Google Pixel Teardown Reveals Well Made Device With ‘Fruity Inspiration’ And Moderate Repairability

Google unveiled its Pixel and Pixel XL Android 7.0 Nougat smartphones earlier this month, and the first round of reviews for the two devices have been refreshingly positive. Praise for the devices has been especially concentrated on the main camera, which while not incredibly competitive on the specs front, actually uses some special software magic to spit out excellent photographs.

Now that some of the first customers that pre-ordered the Pixels are starting to receive them, it should come as no surprise that the folks at iFixit are already tearing into the device. In this case, iFixit has turned its attention to the larger Pixel XL, which features a 5.5-inch QHD display.

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Before iFixit even cracked open the Pixel XL, the team couldn’t help but notice that the phone had “some fruity inspiration”, which of course refers to the Apple iPhone 7 Plus (and by association, its iPhone 6s Plus and iPhone 6 Plus predecessors). Although some similarities can be seen if we squint hard enough, we think that the Pixel XL has a style all its own (especially from the back).

iFixit was able to heat up the glass display and pry it open with a suction device within a minute. After unscrewing the flat display connector from the Pixel XL’s flexible midframe, both the OLED panel and digital glass are easily accessible. However, this easy access was met with criticism. “In this case, the OLED panel separated from the digitizer glass a little too easily for our liking,” writes iFixit. “Super-thin components and no frame or bezel behind the display make it extra sketchy to remove—but, we'll be working on a better way to get it out next time.”

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The flexible midframe is removable, which gives immediate access to the 13.28 Whr battery (for comparison, the iPhone 7 Plus and Samsung Galaxy S7 Edge have 11.1 Whr and 13.86 Whr batteries respectively). Accessing the rest of the components in the Pixel XL is relatively easy if you have the patience, and you won’t have to worry about mucking up fragile rubber gaskets/seals that you would find on the iPhone 7 Plus or Galaxy S7 Edge — after all, the Pixel XL and its smaller Pixel sibling lack waterproofing and dust resistance.

When all was said and done, the Pixel XL received a respectable Repairability Score: 6 out of 10. iFixit praised the modular components, easy access to the battery, and the use of T5 Torx screw throughout. However, the teardown score was knocked down a few notches by the fragile display assembly and the snug-fitting midframe.

We’d hope that you’d never have to actually tear open your Pixel XL (or Pixel) for repairs, but at least you’ll have a relatively pain-free experience if you have to go down that route.