Buying a new smartphone is exciting, so getting damaged is a reality many people avoid. However, it’s a good idea to have a plan in case of such eventualities. And since some smartphones are more repairable than others, it’s important to ask some tough questions before purchase:
Is the phone you’ve bought easy to fix? Where can you have it repaired? What will you be using when it’s at the repair shop? Will you need a new mobile phone? Can you afford the repair and a new phone?
To help you out, below are some smartphones in the market that have earned the ‘most repairable badge.’
The Fairphone 4 tops the list of most sustainable phones. Like its predecessor, the Fairphone 4 has a 10/10 repairability score. It’s made with user-replaceable modules, including the speaker, USB-C port, headphone jack, selfie camera, rear camera, battery, display, and more. These modules make it easier to replace parts after damage.
Its repairability wasn’t at the expense of specs. Some features include the Snapdragon 750G processor, 6/8GB of RAM 128/256 GB of storage, a 3,905 mAh battery, and a full HD+ display. It’s reasonably waterproof and will receive software updates up to 2025.
Like its older brother, the Fairphone 3 is sustainable and has a high repairability rating (9/10). This is it if you are looking for an alternative to your cell phone. Key components like the screen and battery are prioritized in design and can be accessed without a screwdriver.
Even better, the Fairphone 3 has visual cues in the phone, which help in disassembly and replacing the parts and modules.
The SHIFT6m is another smartphone with a good rep for repairability. It’s the brainchild of Shiftphone, a German phone manufacturer that started through crowdfunding in 2014. Although it’s not at the level of Fairphone 3 or 4, it has a repairable score of 9.
The 4242mAh battery is easy to remove, and the 5.7″ OLED screen is held with clips and screws. The only setback the chassis has are connectors in some difficult locations. Also, components like the USB-C port, vibration motor, and headphone jack are soldered down.
It’s worth noting that the manufacturer includes a couple of repair guides and a screwdriver with the phone.
Motorola Droid Bionic
The Droid Bionic might not get an award for its spartan and utilitarian design, but it shines in repairability. IFixit gives it a 9/10 repairability score for a couple of reasons.
First, the SIM card and microSD slots are accessible without external tools. The back cover pops off easily, granting you access to the 1735mAh battery (replaceable with a 2760mAh battery). Motorola designed the Droid Bionic with a few screws, adhesives, and plastic clips. This adds to its ease of repair since only one screwdriver is needed.
On the downside, you need to disassemble the Droid Bionic completely to change the front panel or LCD.
Motorola Atrix 4G
Like the Droid Bionic, the Atrix 4G was launched in 2011. Technology has changed a lot since then, but the Atrix 4G still remains one of the most repairable phones on the market.
The owner-friendly design by Motorola was evident from the beginning. First, the cover comes off easily. Second, there are instructions to remove the battery and reinstall the cover on the back cover. Even better, exposing the phone’s insides requires removing a couple of T5 Torx screws and plastic clips.
Nokia 8110 4G
The banana phone launched in 2018 is a great smartphone alternative. The curved design makes it comfortable to hold the phone, although the sliding keyboard cover can be a pain for users. According to iFixit, the disassembly process is simple, with only plastic clips and Torx screws. The phone’s battery is easily accessible and replaced.
The only challenge is that some main components like the headphone jack, micro-USB port, vibrator, and SD-card slot are soldered to the motherboard.
Google Pixel 6 Pro
The Pixel 6 Pro is a mid-range phone from Google launched in late 2021. It sports 5G capabilities, 256 GB ROM, and 8GB Ram. It also has an IP68 rating and a battery with a 4616 mAh capacity. Aside from its impressive features, iFixit found it easy to repair.
Many parts are modular, and mostly T3 screws are used in the design. Although the display repair might prove challenging, you can use free public software for calibration.
The LG G5 came with an unorthodox design but excelled in repairability. According to iFixit, it’s an 8/10. Compared to most tightly sealed, glued, and unibody handsets, it’s a breeze to tear down and repair.
The biggest contributor to the high score is the user-replaceable battery; its internals are easily accessible and aren’t glued. On the downside, the G5’s fused assembly needs replacing if the glass or LCD breaks.
Xiaomi Redmi Note 3
Compared to its predecessor, the Redmi Note 2, the phone had more juice and was thicker and slightly taller. These changes allowed Xiaomi to fit in more features. With the added features came no external screws and the rear case is easier to remove. The battery is easier to access as well as remove. Moreover, the modular design with charging points on a daughterboard means that many components are independently replaceable.
Like most phones, disassembling the display requires replacing the whole phone.
Google Nexus 5
According to iFixit, the Nexus 5 receives an 8/10 repairability score for using standardized screws and mild adhesive to keep the battery in place. The modular design also allows an easy replacement for broken or worn-out components. It’s indeed a great phone for a tinkerer.
The two points were likely because of the plastic clips holding the back cover. Although sturdy, they are a little difficult to remove (but overall simpler to work with than glue).
The LCD and glass are fused to the display frame. Fixing the broken glass can be a difficult and expensive affair.
The blackberry Z10 has a repairability score of 8/10. According to teardown experts, the Z10’s battery is easily replaced, and accessing the motherboard is a simple process of removing a couple of screws. Once the screws are off, the only thing that’s holding the motherboard in place is the connectors.
The hardest components to remove were the camera and headphone jack since they’re held with many adhesives.
Samsung Galaxy Note II
The Galaxy note II has a repairability score of 8 for two main reasons:
- The battery is simple to replace
- It’s easy to access internal components
The two points are lost because the components are glued to the back of a fused display, making it harder to assemble.
Getting a professional NYC cellphone repair company is an important step to getting your phone fixed fast and well. But at the same time, repairs are simpler if the smartphone has a high repairability rating. The process is shorter, and there are lesser chances of causing further damage.
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