When you buy a smartphone, you don’t expect something to go wrong, but accidents happen. The screen might crack, the back might not stay on, buttons may get stuck, etc. If you can’t easily repair your phone, you might have to shell out another $200 (or maybe even much more) to replace it. Here are the best and worst models for DIY smartphone repairs:
The Best of the Best
The folks over at iFixit recently ranked the most popular smartphones on what they’ve dubbed “repairability.” Keep in mind that these phones aren’t ranked for their overall build quality, speed, display resolution, or other specifications. These are simply the phones that are easiest to repair without serious modifications and technical expertise.
Motorola DROID Bionic
Motorola offers a variety of phones, but none is as easy to repair as the DROID Bionic. Unlike many smartphones, the Bionic’s battery can be replaced in a matter of seconds without any tools. A modular design lets anyone remove faulty parts without tearing out multiple components. Because it’s now two years old, you can find replacement parts for the DROID Bionic for next to nothing.
Nearly as popular as the iPhone, the Galaxy S4 is about as easy to repair as the DROID Bionic. The battery comes out in seconds, and you can access all of the S4’s vital components simply by popping off the rear panel. Unfortunately, a few of the components are attached to the screen’s backside.
Say what you will about Blackberry, but the company makes rugged, dependable phones that are easily repairable. Although the battery comes out in just a few seconds, you’ll need to unscrew the back plate to open the phone up. However, you’re less likely to break the case if you accidentally drop it.
The Worst of the Worst
At the other end of the spectrum, you’ll find phones that are all but impossible to repair. These phones are so difficult to repair that even the phone’s manufacturer will often choose to replace it instead of attempting to fix it.
A DIY smartphone repair of the HTC One is nothing more than a source of endless despair and frustration. Any attempt to open the phone is all but guaranteed to damage the case. Good luck ordering repair parts — HTC had to delay the One due to part shortages. While those issues might be cleared up by now, you’ll never pry the case apart without destroying it. If your HTC One is damaged, there’s almost no chance that you or HTC can repair it.
While newer iPhone models get decent repairability marks, the original was a DIY nightmare. Components were jammed into the case, and components were often glued or soldered together. If you want to repair the original iPhone, set aside at least 20 minutes just to disassemble it.
Motorola DROID RAZR
Remember when we said the DROID Bionic was a fantastic and repairable phone? The DROID RAZR is the complete opposite. While the case isn’t too difficult to pry off, the battery is firmly attached to the motherboard. Attempts to pry it off often result in irreparable damage.
So, if you’re one to frequently damage your phone and don’t have the extra cash to spend on a new one…it might be smart to consider the repairability of the phone model you decide to purchase!