Smartphone teardown and repair specialist iFixIt has put their toolkit up against the Google Pixel 3 and found Google’s latest uber-phone is going to be a tough to fix if gravity and a solid surface ever device to team up to cause some damage. In their teardown, they discover that screen repairs are going to be a whole lot harder and Google may have taken out shares in a glue factory given how much adhesive is packed into the portable computing powerhouse.
iFixIt says the Pixel 3 XL is “packed to the gills with glue”. They speculate that this is ensure no water gets between any components in order to ensure the device lives up to its IP68 rating. But they other devices with the same rating haven’t had to resort to the same measures. The Pixel 3 XL uses foam adhesive like its predecessor but it far harder to remove making repairs harder than before.
Their journey into the Pixel 3 XL’s innards also revealed that the speaker housing covers the daughterboard and the speaker chamber is sealed with waterproof adhesive that has to be broken to access any of the commonly serviced ports at the bottom of the phone. They also found the Pixel 3 XL’s battery has a slightly lower capacity than the previous model.
To top things off, swapping a cracked screen will require a complete phone disassembly. That means the days of leaving a busted phone at the repair ship for an hour are likely to be a thing of the past. I recently had my daughter’s iPhone display fixed and it took about as long as we spent enjoying a coffee at a nearby cafe.
It looks like any serious repairs are going to need a number of different tools, some patience, a steady hand and a heat gun.
What’s all that mean? Screen replacements are much harder to do, servicing any component will require ungluing and then regluing things back into place and the use of glass on the back, as well as the display, adds to the device’s overall breakability.
iFixIt gave the Pixel 3 XL a score of 4/10 on its repairability scale – down two points on the Pixel 2.