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Google’s Pixel 3A is refreshingly easy to repair

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It won’t be hard to extend the life of this midrange phone

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Image: iFixit

iFixit has conducted its teardown of Google’s new Pixel 3A and 3A XL smartphones, awarding the devices a reparability score of 6 out of 10. The site found that the new Pixel’s display is fairly easy to remove — without the heat gun or blow dryer that’s often necessary to melt the adhesive securing the screens on many of today’s phones.

Instead, Google uses a “spongy, easily-separated adhesive.” The downside here — and probably a key reason for the Pixel 3A’s lack of water resistance — is that it’s likely easier for water to seep through the outer screen perimeter and into the phone.

The Pixel 3A uses a spongy adhesive that’s not as strong as today’s water-resistant flagships.
Image: iFixit

On the plus side, components that tend to get worn down over time like the USB-C port and even the returning headphone jack are modular and can be freely replaced without a ton of meticulous effort. Google definitely gets some points there. So long as you keep your Pixel 3A or 3A XL from taking a bath, you should be able to swap out failed parts and keep the phone working as it should. The battery is also simple to replace since it uses the stretchy pull adhesive that simplifies detaching it from the phone’s casing.

Image: iFixit

All of that said, Google’s latest Pixels do come with some repair obstacles. iFixit notes that “the myriad long, thin ribbon cables connecting the internal componentry can be obnoxious to work around, and are easy to accidentally tear.” So keep an eye out for that. For a closer look at every chip that makes up the Pixel 3A, check out the full teardown. And if you’re wondering, the regular Pixel 3 only got a 4 out of 10, which iFixit highlighting several hurdles for even basic repairs like having to unglue the rear glass panel to replace anything.