Video Overview

Introduction

OnePlus adds another one to their incrementally-expanding, arithmetic-themed line of smartphones. The OnePlus 6 looks pretty good on paper, but how will these fancy specs add up on the teardown table? Join us as we do a little repair-themed math of our own.

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This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your OnePlus 6, use our service manual.

OnePlus is known for adding up a lot of flagship-phone features while subtracting the flagship-phone price, and the 6's specs don't disappoint: 6.28” Samsung-made AMOLED display with 2280 x 1080 resolution (402 ppi) and 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5 Octa-core, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB or 8 GB LPDDR4X RAM
  • OnePlus is known for adding up a lot of flagship-phone features while subtracting the flagship-phone price, and the 6's specs don't disappoint:

    • 6.28” Samsung-made AMOLED display with 2280 x 1080 resolution (402 ppi) and 2.5D Gorilla Glass 5

    • Octa-core, 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 845 processor with 6 GB or 8 GB LPDDR4X RAM

    • Dual main camera with 16 MP (ƒ/1.7 with OIS) and 20 MP (ƒ/1.7) modules; 16 MP (ƒ/2.0) selfie camera

    • 64 GB, 128 GB, or 256 GB built-in storage

    • USB Type-C and 3.5 mm audio ports

    • OxygenOS based on Android Oreo 8.1

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Around back we have a camera bump that looks a tad Apple-like, paired with a fingerprint sensor in a layout and location reminiscent of other Android flagships. NFC in the camera you say? Thanks for the tip—we'll keep an eye out for that during the following "unauthorized disassembly." On the bottom: headphone jack (yay!) and USB Type-C.
  • Around back we have a camera bump that looks a tad Apple-like, paired with a fingerprint sensor in a layout and location reminiscent of other Android flagships.

  • NFC in the camera you say? Thanks for the tip—we'll keep an eye out for that during the following "unauthorized disassembly."

  • On the bottom: headphone jack (yay!) and USB Type-C.

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No need to go in blind when you have X-ray vision—our friends at Creative Electron give us an overview of this smartphone's terrain. Everything looks pretty standard—except for the huge sliding mechanism for the alert slider! If we didn't know any better we'd have guessed it was some kind of linear actuator. Satisfied with our virtual foray into the phone, we turn to the SIM card tray and find the first evidence of the OnePlus 6's rumored water resistance—an integrated rubber gasket.
  • No need to go in blind when you have X-ray vision—our friends at Creative Electron give us an overview of this smartphone's terrain.

    • Everything looks pretty standard—except for the huge sliding mechanism for the alert slider! If we didn't know any better we'd have guessed it was some kind of linear actuator.

  • Satisfied with our virtual foray into the phone, we turn to the SIM card tray and find the first evidence of the OnePlus 6's rumored water resistance—an integrated rubber gasket.

    • OnePlus doesn't list an official IP rating for the phone, but it's already clear they've put some thought into guarding the insides.

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Android phone with a glass back? Gone is the classic OnePlus metal casing! But we've seen this before... ...and we have a well-tested solution. The heat gun softens things up and the iSclack and opening pick take care of the rest. We lift the back in trepidation, waiting for the familiar tug of a fingerprint sensor cable.
  • Android phone with a glass back? Gone is the classic OnePlus metal casing! But we've seen this before...

  • ...and we have a well-tested solution. The heat gun softens things up and the iSclack and opening pick take care of the rest.

  • We lift the back in trepidation, waiting for the familiar tug of a fingerprint sensor cable.

  • But we're pleasantly surprised—the OnePlus 6 comes with a cable long enough to completely remove the back without worrying about tearing the cable.

  • Breakable glass backs are the pits, although this one's far easier to repair than the ones on recent iPhones. (At $549, an iPhone X back glass replacement costs more than this entire phone.)

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We pop off a nice red bracket to free that lengthy fingerprint sensor cable, and spy the NFC antenna OnePlus so graciously pointed out. Prior OnePlus antennas did just fine without a glass back (which isn't even for wireless charging). So this glass seems to be mainly just for looks. And cracking. The friendly green tab on this relatively accessible battery says, "由此拉起可拆出电池". This translates to "Pull up and out to remove the battery."
  • We pop off a nice red bracket to free that lengthy fingerprint sensor cable, and spy the NFC antenna OnePlus so graciously pointed out.

