Thats, partly because its hard to make a repairable smartphone but weve torn down enough devices to know that when manufacturers truly make repair a priority, they can do surprising things. Today. I have three smartphones from manufacturers that have taken that idea to the extreme. First lets. Look at Teracube., The Teracube 2e I have here is the companys second smartphone.. The first was less modular, but still true to their focus on sustainability and reliability.. Teracube offers a 4 year warranty and a flat fee on all phone repairs. Basically, a unicorn in the smartphone warranty landscape of 2021.. The back cover has two indents at the bottom for prying up with a fingernail and though the clips are tenacious Ill. Take them any day over glue. Inside the bright green battery is front and center ready for the taking., No glue, no fragile cable to move just an old school pop out, battery. Ill dive deeper into the Teracube in a sec. But for now lets move on.. The Librem 5 is considerably thickerprobably closer to what you might expect a repairable phone to look. Like. Purism, the company behind this phone has taken a privacy focused approach to their design, but that emphasis has repairability benefits. Like the Teracube. A notch in the back panel gives me a place to pry it up, and the battery is immediately accessible.. Just beyond that three screws hold down a black plastic cover, hiding modular and user replaceable, cellular and wifibluetooth modules.
. A modular wireless card is something you don’t even see much in laptops anymore nevermind in a phone. Wireless chips, dont commonly fail in smartphones, but this is a great example of the kind of modularity we could see if manufacturers would prioritize it.. If this is what a small company can make, imagine what a giant company with virtually unlimited resources could make if modularity were their goal.? The last phone I have here is the Fairphone 3. Fairphone is probably the most experienced, repairable smartphone manufacturer.. This is their third iteration. On the idea of a smartphone with extreme modularity and even some upgradability. Sorta, like Googles Project Ara, but you can actually buy this one. Like the Teracube 2e and Librem 5. The Fairphone 3 has a plastic rear cover thats clipped in place.. The see through plastic is a pretty cool touch.. As soon as the cover is off, you can pull out. The battery. Fairphone goes a quite a few steps further than just a user swappable battery, though, and thats where it starts to differentiate itself from the other. Two phones were looking at.. They even include a tiny little phillips driver right inside the box when you buy this phone. Im using our screwdriver because its a bit nicer, but if you dont already have the right tool. This is an amazing invitation to tinker. Past the screws, an opening pick unclips the screen from the midframe and just like that, Ive done a battery and a screen removal.
Thats, a very quick four step procedure to remove both of the most commonly repaired smartphone components. Fairphone Has done their homework and it shows. Theres a lot more modularity in the Fairphone 3.. Most of the components inside are contained in replaceable modules held down with phillips screws, which is so cool.. If you want to see more Fairphone, you can check out our full teardown on iFixit.com. Lets talk about displays. Though., Like batteries display repairs have become increasingly difficult and expensive over the years.. The high price is partly due to the way display technology has advanced, but a difficult repair only adds to the already high replacement cost. With their batteries and covers removed both the Teracube and the librem 5 look more like typical, android phones.. It looks like to get to the displays: youll have to remove some shields disconnect and remove most of the components and unscrew and remove the circuit boards. Many Android smartphones have their displays sort of built into the frame of the phone, so it makes the most sense To replace the display with the frame as one part., A little more investigation reveals the Teracube and Librem 5. Both actually have some pretty forgiving display adhesive, so you could theoretically, could perform a screen replacement shortly after removing the battery without removing the rest of the parts.. So we have three really unusual phones here, all very repairable by pretty much anyone. Theyre, not as sleek or feature packed as your typical 1000 flagship phone, but theyre also not designed to be used for 18 months and then thrown away.
. All of these companies are staking out some really interesting ground in the smartphone space and were so glad theyre doing it., Even if they dont sell in Apple or Samsung numbers.