Introduction

The Google Pixel 3 XL is all dressed up in the latest flagship phone uniform: glass on the back and a notch on the front.  But we’re headed past the shiny new facade, for a closer look at the insides. And there’s only one way to get there—with a teardown!

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your Google Pixel 3 XL, use our service manual.

  1. Let's take a look at the tech that lies under the Pixel 3 XL's newly-notched exterior:
    • Let's take a look at the tech that lies under the Pixel 3 XL's newly-notched exterior:

      • 6.3" OLED display with QHD+ 1440 × 2960 resolution (523 ppi) and Gorilla Glass 5

      • Octa-core, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor (2.5 GHz + 1.6 GHz) with 4 GB LPDDR4x RAM

      • 12.2 MP, ƒ/1.8, OIS main camera with dual-pixel phase detection autofocus; dual 8.1 MP selfie cameras

      • 64 GB or 128 GB built-in storage

      • Qi wireless charging

      • IP68 water resistance

      • Android 9.0 Pie

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  2. Before diving inside, lets take a look at the sleek exterior of the Pixel 3 XL alongside its smaller sibling.
    • Before diving inside, lets take a look at the sleek exterior of the Pixel 3 XL alongside its smaller sibling.

    • The new backing on these phones looks a lot like the hybrid cover from the last two generations, but this time around it's all a single piece of glass (with a partial matte finish).

      • Unfortunately glass is nowhere near as durable as aluminum, so we're hoping for an easy way to replace what will likely be a commonly-broken part.

    • Turning to the front, we spy an extra camera sitting atop both displays.

      • That's right—while everyone else has been throwing more cameras on the back, Google turned around and added an ultrawide (19 mm equivalent) camera next to the existing wide angle (28 mm equivalent) camera.

    • Exclusive to the Pixel 3 XL is a trendy little robot notch that greets us as we turn on the phone.

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    • The front-firing speakers on both Pixel 3's leave the aluminum frame devoid of any speaker grilles.

    • Stacked together, it's obvious that one of these phones is a little more XL than the other, but there's not much difference otherwise.

    • USB-C charging port, SIM card slot, and 80's themed power buttons are present and accounted for on both phones.

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    • Now that we've worked our way around the exterior, it's time to head inside.

    • Experience tells us that a little suction and cutting is all that's required to coax the display open, but when that doesn't work we bring out the big (heat) guns.

      • It looks like the Pixel 3 XL still uses foam adhesive, but it's far more tenacious than the repair-friendly stuff we saw last year.

    • We pull out the trusty iSclack, expecting to separate the display assembly, but the rear cover yields first!

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    • After struggling through quite a bit more adhesive than expected, we're in!

      • Maybe Google thought the extra glue was necessary for that extra liquid IP point, but we've seen other IP68 phones that are easier to open.

    • Thankfully, the fingerprint sensor cable is long enough to avoid being torn by over-zealous openers.

    • The view inside is pretty much what we expected: a shiny new wireless charging pad, a battery, a board, a couple cameras, and a fingerprint sensor living on the rear cover.

    • Slightly less expected are metal covers over the motherboard, and a SIM tray hidden somewhere underneath the speaker assembly.

    • Google thought they'd scare us off with a few screws? Well guess what: we came prepared with a Torx bit for these screws, and 111 other bits just in case.

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    • The tough adhesive trend continues, holding the wireless charging coil to the Pixel's powerhouse. But we spy some respite!

    • The battery is secured with relatively repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive. So you get at least one chance at easy removal, if your technique is right!

      • These strips didn't actually help us much, but the Pixel 3 had better luck.

    • We resort to flossing out the battery and accidentally cut a fragile ribbon cable hiding underneath! Forewarned is forearmed—a repair manual would have helped us in this arena.

    • Adhesive ordeals aside, the battery's out: the Pixel 3 XL is packing 13.2 Wh. That's actually down a smidge from the Pixel 2 XL's 13.6 Wh, and around the same as the original Pixel XL's 13.28 Wh.

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    • Above the crater where the battery once lay, we extract an antenna shielding the motherboard.

    • On the south end of the phone, we battle some more adhesive to release what seems like just another shield.

      • Another trap! This shield is actually the speaker housing, which we just split in half trying to access the components underneath.

      • The speaker chamber is sealed with waterproofing adhesive, and that seal has to be broken to access any of the commonly-serviced ports on the daughterboard.

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    • With its shields down, we can finally get a look at the newest Pixel's motherboard.

    • As the board comes out, we can't help but notice generous helpings of thermal paste on its underside, to transfer heat from the hardest working chips to the metal frame.

