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There’s a newbie in the smartphone scene, and it’s bringing a whole lot less to the table. That’s right, in a world of "more is better," this phone has just the essentials—like a ceramic back, and a titanium chassis. Okay, it might actually be a little fancier than the name suggests—but we’ll have to open it up to find out for sure! Join us as we tear down the Essential Phone.

Teardowns are an essential part of the gadget world, so make sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter for all of the necessary teardown and repair news.

Deze demontage is geen reparatiehandleiding. Om je Essential Phone te repareren, gebruik onze reparatiehandleidingen.

  1. Essential Phone Teardown, Essential Phone Teardown: stap 1, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown, Essential Phone Teardown: stap 1, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown, Essential Phone Teardown: stap 1, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • Here are the Essential Phone's essentials:

    • Qualcomm Snapdragon 835 containing a Kryo 280 Octa-core CPU and an Adreno 540 GPU, paired with 4 GB RAM

    • 128 GB UFS 2.1 onboard storage

    • 5.71" LCD with 2560 × 1312 resolution (504 ppi)

    • Dual 13-megapixel rear cameras (one RGB + one monochrome) with image fusion technology

    • Front-facing camera with 8 MP resolution and 16:9 aspect ratio

    • 802.11a/b/g/n/ac Wi‑Fi + MIMO Bluetooth 5.0 LE + NFC

  2. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 2, afbeelding 1 van 2 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 2, afbeelding 2 van 2
    • In their quest for a bezel-less screen, Essential managed to carve out some space for a front-facing camera and a nigh-invisible slit for the earpiece speaker.

    • Around back, we find this phone's party trick—two power pins with built-in magnetic alignment. This is where the unessentials can latch on to the Essential Phone. While more are promised, as of now a 360° camera is the only accessory available from Essential.

    • Modular smartphone systems have yet to take off, but it's an idea we can appreciate—the environmental toll of clipping on a hot new camera module is a lot lower than upgrading your whole phone because the camera got "old."

    • We also spot a built-in dual camera system for those looking for good ol' ~180° photos, plus the fingerprint sensor responsible for securing the Essential's essentials.

    According to my experience (with an ANCIENT Mortorolla), these thin speaker grill tend to be FILLED with dust and similar things with a high dirtiness. I do not like it.

    The 180º photo is pretty much a lie, by the way.

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

  3. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 3, afbeelding 1 van 2 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 3, afbeelding 2 van 2
    • Essential deemed a headphone jack unessential, providing just a USB-C connector instead. Risky.

    • Flanking the connector are the speaker grill, SIM card slot, and lower microphone. Just like in the Galaxy S8, the SIM eject and microphone holes seem a little too similar for comfort.

    • ...and it proved to be an issue.

    • Essential left us a little surprise under the SIM card. With a totally blank and unbranded exterior, they hid all the identifying marks inside on a cute little tag.

    • We're amused to find that it doesn't come out all the way. Did Essential assemble the phone around this little tag?

    Do you think it's possible to break the mic if you firmly insert a pin in the wrong hole (the one *too* close to the one to release the sim card) by mistake? That would be a very bad design...

    Pascal Forget - Antwoord

    “…and it proved to be an issue.” descriped a case…

    I won’t put much remark on it beside a “lol“.

    And yes, I LOVE this little tag. Intersting..

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

  4. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 4, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 4, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 4, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • It's past time to peek inside, but we're having no luck getting in. With no visible screws, we can only assume it's assembled with glue—but ever-increasing amounts of heat and suction haven't helped weaken this phone's hold on the display.

    • In desperation, we reverse polarity and try some Super Cold.

    • After a harrowing arctic expedition, it's the back cover that finally loosens first, revealing...

    • ...Nothing! Beneath the giant glue pad, we find only the wrong ends of a couple screws and a midframe assembly.

    I hope someone know what they are doing.

    THAT applies to BOTH of you, Essential and iFixit. (you SHOULD know the way to the insides are through the display. MAYBE…)

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

    • We stay frosty, now more determined than ever to peel up the frozen LCD panel while dealing with the fallout from previous prying attempts.

    • Looks like we have a different definition of essential than Essential does—our Essential Electronics Tool Kit, designed to tackle all common electronics repairs, wasn't enough to crack this nut of a phone. Some intense reinforcements were necessary.

