HTC One Earns 1 Star for Repairability, Where’s the Scorn?

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The HTC One earned a 1 out of 10 Repairability Score from iFixIt on Friday, the first time a device earned such a score. Will that result in legions of Apple critics leveling their wrath on HTC? Don't count on it.

The HTC One is one of the most highly-regarded Android devices on the market. Until Samsung announced the Galaxy S4, it might have been the most advanced Android device, too, but either way it's an impressive bit of kit in terms of specs.

It's thin, it's light, it has a big battery, a big screen. What's not to like?

It turns out HTC achieved all those things in part because the HTC One is glued together. There's another company that does a lot of gluing to achieve thinner form factors, and that's Apple—the company has also invested in molecular bonding technologies for its new iMac.

Of course, when Apple does it, there's always a critic around to slam the company and the device for its lack of repairability, and god(s) forbid the inability to trade out the battery not get its time in the Limelight of Scorn™.

The HTC One is the least repairable device yet, far less so than any iPhone model yet released. From iFixIt:

It turns out that the HTC One's guts are glued into the machined aluminum casing. So if you want to replace anything inside, at best you'll just disfigure the perimeter of the device. Even worse, you may inadvertently mangle a speaker or cable during the opening process.

HTC One Teardown Pic

iFixIt Teardown Image
Caption: "While the display can be lifted, it can't be removed as it is still connected via the display ribbon cables, which are routed underneath the case assembly."

The iPhone 5, on the other hand, was named the most repairable iPhone yet by Elizabeth Chamberlain and Kyle Wiens of iFixit. They noted that for, "the first time in its history, Apple managed to make a phone with both a display and a battery you can change out in less than five minutes."

That didn't result in praise for the iPhone 5 from its earlier critics, just like I haven't caught a whiff of criticism being aimed at the HTC One. At the end of the day, neither factoid should be all that surprising.

I'd bet dollars to donuts that the only thing that will come out the HTC One revelation is that the Apple haters will suddenly wake up to the reality that batteries that can't be replaced are a non-issue. Some might even decide that the thinness you get from gluing a device is well worth the trade-off in repairability.

All of which is just another day in the weird world of stupid when it comes to Apple.

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8 Comments Leave Your Own

geoduck

I’d bet dollars to donuts that the only thing that will come out the HTC One revelation is that the Apple haters will suddenly wake up to the reality that batteries that can’t be replaced are a non-issue. Some might even decide that the thinness you get from gluing a device is well worth the trade-off in repairability.

I wouldn’t count on it. They’ll still criticize Apple and ignore that everyone else is doing the same thing.

mrmwebmax

+

Geoduck said:

I wouldn’t count on it. They’ll still criticize Apple and ignore that everyone else is doing the same thing.

*cough* Foxconn *cough* Offshore cheap Asian manufacturing *cough*....

Cecil Gabriel

Personally I wouldn’t care if it was a half inch thick as long as it was a great phone and had a battery that was replaceable and lasted a couple days with moderate use. I think those clamoring for thinner phones are definately the minority of phone users.

Terrin

I love Apple’s iPhone 5, which is the nicest phone I have ever held. With that said, Apple’s push for thinness is sometimes a little wacky. For instance, why does the iMac, designed to sit on your desk, have to be terribly thin? Moreover, the thinness is at the expense of usability. I’d rather Apple give me back the combo drive. and make the computer easy to access.

ibuck

Doesn’t gluing make cell phones unable to be recycled? So there are toxins that then get into groundwater? Where’s the condemnation over that?

To me, being lightweight and feeling comfortable in your hand is more important for a pocketable device than thinness, which can make phones seem flimsy and slippery. Battery life is crucial. And I agree with Terrin that thinness in a desktop Mac is pointless and unnecessary.

Dallan

I’m not sure you’ve been paying as much attention to the buzz around the HTC One as I have, but if you haven’t seen a whiff of criticism for HTC going the unibody/irreplacable battery/no SD card route, you’re clearly not looking for it. Every single comment thread about the phone turns into a flamewar about that very issue, and HTC vs. Samsung slapfights are almost as bad as iOS vs. Android slapfights.

Christ, people, they’re just phones.

mbcls

you can have both!  thin and removable battery!  Samsung galaxy s4!

Riley

With such a good design and features like a new camera, aluminum casing and a 1080p display, it’s not surprise that it’s hard to repair. I’m definitely buying a case when I get an HTC One in the next few weeks. Considering how long it takes to get to work at DISH sometimes, I like to keep myself busy by watching my live and recorded shows on my phone. I can stream any show from my DVR wherever I go using the DISH Anywhere app and I think it will work well on a full HD display.

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