Hard-to-repair internals give ‘strong first-gen tech vibes’
Although it’s the company’s first wearable device, the Google Pixel Watch has some great hardware. On the outside, it looks like high-end technology. Inside, less. A teardown video from iFixit shows that the device won’t be easy to repair, especially if you damage the screen or the crown – so basically all the parts you’re likely to break during normal use .
The video gives us a tour of the Pixel Watch’s tight innards. As soon as the domed display glass is removed – a seemingly simple enough operation – it’s clear that replacing a damaged Pixel Watch screen is an ordeal. Dislodging the display cable also requires removing the vibration motor and battery from the watch, which means dealing with a bunch of tiny screws, as well as some adhesive holding down the battery.
Interestingly, it looks like the Pixel Watch keeps track of the position of its digital crown with an optical sensor that can see notches on the crown, inside the watch body. It also seems that the crown and the button just above are impossible to remove without breaking parts of the watch’s hardware – which means that if something goes wrong with either, you might need of a brand new watch.
While iFixit needed a vise to hold the Pixel Watch in place when removing the lower glass facing the wrist, this piece of glass comes off cleanly. The fitness sensors underneath are soldered to the watch’s motherboard and aren’t actually attached to the bottom glass, so it looks like the underside of the watch is relatively easy to fix compared to the rest. This is probably the part of the watch you are least likely to damage, but hey, a win is a win.
Overall, it looks like the first-gen clunkyness we noticed in the Pixel Watch user experience also extends to the wearable’s internal build. Here’s hoping Google can address both in the Pixel Watch 2 – assuming we get one, anyway.