fasteners and stretch release adhesive, which is the easiest type of adhesive to replace.
Unfortunately, the fact that iFixit’s repair team had to freeze smartphone to separate the screen from the body means those little benefits don’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things.
Head over to iFixit to read the full teardown.