It was inevitable and the newly-launched Nexus 5 has finally got the teardown treatment from the guys at iFixit. So how did Google’s flagship phone perform in their labs? Let’s keep the score a secret for a bit, but we can tell you that the Google phone easily bests the iPhone 5s and some other recent Android phones in this regard.
Well for one, the thing is completely made out of plastic. Even the back casing is held together in place by plastic clips, which elicited “sounds of joy” from iFixit. Unfortunately, it’s not plastic clips all the way, as there’s some glue securing the bottom of the back panel, which required some extra prying. The guys do mention that despite the glue, the Nexus 5 is a much easier device to open up than the recent iPad Air and the recent Macbook Pro refreshes.
The Nexus 5 innards displayed in full glory (Image: iFixit)
Internally, things are labelled neatly for home repairmen and iFixit notes the vibrator is particularly easy to swap out. The battery too is easily removable and can be swapped for a new unit, despite glue holding it to the internal frame. The dual speaker grilles on the bottom of the phone should indicate two speakers, but the speaker here is a single unit. The second grille covers the microphone, which is housed on the daughterboard.
Going deeper, we find that the daughterboard also houses the LED indicator, the Micro-USB port, and contacts for the speaker and antenna. There’s the usual assortment of integrated circuits for the sensors and the various hardware. The camera, as expected has an OIS module powered by an InvenSense gyro. Components like the earpiece speaker (a common repair complaint), headphone jack and the front camera are easily removable too, notes the teardown.
That’s where the good part ends. After tearing through the internals easily, the front panel glass was found to be fused to the display frame, which means fixing a shattered or cracked display “will be either expensive or very difficult.”
Despite the bad news dessert, the Nexus 5 gets 8 out of 10 for repairability, making it one of the easiest phones to repair at home according to iFixit’s tests. In comparison, the iPhone 5s got a score of 6, while the HTC One got a woeful and slightly scary 1 out of 10.