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Which devices are the most stubborn to repair?

Now, you might think that smartphone repairs are simple. Sure, take the screen out and pop a new one on. What could be so difficult? The question people should be asking, however, is “what could go wrong”. The answer to that is – a lot. weFix’s technicians are some of the best on this planet or any other, understanding that every phone works differently, with the knowledge to repair hundreds of devices. Here are some of the most difficult smartphones to repair, according to industry specialists.

Samsung Galaxy Fold (2019)

While technically not available yet, Samsung’s brand new Galaxy Fold – which has a local announced price of around R43,000 according to Samsung – is ranked as the most fragile premium smartphone to date with a bad reparability score. YouTube DIY personality Jerry Rig Everything did a teardown of the device, showing a lack of protection of the main display with the folds and hinges certainly deteriorating overtime. Furthermore, the Galaxy Fold has two batteries, so should they require replacement that process alone may risk damage to the display. 

Samsung Galaxy S6 Edge (2015)

Samsung polarized the industry with its Galaxy S-Edge which features a screen that spills over the sides. While this looks pretty, it also means that it’s a whole lot easier to damage especially if you’re not rocking the appropriate cover. While the screen replacement for the most part doesn’t deter even the newbiest of weFix technicians, the stubborn battery is stuck to the back of the display. To get there, some will and might is required to get through the strong adhesive seal. You’re not done though, as the battery is sandwiched between the motherboard and the display. Yeah. Not fun at all. 

iPhone (2007)

The first iPhone is now among the most iconic pieces of technology and was really the standard for releases after 2007, and not just for Apple. However, repairing the little bugger is cumbersome. Hidden clips make the back cover damn near impossible to open without risking a scratch here or there and the battery is soldered into place. Fortunately, the original iPhone doesn’t come around often, keeping our technicians relatively sane. 

Huawei Mate 10 Pro (2017)

One thing most Huawei owners would agree on is the stellar build quality of their devices, which is also covered by a nifty FREE screen replacement for premium-tier handsets. But any technician will tell you that the Mate 10 Pro is about as stubborn as any. For this device, if the front camera is damaged there is a high chance that the entire display needs to be replaced. Additionally, the display needs to be removed for most repairs.

We spoke to Ryan Veldsman, National Technical Manager at weFix about some of the most difficult repairs for smartphones.

Q: So, overall, which part on a smartphone is generally the toughest to repair? 
A: Smartphone repair difficulty varies by make and model.  Faulty mainboard components are to hardest to repair as it requires advanced troubleshooting and special tooling in order to achieve a successful repair.  These repairs should only be attempted by the most skilled and experienced technicians.

Q: Have you ever struggled to replace a part that should be otherwise easier?
Samsung J series 2017 models and later require the LCD to be removed before the device can be opened which requires special tooling provided by the manufacturer.  The device first needs to undergo a heating process to weaken the adhesive, thereafter it needs to be placed in the opening tool (JIG) and then carefully opened.

Samsung S series batteries are the most difficult to replace on this range as they are stuck on the back of the LCD with strong adhesive.  Bear in mind the rear glass panel is also stuck to the middle frame with glue and needs to be removed before you get to the battery.

Q: What sort of recommendations do you have for people who are trying to repair their own devices?
A: I would never advise anyone to repair their device themselves due to the complexity of design on most devices.  For example, replacing a screen on an iPhone 6/7/8/10 might sound like a simple process but is an extremely delicate process as the home button or face id module/functionality can easily be damaged. Special tooling is also required and quite expensive.

I would always recommend customers to take  their devices to a repair specialist for the following reasons:  technicians at repair specialists are experienced, for warranty devices, customers will maintain their warranty if repaired by an authorised repair centre 

It certainly sounds like smartphone repairs are much more complicated than we think. Not only does weFix have some of the most talented men and women repairing some of the most complex and diverse pieces of technology today, they’re also better equipped to do so. Oftentimes informal repairers will cut corners to repair your device, or use inferior tools to access and fiddle with sensitive components. With weFix, you don’t need to worry about that one bit. Your stubborn device will be taken care of. Because #WeMakeItBetter