It had to happen – IFIXIT could not wait to get their hands on the new Android Wear smartwatches and do their infamous teardown to determine exactly what makes these things 'tick' and how hard it would be to actually repair one…should it break. This teardown involves the Samsung Gear Live Smartwatch – the only Samsung powered by Android Wear – not Tizen. It took but five tools to tear the Gear Live apart, but stay tuned, as IFIXIT will be going after the other Android Wear devices as well. The LG G Watch is already out and the Moto 360 should not be far behind.
The Samsung Gear Live comes with a 1.63-inch Super AMOLED display and 320 x 320 pixel resolution, giving it 278 pixels-per-inch – pretty good for a smartwatch. It has a Qualcomm 1.2GHz processor and 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. It includes a digital compass, accelerometer, gyroscope, heart rate monitor, is IP67 water and dust certified and comes with Bluetooth 4.0 LE. A 300mAh battery powers the entire watch.
It does resemble the Gear 2 in many respects and removing the wristband is one of those respects – the band comes off easily with a neat little pull-lever and while the watch is flipped over we can see the tiny heart rate monitor and model number: SM-R382. Four little Torx T5 screws will loosen the back enough to gain entry by prying it off with a little plastic tool and all is revealed.
First, they remove the tiny battery – next they grab the power-button ribbon cable. Now they see something of real interest – a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi antenna. The Gear Live is not supposed to be Wi-Fi compatible – perhaps Samsung is planning on future surprises. There is also a 'liquid damage indicator' to go along with its "IP67 water resistant" status, although IFIXIT does not recommend going into a pool with it on.
They next removed the vibrator assembly and then disconnected the display cable to get at the motherboard (I love that word), which popped out rather easily with a little help from their tweezers. The Motherboard was tiny enough, but layered on top was a daughterboard that had the power input connectors and tiny heart rate sensor.
To sum up IFIXIT's findings, giving it a very respectable 8 out of 10 score – Band replacement is a breeze – Despite the IP67 water resistant construction, opening the case was easy – The battery is easily accessible and even has a "pull" tab to help – Several small adhered-in flexible PCBs will present a small challenge – Screen replacement is a "dubious and costly proposition" with some parts glued right to the chassis.
So there you have it – the Samsung Gear Live broken down and getting an 8 out of 10 score for repairability – hit us up on our Google+ Page and let us know if you will be picking up a Gear Live and what you think of the Android Wear smartwatches coming out…as always, we would love to hear from you.