Pixel 6 Pro teardown and reassembly reveal a few surprises

The Pixel 6 Pro might be Google's most exciting phone after the first Pixel in 2016. That's from all aspects of the phone, from the hardware to the software and even to the design. As with many big changes, that might have incurred a few costs, some of them hidden. A teardown of the Pixel 6 Pro now reveals what those are, and it's a mixed bag that could have third-party repair technicians scratching their heads in confusion.

It isn't just the outside of the Pixel 6 Pro that has been changed drastically this year. After all, the external design also requires some changes inside. That, in turn, would affect how easily phones can be repaired, especially when performed by advanced DIY users or third-party shops.

Hugh Jeffreys performed that teardown with another goal in mind beyond just judging the Pixel 6 Pro's repairability. Serialization, or matching hardware components with specific phone units, is becoming a trend that Apple is really pushing to the forefront. In a nutshell, this means that if you swap out a different component, like a display or camera, those pieces run the risk of not working in a different phone, even if all the pieces come from original phones.

To test that, however, the YouTuber had to first disassemble two Pixel 6 Pros, and that alone was an arduous task. While the display was easier to remove thanks to its weak adhesive and smaller clips, the battery wasn't as cooperative. The strange pull tabs only gave false hope and were practically useless in the end, at least as far as Jeffreys was concerned.

When it came to reassembling the two phones with swapped logic boards, everything seemed to work fine except for one feature. While the display did work with a different board, the in-screen fingerprint sensor didn't. This is actually to be expected since it's a measure designed to prevent compromising a phone's security by simply changing the screen.

What Google does differently from any other manufacturer, however, is to actually provide a tool to recalibrate that display with the new logic board. Normally, this tool would only be available to authorized service providers, just like what Apple does, but Google is making it available for free for everyone. Whether that works only with original Pixel 6 Pro displays is a different question, but it's still a step in the right direction.

Unfortunately, the entire repair process for the Pixel 6 Pro is far from ideal, and the lack of modular parts on the logic board makes replacing even the USB-C port an expensive endeavor. Google has to be given credit for going beyond what others do in providing that display recalibration tool, especially in light of the iPhone 13's own repairability problem, but, as Jeffreys noted, it should probably be something that is the norm, rather than a laudable exception.