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iFixit cracks open the Pixel 3a to see what makes it tick

The folks at iFixit have got their hands and various tools on Google’s brand new Pixel 3a. Having opened it up to see what’s inside and how repairable it is, there’s some good news: the 3a is Google’s most fixable handset since the Pixel 2 XL.

While the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL sunk to repairability scores of 4/10 and 3/10, the Pixel 3a manages a solid 6/10. It’s not that any repair is going to be easy, but it is at least easier.

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While repairing the flagship Pixel 3 and 3 XL is hindered by a glass rear panel that has to be painstakingly unglued, the polycarbonate rear of the Pixel 3a makes things much easier to get to. On top of this, it maintains the only two good points of the Pixel 3 and 3 XL: it only uses standard T3 Torx fasteners, and it has a repair-friendly stretch-release adhesive to hold the battery in place.

Finally iFixit praises the modular nature of most the components, which makes for easy replacements once the screen (a Samsung panel, it turns out) has been removed.

But it’s not a complete picnic: the main issue the engineers had was “the myriad long, thin ribbon cables” which “can be obnoxious to work around, and are easy to accidentally tear.”

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“While taking this phone apart was far from a ‘snap’, we did enjoy some of the throwbacks to a prior, more-repairable era,” the company wrote. Just one more thing to like about a pair of phones that we were very impressed with when we reviewed them.

You can see a video of the Pixel 3a XL getting the teardown treatment below.

Would you get a cheaper Pixel for the knowledge that it’s a bit easier to fix? Let us know what you think on Twitter: @TrustedReviews.

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