We have our reservations about the Essential Phone, but one of the things that is bound to turn some heads is its solid, unique, and easy-to-handle build. Such a premium fit and finish, however, comes at a cost, and as the folks over at iFixit showed, that cost is repairability.
Starting on the outside, iFixit praised the modularity of the phone, since the feature should theoretically lead to less of an environmental toll. Things quickly go south from here, since there is no entry point from the back of the Essential Phone. After freezing the back panel, iFixit found that the only way to get into the phone was through the display.
Making matters worse, iFixit also had to freeze and crack the display in order to finally get to the components, where they noticed that the USB Type-C port is soldered onto the motherboard. This not only makes it tougher to repair the Essential Phone, but because there is no headphone jack, the USB Type-C port is subject to extra wear.
While trying to get to the actual components, iFixit also noticed that the phone features plenty of adhesive and almost no visible seams. On one hand, this makes it so nothing rattles inside, and as we have seen with the BlackBerry KEYone, it’s better to have copious amounts of adhesive than none at all. On the other hand, any attempt at a repair is just as likely to cause as much damage as you fix.
Putting all of this together, it is no wonder that the Essential Phone is nearly impossible to repair on your own, which is why iFixit gave the phone a 1 out of 10 in terms of repairability.
Of course, keep in mind that iFixit emphasizes doing repairs on your own, so the process might look very different from Essential’s standpoint. Either way, if you are used to repairing your own devices or just want to take a look at what is under the hood, the Essential Phone might not be for you.