Pixel XL teardown reveals modular components, earpiece mesh made of cloth & more

By , Oct 21, 2016

Google Pixel XL iFixIt teardown 002

YouTubers like JerryRigEverything and repair wizards over at iFixit tore apart their Pixel XL smartphone from Google to peek under its hood, revealing easily removed battery, standard screws, the use of modular internal components that can be replaced independently and—quite surprisingly—the front-facing earpiece slit which is made of cloth.

Launched on October 4, both new Google-designed smartphones, the Pixel and Pixel XL, are exclusive to Verizon in the U.S. Contract-free Pixels are available via Google’s online store and from Best Buy.

Before we get to the teardown, YouTuber JerryRigEverything yesterday conducted a durability test of his Pixel XL, confirming that the speaker slit is made of cloth.

“This is the first thing that surprised me,” said the YouTuber. “The earpiece made is made of cloth unlike the plastic and metal speaker grilles on other phones.”

Google Pixel XL earpiece made of cloth

It will be interesting seeing how the use of cloth affects audio quality over time, but cleaning the earpiece won’t be a trivial affair due to possible puncturing.

Pixel XL has these key features:

  • 5.5-inch 534ppi AMOLED display with 1,440 x 2,560 resolution
  • Curved 2.5D Gorilla Glass 4
  • 64-bit Qualcomm Snapdragon 821 processor with a pair of 2.15 GHz high-performance CPU cores and two power-efficient 1.6 GHz cores
  • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
  • 12.3-megapixel f/2.0 back camera with phase detection autofocus, laser detection autofocus, no unsightly bump and no optical image stabiliziation
  • 8-megapixel front camera
  • 32 GB or 128 GB built-in storage
  • Pixel Imprint back-mounted fingerprint sensor
  • USB Type-C port and 3.5 mm headphone port
  • No Home button (onscreen button instead)
  • Android 7.1 Nougat

Now on to iFixit’s teardown analysis.

The Pixel XL uses standard T5 Torx screens, unlike Apple’s special Pentalobe screws in the iPhone. The vivid Samsung-made AMOLED panel separates from the digitizer glass easily. The display assembly not so much due to thin components and no frame or bezel behind the display.

The touch controller is a Synaptics ClearPad S3708 module.

Google Pixel XL iFixIt teardown 003

iFixit notes that Google has a different take on the “pull to remove” battery tab in the form of a perforated portion of the sleeve that, when peeled away (without heat), “becomes an impressive pull tab.”

The HTC-made 13.28 Wh battery beats out the iPhone 7 Plus’s 11.1 Wh battery, but falls behind the 13.86 Wh one in the Galaxy S7 Edge (the Note 7 packed a 13.48 Wh battery).

iFixit praises Google’s use of modular components that can be easily replaced, like the 3.5mm headphone jack, the front-facing camera and an interconnect board with a status LED, an ambient light sensor and a microphone.

Google Pixel XL iFixIt teardown 004

iFixit wrote:

These smaller bits aren’t always so modular. In other phones, we often find them clustered together on the main board. More modularity means cheaper and easier repairs—if a single component fails, you don’t have to replace the entire motherboard or embark on a risky microsoldering adventure.

Other components iFixit was able to identify include an NXP-made NFC controller, Samsung-made NAND flash chips and Qualcomm-made audio codec, dynamic antenna matching tuner, LTE RF transceiver, power management circuitry and fast-charging Quick Charge 3.0 platform.

The USB Type-C port is a bare-bones part, meaning cheap USB port replacements. Component design and layout point to the Pixel being the first truly Google-made smartphones in a way that the Nexus family was not.

“With nearly everything out of the case, we’ve seen almost zero evidence of this phone’s HTC manufacturing origin” aside from the HTC mark on the battery, notes iFixit.

Google Pixel XL iFixIt teardown 005

As mentioned, most parts can be easily replaced once the display assembly is removed because most parts are modular, the battery has a removal tab and is adhered by a modest amount of adhesive and the screws are standard T5 Torx ones.

In conclusion, iFixit gave the Pixel XL a repairability score of six out of ten, the best repairability score of any HTC-manufactured device.

Source: iFixit

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  • Agneev Mukherjee

    YouTubers like JerryRigEverything and repair wizards over at iFixIt tore apart their Pixel XL smartphone from Google to peek under its hood, revealing easily removed battery, standard screws, the use of modular internal components that can be replaced independently and—quite surprisingly—the front-facing earpiece slit which is made of cloth.

