We have been excited ever since we learned that the Huawei Mate 20 Pro will be making its way to the India market this month. Initial reception of this device has been considerably positive so far. The most stand-out aspects of this smartphone are the prominent upgrade to the Kirin 980 SoC, the bezel-less screen that incorporates an under-display fingerprint scanner, and the improved triple rear-camera setup. However, a recent teardown conducted by iFixit uncovers a flaw which might cause significant hardships for owners down the line. The device has proved to be quite an ordeal to repair and only obtains a repairability score of 4 out of 10.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro iFixit Teardown
As is the case with all modern glass-backed devices, a heat gun was used by iFixit to begin the teardown process. Heat softens the glue around the edge of the rear glass and helps pry it loose by using a suction cup. Since this phone uses an in-screen fingerprint scanner instead of a rear mounted one, there is no danger of snipping any ribbon cables by accident during the removal of this back glass.
The first thing you will see when the rear panel is removed is the bi-directional wireless charging coil. This coil is attached to the midframe that also houses the NFC antenna and dual-Led flash unit. This is held down by eight screws.
Underneath is the motherboard which is held together by a total of nine flex cables. This is where you will find the Kirin 980 chipset, 128GB flash storage, NFC controller, Wi-Fi chipset, RF transceiver, and other technical components. The rear camera unit is placed on top of the motherboard. All three of these cameras are attached appear as though they are a single physical unit that is attached to the motherboard with two Lego-like connectors.
Taking the motherboard out reveals two other components. The first is the module underneath the notch area that houses the front 24MP camera, proximity sensor, ambient light sensor, flood illuminator, and IR camera. The other component seems to be a part of the motherboard that connects to the power and volume buttons and houses a wireless power receiver.
The bottom of the device is where we find the USB Type-C charging port that connects to the motherboard via a large flex cable. This makes repairing easy as there is no expensive component such as a daughter board that needs to be replaced in case the port fails. The 4,200mAh battery itself also comes with intuitive pull-tabs with printed instructions on how to remove the battery easily.
Huawei Mate 20 Pro Repairability Score of 4 Out of 10
With the entire handset taken apart, iFixit notes that there is a decent level of modularity that ensures easy replacement of damaged components. Even the battery removal process is fairly simple with only the back panel and midframe needing to be removed. However, getting to these parts will prove a challenging task as the phone’s motherboard is held down by an unreasonably large number of flex connectors. One wrong move and you could end up damaging a part that was perfectly fine to begin with.
Then there is the matter of this device being built with glass panels on each side that are glued together. Applying to much force during disassembly will likely result in a cracked panel. The screen is especially tricky to deal with as it needs pretty much the entire device to be taken apart. Furthermore, damaging either the screen or the in-display fingerprint scanner is likely to require a replacement of both components. All this taken into consideration is why this phone scores so low on iFixit’s repairability rating.