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New HTC One (M8) barely improves repairability, remains one of hardest to repair smartphones


Following yesterday’s official launch of HTC’s new flagship smartphone, the new HTC One (M8), today we get our first look inside of the device courtesy of a teardown from our friends over at iFixit. In case you forgot, last year’s model, the first generation HTC One, got the all-time worst repairability score ever from the site, and the new generation unfortunately hasn’t made any big improvements. First, the good stuff:

Screws! Glorious screws! Here’s the missing link to make this unibody design repairable. Whenever we see gobs of adhesive and tough clips replaced with screws, we know we’re in for a (slightly) happier time…. To our delight, the pesky display cables of yesteryear have given way to spring contacts—so this time, the phone assembly comes out cleanly… No mangled aluminum here—the rear case remains intact. Apart from the NFC antenna and some nice machine work, there’s not much to see.

While getting the rear case off proved easier, one area that iFixit found to be not improved from last year is the glued-down motherboard. The site also noted that “you have to remove the motherboard to get to the battery, again, which is more than lightly adhered to the LCD shield.”

In the end the HTC One (M8) gets a 2 out of 10 repairability score, slightly up from the 1 out of 10 score for the previous generation, but a long way from the 7 or 8 out of 10 given to devices like the iPhone, Samsung’s Galaxy line, and the Nexus 5. Here’s a summary of iFixit’s observations followed by the chips it found inside the device and a video of the teardown:

  • It’s very difficult—although no longer impossible—to open the device without damaging the rear case. This makes every component extremely difficult to replace.
  • The battery is buried beneath the motherboard and adhered to the midframe, hindering its replacement.
  • The display assembly cannot be replaced without tunneling through the entire phone. This makes one of most common repairs, a damaged screen, very difficult to accomplish.
  • Copious amounts of tape, adhesive, and copper shielding make many components difficult to remove and replace.
  • Solid external construction improves durability.

As for specs, here’s a list of internal chips that you won’t find on a specs sheet:

  • Elpida FA164A2PM 2 GB RAM + Qualcomm Snapdragon 801 quad-core 2.3 GHz CPU
  • SanDisk SDIN8DE4 32 GB NAND flash memory
  • STMicroelectronics 0100 AA 9058401 MYS
  • Qualcomm PM8941 and PM8841 power management ICs
  • Avago ACPM-7600 power amplifier module
  • Synaptics S3528A touchscreen controller
  • Qualcomm WTR1625L RF transceiver and WTR1625 (modem?)
  • NXP 44701 NFC controller
  • Qualcomm QFE1550 dynamic antenna matching tuner


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Avatar for Jordan Kahn Jordan Kahn

Jordan writes about all things Apple as Senior Editor of 9to5Mac, & contributes to 9to5Google, 9to5Toys, & He also co-authors 9to5Mac’s weekly Logic Pros series and makes music as one half of Toronto-based Makamachine.