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

by: Bogdan PetrovanSeptember 27, 2013

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:

[quote qtext=”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. ” qperson=”” qsource=”” qposition=”center”]

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?

  • Mohammed Azoz

    lucky HTC …. he gorilla Glass won’t handle a fall same as the iphone took as it seem in the S4 .. Both got gorilla glass 3 tho .

  • MasterMuffin

    I never think about the reparability, because
    A) warranty (free repair)
    B) I don’t break my devices :)

    • HD

      A) yeah until something happens after 1 year
      B) no one breaks his device. Gravity does.

      • MasterMuffin

        I guess gravity likes me then :)

  • Blablabla

    And there’s no one Sony in this list…? Oh, I get it.

  • Southall87

    Things that need replacing (screen and battery generally) should be fairly easy to replace, everything else should be covered under warranty or by a case lol

  • Pradeep Viswanathan R

    I do consider repeatability as i can fix things myself. However i would never take iFixIt’s score for HTC one – i am no technician but managed to easily follow proper instructions on XDA to get a broken screen replaced on a HTC One…

    just because iFixIt damaged and did not find easy way to open the phone, they have rated it poorly which is unacceptable.

  • The Watson

    Being repairable is a big plus! I do consider it a smal part of a purchase. I am generally easy on phones physically, software is another story. I always get a case and or cover for it.
    The battery and screen rank the highest in repairs. It used to be the screen and keyboard. ;)
    I do about once a month drop them. For what they cost a case is a cheap investment.
    I still have my poor old OtterBox, which was for my old Sony x10,surprisingly good investment. With a chip in crease and one missing clip, it works well. Its protected a DroidX2 (which was armor plated) and now my S3.