iFixit has been able to get their hands on the now-shipping-to-customers Essential Phone, a device coming out of an Android co-founder’s new company of a similar name. After it was delayed a bunch of times and its initial reviews surfaced, the device finally began getting into the hands of consumers, and it looks like one of the largest device repair organizations is one of them.
As noted in a blog post, iFixit has performed their teardown on the Essential Phone and has determined how easy it is to repair the device. Before we get to the rating, you really should read about how they took this thing apart because it’s actually quite different than what you may have read in the past involving other smartphones.
iFixit literally froze the phone just to crack it open.
For starters, iFixit was unable to use their screwdrivers or heat guns to remove adhesives holding the phone together. Rather, they had to physically freeze and crack the display on the Essential Phone just to access the internals. Afterwards, they found various adhesives they had to get past alongside plenty of protection placed on top of things like the motherboard, RAM, power supply, and battery.
During the teardown, iFixit discovered the earpiece speaker and selfie camera are a part of the same module, so trying to repair either would be a difficult foot on their own. You also can barely repair the USB-C port on the bottom since it’s soldered to the motherboard. Luckily, the battery was easy to remove since it had a stretch-release adhesive attaching it to the rest of the phone, but considering what you have to do to just access the battery really isn’t worth it in the end.
Forget about getting this thing fixed.
Finally, the team discovered the only way to access the internals in the Essential Phone is going through the screen and not the ceramic back since there’s simply too much protection lying on top. Also, there’s a little slip of paper hidden in the SIM tray which holds the IMEI and serial numbers for the device which isn’t removable from the device. This is probably one of the only good design choices made by Essential in terms of accessing things within the device. Otherwise, the experience is pretty poor.
All in all, iFixit gave the Essential Phone a 1/10 rating in terms of repairability, noting you’ll likely cause more damage to the device than what you’ll fix. So really, if you harm your new $699 ceramic/titanium phone in any way that it needs repairs afterwards, you’ll regret it.