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david

F(x)tec Repairability plans for the Pro1

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This has been discussed in various threads on other topics, but I thought I'd start one specifically for this topic. The main intent is to get feedback from F(x)tec directly, but it will also provide a place to voice consumer desires around repairability of the phone or future versions of the phone.

 

F(x)tec, will you be publishing repair guides for the phone's components that often wear out/break on phones? And from where will customers source the parts?

 

Here is a stab at some of the common components. It would be nice to get feedback on each item:

 

- Screen

- Battery

- Hinge

- Cable that connects the screen to the base

- Keyboard

- USB port

- Body

 

If I'm missing anything, feel free to add to the list, everyone.

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Perhaps a prototype unit could be donated to iFixit, and have them do a teardown video? Their vids are usually quite good. Doesn't address the sourcing part of the question, though.

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Guess we’ll have to wait for iFixit and JerryRigEverything :)

 

Yeah, can't wait to see the results. :)

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Perhaps a prototype unit could be donated to iFixit, and have them do a teardown video? Their vids are usually quite good. Doesn’t address the sourcing part of the question, though.

 

A teardown video would be a good thing to see - I think it will be done sooner or later anyway -, but not with prototype hardware.

(Software doesn't really matter from this point of view.)

Even a not fully-working (faulty) production unit would be good for this purpose anyway.

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Don’t ifixit and jerryrigeverything just buy the hardware?

 

Jerryrigeverything buys his review units from retail stores. Think he has mentioned it a few times.

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Don’t ifixit and jerryrigeverything just buy the hardware?

Jerryrigeverything buys his review units from retail stores. Think he has mentioned it a few times.

 

That would make a lot of sense! Both to not risk being blamed for being partial, and also to avoid the chance of the unit being tested being one that had gone through an extra careful quality control. This could be important for devices with poor quality control.

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we just need to give them a prompt then to look at this one hehe :)

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USB Port will be on a seperate PCB, no soldering required.

Flex-Cable connecting the two halves will be seperately replaceable (compareable to HTC vision), their durability tests went through several manufacturers and different kinds of materials, the current used flex cable survived longer than the connector on the board (they changed the manufacturer after that).

They plan to make spare parts available through sellers compareable to ifixit.

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Something to add to this topic. I watched a video from the German community event and the person mentioned that the USB port isn't soldered on. It is a separate PCB plugged into the main PCB. That should make replacing that component easier, in theory.

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Oh, and it was also mentioned that there are 4 screws required to take off the screen and 4 screws to get to the battery.

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USB Port will be on a seperate PCB, no soldering required.

 

Flex-Cable connecting the two halves will be seperately replaceable (compareable to HTC vision), their durability tests went through several manufacturers and different kinds of materials, the current used flex cable survived longer than the connector on the board (they changed the manufacturer after that).

 

They plan to make spare parts available through sellers compareable to ifixit.

 

Thanks for the information. Do you have a source link for these details? And did it mention how many open/close cycles were done before the connector wore out and, assuming they did testing with a new connector after that that lasted longer than the best cable, how many cycles did the best cable last?

 

Are you saying they will only make parts available to businesses that repair phones and not to consumers who buy phones?

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It is clearly stated in the FAQ that the Pro1 does not have a removable battery: https://www.fxtec.com/product/fxtec-pro1-pre-order/#toggle-id-9

However, a man who went to the recent hands-on event says that the battery is removable , and that it merely requires unscrewing to gain access to it.

It would be in the best interest of F(x)tec to be explicit in stating that, while not hot swappable, the battery is removable as this being the case is basically just as rare as hot swappability; the discrepancy between glass slabs that require you to break something in order to access the battery, let alone remove it, and phones with removable batteries at all is much greater than the discrepancy between phones with batteries that require a screw driver to be removed and phones with batteries that just require your hands to be removed.

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It would be in the best interest of F(x)tec to be explicit in stating that, while not hot swappable, the battery is removable as this being the case is basically just as rare as hot swappability; the discrepancy between glass slabs that require you to break something in order to access the battery, let alone remove it, and phones with removable batteries at all is much greater than the discrepancy between phones with batteries that require a screw driver to be removed and phones with batteries that just require your hands to be removed.

 

This. It would probably be easier to say "consumer repairable" or something along those lines, just because I (not speaking for everyone of course) would assume easy access to replacing the screen and battery at the very least if I saw that term.

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Thanks for the information. Do you have a source link for these details? And did it mention how many open/close cycles were done before the connector wore out and, assuming they did testing with a new connector after that that lasted longer than the best cable, how many cycles did the best cable last?

 

Are you saying they will only make parts available to businesses that repair phones and not to consumers who buy phones?

I got these information from Liangchen at the Hands-on in Düsseldorf, so no link for that.

