Google introduced the Pixel C last year in September, and while it may no longer be a brand new device, it remains one of the most powerful Android tablets on the market, and definitely one of the most stylish devices in its class. Needless to say, the Google Pixel C is not news, but it was only recently when iFixit had the opportunity to tear down the Pixel C and take a closer look at what makes it tick, and determine how easy or difficult it can be to repair the device on your own. Unfortunately, as impressive as the Google Pixel C may be in most areas, getting under the hood and fixing or replacing components seems to require, time, dedication, and a lot of patience.
Following their detailed teardown, iFixit gave the Google Pixel C a “repairability score” of 4/10, and for good reasons. While certain components can be replaced independently, others – including the motherboard – are kept in place by adhesive. As expected, the screen itself is stuck to the chassis with glue, and as is usually the case in such scenarios, the panel can be detached with relative ease using a suction cup and “after much heating”. However, because the Pixel C’s front-facing camera sits on the display itself as opposed to the chassis, a second ribbon connecting the sensor to the motherboard will most likely cause difficulties when separating the screen from the unibody shell. But with the 10.2-inch panel out of the way, you will have access to a wide variety of components, some easier to replace than others. The battery is apparently one of the most difficult components to detach due to the fact that it is stuck to the case with very strong adhesive. On the bright side, several components are modular, meaning that they are held in place by screws and can be replaced independently. This includes the USB-C port, the main camera, as well as the volume and power buttons. Unfortunately the motherboard, too, is glued to the chassis with strong adhesive. Once removed, the heart and brain of the Google Pixel C become visible. This includes an NVIDIA Tegra X1 64-bit chipset, a Broadcom BCM43540LKUBG 5G Wi-Fi 802.11ac controller, a STMicroelectronics STM32F3x8 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4 microcontroller, a Nuvoton NAU99L25 audio codec, and 2x Samsung K4F2E304HMMGCH LPDDR4 RAM modules for a total of 3 GB.
At the end of the day, apart from several, smaller modular components which can be replaced with relative ease, the excessive use of adhesive makes the Google Pixel C a difficult and time-consuming tablet to fix. But seeing how the Pixel C was assembled, it also becomes easier to understand how Google managed to cram so much hardware in a thin 7-millimeter profile.