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iFixit Tears Down the New Moto X, So You Don't Have To

timothy posted about 8 months ago | from the don't-do-this-over-a-grate dept.

Cellphones 52

iFixit's been breaking devices and voiding warranties for years now; latest on their chopping block is the new Moto X from Motorola, a phone hawked as much for its customizability and place of manufacture (the U.S.) as for anything else. You might expect a highly hyped, ultra-customizable phone to be made of high-end components and ultra-repairable as well. iFixit's teardown commentary has both some good and only-middlin' things to say about the innards, but very little bad. They call out the highly modular headphone jack, and say "a considerable amount of effort went in to the internal design of this device; the number of clips and contacts we've found so far is a great testament to that."

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52 comments

Dice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44671477)

So this means I should buy the phone right?

Re:Dice. (3, Informative)

Shavano (2541114) | about 8 months ago | (#44671535)

They do teardown reports all the time. The site is oriented to people who want to repair gadgets. So what they're showing here is largely how to take the phone apart. It's also interesting to those of us who want to know how things are made and what components are in our stuff.

Re:Dice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44671663)

Why yes, yes that's true.

It's astonishing! Simply astonishing!

Yes Yes and Yes (3, Interesting)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 8 months ago | (#44671603)

...at least if Google/Motorola have done their Market research right. They have clearly created a phone that is easily put together, so you as a consumer can have a phone that matches your lifestyle (football team, car, personality or simply favourite colours), and Google still manages to assemble in America, with a JIT inventory and a 4 day turnaround.

That and the the fact that everyone from large companies to small individuals often don't throw things away when they do break. This may be against Apple/Microsoft disposable electronics, but many here would prefer to fix something than throw it away...Its fun and rewarding. I just took my current phone apart to swap colours from black to white.

The bottom line is this is a great phone; this is simply another feature.

Re:Yes Yes and Yes (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44671915)

Will you ever stop sucking Googles cock?

It's a remarkably average phone that when released they had to pull one part of the customization options because they couldn't get it right.

People have been engraving on stuff for years and Google managed to goof that.

http://tech2.in.com/news/smartphones/motorola-pulls-custom-moto-x-engraving-feature-focuses-on-quality-control/911612 [in.com]

Gay for Google (5, Informative)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 8 months ago | (#44672207)

Will you ever stop sucking Googles cock? It's a remarkably average phone

To put the Moto X some kind of perspective

The iPhone 5
==========
1.3Ghx dual-core CPU
GPU (three cores) @325 MHz
1GB LPDDR2-1066 RAM
4 in (100 mm) diagonal 640 × 1,136 pixels (326 ppi)

The Moto X
=========
1.7Ghz dual-core
GPU (quad-core) @400 MHz
2 GB LP-DDR2
4.7 in (120 mm) diagonal 1280x720 (316 ppi)

To put it in some kind of perspective it destroys Apples Flagship Phone. You are right though its not the fastest or has the most cores or is the largest *Android* Phone, but then it made the choice to focus on customising the phone and desirable features such as active notifications , focusing on what was important, and making an elegant phone...if they got their research right.

You are not wrong, I have seen many features things on for example Nokia phones before they became another "Designed in" company, but then I like the old features like hardware keyboard(back on the droid), waterproofing(On the latest Sony Z), IR (on the HTC One)....now where are those Internal FM transmitters.

Re: Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672271)

Am I the only geek that does not look at CPU/GPU specs on smartphones anymore? Granted, the first few gens were too slow... but now I only look at battery life and screen size/res.

Also, do those Ghz/Mgz comparisons even hold up or are we comparing apples to oranges?

The spec are need by the OS (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672535)

Only a fanboy will overlook at the fact that the specs are more of a requirement of the OS than actually something useful .... and the OS still manages to be SLUGGISH and UNSTABLE.

And that is ignoring the fact that Android was designed to be spyware for Google.

