What are the most and the least repairable phones according to iFixit?

September 27, 2013
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Smartphone Repairability Scores - iFixit 18 000868

If you follow tech blogs regularly, you’ve surely heard of iFixit, a company that sells repair parts and tools for smartphones and other consumer devices, and publishes wiki-based repairing manuals for many popular devices.

iFixit is best known for its timely released teardowns, which are step-by-step guides to disassembling devices down to their smallest components. Whenever a new and highly anticipated smartphone or tablet is released, you can count on iFixit to deliver an informative and often surprisingly entertaining teardown of the device.

The aftermath of a Galaxy S4 teardown

The aftermath of a Galaxy S4 teardown

The company has put together a leaderboard of the smartphones that it torn down over the years, sorted by their reparability score:

A device with a perfect score will be relatively inexpensive to repair, because it is easy to disassemble and has a service manual available. Points are docked based on the difficulty of opening the device, the types of fasteners found inside, and the complexity involved in replacing major components. Points are awarded for upgradability, use of non-proprietary tools for servicing, and component modularity.

While the information in the leaderboard isn’t new, it’s still interesting to see how various manufacturers fare when it comes to the reparability of their devices.

At the top of the class, we find two older devices from Motorola, the Droid Bionic and the Atrix 4G, which both scored 9 on a scale from 1 to 10, thanks to their modular design and easily replaceable battery.

Samsung does pretty well in the iFixit reparability index, with all of its recent flagship phones scoring an 8 out of 10. That’s good, considering Samsung phones don’t do very well in accidents or in our drop tests.

At the other end of the scale, we have devices like the 2011 Motorola Droid Razr with a 4, the original iPhone with a 2, and, with an abysmal 1 out 10, the HTC One.

iFixit found HTC’s flagship to be “virtually impossible” to open without damaging it, while the battery is adhered to the phone’s midframe and difficult to access. As iFixit notes, the One’s solid build does extend its lifespan, as we noted ourselves in our drop test.

Is reparability important to you? Do you think about it when deciding on a device?

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