There were more than 10.000 cycles, by a machine, which opened and closed the device with the same speed and force all the time, with the latest setup no parts failed. Chen said, since this test always uses the same speed and force for opening and closing, it's not representative enough. So they hired someone who opened and closed the pro1 several hours every day by hands, and wrote down how often he did it, to get a realistic assumption on the reliability. They thought it through, very convincing, I don"t think we have to be afraid of the cable or the mechanic wearing out too quickly.

 

No, I'm not saying that the parts will only be available to businesses. But they the distribution of the parts might be fulfilled by a 3rd party, not the f(x)tec-website/shop itself.

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It is clearly stated in the FAQ that the Pro1 does not have a removable battery: https://www.fxtec.com/product/fxtec-pro1-pre-order/#toggle-id-9

 

However, a man who went to the recent hands-on event says that the battery is removable , and that it merely requires unscrewing to gain access to it.

 

It would be in the best interest of F(x)tec to be explicit in stating that, while not hot swappable, the battery is removable as this being the case is basically just as rare as hot swappability; the discrepancy between glass slabs that require you to break something in order to access the battery, let alone remove it, and phones with removable batteries at all is much greater than the discrepancy between phones with batteries that require a screw driver to be removed and phones with batteries that just require your hands to be removed.

Well, not having "removable battery" doesn't mean that the battery can't be removed at all, it means that you have to disassemble the phone to do this instead of replacing it like an AA battery by opening the case. What you call being "hot swappable" is what "removable" means. If you check for example "phones with removable batteries in 2019" you will get only results of phones having what you call "hot swappable".

 

When it comes to non removable batteries, there's no further classification of complexity of it from what I know. One could be so integrated with the phone that replacing it could be almost impossible, other could be easy to replace like it will be in Pro1. Removable is not the same as replaceable. The Pro1 has clearly non removable battery but it will be not that difficult to replace. So everything in FAQ is correct, they just could add that replacing it is easier than in usual phones. I think they could add also the information about phone being made for easier repairs for other parts.

 

https://www.maketecheasier.com/removable-vs-non-removable-battery/

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It is clearly stated in the FAQ that the Pro1 does not have a removable battery: https://www.fxtec.com/product/fxtec-pro1-pre-order/#toggle-id-9

 

However, a man who went to the recent hands-on event says that the battery is removable , and that it merely requires unscrewing to gain access to it.

 

It would be in the best interest of F(x)tec to be explicit in stating that, while not hot swappable, the battery is removable as this being the case is basically just as rare as hot swappability; the discrepancy between glass slabs that require you to break something in order to access the battery, let alone remove it, and phones with removable batteries at all is much greater than the discrepancy between phones with batteries that require a screw driver to be removed and phones with batteries that just require your hands to be removed.

 

Removing the screws possibly voids the warranty though, so I am not sure they are free to advertise that as a selling point. Also they might not be wanting to make official statements until the device is released... Those are just guesses though.

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There were more than 10.000 cycles, by a machine, which opened and closed the device with the same speed and force all the time, with the latest setup no parts failed. Chen said, since this test always uses the same speed and force for opening and closing, it’s not representative enough. So they hired someone who opened and closed the pro1 several hours every day by hands, and wrote down how often he did it, to get a realistic assumption on the reliability. They thought it through, very convincing, I don”t think we have to be afraid of the cable or the mechanic wearing out too quickly.

Is it just me, or does that not seem like a representative number of times to others too? If someone opens it once every 5 minutes, for 16 hours a day, that's about 200 times per day. 10,000 times, in that scenario, is only 50 days of use.

 

No, I’m not saying that the parts will only be available to businesses. But they the distribution of the parts might be fulfilled by a 3rd party, not the f(x)tec-website/shop itself.

Okay, good. I was hoping it was something like that. :-)

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There were more than 10.000 cycles, by a machine, which opened and closed the device with the same speed and force all the time, with the latest setup no parts failed. Chen said, since this test always uses the same speed and force for opening and closing, it’s not representative enough. So they hired someone who opened and closed the pro1 several hours every day by hands, and wrote down how often he did it, to get a realistic assumption on the reliability. They thought it through, very convincing, I don”t think we have to be afraid of the cable or the mechanic wearing out too quickly.

 

Is it just me, or does that not seem like a representative number of times to others too? If someone opens it once every 5 minutes, for 16 hours a day, that’s about 200 times per day. 10,000 times, in that scenario, is only 50 days of use.

Well I think it is to estimate a realistic number of daily opens they tried to have some register this.

I guess that if someone needs to use the keyboard every 5 minutes, it would be unlikely that they closed it in between. And 16h is a long time doing nothing else than interacting with the phone. I mean for my normal usage it would certainly also be interacting with apps that do not take text input for normal usage, so I will use it as a slab also.

