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

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.