Jobs Hates Flash (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 8 months ago | (#44672607)

Only a fanboy will overlook at the fact that the specs are more of a requirement of the OS than actually something useful

Hold on there. A smart phone is more than an OS that is the point. The reason why Apple phones couldn't run Flash while Android phones could...is the something useful. The something useful is your first party...and your third party applications. Those specifications define how and what games can do. Apple already is missing out on whole countries worth of Applications...already fallen 100,000 applications behind Google, but it looks to be finding itself unable to run the latest games.

Re:Jobs Hates Flash (3, Informative)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 8 months ago | (#44674163)

The reason why Apple phones couldn't run Flash while Android phones could...is the something useful

Except Adobe abandoned Flash on mobile devices - the latest you can get is 11.1 for Android 4.0.x. You can probably install it on Jelly Bean, but it isn't supported and given the way the default browser is Chrome...

And they abandoned it because of the iPhone.

The real question is - how does this phone compare to the Androids sold today. As in what Androids are currently selling. Is it going to move as many as the SGS3 (60M - best selling Android phone model) out of 900M Androids? It seems the vast majority of them aren't the flagship devices that we keep seeing, but all the various free ones (including the SGS*2* derived ones).

Then there's the whole screen thing - if you want any Android phone with a screen smaller than 4.5", you're SOL. Poor processors, poor screens, poor memory... seems like no one wants a flagship phone with a smaller screen for those of us who prefer to use phones single-handedly.

Re:Jobs Hates Flash (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 8 months ago | (#44676809)

You think getting a small screen his hard? try finding a high end phone with a good slide out physical keyboard these days.

The Samsung Relay is the only one I could find on t-mobile that was even remotely usable, and its keyboard is worse than the old Samsung Epic I had before switching providers.

Re:Jobs Hates Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44680965)

Xiaomi Mi2s [gsmarena.com]

Processor: 1.7GHz Quadcore Snapdragon 600
GPU : Adreno 320
Ram : 2GB DDR3 (think)
Storage : 16GB/32GB
Display : 4.3 inches @ 720x1280
OS : Android 4.1 with MIUI V5

The phone is apparently faster than anything except for the Samsung Galaxy S4 (octa-core version) :-)

Re:Jobs Hates Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682857)

It's slower than both versions of the S4, especially the non "octa-core" version which uses a quad core Krait at a higher clockspeed. The "octa-core" version is just a dual quad core that swaps out which set it uses depending on performance requirements to save battery. It's a hack and at no time are all eight cores active simultaneously.

Re:Jobs Hates Flash (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44675567)

Dude, get on with it. Flash died when Adobe bought Macromedia. Along with Freehand.

Re:Jobs Hates Flash (1)

dindi (78034) | about 8 months ago | (#44676513)

Not running flash? ... I am going slowly the way, that my browsers don't have flash installed in them. I have one with flash on my laptop. The rest is better without. If in 2013 a site doesn't offer me a html/js version of its content, then I don't want the content it offers.

I picked this attitude up when started to use IOS, then slowly spread onto my Linux and OSX boxes and oh.. it feels good to be flash fess...

Re:Gay for Google (2)

Lunix Nutcase (1092239) | about 8 months ago | (#44672575)

To put it in some kind of perspective it destroys Apples Flagship Phone.

In what way exactly? Do you have performance numbers or are you just jacking off to the specs?

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44689651)

Apple's flagship phone is nearly a year old, I can't be bothered to find performance numbers, but I'm sure it is significantly better than the iPhone 5, it does benchmark well if you consider that it is only a dual core, and aside from benchmarks most apps don't make use of more than 2 cores so that in itself isn't a big deal. That said it would perhaps be more reasonable to wait until the next iPhone is released and compare it with that.

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673135)

destroys Apples Flagship Phone

I'm sure the sales figures will bear that prediction out...

