Google jumps back into the phone hardware business with the Nexus S, and iFixit immediately tears the phone to bits. That’s just the natural order of things.
Here are five findings from iFixit’s Nexus S teardown:
Contour Display Doesn’t Include LCD
A distinctive feature of Google’s Nexus S is the so-called “Contour Display,” which curves gently at the edges for a pleasant feel against the ears. As iFixit discovered, only the glass is curved, not the LCD or touch screen. While a press release from iFixit says the name is “a bit misleading,” it’s not clear what advantage a curved LCD and touch screen would provide.
Easily Removable Battery
No lockdown here. The Nexus S’s back cover pops right off, and the battery can simply be lifted from its resting place. Good news if you ever want to replace it.
Speakers and Sensors Come Together
A single data connector joins the loudspeaker, earpiece speaker and sensor bank into one unit inside the Nexus S. “This is definitely a win for integration,” iFixit notes, “but at the same time forces users to replace the entire unit if only one component malfunctions.”
Repairs are Fairly Easy
To get beyond the battery in the Nexus S, you need a Phillips #00 screwdriver for most components, a plastic separating tool to remove the SIM card slot and eventually a heat gun to remove the display. Most of the parts are modular, and there aren’t any bizarre screws like you’d find in Apple’s MacBook Air. On the downside, the Super AMOLED display is fused to the glass, so you’ll have to replace both if the screen cracks.
Carrier Independent? Not Necessarily
Because the Nexus S comes unlocked even with a T-Mobile subsidy, it’s a great choice for world travelers who might want to pop in a SIM card from whatever country they’re visiting. But in the United States, your options are the same with the Nexus S as they were with the Nexus One: 3G coverage from T-Mobile and 2G coverage from AT&T. The phone lacks the proper antennas for any other carriers or for AT&T’s 3G network. This was no secret, but it’s worth a reminder because the Nexus S Website doesn’t make it clear.