Huawei, Why Is There a Pentalobe on the P9?

Huawei has been dominating the Chinese market for years, and with ever increasing design and quality improvements, they’re sprouting interest all over the world. Is Huawei becoming the global future of cell phones? We’ve never had a Huawei flagship on our teardown table before, so we cracked open the Huawei P9 to see what everyone’s making noise about.

We don’t want to compare apples to oranges here, but this P9 feels very iPhone. From the opening procedure to the battery adhesive strips, right down to the pentalobe screws on either side of the charging port. Yeah, you read that correctly—Huawei is using the worst screw ever, patterned after Apple’s five-pointed screw. It has a shallow draft and rounded lobes, making it easy to strip.

Huawei P9 teardown
There’s the P9—torn to pieces.

So, yeah, the P9 is modular, has limited adhesive, and scored a pretty decent 7-of-10 on our repairability scale; but it also has two pentalobe screws on it for no reason—other than that’s what Apple does. You can read our CEO Kyle Wiens’s take on the Huawei screw sitch on Wired.

Huawei P9 teardown highlights:

• Following our iPhone design hunch, we used the iSclack to crack the P9 open. Turns out Huawei fixed the fingerprint sensor cable trap. A long accordion-like cable allows the rear case to be almost entirely separated from the rest of the phone, making opening easy.

• The fancy dual-rear-facing camera is on a single ribbon cable, but is made up of two image sensors: An ordinary 12 MP RGB sensor, and a 12 MP monochrome sensor (for depth and contrast as well as B/W photos). The dual-camera assembly is noticeably shorter than the bump-inducing iPhone 6s camera, but not by much.

• Pulling at some familiar black tabs we are elated to find adhesive pull tabs under the P9’s 11.46 Wh battery. Good thing, too—with two orange interconnect cables under the battery, prying through thick adhesive could easily have been dangerous for Mr. P9’s health.