Well that didn't help (4, Insightful)

SuperKendall (25149) | about 8 months ago | (#44673175)

Having twice the RAM and a somewhat faster processor does little for you if you need 4X the RAM and 2X the CPU to operate with the same level of performance.

Re:Well that didn't help (1)

danbob999 (2490674) | about 8 months ago | (#44673225)

Agreed. That's why I still run DOS on my 386 PC. Same level of performance than the fastest Core i7 out there running Windows. Having more RAM and a faster CPU would allow me to write this message in a non-text browser but who cares, as long as I get the same level of performance.

Re:Well that didn't help (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682865)

The check is in the mail.

-Tim

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673921)

Hey its Robert Rankin! Oh Tuppe! Comparing phones that came out a year apart, amazing!

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673949)

Terrible comparison. Motorola's brand new phone is faster than Apple's phone from 11 months ago, go figure.

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44675017)

What's the use? My iphone 4s still is fast for web browsing, taking pictures, car gps? Maybe if I wanted to play games on it, I would need that kind of specs?

Re:Gay for Google (1)

nogginthenog (582552) | about 8 months ago | (#44675381)

And for comparison:

Nexus 4
======
1.5Ghx quad-core CPU
GPU (quad-core) @400 MHz
2GB RAM
4.7 in (120 mm) diagonal 1280x768 (316 ppi)

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44675597)

With a yucky samsung logo stuck to it. Yuck!

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44679511)

It's made by LG

Re:Gay for Google (1)

dindi (78034) | about 8 months ago | (#44676487)

It is like saying, that a nascar stock car is better than a luxury BMW or a Mercedes. For me, personally, that Android OS is not usable. For this, I still use an iPhone 4, and will not even upgrade to the iphone 5, because I find the screen unnecessarily big for what I want.

Some people want a sleek working fast OS and don't care how many ponies the phone has under the hood. I personally don't. So they can put an i7 with 16G memory and a TB in my pocket, as far as it is running android: I am absolutely not interested.

So it destroys it: in your head.

Re:Gay for Google (1)

Nadaka (224565) | about 8 months ago | (#44676861)

When is there going to be an Iphone with a slide out full qwerty keyboard? I want to be able to type out a text/email/forum post on my pocket computer without worrying about auto-correct talking about penis's on accident.

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44682883)

without worrying about auto-correct talking about penis's on accident

It looks like you could use all of the auto-correction you can get.

Re:Gay for Google (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44681795)

Yes, lists of numbers and features. That is what sells phones.

I've got some numbers for you- 3 , and 4. That's the number of years I've had my iphone 4, and the number of major iOS versions my phone will see. iOS 4 through 7. With your typical android device you're lucky to see a minor version update in the lifetime of your phone. Nearly all ship with versions that are already out of date.

Meanwhile I can't justify buying the new soon to be launched iphone 5s. My current phone works too well, and will be getting iOS 7 shortly.

You, and people like you, are the reason Apple is doing so well. Please try to pay attention next time.

Re:Yes Yes and Yes (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673963)

Tuppe666 polluting Slashdot with Google shillery since 2011!

I sure as shit hope you get paid by them for the amount of effort you put in. Otherwise you're gonna be a sad dude when you realize you're a just another corporate whore.

Re:Dice. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44677569)

The Moto X is actually quite a piece of shit phone with nothing on the Galaxy S4. It doesn't even have a user replaceable battery.

So no, don't get one unless you like getting ripped off.

servers are down (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44671521)

slashdotted already

Sealed in battery (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672171)

That is a step backwards as far as i'm concerned.

Battery Replaceable (2)

tuppe666 (904118) | about 8 months ago | (#44672247)

That is a step backwards as far as i'm concerned.

The fact that it is easily replaced is the point of this article. You do lost the ability to "carry" a spare battery, but hopefully Motorola having a focus on battery life by using two separate processors to help improve battery life.