    • Even after peeling up the LCD panel, the interior continues to be well-guarded. After all that work, all we have to show for it is a busted display, a blank midframe shield, and a stray IC on the back of the display:

    • Qualcomm QTC800S touchscreen controller (likely)

    • The cover glass separates from the LCD panel rather easily. That could be good if you just wanted to swap out some cracked glass, but the challenging opening procedure makes that prospect somewhat dubious.

    Did the “intense reinforcements” include acetone or another solvent? That might have been a less destructive way to separate the bond.

    mwarrenus - Antwoord

    I don’t really think so. most glue was either heat-softened or dissolves quickly by WATER, which will DESTROY the phone.

    I have not heard of ANY glue beside these two with the ability of being able to be removed at some point. In the fields of digital devices (, verge) ,the modeling and 3D printing.

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

  5. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 6, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 6, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 6, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • After the unexpectedly difficult journey through the outside of the phone, we lift the midframe shield to finally reveal some internal components.

    • We spy: a heat pipe, a bunch of grounding fingers, and a battery with stretch-release adhesive ... that's trapped under another bracket.

    • Credit where credit is due: stretch-release adhesive is the most repair-friendly adhesive, and we wish more manufacturers would adopt it. Unfortunately it's kind of wasted on a phone that's this hard to get into.

    • The battery claims an 11.70 Wh capacity—not too shabby when compared with the Galaxy S8 at 11.55 Wh, the iPhone 7 at 7.45 Wh, or the OnePlus5 at 12.35 Wh.

  6. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 7, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 7, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 7, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • That little mattress tag we found in the SIM slot removes quite easily from this side. It does indeed look like the phone was assembled with this little guy comfortably in place.

    • Meanwhile, we remove the massive motherboard, including its peninsular (Floridian?) charging port protuberance. The USB-C port is soldered straight to the motherboard. We are disappointed.

    • If you need to replace this high-wear component, you're in for an (expensive) microsoldering job or a (very expensive) full-motherboard replacement.

    • Speaking of removing the board...

    • The backside of the motherboard is snaked with antenna interconnect cables and vacant coaxial connectors.

    The Sony Xperia Z3 Compact had an even bigger tag like this.

    Moritz - Antwoord

    yes exactly, sony have been using these tags to hide the regulating symbols for years now.

    Paul Chan -

    You're right! Good call. We updated the step ;)

    Jeff Suovanen -

    The vacant coaxial connectors are likely switched test connectors that break the on-board RF connection when a test probe is inserted. These are frequently used for RF calibration without needing a costly anechoic OTA calibration environment.

    joshshua - Antwoord

    For now, I do not remember ANY phone that have a charging port NOT soldered to a board. Not a single one of them.

    It tend to be the OTHER way aroudn when speaking of bigger things…like, the iPads.

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

    What is the name of this SIM card reader? I want to try replacing it, but am having a hard time identifying what it is called and where to get it from.

    triggy1819 - Antwoord

  7. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 8, afbeelding 1 van 1

    Samsung K3UH5H50MM-NGCJ should be "LPDDR4x" which uses lower voltage than LPDDR4.

    JJ Wu - Antwoord

    Who came up with the UFS model number? It's a lot better than a "KLUDG[E]" if you know what I mean.

    dgw - Antwoord

  8. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 9, afbeelding 1 van 1
    • And for the backside:

    • Qorvo QM78012 RF fusion LB module

    • Skyworks Solutions 77360-2 power amplifier module

    • Avago AFEM-9046 and AFEM-9036 IC's

    • Qualcomm PM8998 (similar to PM8920)

    • NXP Semiconductors TFA9891 audio amplifier

    • Qualcomm SMB1381 power management IC

    • ON Semiconductor DC-DC converter (likely)

  9. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 10, afbeelding 1 van 2 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 10, afbeelding 2 van 2
    • And the rest of the chips:

    • Qualcomm PM8005 power management IC

    • SiBeam SB6212CZU Snap wireless connector IC

    • Fresco Logic FL1100-1A0-LX USB 3.0 host controller

    • Qualcomm QET4100 envelope tracker

    • Texas Instruments TPS61235P 8 A synchronous boost converters

    • NXP Semiconductor Q2101 NFC controller (likely)

    • ON Semiconductor FSUSB43L10X 480 Mbps, USB 2.0 DPDT switch

  10. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 11, afbeelding 1 van 2 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 11, afbeelding 2 van 2
    • Sensor Identification:

    • STMicroelectronics VL53L0X time-of-flight/gesture sensor

    • STMicroelectronics LSM6DSM 3-axis accelerometer/gyroscope

    • AKM Semiconductor AK09915C 3-axis accelerometer

    • Bosch Sensortec BMP285 pressure sensor (likely)

    • Rohm hall sensor

  11. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 12, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 12, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 12, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • With the motherboard on ice, we're finally able to tweeze out the dual camera module.

