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We’ve seen (and torn down) pretty much everything, but now Zanco’s Tiny T1 is here. It’s oblivious to your obsession with screen-to-body ratios, impervious to your petty PPI comparisons, and contemptuous of those quadruple-digit smartphone price tags—but it might just take the thin-and-light crown for good. Join us for the Tiniest teardown we’ve ever done. It’s gonna be big.

Like our teardowns? Want to subscribe? N.I.F.T.Y!

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  1. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown, Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 1, image 1 of 2 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown, Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 1, image 2 of 2
    • The Tiny T1 may be small—but is it mighty? We'll let its specs do the talking:

    • Mediatek MTK6261D SoC

    • 0.49" OLED display with 64 x 32 pixel resolution (146 ppi)

    • Built-in voice changer

    • 32 MB RAM and 32 MB ROM

    • Backlit keyboard

    • 2G network connectivity

    • MicroUSB port

  2. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 2, image 1 of 3 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 2, image 2 of 3 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 2, image 3 of 3
    • For size reference, we've enlisted the help of a certain furry rebel. Don't worry—we'll transport him back to the Rebellion when we're done with him.

    • While it's not the most popular tiny phone form factor, the T1's chocolate bar layout makes dialing and texting with human-sized fingers a breeze.

    • The metal back case is smooth except for a regulatory sticker and speaker grille. No fragile glass panel to shatter. No unsightly rear camera bump.

  3. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 3, image 1 of 3 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 3, image 2 of 3 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 3, image 3 of 3
    • A "micro"-USB port occupies the bottom of the phone—and Zanco has managed to squeeze in a pinhole microphone alongside it.

    • Nano is such a relative word, as the "nano" SIM slot dominates the right edge of the phone.

    • If you're prone to butt-dialing people, the Tiny T1 is not for you.

    • Does size matter? We compare the Tiny T1 to its modern compatriots: a tech writer's LG ENV3 and a Samsung Galaxy S9+.

  4. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 4, image 1 of 3 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 4, image 2 of 3 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 4, image 3 of 3
    • Opening a phone of this scale requires specialty tools. Fortunately, iFixit has got it covered.

    • Despite its retro aesthetic, this opening procedure is far from obsolete. Some micro spudger action frees up the front clips, and the top plastic plate is free!

    • Unlike with some phones, we encounter no proprietary screws here.

    • We move the keypad aside and find the button pad soldered to the board beneath.

    • To supply backlight to the keypad, two white adhesive pads diffuse light from four surface-mounted LEDs underneath.

    • While most modern phones are held together by an army of screws and nasty adhesives, the Tiny T1 has none of that. Zero screws! Zero adhesives!

    • The entire innards pop out with a single pry with a (normal) sized spudger.

    • The likely lesson here: to easily open normal-sized phones, we need a giant spudger.

    • Who says small can't be repairable? (Looking at you, AirPods.)

  5. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 6, image 1 of 2 Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 6, image 2 of 2
    • Here we have the inner workings of the Tiny T1—all of them. It's just one board, with (nearly) everything soldered to it:

    • Speaker

    • Microphone capsule

    • High tech Bluetooth antenna (it's a wire)

    • "Nano" SIM slot, ironically hogging nearly half the board

    • Two mysterious pogo pins, which are accessible from outside—possibly for charging? Accessory port? A tiny taser?

    • 200 mAh 0.74 Wh battery (for comparison, the ENV3 has 3.5 Wh, while the Galaxy S9+ weighs in at 13.48 Wh)

    • While the S9+ battery packs over eighteen times the capacity, we doubt that its standby scales linearly to the Tiny T1's three-day rating.

  6. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 7, image 1 of 1
    • What's the bare minimum amount of silicon needed for a functioning mobile phone? We're not sure, but this can't be far off:

    • Mediatek MT6261DA SoC

    • RDA Microelectronics RDA6625 Front-end module

    • Likely li-ion battery charger ic

    • 26 MHz oscillator

  7. Zanco Tiny T1 Teardown: step 8, image 1 of 1
    • That's a wrap to this Tiny Teardown!

    • The T1 shows you can make a working phone with just a little hardware—and with technological advancements, you can make it that much little-er.

    • We've come a long way from the first mobile phones of over forty years ago, even surpassing the wildest concepts from spy films and science fiction.

    • ... Which just means that modern designers of fictional gadgets have to keep upping their game.

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    • The phone is held together by clips alone, making the opening procedure easy and painless.
    • The front plastic plate, which is prone to cracking, is easily replaceable.
    • Most components, including the battery, are soldered to the motherboard, making repairs difficult.
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crwdns2917036:011crwdne2917036:0

Nice tear down. I did notice the tiny pliers with blue handles. I believe that is from one of the Pocher 1/8 scale car kits, possibly from the Ferrari Testarossa tool kits. Obviously it is just for decoration!

rayramirez - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

IDK if I edited it correctly, but I tried to get the “Y” in “N.I.F.T.Y!” at the top to link to the ifixit YouTube channel.

Tommy Gurreri - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Tommy, that’s a genius idea! It didn’t turn out properly but I got it worked out.

Arthur Shi -

So this is a real phone!?

kc8wzm - crwdns2853112:0crwdne2853112:0

Yes! It is a real working phone that works on 2G networks.

Arthur Shi -

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