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iPhone 5c teardown reveals solid build quality, glued-in components

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
While iPhone fans have been waiting in line to pick up the 5c in their favorite colors, one tech repair site has been disassembling the polycarbonate-backed iPhone, revealing a sturdy device that loses some points on repairability.



Just as was the case with the iPhone 5s, iFixit has performed the requisite teardown on the lower-cost iPhone 5c. The tech teardown site examined and disassembled a blue 5c model, finding initially that several of the controls and outputs on the device are considerably larger than on the iPhone 5 or 5s. The volume buttons are larger, and the 10-hole microphone grille and 16-hole speaker grille have been replaced with one- and four-hole grilles, respectively.

The 5c also uses Pentalobe screws that are "super tiny" according to iFixit. Upon opening the device, the site found that replacing the battery is held in place with new adhesive strips, as is the case with the 5s. Despite the new adhesive, iFixit believes replacing the battery will involve largely the same process as with the iPhone 5. While the 5c ? a higher-margin replacement for the iPhone 5 ? features mostly the same components as its aluminum-built predecessor, the battery inside the new device has seen improvement. The 5c packs a 3.8V?5.74Wh?1510mAh battery instead of the 3.8V?5.35Wh?1440mAh batter in the iPhone 5.



The battery is not the only glued-in component in the iPhone 5c, though. The antenna connectors are also secured with adhesives. While the use of such a technique regularly draws complaints from sites such as iFixit, Apple has regularly defended the use of adhesives in its products as a means of ensuring their slimness, noting that repairs should be done by Apple-certified professionals.

Inside, the 5c packs the same Apple A6 processor featured in the iPhone 5, a Qualcomm MDM9615M LTE modem, and a Qualcomm WTR1605L LTE/HSPA+/CDMA2K/TDSCDMA/EDGE/GPS transceiver. The back of the logic board features assorted power management, flash, and controller components from Toshiba, Qualcomm, and Broadcom, as well as a Murata Wi-Fi module.

iFixit notes that the display assembly for the iPhone 5s is slightly lighter than that of the iPhone 5c, despite the fact that the 5s sports a fingerprint sensor. The site determined that there is no chance of cross-compatibility in display assemblies between the two devices due to the different FaceTime/speaker connector sizes.

tearing-down-130920.jpg


The 5c gets positive marks for build quality, as its steel-backed polycarbonate chassis was resistant to efforts to bend it. In addition to providing structural support, the steel frame nestled inside the plastic shell also serves as an antenna for the device. As a result, though, the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s.

Overall, the device receives a repairability score of 6 out of a possible 10. iFixit deems the removal processes for the display assembly and battery to be relatively simple, but the device loses points for its glued-in components, which require heat and prying to remove. Also counting against the 5c is Apple's use of Pentalobe screws, which require a special tool to pull out.
post #2 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

The 5c packs a 3.8V?5.74Wh?1510mAh battery instead of the 3.8V?5.35Wh?

You're absolutely certain on these numbers, right¿
post #3 of 26
We have two 3GSs, an iPhone 4, a 4s and a 5 in our house. Never had to replace any of the internal components yet. Why bother scoring on repairability?
They would be better scoring on reliability.
post #4 of 26
I really like ifixit's perky presentation ladies! They certainly give the impression that they're interested in the tech (whether they really are or not I don't know) anyway these ladies are a tech-geek's wet dream! lol
post #5 of 26
The name of the company is iFixIt! Why would they rate anything on a reliability score? Their goal is to sell parts and tools to help individuals fix their hardware. Thus the rating on the feasibility of doing so. Yes this is self serving but what do you expect, they do this to promote their business.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosslad View Post

We have two 3GSs, an iPhone 4, a 4s and a 5 in our house. Never had to replace any of the internal components yet. Why bother scoring on repairability?
They would be better scoring on reliability.
post #6 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

The name of the company is iFixIt! Why would they rate anything on a reliability score? Their goal is to sell parts and tools to help individuals fix their hardware. Thus the rating on the feasibility of doing so. Yes this is self serving but what do you expect, they do this to promote their business.
And Apple doesn't design iPhones to promote iFixit's business.
post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosslad View Post

We have two 3GSs, an iPhone 4, a 4s and a 5 in our house. Never had to replace any of the internal components yet. Why bother scoring on repairability?
They would be better scoring on reliability.


It's an old-school mentality that one should be able to crack anything open and fix it without having to bring it in.  The problem with that mentality when applied to complex electronics like smartphones is that there is a tradeoff to wanting slim/tiny devices and trying to accommodate the extra logistics to allow for easy repairability.  Not going to happen.

I fully agree with you.  I've never found the need to open any of my iPhones.  They've been reliable to the end.  I gave my iPhone4 to my sister when the iP5 came out.  That 2010 phone is still as reliable as the day it came out.  I couldn't care less about its repairability factor.

I think iFixit is just trying to make a stink about it to sell their tools.

post #8 of 26

"As a result, though, the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s."  Whoa, they should put a warning label on the 5c page.  Those extra 7.9 grams are a killer.  But in all seriousness, I'm surprised that it's almost a third heavier.

post #9 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 

"As a result, though, the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s."  Whoa, they should put a warning label on the 5c page.  Those extra 7.9 grams are a killer.  But in all seriousness, I'm surprised that it's almost a third heavier.

 

It's heavier due to the built-in Redmond Envy Generator. Been known to cause thrown chairs. 

post #10 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post
 

 

It's heavier due to the built-in Redmond Envy Generator. Been known to cause thrown chairs. 

 

:lol: 

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
Reply
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
Reply
post #11 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by malax View Post
 

"As a result, though, the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s."  Whoa, they should put a warning label on the 5c page.  Those extra 7.9 grams are a killer.  But in all seriousness, I'm surprised that it's almost a third heavier.

