Most techno people know by now that Amazon launched its first smartphone, the Amazon Fire Phone – after a year of rumors and silence on Amazon’s part – to little fanfare. So little, nobody is even talking about it anymore, so why not tear this sucker apart and see what makes it tick…and that is exactly what IFIXIT loves to do and they wasted no time in dissecting the Fire Phone and giving it a repair ability score, with 10 being the easiest to repair. All we can say is, if you need to get your Amazon Fire Phone repaired, it will be a difficult and expensive job with only a rating of 3 out of 10.
The Amazon Fire Phone has a 4.7-inch IPS LCD HD display – 1280 x 720 resolution and a respectable 315 pixels-per-inch. It gets its power from a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor clocked at 2.2GHz and uses 2GB of RAM and a choice of either 32GB or 64GB of internal storage. It sports a 13MP main camera and 2.1MP front-facing camera for video chats or selfies. Its main claim-to-fame is the four cameras mounted at the corner edges on the front of the device – they call it a Dynamic Perspective Sensor System. This is a fancy word for a 3D effect to add depth when viewing anything on the display, as long as it senses that you are looking at it – this helps save the battery.
There is a front and back glass panel that sandwich the electronics of the Fire Phone – very reminiscent of the iPhone, although it uses the standard Torx T3 screws rather than the proprietary iPhone Pentalobes. Once the screws are removed, they run into a little glass sealer, but that is no problem for their iSclack tool to pop it open. The picture at the end of this article, is the first look inside the Amazon Fire Phone. A few screws remove the bracket that looks like it is holding the battery in place, but reveals more connectors. A yank on the battery adhesive tab lifts the battery out to finally reveal its connector. After removing a screw from the main camera to the motherboard, they are able to pry out the 13MP camera and find there are a few Integrated Circuits attached to the camera ribbon cable.
They find an interest assortment of chips in the Fire Phone – Samsung RAM, Samsung NAND Flash memory, Qualcomm Audio Codec, Qualcomm Multiband Power Amplifier, Qualcomm Power Management IC, Qualcomm RF Transceiver, Qualcomm Combo Wi-Fi/Bluetooth/FM Chip, among others. It should be noted that this last chip does support BT 4.0 LE, but is not yet activated, so BT 3.0 it is. There are many adhesive free cables, but they are packing several components on a single cable, which means that if one goes bad, the entire cable must be replaced. Getting to the ‘heart’ of the Amazon Fire Phone – its four IR Blasters and Cameras – was no easy task, but nothing is too daunting for IFIXIT.
After removing all of the parts they concluded that it is nice Amazon choose to use very little adhesive – and speaking of adhesive…tabs on the battery are great, if they work, but if not, it results in a lot of heating and prying. The many cables and connectors used make disassembly tedious and reassemble next to impossible. The four Dynamic Perspective cameras are heavily encased in glue and require heat and cutting. Should you break your display assembly, you will also have to purchase the four replacement cameras or endure the tedious work to remove the old ones to transfer. The Amazon Fire Phone is not what you would call, modular…many cables share components and this will add to the replacement cost.
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