With the Pixel 6 and Pixel 6 Pro, Google appears to have struck gold once more, save a few issues with the fingerprint sensor that should be resolved with a simple software update. Underneath all the glitz and glam, though, lies a phone that appears to be just as distinctive, albeit in a positive manner. Initial teardowns of the Pixel 6 revealed one thing that Google got right, at least for repair experts, but it appears that the Pixel 6 is still a few steps behind the Fairphone in terms of being one of the easiest phones to fix.
Two components of the phone get the greatest use and are the most vulnerable to harm. Three if you include the broken glass back, which can be easily covered with a skin or case if it can’t be repaired right away. The display, rather than the charging port, is likely the most important component, especially if the phone enables wireless charging as a backup. Fortunately, that appears to be where Google has scored the most points in terms of repairability.
JerryRigEverything hailed the Pixel 6 Pro as one of the easiest to replace without being purposely modular. All it takes is a little heat and cutting through the glue to separate the display screen from the rest of the phone’s body. If you don’t know where the display ribbon wire is, but the LEGO-style connector is buried by a simple metal bracket anyhow.
In addition to the adhesive, iFixit applauds Google for using clips to hold the display in place. It notes that this would allow users or technicians to easily clip the display back in place without replacing the glue, but that waterproofing would be sacrificed. There’s also the finding of a publicly available official utility for recalibrating a new screen and its fingerprint sensor, assuming the replacement is a genuine component, to begin with.
When it comes to fixing the Pixel 6 Pro, it’s not all roses and sunshine, and Google made a few mistakes, even if they were made with the best intentions. The strange battery pull tab, for example, may have been the most perplexing component within the phone, as it appears to accomplish nothing but provide false hope. The black graphite stickers also make it tough to remove components, and the soldered USB-C connector makes replacing them even more difficult.
Overall, Google appears to have gone out of its way to make changing the Pixel 6 screen as simple as possible, even if it is unlikely to encourage the third-party repair sector. It’s hoped that the trend will continue, but considering Google’s track record, anything might happen at this point.