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Thanks for the information. Do you have a source link for these details? And did it mention how many open/close cycles were done before the connector wore out and, assuming they did testing with a new connector after that that lasted longer than the best cable, how many cycles did the best cable last?

 

Are you saying they will only make parts available to businesses that repair phones and not to consumers who buy phones?

I got these information from Liangchen at the Hands-on in Düsseldorf, so no link for that.

 

There were more than 10.000 cycles, by a machine, which opened and closed the device with the same speed and force all the time, with the latest setup no parts failed. Chen said, since this test always uses the same speed and force for opening and closing, it’s not representative enough. So they hired someone who opened and closed the pro1 several hours every day by hands, and wrote down how often he did it, to get a realistic assumption on the reliability. They thought it through, very convincing, I don”t think we have to be afraid of the cable or the mechanic wearing out too quickly.

 

No, I’m not saying that the parts will only be available to businesses. But they the distribution of the parts might be fulfilled by a 3rd party, not the f(x)tec-website/shop itself.

 

Last week I have received the following reply from Team F(x)Tech for a similar query:

 

" We’ve tested the Pro1 with 100k slide cycles, both by robots and a human testers. While there were issues with early prototypes, we have since then updated the flex cable and the device can comfortable go above 100k slide cycles."

 

Considering a conservative average use of keyboard, say once every 15 mins and 12 hours usage per day, it works out 48 slides cycles per day.

So it should be fine for about 5-6 years. It's not necessary that every time we pick up the phone we will use the keyboard and some short replies may be done from screen only?

 

Cheers!

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It is clearly stated in the FAQ that the Pro1 does not have a removable battery:

 

However, a man who went to the recent hands-on event says that
, and that it merely requires unscrewing to gain access to it.

 

It would be in the best interest of F(x)tec to be explicit in stating that, while not hot swappable, the battery is removable as this being the case is basically just as rare as hot swappability; the discrepancy between glass slabs that require you to break something in order to access the battery, let alone remove it, and phones with removable batteries at all is much
greater than the discrepancy between phones with batteries that require a screw driver to be removed and phones with batteries that just require your hands to be removed.

Removing the screws possibly voids the warranty though, so I am not sure they are free to advertise that as a selling point. Also they might not be wanting to make official statements until the device is released… Those are just guesses though.

 

Yeah, I guess that opening the phone voids the warranty but they could still advertise it as an answer to predictable lifespan of the device. The answer could be something like "After the warranty expires, replacing screen, battery or the USB port to prolong the lifespan of your device doesn't require special tools for gluing/soldering because these parts are accessible by removing screws. Remember that removing screws before warranty expires voids it.". So it says that the phone is expected to work ever after warranty and any malfunctions past the warranty period won't turn it into piece of electronic trash. I think it's especially important because I'm sure that most of small, local phone repair services will see that phone for the first time ever after someone brings it to them after the warranty expires. People will know that the Pro1 isn't some kind of devilish phone that nobody will try to fix for them because of complexity or because it's exotic phone and also will know that with enough skill they can repair it by themselves and save some money. I'm sure that in 5 years Pro1 will still be used by people who bought it.

 

I guess that for many people Pro1 will be their most expensive phone ever bought, however when looking at the fact that Pro1 is a phone made to work for a long time then buying it or few budget 250 euro phones that are made to survive only 2 years means practically spending the same amount of money over all these years, suddenly 650 euro doesn't seem like that huge price.

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100k cycles is pretty good I guess, I really doubt i would open the phone 48 times a day, I think I unlock my normal slab like 4-5 times a day, although the keyboard would make me use it a bit more than a slab phone and it looks pretty addictive to open/close on videos. And I've not encountered much problems with sliders and fliphones before, even ones with cheap plasticky mechanisms.

 

I hope they make parts available directly from china or from within europe also, as ordering from ifixit means things pass by customs adding administration costs along with the duties and taxes if over 22eur (if i am not mistaken).

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The answer could be something like “After the warranty expires, replacing screen, battery or the USB port to prolong the lifespan of your device doesn’t require special tools for gluing/soldering because these parts are accessible by removing screws. Remember that removing screws before warranty expires voids it.”.

That would definitely catch my eye and be a good selling point :). I tend to void warranties as soon as i verified something works as expected, by checking what is inside and/or customizing it to my liking.

 

I guess that for many people Pro1 will be their most expensive phone ever bought, however when looking at the fact that Pro1 is a phone made to work for a long time then buying it or few budget 250 euro phones that are made to survive only 2 years means practically spending the same amount of money over all these years, suddenly 650 euro doesn’t seem like that huge price.

It definitely is the most I've spent on a phone before and I've never even been so impatient and adventurous to pre-order something, but considering the specs of the phone and how well it all looks to be implemented I'd say the price is good. I even manage to stretch the lifetime of budget phones to over 5 years so it'll be good, and the keyboard means it is also much more useful than any other phone would be :).

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