    • Either Essential accidentally put these camera pop connectors on backwards, or someone had too much fun figuring how to origami them into place.

    • Nearby, the selfie cam lies on a strip of glue and takes a little more work to extract, bringing the front-facing sensor cable along for the ride.

    • Surprise! The front-facing camera and earpiece speaker come as a single part. That tiny port lines up directly with the über-slim grille at the top of the phone!

    • The small flex cable terminates with possibly an AMS TMD3700 color sensor.

    Cameras are imx258, one RGB, one BW

    Yaro Slav - Antwoord

  12. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 13, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 13, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 13, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • De-capping (literally, it looks like a cap) the vibrator, we're surprised there's no rubber dampener between these pieces.

    • The vibrator appears to be a standard pancake style cell motor, albeit a little taller than the usual short-stack.

    • Among the final components out: the sprawling loudspeaker and accompanying contact cable.

    • With its odd shape, the speaker kinda looks like it was designed to fill all unclaimed real estate in the phone body.

    This type of vibration motor is properly called a "coin" or "button" vibration unit, not a "cap". -- PvdL

    Peter van der Linden - Antwoord

    Douchey things I just read in the comment before mine:

    - Correcting the author of the teardown for improperly calling it a cap when he only referred to it looking like a cap.

    - You quoted yourself

    - Referring to yourself as "PvdL"

    Andy Salinas -

    The cap reference is to the vibrator cover being pulled off in the first photo, rather than the vibrator itself, which lies underneath. It's a coin vibrator, with a cap.

    Jeff Suovanen -

    Oh Peter… your comprehension skills are quite lacking read it again you mongoloid. “De-capping the vibrator" which any competent person can see with the enhanced ease of understanding through included pictures shows him literally removing a small metal cap that encased the vibrator not your simpleton interpretation of which you confuse that for him calling the vibrator itself a cap. -

    I came here to just make fun of him.


    Luis Gonzalez -

    The speaker look pretty good for me. Built in air-duct and seal and modular and blah blah blah…

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

  13. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 14, afbeelding 1 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 14, afbeelding 2 van 3 Essential Phone Teardown: stap 14, afbeelding 3 van 3
    • Magnets for those modular clip-on accessories are neatly labeled. They'd be tough to replace, but that's okay—you're likely to be rocking a different phone by the time they start to wear out in 700 years or so.

    • Not much remains besides the fingerprint sensor, glued comfortably in place on the back—a location that comes with some drawbacks, but is quickly becoming the de facto smartphone standard. Well, sort of.

    • The fingerprint sensor is likely a FPC1020, while the fingerprint controller may be a FPC2050.

    Funny thing about the 1st picture here, the purple word below the magnets is a Chinese word which means 'Party', CCP to be specific.

    Clyde Johanson - Antwoord

    It's also a not-so-popular last name, it could be one of the QC's?

    Bert Jiang - Antwoord

    I HATE the guy that put the finger print sensor on the phone’s back. The person that came up with this MUST have his head bumped, or he do not know what he is doing.

    Xavier Jiang - Antwoord

  14. Essential Phone Teardown: stap 15, afbeelding 1 van 1
    • For promising just the essentials, the Essential Phone took a lot more out of us than expected. It also took a lot more Super Cold than expected...

    • Enjoy this layout shot while we grab the winter coats from our closet and defrost the teardown room.

  15. Laatste gedachten
    • To the extent that screws are used, they are all standard Phillips/JIS fasteners.
    • The battery is secured with repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive. Too bad it's so inaccessible.
    • The USB-C port is soldered to the motherboard, and with no headphone jack it'll be subject to extra wear.
    • Nearly invisible seams and copious adhesive means any attempt at repair is likely to inflict as much damage as it fixes.
    • Did we mention we had to freeze it?
    Repareerbaarheid 1 op 10
    (10 is gemakkelijkst te repareren)

Scott Havard

Lid sinds: 27-06-16

47.352 Reputatie

33 handleidingen geschreven

64 Opmerkingen

wow horrific phone! 10/10 to iFixit for effort, 0/10 to Essential!

