Google’s Pixel 5a has a headphone jack, but you better hope the USB-C port never breaks. The fact that it is soldered directly to the motherboard rather than being a separate component is a contributing factor to its average repairability score of 5/10, according to a new teardown from the YouTube channel. PBKreviews.
The Pixel 5a is Google’s mid-range 5G smartphone and a direct successor to the popular 5G Pixel 4a. Although it is slightly larger than the latter and now waterproof, it is equipped with almost the same internals, including a Snapdragon 765G, 6GB of RAM, and a 60Hz panel. It’s a solid mid-range phone for $ 449, albeit essentially an interim device until Google unveils the Pixel 6 family that will use its new Tensor mobile chip.
The good news is that the 6.34-inch OLED screen is relatively easy to replace, as you can remove it simply by heating it up and using a pry tool to remove it. The battery and motherboard are also fairly straightforward to access, once you remove the numerous screws and take out the large metal cover.
From there, however, things get complicated. The battery is solidly glued to the case and the lever tab intended to help remove it is “pretty useless,” according to PBKreviews. Instead, they had to use rubbing alcohol to loosen the glue before the battery could be removed. The other problem is that the USB-C port is connected directly to the motherboard, so repairing it would be “difficult,” according to the video.
Overall though, the Pixel 5a seems to be a bit easier to repair than its predecessor. While you may not try to fix it yourself, that means it might be a bit easier to find a local service if you prefer not to submit it to Google. The teardown also shows a solid-looking device with water resistance as a great new benefit, so hopefully all of that will add up to a reliable device that won’t need any repairs in the first place.
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