For better or worse, most people don’t go anywhere without their phones. They’re our lifeline, our constant companion, our conduit to Snapchat selfies. Our phones spend their lives in our pockets, in our purses, and in our hands. And because they go where we go—even environments that aren’t exactly phone-friendly, like the bathroom—they have a tendency to break more often than other gadgets. In fact, about half of smartphone owners around the world have cracked a screen at least once.
That’s why we take apart so many phones at iFixit. We want to know how easy they’ll be to fix. In 2016, we took apart everything from the iPhone 7 to the (now recalled) Note7. After every teardown, we assign the phones a repairability score based on ease-of-disassembly.
Here’s how a few of this year’s more notable phones did on our teardown table:
As you can see, the LG G5 was the most repairable phone we took apart this year—nabbing itself a very respectable 8/10 on our repairability scale. But the Google Pixel phones and the iPhone 7 line were right on LG’s tail, both earning 7/10 for repair (though our teardown engineers tell me that the Pixel was a tad easier to take apart). The iPhone SE didn’t do too badly either, grabbing a mid-pack 6/10.
Samsung’s Galaxy phones, on the other hand, tanked this year. The Samsung Galaxy Note7 only mustered a 4—before exploding batteries forced Samsung to recall those phones. Of course, had the batteries been easier to remove and replace, Samsung might’ve been able to cool the jets of the year’s biggest PR disaster. At the rear of the pack: the Samsung Galaxy S7/Edge with just a 3/10. They were the least repairable phones we took apart in 2016. In years past, Galaxy phones have been very modular, so it’s a little sad for us to see Samsung go down the path of glued-together phones.
Of course, thousands of models of phones were released this year. We can’t take them all apart, so it’s likely some very repairable and very not repairable phones also deserve a mention on this list. If you know of one, tell us about it in the comments. And be sure to check out all our other teardowns on iFixit.com/teardowns.