Re:Battery Replaceable (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672751)

No, they did it so they can release the Moto X(treme) in time for Christmas, whose only real difference is a bigger battery, for $200 more. Oh, and a "developer edition" with identical hardware, at double the price, with an unlocked bootloader... then practically run credit checks and hire a private investigator to approve each purchase in an effort to keep anybody in the US from buying one, and make sure that if, somehow, you manage to get somebody in Europe to buy one for you... it won't operate with a T-Mobile or AT&T SIM card. It's the hooray-for-the-USA all-American Motorola way... bending over backwards to be AT&T and Verizon's favorite bitch, and T-Mobile as collateral damage.

Re:Battery Replaceable (3, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | about 8 months ago | (#44673259)

So your definition of "easily replaced" == Get out plastic prying tools, and a tiny little Torx screwdriver, take apart a bunch of stuff that is glued together, replace battery, and then hope it gets back together properly?

In my book, that level of pain is better described as "not user-serviceable."

The best battery-operated pocket computer in terms of serviceability and durability I've ever had was a Handspring Visor.

To change the batteries, you just opened the door on the back, and replaced the two AA batteries inside. This was only required once a month or so: I was never worried that I'd run out of battery while using it, but if I were, I could get a fresh set of batteries at even the most backwoods gas station/general store in a jiffy. To keep it in a pocket or a bag with lots of stuff, the included cover (which covered the whole front of the device) worked great, and stowed neatly on the back when the device was in use. To open the it up and expose the guts in the event that it needs fixing, you just unscrew the end of the included metal stylus to reveal a Philips screwdriver of just the right size, remove a few screws, and basic disassembly was complete. (Not that mine ever needed fixing, even after years of bouncing around in my cargo pocket with a pocket knife and/or various hand tools. I did note that after a year or two of being abused in ways that would make a modern pocket computer shatter, one of the screws did fall out. It didn't seem to mind.)

Even backups on the Visor were easy: Drop it into the cradle, push sync the button, wait a short time, and done. The entire device could then be lost or destroyed, and total recovery (with a replacement in-hand) was just another sync away. Just try getting this level of functionality from an Android device. Seriously, go ahead and try. (I'll wait.)

The included OS, while not "open" per se, was easily extensible by third-parties but also worked just fine without any extra help.

Now, yes: It wasn't fast. But it handled text, calculations, passwords, and contacts very well. And it was actually useful for a quick sketch, since it was stylus-based. Which is most of what I actually need a pocket computer for, aside from Just Working.

So are we moving backwards? In many ways that I think are important: Yes.

Re: Battery Replaceable (1)

makomk (752139) | about 8 months ago | (#44677243)

Somewhere around here I have a Palm V, another similar device from the same era as your Visor. It's powered by a non-removable lithium ion battery held within the device's glued-together outer shell. It's easy to make it seem like technology is moving backwards in terms of repairability if you cherry pick examples, but really this isn't new at all.

Re: Battery Replaceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44685103)

And the Palm V was widely derided for this "feature". Didn't stop it from being one of their most successful models though. People always want thin and sleek.

Re:Battery Replaceable (1)

Plumpaquatsch (2701653) | about 8 months ago | (#44674783)

That is a step backwards as far as i'm concerned.

The fact that it is easily replaced is the point of this article. You do lost the ability to "carry" a spare battery, but hopefully Motorola having a focus on battery life by using two separate processors to help improve battery life.

Quote the article: "The taped-in battery is less accessible than we'd like, but at least it's near the top of the stack once you get the rear cover off (as opposed to the HTC One)." (coded yellow)

From their iPhone 5 teardown [ifixit.com] : "The battery comes out with a bit of prying once the front panel is removed." (coded green)

Both have the same repairability score 7 out of 10 (and the iPhone gets the better color rating for the battery). Does that mean you will stop claiming that the iPhone is not user repairable? And before you complain about the "once the front panel is removed" - "the iPhone 5 is opened front-to-back".

