Introduction

Xiaomi's Mi 5 handset earns some points for modularity, but scores a middling 6 for overall repairability— mainly due to an unnecessarily fussy display replacement procedure.

Reference shots Reference shots Reference shots
  • Reference shots

Rear cover is lightly clipped in. Comes off super easily. Looks like we can see the battery, but need to pull off some midframe components to reach the connector.
  • Rear cover is lightly clipped in. Comes off super easily.

  • Looks like we can see the battery, but need to pull off some midframe components to reach the connector.

Midframe comes out no problem, although we needed to punch through two tamper-evident screws. Midframe comes out no problem, although we needed to punch through two tamper-evident screws.
  • Midframe comes out no problem, although we needed to punch through two tamper-evident screws.

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The battery is held in with adhesive pull tabs. We're used to seeing these at this point, but we love their convenience and won't get tired of them any time soon. We're used to seeing these at this point, but we love their convenience and won't get tired of them any time soon.
  • The battery is held in with adhesive pull tabs.

    • We're used to seeing these at this point, but we love their convenience and won't get tired of them any time soon.

Next out is the motherboard. It's secured by a single Phillips screw and a handful of press connectors. The modular front- and rear-facing cameras come with the motherboard, but the headphone jack is soldered to the board and not going anywhere.
  • Next out is the motherboard. It's secured by a single Phillips screw and a handful of press connectors.

    • The modular front- and rear-facing cameras come with the motherboard, but the headphone jack is soldered to the board and not going anywhere.

Now we can just start picking out the stragglers: Daughterboard (including cable)
  • Now we can just start picking out the stragglers:

    • Daughterboard (including cable)

    • Coin-cell vibrator

    • Ambient light sensor

    • Earpiece speaker

    • Volume buttons

      • All three buttons are on a single highly-delicate flex cable assembly that tore during removal.

  • All these components came out fairly easily—the daughterboard was secured with screws while everything else was held in by friction (and the previously-removed motherboard).

The screen has no visible fasteners, so we reluctantly use a suction cup and opening pick to start prying from the front. The display finally separates from the midframe, but this design is a pain: The LCD is held in place exclusively with glue, so reassembling the device means purchasing new adhesive designed for this unit.
  • The screen has no visible fasteners, so we reluctantly use a suction cup and opening pick to start prying from the front.

  • The display finally separates from the midframe, but this design is a pain:

    • The LCD is held in place exclusively with glue, so reassembling the device means purchasing new adhesive designed for this unit.

    • Even though the screen is removed from the front, the LCD and digitizer connectors are not accessible without disassembling the back side.

    • The home button is trapped between the front panel assembly and the midframe, so replacing this (commonly failing) part will require removing and re-adhering the display.

The Xiaomi Mi 5 earns a 6 out of 10 on our repairability scale (10 is the easiest to repair): The motherboard and battery can be replaced independently and easily.
  • The Xiaomi Mi 5 earns a 6 out of 10 on our repairability scale (10 is the easiest to repair):

    • The motherboard and battery can be replaced independently and easily.

    • Most components are modular and can be replaced independently.

    • All screws are standard Phillips screws, but removing them will void your warranty.

    • The display is difficult to replace, requiring complete disassembly and purchasing consumables.

    • The manufacturer does not provide user-accessible repair documentation.

Finish Line

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Evan Noronha

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