BlackBerry Z10 teardown

BlackBerry Z10 teardown

Summary: If you want a smartphone that you can crack open and take a peek inside — and possibly swap the battery out when the old one gets flat — then the BlackBerry Z10 is the handset for you.


Smartphones aren't generally considered to be the easiest of things to repair, but when it comes to the new BlackBerry Z10, things are looking up.

According to a teardown carried out by repair form iFixit, BlackBerry's new button-less smartphone proves that you can have a device that is thin, easily repairable, and feature a user-replaceable battery.

Did I say "user-replaceable battery"? I most certainly did. Getting into the Z10 is simply a matter of popping a few clips with nothing more than a stout fingernail, and then you're inside the handset, where the battery can be easily removed and swapped out. There are no screws or clips or nasty adhesive holding the 3.8 V, 1800mAh Lithium-ion power pack in place.

(Image: iFixit)

The battery might be small, but it packs quite a kick and can keep the Z10 going for 10 hours of talk time on 3G, with a standby capacity of 13 days.

Once inside the Z10, the iFixit team discovered a Qualcomm MSM8960 Snapdragon S4 processor, a Texas Instruments WL1273L wireless module, 2GB of Samsung K3PE0E000A XG Mobile DDR2 SDRAM, and storage in the form of 16GB of Samsung KLMAG2GE4A MLC NAND flash.

(Image: iFixit)

Overall, iFixit gave the Z10 a repairability score of eight out of 10, which is a very high score for a smartphone. However, there were some aspects of the device that bothered the team. Take the display for example, which while being thin, has the digitizer applied directly to the glass and fused in turn to the LCD. This means that if the glass is shattered, the entire display will need to be replaced.

(Image: iFixit)

Topics: BlackBerry, Hardware, Smartphones

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  • Did you get someone else to write your headline?

    I would have expected something more like:

    "Will opening the BlackBerry Z10 give you cancer?"
  • "Nasty adhesive"

    vs what? The pleasant adhesive?
    William Farrel
  • It is always good when they have swappable batteries

    When choosing my android, it was tough between the sgs3 that had the standard pop off cover and pop out battery and the razr maxx that had a massive battery (I've fiddled; it is removable, but it's hardly pop out) I went for the maxx.

    That said I do prefer removable batteries; for one who hasn't pulled the battery out before; either to reboot the operating system following a crash, or to stop it sending something ;)

    Just one thing... It looks as though the back is designed to come off and the battery removable like old blackberries. Wouldn't taking a peek any further void your warranty?
  • Sad to see this spec taken to the extreme

    "while being thin, has the digitizer is applied directly to the glass and fused in turn to the LCD"

    Yes, because the Z10 would be unusable if it was 0.01mm thicker.

    After using a Nokia Lumia 920 for a while, you quickly realize just how ridiculous the whole "thin and light" thing has gotten. It is a nice marketing feature bullet point to claim to be the thinnest and the lightest but after a certain point, it doesn't benefit the user and it actually HARMS the user as pointed out above. People believe that they get "thin and light" for free but they don't.
    • Agreed. It's ridiculous

      It's ridiculous that OEM's don't think I can handle those few extra gram of weight that come with sturdiness, and reliability. I'd rather my phone weight a few more grams and have a removal battery/be more sturdy (in this case, have a d**n screen that won't break once it falls to the ground).
      • people buy the thin light models. The thick heavy ones stay on the shelves

        Most people want thin light ones. That's why the thick heavy ones stay on the shelves and stop being made.

        Fusing the screen layers together reduces thickness, simplifies construction, reduces weight, makes the device lighter and stronger and and improves reliability.

        The only downside is that in the much reduced chance of a screen failure, the component replaced will be more expensive.

        Since in reality the labor cost usually exceeds the parts cost anyway, this is not an issue.
        Henry 3 Dogg
    • Does it ever occur to you

      There might be other reasons to stick all those layers together, least important of which is making the display assembly thinner?
    • Nokia Lumina is a bad example

      Since the Nokia Lumina is fragile in addition to thick and very heavy, its a pretty poor example (of anything really).
      Henry 3 Dogg
      • Give me a break!

        I own the Lumia 920 and prior to that, I owned the Lumia 900. I can guarantee that regardless of any other complaint you may wish to level at the Nokia Lumia line of phones, easily broken is not one that is accurate. My teenage daughter and I both own these phones and they have been dropped countless times. The only fault I have with their build is that they are made to last and it does not give me an excuse to move on to a newer model.

        I have always been, and still am, a fan of Blackberry. The red Curve was my first smartphone. Since then I have had the Blackberry flip, and the Bold Touch. I love the design of the Z10 and I think the new user interface is ingenious. Blackberry phones are always a class act. But classy enough to tempt me to leave my Lumia 920? The jury is still out on that one. Afterall, these Lumias are made to endure and they are very enjoyable to use.
  • Typical BlackBerry

    Seems like a typical BlackBerry quality device - which is one of the reasons I like them so much. I imagine the fused glass to the LCD screen is probably due to the swipey nature of the user interface (UI) and as such, it's a trade-off I am more then willing to accept. I just love the UI.
  • Are there a lot of reports

    Are there a lot of reports of the screen breaking more than for iPhones?
    Susan Antony
  • Unlabeled Pictures Uninformative

    The pictures that accompany the article are amusing to behold, but is it too much to ask that you label the pictures (and the parts shown in the pictures) so that all readers can know what they are looking at? There's no need for part numbers or that sort of thing. Rather, just a very general description of the parts shown would be very helpful (e.g. "Back view of display", or "Camera module"). The pictures provided by iFixit are extremely generic and thus, uninformative.
  • iFixit have an agenda

    i love iFixit. They're the first place that I would look for instructions on changing the battery on my iPhone. And they sell all the bits.

    But they also have an agenda.

    iFixit like devices that go wrong but are easy to fix. That is how they make their money.

    I prefer devices that don't go wrong.

    But in a densely packed and miniaturised device, the very things that make a device easily self repairable, generally increase the chance of the device going wrong in the first place.

    I don't think that the Z10 is going to score well on a drop test.

    Screws are great and impart great strength, when not self tapping into plastic, and are no issue to remove.

    Things that open with a thumb nail usually open on their own within a few months.

    Thermal glue stops things working loose, absorbs shock, and is easily removed with a hair drier.
    Henry 3 Dogg
  • Z10...

    This new Z10 has some pretty neat features I wasn't aware of. I found this video on a forum which showed 5 of the new hidden functions of the phone. I think this wasn't released anywhere else. You can skip to about 2 and a half minutes, because that's where it begins.
    Billie Joyner