The Pixel 4a’s less than premium body normally implies a less than rugged phone. On the upside, that usually means a phone that’s also easy to open up and repair. If the Pixel 3a was anything to go by, iFixit’s silent, or should we say ASMR-inspired, teardown should be straightforward and uneventful. Unfortunately, they do say looks can be deceiving and the Pixel 4a definitely falls into that category, lulling technicians into a sense of security before springing its cable traps to snare their tools.
It begins simply enough, something the nearly-silent teardown video almost tries to suggest. iFixit discovered that opening up the Pixel 4a is almost like the Pixel 3a. Very little heat is needed to pry the display from the rest of the body and single display cable waits to be carefully disconnected before unscrewing the midframe.
That, however, is where the similarities end. iFixit notes that, unlike the Pixel 3a, the Pixel 4a’s mainboard actually comes off with the midframe. But more importantly, there are apparently quite a number of thin cables that need to be detached first, but not before carefully removing a metal shield to be able to detach them in the first place.
The rest of the teardown, fortunately, proceeds in peace (and relative silence, of course). The battery needed a bit of coaxing from some alcohol but ironically also had hidden adhesive straps underneath that should have made it easier to remove. Of course, Google, like all phone makers, is against such a removal, anyway.
iFixit didn’t give the Pixel 4a a score yet but, if we would take a guess, it would score lower than the Pixel 3a’s 6, maybe a 4 out of 10. The initial screen removal may have been relatively easy but Google definitely didn’t make the rest of the construction in the same way.