Building a computer in pieces is commonplace. The user chooses the components he wants the computer to carry and, if he is skilled enough, he can assemble them himself, or have an acquaintance or professional do it. This practice is often carried out by people who use the PC for gaming or other demanding tasks such as video editing. However, making a smartphone by the piece is not common.
We have seen concepts and prototypes of modular smartphones whose components can be exchanged depending on the user’s needs. If you want a better camera or processor you just have to change the corresponding “block” and that’s it. But we are not ready for this yet.
However, YouTube user Nikolay Tanev has managed to make several iPhones from individual parts. And they are fully functional. He started with the iPhone 7 and iPhone 8 last year , and on this he has managed to assemble an iPhone X.
As it could not be otherwise this feat has been carried out in China, more specifically in ShenZhen . This city in the Asian country is known for being a technological “Mecca” where you can find anything with electronic components. Tanev says that the market where he got the parts is huge, with four plants and hundreds of sellers.
He claims that a second-hand iPhone X or refurbished would be about $500, and that building it from scratch is not much cheaper , approaching the value of a used unit if you choose the best. However, it is much more fun for him to do it this way, as he can choose the parts and check their quality.
Buying iPhone X parts
Tanev comments that the price of the motherboard has cost him $280 , being compatible with the new Face ID security system. Internal storage is 64GB.
Then he goes for the back, which after much searching found one in perfect condition without scratches. It includes the camera and the battery , which makes the assembly easier. However, you can buy it separately if you prefer. 100 dollars more. Because he didn’t trust the state of the old battery, he preferred to buy a new one, and the rest of the parts cost less than two dollars.
Now he’s going for the screen. Many of them had small flaws, so he decided to play it safe and buy an original OLED panel that cost him 130 dollars . He was able to test it right there in front of the vendor.
The iPhone X assembly process
Tanev didn’t have to mount the device, someone else did, someone with a lot of experience who had already done it hundreds of times . As far as it goes, once an iPhone is mounted, all of them are mounted. But the interesting part comes later, when they test the device’s sensors.
The head of the person assembling the terminal is responsible for checking that the cameras, accelerometer, compass and speakers are working properly before closing it completely. And Face ID works perfectly. They have diagnostic software that reveals if there are any defective parts or those with diminished capabilities. This whole process took only 30 minutes.
Tanev wants his iPhone to look as new as possible, so buys a 64GB box of iPhone X internal storage with the stickers from the apple for $4. You also purchase a charging cable and power adapter.
Between all the parts, assembly process and “accessories” about 500 dollars has been spent . On his own he does some final checks, especially of the battery, which shows that it is in perfect condition with its 100% maximum capacity, which proves that it is new, and of the LTE4G connection.
Is it worth building a smartphone from scratch?
Most people do not have in mind the option of mounting a smartphone because it is not as simple to do as with a computer. This could only be achieved in places like the market that Tanev went to in ShenZhen.
He himself comments that he has done it for fun , not for any other reason. The best option will always be to buy a complete iPhone X, and not by the piece. But the most interesting thing is that, knowing how Apple’s repair policy is, all the components will work without any problem.