    • Prior OnePlus antennas did just fine without a glass back (which isn't even for wireless charging). So this glass seems to be mainly just for looks. And cracking.

  • The friendly green tab on this relatively accessible battery says, "由此拉起可拆出电池". This translates to "Pull up and out to remove the battery."

    • This does not translate to "battery is not removable"—as is written in English in the bottom right corner.

  • Despite inconsistent labeling, this battery should be consistently easy to remove with that pull tab—it's only lightly adhered in place. Here OnePlus decidedly one-ups its competition.

  • However, the battery falls behind its peers in capacity, with 12.70 Wh—slightly under the Galaxy S9+ (13.48 Wh) and Google Pixel 2 XL (13.6 Wh).

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Nine Phillips screws bite the dust and the plastic antenna frame doesn't budge. But  a secret tenth screw behind a liquid damage indicator grants access. Under the plastic midframe, we get up-close and personal with that oversized slider mechanism. The slider button moves a hefty metal plunger, which flips a mechanical switch soldered to the motherboard. The X-ray image provides an even better view.
  • Nine Phillips screws bite the dust and the plastic antenna frame doesn't budge. But a secret tenth screw behind a liquid damage indicator grants access.

  • Under the plastic midframe, we get up-close and personal with that oversized slider mechanism.

    • The slider button moves a hefty metal plunger, which flips a mechanical switch soldered to the motherboard. The X-ray image provides an even better view.

  • Why the seemingly overwrought design? Is it something to do with ingress protection? Or maybe it gives the switch better tactile feedback? Share your best guesses in the comments.

The switch design is a result of the small (narrow) switch needing to move a slider with very distinct detente points. Moving that plunger keeps the switch moving more linearly (more of a push/pull, as opposed to a lever-action, which puts angular stress) and ensures easier finding/stopping the middle position. Very clever design.

Chad Kemp - Reply

Now that we have an entirely logical answer, here’s a decidedly more illogical but fun possibility:

I’m going to go with a more off-the-wall and Goldberg-ian idea - the metal plunger is designed to be used with a docking station with a moveable magnet to simultaneously help align the phone for wireless charging and also allow the docking station to move the alert switch in response to a pre-programmed user schedule. Entirely unnecessary and far from pragmatic but, woah! Right?!

Shawn B - Reply

Having removed all the connectors tethering the motherboard to the phone, we slide it free and take a look at what chips it holds: Samsung K3UH7H70MM-AGCJ 8 GB LPDDR4X DRAM (layered over Qualcomm Snapdragon 845) Samsung KLUDG4U1EA-B0C1 128 GB embedded universal flash storage

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Next we flip the board and check out the rest of its chips: Qualcomm WCN3990 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO companion
  • Next we flip the board and check out the rest of its chips:

    • Qualcomm WCN3990 2x2 802.11ac Wi-Fi with MU-MIMO companion

    • Qualcomm SDR845 RF transceiver

    • Qualcomm PM8005 PMIC

    • Qualcomm PM845 (likely PMIC)

    • Skyworks 78160-11 power amplification module

    • AVAGO AFEM-9046

    • AVAGO AFEM-9036

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Before we leave the board, let's talk waterproofing. We found some! There are black silicone seals surrounding all these flex cable sockets—as we found previously on the OnePlus 5, and just like on every iPhone since the 6s. Moving down to the other end, under the single loudspeaker assembly, we find more gaskets surrounding the speaker grille, USB Type-C port, and nicely modular headphone jack. Nice to see OnePlus go for gaskets over goo, making disassembly and reassembly a snap. We probably wouldn't jump into the pool with it, but it's nice to have a little protection that doesn't impede repair.
  • Before we leave the board, let's talk waterproofing. We found some! There are black silicone seals surrounding all these flex cable sockets—as we found previously on the OnePlus 5, and just like on every iPhone since the 6s.

