back to article Xiaomi what's inside: Wow, teardown nerds find debut smartwatch isn't actually a solder-and-resin nightmare

The spudger-wielding folks at iFixit have completed a teardown of the new Xiaomi Mi Watch – the Chinese vendor's first stab at a "real" smartwatch – and, shockingly, it's relatively repairable. Breaking open the chassis (which looks remarkably similar to the latest Apple Watch), iFixit encountered modular components, most of …

  1. Rich 11 Silver badge

    Who, me? Xiaomi

    Xiaomi released the Mi Watch in China towards the end of last year and is expected to release it in Europe later this year.

    Does it phone home and tell the Ministry of Public Tranquility where I am and if I still have a pulse?

    (I'm only half joking.)

    1. The Man Who Fell To Earth
      Flame

      Re: Who, me? Xiaomi

      More to the point, does it inject you with Lucky Heaven Joy Dust if you are deemed a threat to the Party by the Ministry?

    2. Cynic_999 Silver badge

      Re: Who, me? Xiaomi

      "

      Does it phone home and tell the Ministry of Public Tranquility where I am and if I still have a pulse?

      "

      Why would they increase the complexity of the watch just to get data that's readily available from Google, Facebook and Microsoft?

  2. JDX Gold badge

    Repairable but

    It's all well and good that you can in theory repair it, but do these things use components one can actually buy, or special bespoke parts made just for them in their own factory?

    Is there much of a market for such components?

    1. GekkePrutser

      Re: Repairable but

      iFixit sell a lot of such parts. They're quite expensive usually but they can also be found on ebay as well for cheaper. Usually aftermarket / fakes or taken from used models with irreparable damage to other parts.

      There's definitely a market for this - this is also where all the 'unofficial' phone repair shops get their parts from.

    2. spold Silver badge

      Re: Repairable but

      Yes given the relatively low price point, then possibly buying the pry tools, ordering new bits and paying for shipping isn't going to be worth it for one that has gone out of warranty (unless you happen to be an IT repair wonk, otherwise you likely cant be arsed). It's likely cheaper/better to buy the new model. If you are a little repair shop how much can you charge (and make a profit) before your customer makes the same decision?

      1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

        Re: Repairable but

        Quite a bit. If I smash my phone screen, I'd rather pay somebody with steady hands and a nack to unglue my existing screen and glue the replacement in.

      2. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: Repairable but

        I'm a Biological scientist but I used to repair my wife's PSP's including one quite involved bit of electro-surgery. I've also effected a removable drive swap in a Rev B iMac and of course I've replaced the HD in this Mac Pro laptop with a solid state version and a new battery. In the process I discovered why the bottom of the case is distorted such that the RAM chip levers don't push home. One of the battery fix points was broken off with the screw still in it. Some Apple registered repair guy had wrenched it instead of finding the not very hard to see screw and removing it.

        I informed the younges who handed the machine up to me so she knew the quality of the service she had been getting.

        So don't diss us home amateurs in possession of a wide range of micro screwdrivers vs the supposed pros. Those in it for the money have a vested interest in taking short cuts to avoid spending too much on the job whilst us amateurs generally have more time to do a decent job.

        BTW I have some of the steadiest hands in the micro dissection/small animal/embryo surgery business so transferring that to compu-surgery is actually pretty easy because I don't have to do it under a dissecting scope.

    3. DougS Silver badge

      Re: Repairable but

      You need to choose products that sell in high enough numbers to create a market for replacement stuff like screens, batteries, etc. If a product doesn't sell well it doesn't matter if iFixit gives it a 10/10 repairability score, because you probably won't be able to find parts.

    4. TeeCee Gold badge

      Re: Repairable but

      eBay.

      Never seen a replaceable part for a device that I couldn't find on eBay.

      1. imanidiot Silver badge

        Re: Repairable but

        A clean, useable, likely to work Apple T2 chip.

    5. JDX Gold badge

      Re: Repairable but

      Thinking a bit more, I suppose you can always get other peoples' broken/discarded units for 2nd-hand parts.

  3. NoneSuch Silver badge
    Thumb Down

    I carry a phone under protest, but it's needed for my job. I suppose electronics manufacturers need to sell more each year so they need to invent new things to carry around.

    Worthless product for me in any iteration. But I am a dinosaur and remember when face time was actual conversation.

    1. hmv Silver badge

      Personally I remember when face time was the time you spent some time glaring balefully into the mirror wondering what your name is, where the hell you are, and what the hell were you doing last night (or possibly the night before).

      1. J. Cook Silver badge
        Pint

        Homer: (wakes up) Aah, the sweet couple of seconds before I remember why I'm sleeping on the lawn.

        too many of the icon is usually the reason for that.

  4. werdsmith Silver badge

    The price is wrong

    It’s not £150 in UK, if you buy the English language version from one of the Chinese web gadget retailers it’s costing £233 or thereabouts. So close to the cost of the larger series 3 Apple Watch and quite a bit more that the smaller one.

    1. Ian 55

      Re: The price is wrong

      The Chinese ('only') versions of the Mi Band 4 can easily be made to work perfectly well in English. I wouldn't be amazed if the same applies here.

  5. Annihilator Silver badge

    An odd story - seemingly positive spin on the (surprising?) news that repairing a smart watch is possible, but following up with the news that it's not as repairable as the market leader.

    So really, the story is "new smart watch not as repairable as smart watch from company renowned for not being easily repairable" - I'd say that was a bad thing, no?

  6. Geoff Johnson

    I found out how to get the screen off a Xiaomi Amazfit...

    ...thanks to an accident with a wallpaper steamer in a confined space. I've not tried swimming with it on ever since, but it seems rain proof.

    1. heyrick Silver badge

      Re: I found out how to get the screen off a Xiaomi Amazfit...

      Jeez, if it did that to your watch, what did it do to you?

      1. Muscleguy Silver badge

        Re: I found out how to get the screen off a Xiaomi Amazfit...

        I volunteer in a charity shop and they use an industrial grade steamer to steam the creases out of clothes on hangers. I was doing yesterday. If you get the angle of the steamer head wrong wrt the hand holding the item of clothing a burst of steam escapes onto or near your hand. it can be an ouch, and OUCH! or a 'phew that was close'.

        So I can imagine the steam escaping onto the watch on the hand wielding the wallpaper scraper. Maybe it happened a couple of times though in a small room the moisture level can rise quickly with a steamer in use.

    2. jtaylor

      Re: I found out how to get the screen off a Xiaomi Amazfit...

      "an accident with a wallpaper steamer in a confined space."

      Oh, my. That buggers the imagination. What happened? You can post anonymously.

  7. imanidiot Silver badge

    "Surprisingly, the latest Apple Watch did slightly better, earning 6/10, with iFixit complimenting the device on the ease of screen and battery replacements"

    Well, Apple figured out that it needs to do at least SOME basic service (like battery replacements) on it's products to keep it's market share. And their product needs to be capable of being serviced in order to offer that option.

  8. BGatez Bronze badge

    biggest smartwatch problem

    The boxes are too small to play in after the 15 minute thrill wears off.

  9. riffrafff

    I still don't see the draw. It must just be me. I enjoy my autos. I don't foresee many smart watches being passed down for generations.

POST COMMENT House rules

Not a member of The Register? Create a new account here.

  • Enter your comment

  • Add an icon

Anonymous cowards cannot choose their icon

Biting the hand that feeds IT © 1998–2020