Will - Antwoord

This is a phone where iFixit will have to determine if it's even worth selling replacement parts.

iPostIt - Antwoord

the repair score should imo get a zero instead of a 1 because you cant open the %#*@ thing without destroying it.

My1 - Antwoord

this phone is essentially future trash. too bad

thanks iFixit for the honest repair score!

Andrew - Antwoord

Why a phone is bad because independent repairs are almost impossible?

OEM has been moving to proprietary components and outta-nowhere configuration to have on purpose to un-motivate people to go to beyond the warranty and authorized repair centers, since YEARS ago.

I appreciate the work from iFixit but saying that you won't buy a phone or it is "DOA" because OEM wants to control THEIR products is so childish at theses modern days.

(Please, spare me the "is easy for you to say because you don't own or work on a workshop and repairs give food to our tables". I know a few owners that although s just more spending, they are working on becoming authorized repair center for most brands.)

TheGeeZus - Antwoord

When you have to freeze a phone to get it open, that's a new level of WTF.

JJ Davis -

ifixit gives repairability scores, this isn't a review of the phone. That people still don't get this and come to this site to complain about it is beyond me.

tipoo -

Sure, an OEM can control THEIR products. And I can decide not to buy THEIR products if their design is un-repairable. One little drop, splash or sit on it in my back pocket one time too many and it's toast... yeah, they can control their product all the way to bankruptcy court if that's where it takes them. You make it sound like I'm obligated to buy THEIR product - I am not. Thank you iFixIt for yet another informative teardown!

R. Andrew Thomas -

It's a repairability score man, not a condemnation of the phone itself

Akko -

When manufacturer wants me to spend 300$ on replacing the usb port instead of 30$ due to poor design decisions or just to cut down the manufacturing costs they no longer could be considered good in any way.

Smartphone is not something you use for a few days and then toss it to trash replacing with a new one, it's an increasingly complex and expensive portable computers that should be as serviceable as possible.

Alex Lee -

If you're such a big fan of unnecessary electrical waste, I assume it's OK if I dumb a few tons of heavy elements in your back yard?

Repairability is not just about an individual saving a few dozen bucks here and there, but also about environmentalism. The more repairable common electronics are, the longer they stay in use by someone, somewhere, the less waste generated from buying new devices that are just marginal upgrades from the previous.

Ståle Helde -

Thank you for your support, TheGeeZus! It's nice to hear that you enjoy our work, and you bring up a great point about ownership and repair as well. You can find some fantastic information at both and

Richard Suovanen -

Thing is, it’s not THEIR product when you buy it. It’s not a license agreement. Do not repair is nothing other than a way to force us to get new products and giving them more money. Best practice should be to be able to repair a device that you own.

Sebbe -

Designed to trash.. Like most other consumer electronics. Try and take a look at 99% of the appliances in your homes, most of them are designed to fail and spare parts are unnaturally high cost to encourage new purchases. And as long as the consumers doesn’t make a conscious decision to choose not to buy the goods with low repair-ability, then the manufacturers will keep on refining the “if only 90% makes it past warranty period it’s fine” mentality, that constantly tries to ensure more $@$* can be sold.

I mean.. there’s people that gladly spends more on throwaway gadgets than they would comfortably spend on car maintenance, and still think it’s sad that no one is doing more for the environment. Sadly most people are happy as long as the medias keep numbing their intellect with “don’t think” TV-shows, that keeps them pacified and not thinking for themselves.

Lundberg -

Do you know what it means to live in countries with no official stores? in parts of Africa and Asia? The nearest official Samsung Store is two countris away. Nearest apple store is 5 countries away. Warranties from companies mean nothing to us; those companies do not even ship to our countries! independent repairmen save us from so much.

You have no idea what we go through so do not judge us for needing such

Kanyesigye Akbr -

You are buying their products.

You own them.

The owner should have all right to repair as needed.

Luis Gonzalez -

The IMEI and other certifications in sim tray is nothing new.. My Lumia 920 had it in 2012!

mvadu - Antwoord

One of my old moto e's had it as well. 2015 I think.

