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Pixel 3A a lot easier to repair than Pixel 3, according to iFixit

All thanks to the Pixel 3A's plastic design and lack of water resistance.


The Pixel 3A.

Angela Lang/CNET

On Tuesday, Google announced the Pixel 3A and Pixel 3A XL, two phones that cost notably less than their premium counterparts, the Pixel 3 and Pixel 3 XL. The Pixel 3A, for example, costs $399 while the Pixel 3 has a $799 starting price. But the things Google changed in the phone not only helped to lower costs, but it also made the Pixel 3A more repairable, according to iFixit's teardown of the device.

Unlike the Pixel 3, the Pixel 3A doesn't have wireless charging and a second, wide-angle front-facing camera. The back of the phone is also made out of polycarbonate rather than glass, and it isn't water resistant. While these last two factors are a "downgrade" in a sense, they also make the phone easy to repair. A glass cover is brittle and can break easier than plastic. And as iFixit revealed, the phone's screen is only attached to the phone with "easily separated adhesive." If you break the display and need to replace it, the light adhesive will make it easier. But it also leaves it very vulnerable to water damage.

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In the end, iFixit gave the Pixel 3A a repair score of 6 out of 10, compared to the Pixel 3's score of 4 of 10. As phone users hold onto their devices for longer, having a good repair score empowers users to find ways to fix and keep their phones without paying additional costs to the manufacturer. This is such a point of contention to phone makers who get an obvious monetary benefit from users simply buying new products repeatedly, that companies like Apple are trying to block legislation that grants users the right to repair their devices.