2013 Smartphone Repairability Index: Galaxy S4 gets 8/10, HTC One at the bottom

2013 Smartphone Repairability Index: Galaxy S4 gets 8/10, HTC One at the bottom
The skillful folks from iFixit posted their 2013 smartphone repairability chart, which includes the handsets they've been working on so far, trying to pry the screen open with a spudger, removing thick layers of adhesive, and analyzing what they find inside according to their own repairability standards.

From this year's flagships, the Samsung Galaxy S4 takes the top with an 8/10 rating, which is also the score for most smartphones from the Koreans, due to their flexible plastic design that lets you easily remove the back cover, swap the battery, or access internal components. 

The only downside of the S4's repairability is that the internals are glued to the back of a "fused display assembly," which is quite expensive to replace, too, as only Samsung is making those Super AMOLED Full HD panels. The iPhone 5s is in the middle of the road with a 6/10, while the unibody aluminum HTC One gets the worst of it with the lowest 1/10 score.


Apple iPhone 5s Apple iPhone 5s 2013
  • Front panel is fairly easy to remove and replace.
  • Battery is adhered in place and difficult to remove.
  • Proprietary pentalobe driver required for opening.

6

Apple iPhone 5c Apple iPhone 5c 2013
  • Front panel is easy to remove and replace.
  • Battery is adhered in place and difficult to remove.
  • Proprietary pentalobe driver required for opening.

6

Motorola Moto X Motorola Moto X 2013
  • Modular design allows replacing of individual components.
  • Only a single type of screw is used throughout.
  • Strong adhesive on the rear cover makes opening difficult.

7

Samsung Galaxy S4 Samsung Galaxy S4 2013
  • Battery is easy to replace.
  • Very easy to open for access to internal components.
  • Components adhered to the back of a fused display assembly.

8

Blackberry Z10 Blackberry Z10 2013
  • Battery is easy to replace.
  • Standard screws make the device easy to open.
  • Smaller components are strongly adhered in place.

8

HTC One HTC One 2013
  • Solid external construction improves durability.
  • Virtually impossible to open without extreme damage to rear case.
  • Battery is buried under motherboard and adhered to midframe.

1

Google Nexus 4 Google Nexus 4 2012
  • The back cover can be removed with common tools.
  • Pressure contacts throughout the phone ease disassembly.
  • The battery is held in place with strong adhesive.

7

Samsung Galaxy Note II Samsung Galaxy Note II 2012
  • Battery is easy to replace.
  • Very easy to open for access to internal components.
  • Components adhered to the back of a fused display assembly.

8

Apple iPhone 5 Apple iPhone 5 2012
  • Front panel is easy to remove and replace.
  • Battery is relatively easy to replace.
  • Proprietary pentalobe driver required for opening.

7

Samsung Galaxy S III Samsung Galaxy S III 2012
  • Battery is easy to replace.
  • Device is easy to open.
  • Components adhered to the back of a fused display assembly.

8

Motorola Droid 4 Motorola Droid 4 2012
  • LCD and front glass are not fused and can be replaced individually.
  • Tons of adhesive seals the phone and its components.
  • Replacing the front glass requires complete phone disassembly.

4





source: iFixit

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20 Comments

1. XperiaFanZone

Posts: 2277; Member since: Sep 21, 2012

I remember HTC One getting a score of 1, maybe it was due to this gold sheet kinda thing that can't be flattened.

2. RaKithAPeiRiZ

Posts: 1488; Member since: Dec 29, 2011

In truth ,all non removable battery phones are bad if you are the kind of person who wants to use a phone for more than 18 months

3. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

HTC deserves an award for how crappy the HTC ones design is. It has the be the worst designed phone to date, the build quality of the one is also very bad on the inside loose glue everywhere.

5. mr.techdude

Posts: 571; Member since: Nov 19, 2012

Ur a weirdo shatter, HTC make the best constructed devices with beautiful design, the HTC one is not easy to fix and that's true but don't start bashing HTC for this at least there phones last. Ur probably a Sammy fan shame on u.

7. WHoyton1

Posts: 1635; Member since: Feb 21, 2013

normally i agree with you but this time your just plain wrong!

8. xperiaDROID

Posts: 5629; Member since: Mar 08, 2013

I disagree. HTC One is one of the best designed phone to date, and there's nothing wrong with the build quality. Yes, some people complained before that their HTC Ones have build quality issues, gaps between the speaker grills, poor finish etc. But it's just a small issue, just send it back to HTC and they will give you a new one, that's how warranty works. I tried a HTC One before, and I must say it's absolutely gorgeous, that metal on the back is just...premium, and feels sturdy.

11. Shatter

Posts: 2036; Member since: May 29, 2013

The build quality is horrible, it is starting to show and lots of peoples HTC ones are having problems.

13. Commentator

Posts: 3722; Member since: Aug 16, 2011

I have feelings about how vague you are about stuff.

14. Geezy03

Posts: 43; Member since: Apr 10, 2009

I'm not

16. darkskoliro

Posts: 1092; Member since: May 07, 2012

I'm sorry, why aren't you banned from PA yet? Every HTC article you have something blatantly troll (or maybe you're just mentally impaired) to say. Get out, shoo, go home. No one listens to you.

18. mojtaba_mn

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

i think you never see an htc one

19. mojtaba_mn

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

that phone you talk abut are best 2013 phone in world and urope and also best design in this year just you talk bla bla

4. YuLeven

Posts: 50; Member since: May 14, 2013

Beautiful unibody design comes at a price. If I would pay that price? No, i'm not really the kind of 'boast my phone prowess cool guy'. I'm rather pragmatic, that's why i'm perfectly fine with easy to care, easy to handle plastic. Anyway, If I where to boast about something it wouldn't be about my metallic phone.

6. newbey123

Posts: 696; Member since: Mar 19, 2012

When something is built well it is harder to break apart, that is common sense. I would rather have a well built high quality phone like the HTC.

9. mafijoco

Posts: 10; Member since: Sep 26, 2013

these guys have no idea what they are talking about. it is harder to open the htc one then any non unibody phone, but not that hard... i know because i fix them for a living.

10. rocketlog

Posts: 26; Member since: Jan 31, 2012

I think the index works the way most indices work. Relative. I'm sure you'd agree that the HTC one is a far more difficult phone to repair compared to the phones that scored 7 and 8 up there. They probably set a high standard for the lowest score but that's their call. It's their index after all. I'm pretty sure they, like you, repair stuff for a living, too.

12. ady_lad

Posts: 83; Member since: Jul 17, 2013

Well i think i'd better insure my phone then, otherwise i'm screwed...

15. jad.boutary

Posts: 107; Member since: Sep 04, 2013

it's very easy to fix HTC one but with special tools which only HTC company has..

20. mojtaba_mn

Posts: 268; Member since: Feb 22, 2013

that is truth the company change the battery easy

17. wumberpeb

Posts: 453; Member since: Mar 14, 2011

LG Optimus G should be ranked up near the top as well. Great build quality with all the ease of disassembling of a Samsung. The battery has a good deal of adhesive, at least with the Sprint model, which makes it a little slow. Everything else from the earpiece to the vibration motor, even the charging port is replaceable. The build quality of a sealed battery design with a thoughtfully laid out interior. Nicely done LG

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