Huawei has been making waves with its flagship phones, though it has been having a tough time getting a major wireless carrier in the United States to go against the government’s security warnings and sell devices stateside. That’s a topic for another day. What’s of interest today is a teardown of the company’s newest high-end device, the P20 Pro with a whopping three camera lenses on the backside.
That’s right, this sucker has a tri-camera configuration on the backside, all three made from Leica. The arrangement includes a 20-megapixel monochrome shooter, 40-megapixel RGB lens, and an 8-megapixel telephoto camera. It also features a 5X hybrid zoom and AI-enhanced image stabilization, along the 960 frames per second slow motion video capture. The phone also sports a generously sized battery pack.
“This three-eyed phone may like a mutant, but it isn’t powered by plutonium runoff—a 15.28 Wh battery acts as a powerhouse and outweighs the Samsung Galaxy S9+ (13.48 Wh) and the iPhone X (10.35 Wh) by far,” iFixIt notes.
While the camera arrangement is impressive, the DIY repairability factor is much less exciting. Like most modern mobile device, getting inside to replace components can be tricky, and you run the risk of breaking things when trying to disassemble the smartphone.
There are no screws to be found on the outside of the P20 Pro. That made for a comparatively easy opening experience—iFixIt used its $24.99 iSclack tool to crack open the handset, which opened “almost as easily as a flower in the spring sun. Almost.”
Removing the back cover was a little trickier. Even though the phone lacks a fingerprint scanner, there is still a cable to be aware of when opening the device, as you want to be careful not to rip it while servicing the P20 Pro. Thankfully though, replacing the battery isn’t too involved. There is some glue holding it in place, which is annoying (for DIY repairs and replacements), but with a few drops of adhesive remover, it’s much easier to pry out.
That’s probably the most important thing to consider when looking at how difficult it is to service a handset. Sure, other components can be replaced, but it’s the battery that is most likely to degrade before everything else. Unfortunately, battery swaps are typically more difficult than they once were (depending on the handset, of course).
In the end, the P20 Pro received a 4 out of 10 Repairability score. It earned kudos for using several modular components that can be replaced independently of one another. However, it got dinged for the double risk of breakage with glass on the front and back, and having to go through at least two layers of adhesive and some disassembly just to replace the screen.