  • Moving down to the other end, under the single loudspeaker assembly, we find more gaskets surrounding the speaker grille, USB Type-C port, and nicely modular headphone jack.

  • Nice to see OnePlus go for gaskets over goo, making disassembly and reassembly a snap. We probably wouldn't jump into the pool with it, but it's nice to have a little protection that doesn't impede repair.

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Let's circle back and talk cameras for a moment. Although a dual rear-camera setup first emerged on the OnePlus 5, this OnePlus includes OIS—a feature we haven't see since the OnePlus 3T. Coupled with the brand-new IMX519 sensor from Sony, this seems like a significant step up, although early reviews have been surprisingly ... mixed. Alongside it resides the 20 MP Sony IMX 376K sensor, returning from the earlier OnePlus 5T. The selfie cam gets the 16 MP IMX 371, which has been in circulation since the OnePlus 5 days.
  • Let's circle back and talk cameras for a moment.

  • Although a dual rear-camera setup first emerged on the OnePlus 5, this OnePlus includes OIS—a feature we haven't see since the OnePlus 3T. Coupled with the brand-new IMX519 sensor from Sony, this seems like a significant step up, although early reviews have been surprisingly ... mixed.

  • Alongside it resides the 20 MP Sony IMX 376K sensor, returning from the earlier OnePlus 5T. The selfie cam gets the 16 MP IMX 371, which has been in circulation since the OnePlus 5 days.

  • Returning to the bottom edge, we flip out this little daughterboard and survey what's left in the chassis.

  • That OLED panel is firmly glued in place—it probably won't come out undamaged. You'll likely only be removing a broken display of course, but the procedure for doing so sure isn't repair-friendly.

Slightly incorrect as this isn't the first OnePlus to have OIS. The OnePlus 3 and 3T had it as well.

labib77 - Reply

Thanks for the correction, I updated the step to reflect that.

Adam O'Camb -

I’m surprised how you go on to make a universal claim about the camera saying “reviews have found it to be lackluster versus the competition”, with the “review” from theverge as your only source, when this definitely isn’t the general consensus across the review-sphere.

Marios Taki - Reply

@mtaki14 Fair point! Amended to say early reviews have been mixed, with links to several reviewers who feel the OnePlus 6 camera compares favorably with the Pixel 2 and iPhone X.

Jeff Suovanen -

That's a wrap! If we had one word to describe the sheer number of pieces we pulled from this phone, it would be twelve.
  • That's a wrap! If we had one word to describe the sheer number of pieces we pulled from this phone, it would be twelve.

  • While we're on the subject of hard numbers, let's give this phone a repairability score.

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Final Thoughts
  • The battery can be accessed almost the moment you open the phone, and is only lightly adhered in place. Plus, there's a convenient pull tab.
  • Many components are modular and can be individually replaced.
  • All the threaded fasteners are of the standard Phillips variety.
  • Display replacement, the most common repair, is not prioritized in the design and will take a lot of work.
  • Front and back glass means twice the risk of cracks—without even the benefit of wireless charging.
  • The primary access point for all repairs is heavily glued in place.
Repairability Score
5
Repairability 5 out of 10
(10 is easiest to repair)

6 Comments

I can’t fully grasp what that huge plunger is doing, even with your description and images. I’m 100% confused

Nick Hughes - Reply

I’d guess it’s there for better alignment. The detent on the 3T that I have works well, but there is some play introduced because the slider can roll slightly on the head of the switch, giving it some slop.

sawyer bergeron -

Is the vibrator a linear system or a rotating one? I remember seeing a casing similar to this one on the S6 and S7 (which gave strong, quiet vibration) but it could just be a circular rotating assembly like on the original Nexus 5 (which was honestly horrible.) I’m hoping it’s the former, as that would be a significant upgrade over the standard barrel motor vibrator on previous Oneplus phones.

sawyer bergeron - Reply

The vibrating motor looks like a rotating one from the pictures above (Step 11 picture).

Chetan Gole -

So there is no heat sink or heat pipe here as we see these days with those Samsung flagships!

Jidhin George - Reply

I want to know how can we put back the back glass with adhesive

divyamparmar - Reply

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