Pixel Repairability On Par With iPhone

Hey there internet, we’re back with more Pixel fun. After we tore down the Pixel XL last month, we got a few requests to take a peek inside the regular-sized Pixel as well. So we dove in for a quick repairability analysis, and found that things are … largely the same.

The Pixel phones feature a super-thin display assembly that can be very challenging to remove intact. (In fact, we had some trouble on our first attempt). But with the right technique, safely removing the display is pretty repeatable. The positive side of the slimmed-down display is that it’s the first-out component, and a bare module—no extra components to pick off and transfer to a replacement screen. So replacing a broken screen—your absolute most-common repair—will be pretty easy (and if your existing display is already broken, you won’t have to tread so carefully during the removal). Once you’re past the display and the slightly-tricky midframe, everything is butter.

Google Pixel teardown
Prying the midframe is tricky, and on the standard Pixel, there’s this stray sensor cable connecting it to the phone body.

Tons of components are super modular and can come out right away, or with minimal disassembly. The cameras, rangefinders, buttons, headphone jack, and charging port all come out separately and easily.

Google Pixel teardown
Both the Pixel and Pixel XL do a great job with individual modular components.

The battery has a novel removal technique, where you tear off the label and peel it out from behind, separating the tough adhesive from the rear case. It’s not fool-proof, but neither are the iPhones’ adhesive tabs.

Google Pixel battery removal in the teardown
The perforated tab ripped on this guy, but we were able to pull the battery out by the side flaps, victory!

We also took the opportunity to do a little deeper exploration into that glass panel on the rear case. What surprises could it hold? Turns out there are a couple antennas sandwiched in there, likely NFC and cellular. It’s unlikely that you’ll ever need to get in here to replace these parts, but we couldn’t resist taking a peek.

Google Pixel teardown
The glass is sturdy, and the antennas are fairly protected from stray prying tools.

While the phone may lack the waterproofing and wireless charging to which some users feel entitled, we’re generally pleased with this device. With standard screws, connectors, and impressive modularity, this device is definitely on par with the current-gen iPhones. Both Pixels earn a passing 7/10 on our repairability scale.