      • It seems like a lot of paste, but powerful hardware produces a lot of heat.

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    • All this glue has us tired—let's sit down for some chips:

      • Micron 8JE77G9WGH 4 GB LPDDR4X DRAM layered over Qualcomm Snapdragon 845

      • Skhynix H28S7Q302BMR 64 GB Universal flash storage

      • Google SR3HX Pixel Visual Core (as seen in the Pixel 2 XL)

      • Qualcomm SDR845 RF Transceiver

      • Qualcomm QPM2622 and QPM2642

      • Qualcomm QET4100 40MHz envelope tracker

      • Qualcomm PMI8998 PMIC

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  4. Can you identify which audio amplifiers they use?

    Cltest Edin - Reply

    • We carefully extract the left eyeball wide angle camera, which is lightly adhered to the frame.

      • According to Google, this extra camera will let you fit more of your friends into your selfies, which makes them ... Group-ies?

    • On the back, Google is again betting that AI can help a single sensor to do the work of two.

      • Based on early reviews, they may be right. Word on the street is, this is a slightly upgraded Sony IMX363 sensor—the rest is up to the Pixel Visual Core.

    Well they're not exactly betting a single camera can do the work of two, considering they've already beat two camera phones time and time again.

    George A. - Reply

    What is that component that’s left in the middle? Looks like there’s a flex on it, too, so wouldn’t that also need to be removed?

    Kate Richardson - Reply

    • The daughterboard comes out without any fuss, taking the USB-C port, SIM tray, and some antenna hardware along with it.

    • The vibration motor is a little more reluctant to leave its home, but our Halberd Spudger can be very persuasive.

      • This vibration motor is said to be improved from last year, capable of providing more precise haptic feedback.

    • The strain gauges come out looking just as huggable as ever.

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    • In the name of science, we opt to dismantle our display to learn from whence it came. Its defenses are strong, but no match for heat, patience, and a can-do attitude.

      • At first, the frame's black border tricks us into thinking the display curves down to the frame. Future pryers, beware!

    • Drumroll please.... it's a Samsung! Rumors were all over the place, but it looks like Google is going with Samsung's trusty AMOLED panels this year.

    • Samsung's panels should be a little more reliable than last year's, but unfortunately this one comes with a Samsung-esque repair process as well.

      • Replacing a Pixel 3 screen will be tricky, and will most likely require replacing the whole frame of the phone.

    • Last, but not least, a display chip sitting alone on the display cable:

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    • Teardown Update: since you asked, we dissected the display in the smaller Pixel 3 as well. Guess what? This one's from LG Display!

    • So it's a full reversal from the situation last year, where the Pixel 2 got a Samsung panel and its bigger sibling had a display from LG.

      • Rumor has it LG has been working hard to improve its OLED mobile technology—we're curious to see how their new display fares this year.

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    • Here are all the pretty parts that are packed into this Galaxy Pixel!

    • Hungry for more teardown treats? The video team is here to please with the Pixel 3 video teardown!

    • It seems like the Pixel has been hanging out with the troublemaking Galaxy line, leaving it with familiar-looking antenna assemblies, a stubborn battery, and a tough-to-replace display—manufactured by Samsung itself!

    • Not only will swapping a cracked screen require a complete phone disassembly, but you've gotta think about the back now, too. The Pixel 2 XL rear glass covered 20% of the phone— the Pixel 3 XL’s rear panel is 100% crackable. That doesn't bode well for repairability...

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  5. Final Thoughts
    • The only screws are standard T3 Torx fasteners.
    • Repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive secures the battery.
    • O-rings and adhesives for waterproofing complicate repairs, but make difficult liquid damage repairs less likely.
    • Display repairs are much more difficult than previous models, requiring complete disassembly of the phone.
    • To service any component, you'll have to painstakingly un-glue (and later re-glue) the glass rear panel.
    • Front and back glass means increased vulnerability to drop damage.
    Repairability Score
    4
    Repairability 4 out of 10
    (10 is easiest to repair)

32 Comments

It’s been rumored that the front stereo speakers are louder and more crisp than the 2XL. Is there a visual size difference in the speakers themselves?

Derek Champagne - Reply

The new speaker housing looks a little bigger and might be sealed better than the old one. I’m no speaker expert though, so I’m not sure how much of a difference the new design makes, or if the driver is just better.

Adam O'Camb -

To be clear, are BOTH the Pixel 3 and 3XL using Samsung screens? Please say yes.

