HTC One M9 teardown reveals it's really hard to fix

HTC once again gets low marks from iFixit, which gives the One M9 one its lowest repairability scores ever.

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Roger Cheng (he/him/his) was the executive editor in charge of CNET News, managing everything from daily breaking news to in-depth investigative packages. Prior to this, he was on the telecommunications beat and wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal for nearly a decade and got his start writing and laying out pages at a local paper in Southern California. He's a devoted Trojan alum and thinks sleep is the perfect -- if unattainable -- hobby for a parent.
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Roger Cheng
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HTC again gets low marks for repairability. iFixit

The HTC One M9 may be a looker, but don't try to pry it open for repairs.

HTC's latest flagship smartphone, which launches across carriers on April 10, earned one of the lowest repairability scores from iFixit, a firm that tears down and analyzes gadgets to get a better look at the components and how they're put together.

That appears to be the price of the sleek, aluminum unibody design -- the worst-rated smartphone was the original HTC One, which, appropriately got a 1 out of 10. The One M9 scored a 2 out of 10, just like last year's One M8 model.

One of the biggest drawbacks is the placement of the battery, which is buried beneath the motherboard and glued to the body, making it difficult to replace. The placement of the display means you have to tunnel through the entire phone to get to it, making it difficult to swap out a cracked screen. The firm also knocked HTC for its use of intense adhesives.

Up close with the metal curves of HTC's new flagship One M9 (pictures)

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"HTC thought they could have their cake and eat it too, by making a flagship phone that's tough to repair," iFixit said in its conclusions. "Sorry HTC, but this design has to change."

An HTC spokesman said the company is working hard to make it "fast, easy and painless to get a new HTF One M9 in most common service scenarios."

Of course, HTC never intended anyone to pop open its smartphones, given that its unibody frame is sealed up. And for HTC customers in the US who buy a new One M9 or One M8, they won't have to for the first year. HTC's Americas unit launched a program called "Uh Oh Protection," guaranteeing you a new replacement smartphone for the first year, no questions asked.

The HTC One M9 will have stiff competition on April 10. Samsung's Galaxy S6 and Galaxy S6 Edge also hit the market that day.

Watch this: The luscious metal curves of the HTC One M9