Caspar Caudill -

No one going to comment on the lyric mistake? "What's cooler than being cool? Ice cold!"

kirk - Antwoord

It's called parody.

dgw -

I think Essential set out to do what most people try to do - keep people out of the phone. No company wants someone to get in their product lol

westsidepatriot - Antwoord

Not an option for most part of Africa and possibly Asia. We depend mostly on local repair shops as the cost of exploiting a warranty is almost impossible. Who wants to mail a phone from Nigeria or Uganda to a service centre in the US or UK? Essentially, this phone is not for some of us.

Abbas Abdus-salam - Antwoord

I am surprised that people expect highly-integrated, ultra-miniaturized electronic devices to be repaired nowadays. It's like trying to tear down a microchip and repair the transistors inside it, just because 50 years ago you could replace the fried transistors on a board performing the same functions as the today's microchip. This is the price paid for miniaturization, for bezel-less phones, for large batteries. Instead, there is warranty, there is insurance, etc. Things have evolved and ironically, the evolution has been dictated by us, customers, the ones that are now complaining :)

Dennis James - Antwoord

Demonstrably false. 2017 phones are not significantly different on the inside than 2012 phones,and lots of 2012 phones are extremely easy to repair with inexpensive parts you can order om eBay. I just recently repaired a nexus 5 with a busted USB port, worn out battery shattered camera glass and very ugly back cover for just 25 bucks. The difficulty of repair in phones is mainly because certain manufacturers insist on using pretty materials instead of durable materials. When a phone isn't even waterproof, there is no good reason to make them difficult to open, other than to make them difficult to repair so that they can sell you a brand new phone instead of you replacing a 5 dollar USB port.

Ståle Helde -

Spoken like someone who would pay extra to be able to upgrade a phone every 6 months. Believe it or not there are still a lot of us who buy for the long term. For people like me self repair or local shops are the only way to go. I have had 2 phones in the last eight years and I really appreciate these tear downs. They can actually be a deciding factor in which phone I purchase.

You have obviously not worked all that much, I could be wrong but don't think so, with electronic devices. Usually it is not the miniaturized parts that go bad first rather the battery or the connectors. And these are parts that most people handy with small tools can replace.

Thanks iFixit for your work.

protagonistic -

Why go through the back.

If you look at the Essential website they show an exploded view assembly and clearly you need to go through the front.

The motherboard is remove by front facing screws. You can't do any motherboard repair without getting the screen off first.

denae cole- shephard - Antwoord

Mainboard is made by Multek a company of Flextronics

Peng - Antwoord

I'm curious about that when the Essential Phone is in Warranty and send it back to the Essential company, how do they fix it?

Mandy - Antwoord

@Mandy: Since it's a "startup", you won't be able to get proper service anyhow (like OnePlus). So if you battle through the 1000 challenges, they will simply replace the entire device most likely. But, just like OnePlus did/does, I think Essential will also try to change every claim into non-warrantial. I.e.: "Don't even ty to send it back."

Enjoy! I love underdogs, but this is one fat reason why one would dislike them. This is why I bought Huawei, and before that, Samsung. But I also had HTC, they all had repair centers all around Europe. And they were all really professional and cool with the repairs. !&&*, if I walk into Huawei they do almost all work within hours, it's crazy good and professional.

A анонимный - Antwoord

OnePlus was not a start-up company, please stop perpetuating this myth.

qwirked -

I bought mine about three weeks before the price drop and they just credited $200 back to my credit card without being asked. Also, my other phone had bitten the bullet. I ordered it on Saturday, emailed them on Sunday asking them to rush it along if possible and they responded immediately on a Sunday, and it shipped Monday. Now my verizon/motorola phone that had a defective screen was a nightmare to get supported because neither company knew who was responsible.

Raymond Ferguson -

"Essential" is a joke in my opinion.

Julian Fiallo - Antwoord


is it a chip exactly upper than Fresco Logic FL1100-1A0-LX USB 3.0 host controller?(or i mis-steakin?)

and abut how repairable is this phone: well it is kinda bad that you need a lot of work to fix it but think from different angle, it will be more shock prof than almost every other phone!

to metal plate supporting internal components!

and most likely if you send it for warranty they will replace it with new one!

Mojarch - Antwoord

this is what happens when a software expert decides to go into hardware without consulting the big dogs in the business... the result is an essential phone without essential features and repairability.

Ezekielo Tech Vlogs - Antwoord

Muito bom, Parabéns à equipa.