Benoit Pronovost - Reply

I came to ask the same question, so I'm subscribing to hear the answer!

David Jordan Nestor -

Surprise: it’s a LG panel! We’ve added step 14 to reflect this. Thank you for all your patience!

Arthur Shi -

Which GPSS Chip is used in the Pixel 3? Maybe the Broadcom bcm47755?

tschmi - Reply

I would like to know this too. Does the Pixel 3 or 3XL use BCM47755?

GPSCurious -

Qualcomm chip provides GNSS(GPS) feature. It is not necessary to use discrete chip for GPS.

JJ Wu -

“Google SR3HX Pixel Visual Core (as seen in the Pixel 2 XL)”

You do know that the regular Pixel 2 has it as well, right?

Martin C. - Reply

FingerprintCard FPC 1075 fingerprintsensor in a Crucialtec modul…No chance to get a Goodix sensor in a Pixel mobil.

https://www.fingerprints.com/2018/10/10/...

Ivan Jensen - Reply

is there a notification led?

John Anzaldo Jr - Reply

Unfortunately, no.

Parker Wiley -

Parker, are you with ifixit? I was hoping to hear from the horses mouth so to speak, since there have been conflicting reports. Some reported around the 10th that people from google said there was, then as of the 14th everyone has been saying no. this is our best chance of getting a reliable answer.

John Anzaldo Jr -

There's no LED. Been using it for a few days now, no sign at all of any LED indicators. I'd really suggest using the always on display for notifications.

Raymond Tu -

Are both front facing speakers the same size on the Pixel 3 XL?

Alessandro Garofalo - Reply

It definitely doesn't feel like it based on normal usage. The bottom one is more bass heavy/responsive and louder, while the top one is quieter and sounds different. Definitely not the same speaker.

Raymond Tu -

NFC comments are completely wrong

-step 6: this is not a NFC antenna, but wireless charging

-step 5: you can see NFC antenna on upper part with two pins connection to motherboard, around “swiss cross”

-step 10: NFC IC NXP PN81B03, between yellow and red IC

Tom - Reply

Tom,

You are totally right! We definitely bungled that. Thank you for catching the mistake!

Arthur Shi -

Can you tell which audio amplifiers are used?

Cltest Edin - Reply

There is no mention of eSIM MCU as in Pixel 2 or in iPhone Xs whereas the tech spec mentions eSIM support?

stephane andrau - Reply

Yup, there's esim support because Google wants to support their own Project Fi service.

Raymond Tu -

这胶看着都恶心啊!慢慢的胶维修不便。

JasonXU - Reply

I cant tell from the pictures, but does the build of the 3 XL justify the notch? Is it required or could they have made it significantly smaller?

Mike D - Reply

Got my xl last Friday was working good, I wasn’t having the problems others are. So last night I decided to charge it using a wireless charger that I used on my Samsung S9+ , It showed charging and was working fine wake up and my pixel is now dead! WTF plugged it into charger that comes with it nothing, try reset process nothing. Anyone else with this problem?

T. Ardrey - Reply

I can’t answer to your troubles with it not coming on, but while the Samsung chargers show it’s charging, they do not in fact actually charge the device to my disappointment, and probably many others that are switching from Samsung. Best guess is that the Qi chips are requiring something specific found in the Google Pixel Stand and without it, it doesn’t charge correctly. I tried my Samsung Wireless Charger with the same indication of charging that you got but the device was still losing power so I just set up the Pixel stand for charging. I would recommend, if you haven’t yet, just leave it plugged in for an hour and see if you can get it to turn on, if not, take it back to the store you got it from and replace it.

nathanwharry -

Does the pixel have video out via USB c?

Phillip Leman - Reply

Yup! You'll need a compatible adapter though.

Raymond Tu -

is the pin hole on the top of the phone a mic? and could I have done damage if they put the sim card tray pin into that hole or is the mic off set from the hole?

Richard Wasserman - Reply

The pinhole on top is a mic. I actually did the same thing and stuck the SIM tool inside!! Embarrassing to admit… The microphone seems to still function, however when I look into the hole it looks like I tore the foam dust shield.

Would be great to know how much damage we did, anyone have info on this? It's hard to see what the microphone design is from the teardown.

Bob Riley -

I did exactly the same looking for a clue on here as to what I have damaged. All seems to be working fine, but there was a definite pop sound as the tool went in

Ian George -

is there no proximity sensor? does it use the cameras for this?

Scott M - Reply

Hi,

does anybody know what is the service mode code? *#*#4636#*#* isnt what im looking for. I wish to get to the testing mode

Layila - Reply

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