Thumbnail for 18560

Teardown: The Essential Phone Is Essentially a Mess

The Essential Phone is essentially a hot mess. With its pick-and-choose, randomly layered components, overuse of adhesive, and miserable modularity, it’s like a city with no zoning board. But hey, most manufacturers make the same mistakes in their first flagship. While we wanna go easy on baby’s first phone, we must admit they seemed a little distracted by the outsides, and forgot to strip the insides to the essentials.

In the end, the Essential Phone turned out exactly as we thought it would with a rush-to-the-finish-line design that’ll make it difficult to fix when it breaks.

Teardown Highlights:

  • Due to nearly invisible seams and copious adhesive, any attempt at repair is likely to inflict as much damage as it fixes. Sadly, we had to pull an Elsa and blast the Essential with icy winds to get inside.
  • Essential puts its mouth where its eye is with an 8 MP front-facing camera cohabitating in a module with the earpiece speaker.
  • The single USB-C port is soldered straight to the motherboard. With no headphone jack, this port is going to get a whole lotta use, accelerating its inevitable wearing out. When the day comes, it’ll take a microsoldering job or full board replacement to get it working again.
  • That soldered charging port, excessive adhesive, and tough opening earned the Essential a 1 out of 10 on our repairability scale.

Be sure to check out the full Essential Phone teardown on iFixit.com