In short: iFixit has published their teardown of the Google Pixel 3 XL. Typically, the teardown is all about how to repair the phone, and rating how easy it is to repair the particular phone (or other gadget). But sometimes, iFixit will also find some answers to some questions that many users might have for the device. And today is one of those days. With the Pixel 3 XL, Google would not say where the display panel came from, it continued to say that it made the panel, which was not the case. And iFixit found out that this is indeed a Samsung-made AMOLED panel. This is what many people had expected, after seeing how much the display had improved over last year's Pixel 2 XL, which had an LG Display panel. iFixit does also mention that because the Pixel 3 XL is using a Samsung display, it's going to use the same repair process - if you ever do need to replace the display. But it is still going to be a bit tricky. Speaking of repairability, iFixit gave the Pixel 3 XL a four out of ten. Not a huge surprise, given most smartphones are around four or five these days with the glass and metal bodies.
This teardown also revealed which sensor Google is using on the back of the Pixel 3 XL, which is a Sony IMX363. This isn't a surprise either, given that Sony supplies the majority of smartphone camera sensors right now. The Pixel 3 XL only has a single lens back there, the rest is handled by the Pixel Visual Core, which has been upgraded, after launching on the Pixel 2 and Pixel 2 XL last year. iFixit also found that Google used a ton of glue inside the Pixel 3 XL (likely the Pixel 3 as well). There was a ton of glue inside the Pixel 3 XL, particularly for holding the back casing to the rest of the phone. iFixit jokes that Google may have thought the extra glue was needed to get that extra IP point and bring the Pixel 3 XL to IP68 over just IP67 and make it fully waterproof. But many other phones haven't needed to use this much glue to achieve a IP68 rating.
There are some other tidbits found in this teardown, including the new Titan M security chip, Qualcomm's Snapdragon 845 chipset and all of its other chips that are inside. The DRAM module is made by Micron, which is pretty common for smartphones. Between Micron and Samsung, they make the majority of the RAM for smartphones these days. There's also the IDT P221 Qi Wireless Charging receiver found inside on the motherboard, which is what allows the Pixel 3 XL to charge wirelessly and work with the Pixel Stand. This teardown shows that while Google sourced parts from many different partners, it looks like it was completely built and designed in-house. Which is a bit different from the first two generations of Pixel which were made by HTC (Pixel 2 XL made by LG). Though, Google did acquire the designers that worked on Pixel from HTC, so that's not a huge surprise, and it wasn't even that team that worked on the Pixel 3 this year.
Background: iFixit tends to get its hands on virtually every smartphone and tech gadget out there, just to tear it down. Now while many like seeing what's inside each of these smartphones, iFixit's purpose here is a bit more serious. iFixit is here to help you repair different parts of your phone. Crack your screen? Just order a new one and iFixit will walk you through the repair process. The repairability score that it provides for every smartphone is also pretty important. As it can lead people to believe that they can fix the phone themselves, or whether they need to get the extended warranty or insurance on the phone. iFixit has become synonymous over the past few years with tearing down smartphones, but unfortunately, smartphones have become harder to tear down, and gotten lower repairability scores. Of course a big reason for this is because the trend in smartphones have moved from plastic with removable backs and batteries, to glass backs with metal frames and non-removable parts. Making it tougher to get inside the device. Smartphone makers have also opted to make the internals more compact, so stuff is harder to get out - but they can fit more hardware in a smaller package.
Not everyone is going to want to go through and fix their device themselves, and they really don't need too. But having iFixit around is a good thing. As there are some issues with smartphones that you can fix yourself, instead of needing to send your phone in for repair and waiting for it to come back. It's also nice to see what's inside these smartphones that companies are not talking about. In the case of the Pixel 3 XL, that would be the Samsung-made AMOLED display panel.
Impact: Google kept saying that it was its own display, that was being used on the Pixel 3 XL, but it wasn't. We now know that it was made by Samsung Display. That's not a bad thing at all, seeing as the AMOLED displays that Samsung put out, are some of the best in the business, and consistently achieve the highest grade in Display Mate's testing. This time around, Display Mate had teased that the Pixel 3 XL got the highest A+ ranking on any smartphone it had ever tested, when the Pixel 3 XL was announced. So many figured it was likely a Samsung panel, seeing as Samsung always hit the highest A+ ranking for Display Mate, with each flagship smartphone it put out. Lo and behold, it is the case. This does, however, mean that we likely won't see blueshift on the Pixel 3 XL - at least not to the extent of the Pixel 2 XL - and the very fast screen burn in. Which were two big issues last year, and Google wanted to make sure it fixed that. If you are interested in reading iFixit's full tear down of the Pixel 3 XL, just hit the link below.