 

17.9 grams actually. So it's about 70% heavier.

 
Math, it's basic.

 

post #12 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by treblekicker View Post
 

 

17.9 grams actually. So it's about 70% heavier.

 
Math, it's basic.

 

 

From Apple's website: 5(s) / 5c

  • Weight: 3.95 ounces (112 grams)

Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)

Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
Reply
Yeah, well, you know, that's just, like, my opinion, man.
Reply
post #13 of 26
And the 5s and 5 weigh the same (112 gms from Apple) so the 5c is slightly heavier by 20 gms than it's "predecessor".....

Edited by jfc1138 - 9/20/13 at 3:18pm
post #14 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by jfc1138 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by WonkoTheSane View Post

 

From Apple's website: 5(s) / 5c




  • Weight: 3.95 ounces (112 grams)




Weight: 4.65 ounces (132 grams)



"the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s"
"predecessor" as in compared to the 5. So both new phones are heavier than the previous 5, with the 5c being the heavier of the pair.

No, the 5 weighs 112 grams, just like the 5S. Which is quite amazing, considering the changes.
post #15 of 26
Remember ye olde days when people would post comments like "I can build me a pee cee fer three hunnert bucks"? Well, I'm sure it's still possible if you don't count the Windows Tax (tm).

But if you try building your own iPad clone or iPhone clone, for any price, you'll be sorely disappointed at the results. No matter how many times you try to convince yourself otherwise by mumbling words like "choice" and "open" to yourself.

Jes' sayin' yo. :-) :-) :-)

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

Reply

Sent from my iPhone Simulator

Reply
post #16 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by 1983 View Post

I really like ifixit's perky presentation ladies! They certainly give the impression that they're interested in the tech (whether they really are or not I don't know) anyway these ladies are a tech-geek's wet dream! lol

 

Easy tiger! the keyboard on your mbp is not user replaceable.

post #17 of 26
"As a result, though, the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s. "

From
http://www.apple.com/au/iphone/compare/

iPhone 5s: 112 grams (3.95 ounces)
iPhone 5c: 132 grams (4.65 ounces)
iPhone 4s: 140 grams (4.9 ounces)

Where does AppleInsider get this bull? And how can a phone released on the same day as the 5s have the 5s described as a predecessor?
post #18 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s.

 

The iPhone 5c weighs 132 grams.

 

Just get with the metric system people. There is only upside.

post #19 of 26
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post

Just get with the metric system people. There is only upside.

 

I drink my water in gallons, not liters. Sounds like a group of digital age punks.

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply

Originally posted by Marvin

Even if [the 5.5” iPhone exists], it doesn’t deserve to.
Reply
post #20 of 26

I'm going to make up a scale called whateverability, and I'm going to ding Apple a few points on that scale. Yeah, I got Apple good. The tech media will willingly spread this if I send out a press release with my "findings."

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #21 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dunks View Post
 

The iPhone 5c weighs 132 grams.

 

Just get with the metric system people. There is only upside.

 

You mean the New World Order conspiracy. ;)

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #22 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crosslad View Post

Never had to replace any of the internal components yet. Why bother scoring on repairability?

 

Because iFixit decided that matters. And AppleInsider agrees enough to repost it.

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply

"Apple should pull the plug on the iPhone."

John C. Dvorak, 2007
Reply
post #23 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by complicity View Post

"As a result, though, the iPhone 5c is much heavier than its predecessor, weighing in at 43.8 grams, compared to 25.9 for the 5s. "

From
http://www.apple.com/au/iphone/compare/

iPhone 5s: 112 grams (3.95 ounces)
iPhone 5c: 132 grams (4.65 ounces)
iPhone 4s: 140 grams (4.9 ounces)

Where does AppleInsider get this bull? And how can a phone released on the same day as the 5s have the 5s described as a predecessor?

The measurements in the AI article are of the back case, not the whole phone. It sounds like AI misinterpreted that but the AI article could also have been talking about the back case and just worded the sentence wrongly e.g "the iPhone 5c back is much heavier..."

http://www.geek.com/apple/iphone-5c-teardown-reveals-a-very-strong-glue-filled-plastic-handset-1571353/

"The plastic casing on the 5C is incredibly tough and cannot be easily bent, which is positive, but it weighs 43.8 grams on its own. For comparison, the aluminum iPhone 5S‘ metal casing weighs just 25.9 grams. iFixit speculates the extra weight is required in order to achieve the overall strength."

Apple's measures are the right ones for the whole phone so the 5C is just under 18% heavier than the 5S.
post #24 of 26
So the 5C weighs about what one would expect for a 5 with an integrated case,,,
post #25 of 26
I have to say, I was blown away by the high-quality feel of the 5c. I'd still get the 5c (finger print, speed, sensors, & weight) ... but I can see the 5c being a great seller despite the slightly higher than "expected" cost. Wonder when we'll get some accurate sales figures?
post #26 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post


And Apple doesn't design iPhones to promote iFixit's business.

 

No kidding.  iFixit wants to sells parts and components, the easier it is for a consumer, which probably shouldn't be cracking these open in the first place.    If iFixit can't make as much money, they'll pan a product.  Uh oh, poor iFixit.  This is stupid.

 
Companies don't generally design product so users can get their grimy hands inside that might cause further component failure when they don't use proper grounding, tools and procedures to repair a product.  This is dumb, these things have a 1 year warranty that's upgradeable. People should not be sticking their hands inside a phone or a tablet for that matter unless they are factory trained technicians.  I do think that user replaceable batteries would be nice if they can figure out a way to do it where it doesn't make the case too much thicker, etc.  But unfortunately, Apple wants to have thin cases and as big of a battery as they possibly can.
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