NPimentel - Antwoord

These teardown videos are great. In short, before buying any device anyone should watch a teardown of it. If not available, skip the product altogether unless you want to make a teardown video of your own (if and when time comes) and risk non repairability of the device. Much like car industry must provide maintenance manuals and perform safety tests (of which videos are available) there should be also a law about portable devices which requires all manufacturers to provide teardown videos and repair manuals. There is so much talk about “greening”, “sustainability”, “eco-friendly”, “care for the planet” but sounds to me it’s mostly greenwashing. Want to cut reduce drastically the speed at which we consume resources that go into making electronics? Allow anyone willing to repair and keep their old devices to do so providing info and parts. There’ll be always those who buy new every year or so (that’s here to stay). Those of us who prefer conserving and responsible consumption should be allowed to pursue it.

freakqnc - Antwoord

Um…Essential stated that you need a suction tool to remove the display properly after heating it up. It was in one of the AMA’s they did on Reddit. I think you should revisit this in the idea of being fair and unbiased.

Jeff Warner - Antwoord

Can you re-do this since essential confirmed you did it incorrectly. Here is a link on how to actually do it:

Gabriel Williams - Antwoord

Jeff and Gabriel, the purpose of the teardown is a first glance repairability assessment using the tools and knowledge available at the time (you’ll notice we published this a couple months before that AMA). Essential had no public repair manual so we had to improvise with the tools we had available. As stated we did try heat first (“After applying more heat and sharper tools than might be advised, we reverse the polarity and start chilling out.”). If you watch our video teardown at the top of this page you’ll see that our video team had a better time with heat and a razor—but still broke their display, so unfortunately the score stands.

Sam Goldheart - Antwoord

Then something should be added at the start to keep people from claiming the device is unfixable and cite you. Because the device is pretty repairable, but no one does research past you. Giving a false idea of the device.

Jeff Warner -

We’d love for you to post repair manuals and prove us wrong! ;)

Sam Goldheart -

you guys are a fraud. You opened this up in the worst way possible. Get some heat and suction and pull that baby off

Chester Davos -

We probably could have emphasized this more in the teardown, but: all the heat and suction we could throw at it did nothing to weaken the adhesive. And we used a lot more heat than we’ve used on other devices—enough to cook the display, and probably just short of blowing up the battery and aborting the entire teardown. Can it be repaired? Sure, but they’ve made it about as difficult as anything we’ve ever seen in the smartphone realm. And we’ve dismantled plenty of stubborn phones. The second unit we received came apart more easily, so I’m not sure how to explain that (manufacturing variances?), but our initial experience was not good.

Jeff Suovanen -

Real biased teardown. My thought is you were paid to do such a horrible job to deflect a good phone from competition. Here is a easy fix where you failed and still fail to update, why?

Jon Nagel -

Jon, the teardown has been updated to more thoroughly explain the process we went through. It doesn’t change the fact that the phone is assembled with extremely tough glue, and there’s a high probability of destroying the display en route to attempting any repair. That earns it a low score, at least on the initial release. It’s easy for someone else to post a nice clean procedure two months after our teardown, but when you are probing your way into a phone like this on day one with zero guidance, it’s not as easy as it may sound. This teardown reflects that experience.

Jeff Suovanen -

You want a phone that wouldn't need to be repaired before you want a new phone. Now, you can satisfy your curiosity with a teardown. Modern components are generally reliable to last until then. The only thing that fails is the battery. And that is not much of a contribution from the phone manufacturer.

Debasis Goswami - Antwoord

The thing that most people break are screens. Shattered screens are super annoying and are pretty easy to get off on lots of phones. On new iPhones, you just have to heat up the waterproofing adhesive before opening it (6S and above). Same thing with many more phones. You shouldn’t have to do… this.

Liam Powell -

You don't have to do this on YouTube had a much better guide for the teardown it's easier than an iPhone screen replacement.

David Baudin -

You guys should redo this teardown the right way instead of misinforming consumers. did a video on YouTube where all they did was great up the screen and removed it to access the internals. It's one of the simplest teardowns I have ever seen.

David Baudin - Antwoord

Yep, makes these guys look like amateurs

Chester Davos -

Seriously? You guys still haven’t fixed this? Ridiculous. It’s almost liek you’re getting paid to push certain phones down or something…

There are multiple videos of people getting it without damaging the device at all. Redo the guide and admit you messed up.