    Now on to iFixIt’s teardown analysis.

    iFixiIt notes that Google has a different take on the “pull to remove” battery tab in the form of a perforated portion of the sleeve that, when peeled away (without heat), “becomes an impressive pull tab.”

    iFixIt praises Google’s use of modular components that can be easily replaced, like the 3.5mm headphone jack, the front-facing camera and an interconnect board with a status LED, an ambient light sensor and a microphone.

    iFixIt wrote:

    Other components iFixIt was able to identify include an NXP-made NFC controller, Samsung-made NAND flash chips and Qualcomm-made audio codec, dynamic antenna matching tuner, LTE RF transceiver, power management circuitry and fast-charging Quick Charge 3.0 platform.

    “With nearly everything out of the case, we’ve seen almost zero evidence of this phone’s HTC manufacturing origin” aside from the HTC mark on the battery, notes iFixIt.

    In conclusion, iFixIt gave the Pixel XL a repairability score of six out of ten, the best repairability score of any HTC-manufactured device.

    Source: iFixIt

    Y’all guys just changed iFixit to iFixIt everywhere in this article…

    • Me too 😀 Thanks for the heads-up!

      • Agneev Mukherjee

        You’re welcome 😀

  • leart

    I’m wondering how much Google payed to get reviews for this device, i mean not in this site but around the internet lol

    • Matt

      Just as much as every other company smh…

      • leart

        i dont think so.. really, google has no appeal at all

      • Dave Kurt

        A lot… YouTube, for instance, it’s riddled with corruption. These influential internet personalities have, for a long time, been advocates of the Android operating system… Bashing the iPhone for the ‘lack’ of features; water resistance, expendable storage, wireless charging, et cetera. So I ask, how can these people who have bashed the iPhone for the lack of these features, in the same damn breath, praise the Google pixel?! Like, of course, now it doesn’t matter… Of course, now it’s simplicity that matters. 😀 Get real!

        What made the iPhone sh*t is what makes the Pixel good? Great logic.

  • leart
  • Eww it’s just another HTC no thank you.

  • askep3

    If the iPhone 7 had an 8 megapixel front facing camera they could’ve advertised it as just as good as the 6’s actual camera (if it performed just as well of course)

  • 5723alex .

    It is almost impossible to teardown the Pixel without breaking the screen.

  • Matt Foot

    Overpriced, over-hyped junk. I can buy 3-6 pristine Lenovo ThinkPad laptops for the same price, get WAY more productivity out of them, and they’ll outlast this junk by 10-15 years!

    • Legend

      Thinkpads are crap laptops.. you’d be lucky if you got a year out of them… Lets not kid ourselves.

      • Matt Foot

        Sure, they *really* must be awful if they are the ONLY laptops that have, and are certified by NASA for use on space missions for many years. Yep, only a year of use can be had from them… that’s why I am typing this on a Lenovo ThinkPad R61, released in 2007 and STILL working flawlessly. Yep, that seems to give credence to your statement, eh? My Uncle has a *sixteen* year old ThinkPad T21 (okay, very slow) STILL working perfectly and in long time use since day one.

        Yep, continuing this trend of being “crap laptops” is the 760E, released in the mid 1990s, STILL WORKING PERFECTLY as seen in my video, here:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_63iPYjW0Ms

        And finally we have a brand new, consumer grade smartphone, so new and shiny as to be an unknown quantity, but what IS known is that the likelihood of it still being in undamaged, full working order and serviceable in 21 years time, is ZERO.

        Maybe SOME of the more recent, consumer grade Lenovo notebooks are rubbish, yes, but not ALL.

        So… tell me again about how “crap” ThinkPads are?

      • Legend

        BRUV buy a REAL laptop …. like a Macbook pro…. CLOWN. Can’t afford it? Can only afford $100? that’s your fault BUM

      • Matt Foot

        I am not your “bruv”, sonny Jim. Being able to afford something or not is irrelevant – if I wanted ten MacBook Pro laptops I’d buy them TOMORROW. Don’t confuse wealth with intelligence, you’re a shining example of that fallacy falling flat on its face. Any fool can be rich, but only the biggest fool makes assumptions regarding the things they think other “ought to buy”.

        Cheerio.

      • Legend

        BRUV… you have a THINKPAD!!!! You’re broke. I’M DONE LMFAOOOOO

      • Matt Foot

        Making the common mistake of assuming wealth increases intelligence… gosh, you’re really up the creek if you think so. You’re a shining example of someone as shallow and superficial as to not notice your own deficiencies and the foolishness of your erroneous assumptions.

        Duh. You can’t fix stupid.