The Motorola RAZR is not going to be an easy smartphone to repair, based on a newly reported tear-down video published to YouTube by PBKreviews.
The challenge in repairability is hardly surprising. Motorola utilized a design that much more closely resembles the RAZR V3. That means that there are two separate segments with a lot of modern technology squeezed into a relatively small space. But Motorola's device design appears to have some serious caveats in repairability right from the start.
A cluster of fasteners, adhesive, and easily destroyed cables
To begin with, the video's presenter heats up the lower rear panel — there are two panels in this device. That needs to be slid carefully away after cutting away at the underlying adhesive. The first possible pain point appears immediately. That's because the ribbon cable for the fingerprint scanner needs to be unclipped from the front side of the device before the panel can be removed completely.
From there, the front "rear" panel needs to be removed. That's held in place by fairly standard fasteners. Those sit just below the camera module when the device is viewed from the front. When sliding the now-free plastic cover away, yet another well-hidden cable gets in the way. So, as with the previous step, the panel needs to be partially removed to detach the cable.
The remainder of the video showcases a similarly slow process of removing brackets and other small pieces, disconnecting cables in-between steps. A significant portion of the device, as shown in the video below, is also held in by more fasteners. So those will need to be kept track of as well. The display itself is held in place by a separate frame, which needs to be heated and disassembled in order to remove the screen completely.
No surprise. New technology means guaranteed challenges
Summarily, following the maze of steps to tear-down the Motorola RAZR is going to be a daunting task for even users. Most users will likely have an even more difficult time putting the gadget back together, given the minuscule amount of space Motorola has left on the inside. None of that is necessarily surprising.
Standard smartphones are typically fairly easy to repair. But there are several reasons that folding smartphones aren't quite there yet. To begin with, folding smartphones are still a brand new technology. As became immediately apparent with Samsung's Galaxy Fold at initial release, they already pack in plenty of inherent problems. That's well before a user ever thinks to take one apart.
More importantly, folding smartphones haven't had years of refinement. While modern design principles ensure that the gadgets look nice and work aesthetically, OEMs simply haven't had the time to reiterate on internal design. That generally means taking more time to organize parts and determine the best placement for cables, adhesive, and fasteners, among other things.
The Motorola RAZR is the company's first attempt to build a folding smartphone. The company only just launched the handset back in November. This isn't necessarily a bad start, even if a professional should probably be hired to take care of any repairs.