Re:Battery Replaceable (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44675341)

I don't think they will.
If Apple buyers are sheep then what are the people who keep baaaah'ing the same old retired crap that isn't even true?

"so you don't have to" (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44672629)

Yeah, that's right. We're all buying $700 mobile phones to take apart.

What phone is most made in the USA? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44673287)

I just need a phone with simple, basic features, so I don't really care what company makes it. My main concern is that it be made in the USA as much as possible.

Assembled in Texas is great, but what about components that were manufactured in other countries?

What phone is most made in the USA, considering the manufacturing of its components and the final assembly?

No Motorola IC's I see... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44676171)

Once upon a time Motorola made components such as integrated circuits. Those days are gone, 'spun off', whatever. Hence, inside the Motorola 'Made in USA' phone there are no Motorola 'Made in USA' components.

With the 68000 Motorola had a head start over LG, HTC, Samsung et al. You should expect some Motorola bits inside the box, but no. Compare and contrast with a Samsung phone where almost all the components are made by Samsung. So, even though sold as 'Made in USA' this Moto X isn't really that different to a 'Designed in California' iPhone - the difficult, capital intensive manufacturing bits, e.g. screen, CPU etc. are all done in The Far East.

I am also not sure what value 'Made in USA' has in overseas markets. Here in the UK we think of US manufacturing as backward, with poor fit and finish. The 'Made in USA' idea brings to mind those horrible Harley Davidwhomever motorbikes, bulky cars with really poor suspension (not to mention petrol consumption) and that is about it - Hollywood films, Predator drones and GM crops aside, what else do those corn-fed Americans make these days?

Where's the NSA chip? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44676329)

Where is the chip that gives NSA unfettered access to your calls, txts, etc.? Oh, it's the one in the middle that hasn't been marked...

iFixit it most useless website ever (0)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about 8 months ago | (#44677101)

Nobody "fixes" their devices anymore so all these teardowns are more like device pornography then serving any real benefit.

Nobody keeps a device for more than a year, and even if they do most people "secretly" want their 2 year old device to break down so they can find an excuse to replace it.

All the BS about repairability is stupid. The reason why these things are sealed these days is so people don't go out an buy 3rd party "enhanced" batteries to usage time that turn the phone or tablet into a bomb.

Also as devices get thinner and thinner, which is a trend consumers are wanting more then repairability, the problem is you can't fit in the mechanics to support a removeable battery. Also a lot of devices are splitting up the battery into multiple sections because they can make better use of voids in the device rather than trying to build a device around a monolithic battery pack.

Lastly, when was the last time you "wore out" your device battery? Except for doing something stupid like leaving a phone in a hot car day after day, most LI-Ion batteries last longer then you desire to hold onto an old phone or tablet.

Re:iFixit it most useless website ever (2)

GuB-42 (2483988) | about 8 months ago | (#44678931)

Samsung manages removable batteries quite well.
Also, while most batteries can last for more than two years, they gradually decrease in capacity. Interestingly, people often blame software updates for the resulting decrease in battery life. By providing user replaceable batteries, it is possible to get back to full capacity and use the old battery as a spare. I did this for my last two phones.
As for Li-ion batteries that actually wore out and got replaced, it happened on 3 devices : an MP3 player, a laptop and a phone.
As for the safety argument, I don't buy it. Battery explosions are extremely rare and happen on genuine models as well.

I agree with you that most people don't bother with tearing down and fixing anything. But some others do, even if it is just for fun, and for these people, iFixit is great. Don't call something useless just because it is only useful for a limited audience.

Under surviellance? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 8 months ago | (#44678495)

Is this the only phone with three microphones out there? Two eyes and three ears the better to see and hear you with my dear. I am not interested in a android phone especially not one with hardware created by this information company turned advertiser. Give me an old flip phone any day, one with a removable battery and a port that I can plug a dummy handset into. better yet I'd like to make the flip switch control the mic.

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