Jeff Warner - Antwoord

Gauntlet thrown.

After watching Fixez’s video, I can’t help but feel that ifixit overly dramatized this teardown in order to get headlines. Time for a revisit and perhaps some humility.

Anthony Larson - Antwoord

I agree but surmise this as unlikely. This was a hatchet job from the get go.

zoobee22 -

So if the goal is to replace a cracked screen what makes this so hard to accomplish? Obviously the issue with damaging the screen to get into the phone isn’t an issue if that’s what you are replacing. Or did I miss something?

bavarianblessed - Antwoord

Beyond appalling and embarrassing to make this phone look as bad as you did just because you wanted to be quick and/or brute force your way in. Seems like you are becoming a shill these days. This phone as others have said looks like one of the easiest ones to open or repair. This is why your site has gone to garbage and is why people steer from otherwise good devices. I’m glad I did research instead of believing your lies. Step it up admit you were wrong and redo this properly and stop making good phones seem bad just because of the cheaper price tags.

Full disclosure: I don’t even have this phone, never owned it. I’m simply seeing how your site has gone to waste lately.

Nathan Blaser (MorningStarGG) - Antwoord

As shown in the video at the top and in the display replacement guide for this phone, we’ve gotten ahold of some additional Essential Phones that were much better behaved. It’s possible this teardown unit was a production-line anomaly of some kind (we got it very early, before almost anyone else). It was seemingly impervious to heat and suction, the back panel came off first despite equal force being applied to the front, and we froze it out of desperation after everything else failed. Long story short, we were disappointed and the whole experience sucked. I’m glad to see others have had a better experience. Regardless, I’ve worked on nearly every flagship phone on the market, and Essential Phone is far from “one of the easiest ones to open or repair”—even with practice, it’s tricky to open without destroying the display.

Jeff Suovanen -

@jeffsu So how many of normal users repair their own phones? Any data to give some importance to your “repairability score” other than attempt to sell your DIY kits through Fry’s? I don’t see a point in this whole repair drama(other than coming here to understand what part numbers are used) as most of us thrash our phones(when we upgrade) and recyclers don’t care about opening them gently either. To all those complaining, how many easy to repair phones you have fixed yourself?

Subash Patel - Antwoord

Head on over to if you want to learn more about why repair matters. As for “recyclers don’t care about opening them gently,” you should visit a recycling facility sometime.

Jeff Suovanen -

I personally think the Repairability score should be higher (based on how far I got with the repair). I am by no means a professional phone fixer, but I have experience. I was able to disassemble two essential phones without damage to the screens, and swap the motherboards, as well as all parts ended up still working (I tested every part). I heated the phone, and was careful with my fingernail to get the adhesive off after lifting with the suction cup. It took awhile but if you’re careful, you will be fine. Other than the screen, the rest was a breeze to replace the motherboard. I’d rate it about a 5/10, as it is still hard, but by no means should someone avoid repairing their phone because of the low score given.

Dalton Werner - Antwoord

it is much easier to open the front screen using heat rather than cold.

Adrian Lutz - Antwoord

I sent two essential phones, one each to two friends, to Uganda. the first one’s cat knocked it off a shelf onto a concrete floor, I sent him a new screen, and a phone repairman in a mall replace it easily while he waited. A few months later, he had a motorcycle accident, broke the screen again, through a heavy duty case this time, as it hit a rock when he went down, I sent him another screen, he had it installed at a different kiosk, also with no trouble, and the phone's working just fine.

Jeff Broido - Antwoord

Are you serious did know and try a suction cup? Mine came off easily with just a suction cup? The glass was not shattered however the display failed after a large impact I was quite surprised it was all still intact yet the LCD was damaged below. Maybe the drop knocked it a bit loose but it was quite simple to stick up suction cup at the very top right corner and pull.

Corey Stevens - Antwoord

I feel better about delaminating the display assembly just now… It still works, except for destroying all of the pixels right where the Android notification bits are in portrait orientation. Maybe that’s not so bad.

Maybe because my phone has been welded together with adhesive since early 2017, the battery did not want to come out. It laughs at your stretchy-glue encouragement. Those foil chunks glued to the battery are probably the dismembered corpse of the NFC antenna.

Fingerprint assembly likewise: the cable came out via an ablative maneuver. In pieces.

Boyd Waters - Antwoord

Voeg opmerking toe


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