iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel

iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel: Repairability

In this post we look at the iPhone 7 vs Google Pixel, the basis – repairability. While Google may have used its marketing push for the new Pixel smartphone range to poke fun at the lack of a headphone jack on the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, independent testing has revealed that Apple has actually done a better job of making its latest handsets easy to repair.

This is according to the first teardown of the Pixel and Pixel XL carried out by iFixit, in which it is pointed out that while there are some design advantages to Google’s fledgling flagships, there are plenty of flaws which mean that it is not ideally suited to being mended by third parties after damage occurs.

Opening up the iPhone 7 is simple enough with tools like the iSesamo, which is designed to quickly and safely remove the display assembly from the chassis of the device without requiring excessive leverage to be applied – this might lead to more damage occurring.

Conversely, the Pixel XL in particular has been criticised because of the complex procedure involved in prying the display out of its housing. The assembly itself is reported to be flimsy and likely to suffer some kind of physical damage as a result of being handled, even by those with experience and specialist tools at their disposal.

Furthermore, the glass coating which protects the underlying OLED panel can become detached without much difficulty, which effectively renders the screen inoperable. Because of this, the Pixel Xl is only able to achieve a six out of ten rating for repairability – a whole point lower than the seven out of ten awarded to the iPhone 7 and 7 Plus, according to the Inquirer.

The positive aspects of the design of Google’s phone from a repair perspective are the fact that plenty of the parts are designed in a pseudo-modular fashion, meaning they can easily be removed and replaced without much difficulty. From the charging port to headphone input and the battery, quick and simple repairs should be possible in certain instances, as long as actually removing the display to get to these parts does not generate damage in its own right.

People looking to repair their smartphones at home should be aware that there are a number of tools that are required to carry this out with as little disruption as possible. And the iSesamo is certainly a sensible investment, since it uses suction cups to help with disassembly and can be compatible with a number of different smartphone types.

Removing screws in order to release the display is necessary in most instances. And in the case of the Google Pixel range, experts have noted that the firm and its manufacturing partner HTC have opted to use T5 Torx screws, which are an industry standard and thus widely compatible with common tool types.

It is not all bad news for the Pixel range, but if Google was hoping to beat Apple at its own game, then repairability may be the area where it falls short.

David Humphrey
David Humphrey is the founder and owner of iParts4U, a UK based company that sells mobile device parts and accessories online.
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