Teardown claims Essential Phone is hard-to-repair 'hot mess'

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A new teardown of one of the latest Apple iPhone competitors, the Essential Phone, claims that the device is fundamentally disorganized inside, a sign of it being a first-generation product.

The insides of the phone are a "hot mess," iFixit said on Tuesday, with "pick-and-choose, randomly layered components," too much glue, and "miserable modularity." The USB-C port for example is soldered directly to a massive motherboard, and the front camera and earpiece are part of a single module.

The amount of glue used in the device is said to be so much that iFixit was forced to freeze the phone and heat it back up to remove the back cover. In trying to get at the insides of the device, the firm ended up breaking the display.

All of Essential's design decisions are said to make the phone virtually unrepairable, with any attempt "likely to inflict as much damage as it fixes."

By contrast iFixit scored Apple's iPhone 7 a 7 out of 10 on repairability, complaining mainly about the use of tri-point screws and tougher access as a result of waterproofing.

Essential is a new company from former Google executive and Android creator Andy Rubin. The Phone is its first product, and notably features an edge-to-edge, 5.71-inch display, which has been compared to the 5.8-inch OLED screen on Apple's upcoming "iPhone 8." Indeed both phones have a sensor notch up top that interrupts the display, although Essential's product moves some items to what little bezel remains.

Apple is due to showcase the "iPhone 8" and several other new products at a Sept. 12 press event.